1 Thessalonians 3:4 Walking Into Trouble

 

Dark path in woods

In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 1 Thessalonians 3:4

Trouble is something that most people attempt to avoid as much as possible. Very few people like to walk into trouble.

When a person is driving down the road and they see a notice that there is a major accident ahead, he will often try to take a different route to keep from being slowed down or stopped. When a person is walking down a  street and see two other people arguing loudly, he will usually, quickly walk by or take a different route to stay away from the trouble.

The change of route will occur even more, if a person knows that there is someone upset with him. People will avoid those who are upset with them. Very few people like confrontation with a person who does not like them.

Paul did not change his route or back down from a negative confrontation. He was not looking at just someone being upset with him, but that there would be persecution ahead. There would be people ahead in his path that would physically strive to harm him. They would beat him and put him in jail.

Most people would turn and run the other direction, yet, Paul did not. He followed what God wanted him to do, be a witness to the people at all costs.

True believers will have to go through some persecution, sooner or later. The world hates believers and will do whatever it takes to remove them. Yet, the believer must move forward, knowing that trouble and persecution is coming. He must not back down from the path God has him on.

The value of walking into trouble and persecution is that God’s word will move forward and touch lives. The person who stands strong and true for God will be a living example of the light and love of Jesus to this dark world.

Are you avoiding talking about Jesus because you do not want to be persecuted? Are you avoiding trouble at all costs?

Or are you willing to be a witness of Jesus to those around you, regardless of what happens?

Jesus was persecuted and He promised His followers will be persecuted. Do not run from it, but keep walking forward, knowing God is in control. God can use that persecution to spread His word.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will be His witness to this world; that you will not fear the trouble the world will give; and that God will strengthen you in times of trouble and persecution to be His witness. 

 

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Philippians 1:12 All For A Purpose

 

boat at sunrise

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. Philippians 1:12

Things that appear to be bad happen to people on a regular basis. Questions always arise as to why bad things occur to good people. These types of questions arise with both believers and non-believers.

A person who has been generous with his time and money all of his life, suddenly gets cancer. A person who has always been kind and generous loses his job and house. A generous and serving person ends up in a major life-changing accident. In each of these people are always asking why did it happen.

None of these things has anything to do with whether a person is a believer or not.

Add all of those things to a believer and a believer must deal with more events. A strong believer, who is a constant witness for Jesus, who runs from all sin, is suddenly put in prison, or is fired because of his belief. Or the believer is put through a lot of problems and harassment because of his belief in Jesus.

Paul had a major event in his life. He had been faithful to God in spreading the gospel message of Jesus. He never did any harm to anyone. Yet, he was put in prison. The Philippian church was wondering what had happened and why it occurred.

Paul used that time in prison to spread the gospel. He did fight back or get angry at the people or God for being in prison. He used that time there to be a witness to everyone in the prison, both prisoners and guards. As a result it spread the gospel message into a new area.

There will come times of major catastrophes in your life. It may mean major change in living, position, health, or many other areas. God does not always reveal why it happens, but one thing that can always occur because of it is the spreading of the gospel message.

That event may bring you to new people to tell about Jesus. Your actions and reactions to the situation will be a witness of your belief and trust in God.

Do not get discouraged or angry at God or the world. Use that event to help spread the gospel message to all the world. It can have an eternal purpose.

I pray today that you will know God is with you; that you will see events through the eyes of God; that you will use everything as an opportunity to be God’s witness; and that God will reach many people through you.

Ephesians 4:1 Live Up To Your Calling

 

Mountain top

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Ephesians 4:1

In many parts of the world, people who are in certain positions in life are expected to live a certain way. It is most commonly seen in extremely wealthy people. They are expected to dress and act a certain way to be in line with their wealth and position.

There are organizations that have sets of rules on how a person must live his life outside of the group. These rules are set in place because every person a part of the group is a representative of the group. No one is expected to live in a way that gives the group a bad name.

The types of rules will vary from group to group. Not all groups have a written set of rules, since many are just unwritten rules, they are unwritten expectations.

As Paul wrote this letter he was sitting in prison. He could have been bitter and angry about being in prison. He could have given up on God, because he was in prison. Yet, he encourages the people to still live a life worthy of their calling.

Every believer is called to be a witness of God. They are God’s representatives here on this earth to every person that they meet. God’s standards are ones of love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and holiness. The actual standards are ones of perfection, not mediocrity.

Some believers will go to church every week and even know many of the Bible verses and stories, yet, do not live according to what God wants. They are not living a life worthy of God’s calling on their life. They live just as the world does, while claiming to believe in Jesus.

If you have accepted Jesus into your life, you have also been called to higher level of living. The standard is to live just as Jesus lived His life when He walked on this earth. You have been called to be God’s ambassador on this earth.

That is the highest calling a person can ever receive. Nothing is greater than that. You represent the Creator of all the universe.

As God’s representative, how are you living your life? Is it measuring up to the standards God has called you?

Or are you an embarrassment to God, living like the world?

Live up to your calling.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know the standards God has for you; that you will be God’s representative on this earth; and that you will live a life worthy to what God has called you to live.

1 Corinthians 9:19 The Way To Reach More People

starry sunset

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 1 Corinthians 9:19

Paul had been talking about his duty as a believer to preach the gospel to as many people as possible. It was his goal to reach the lost and see them get saved by believing in Jesus. He knew that he was free in Christ, but did not use that freedom for himself, but to reach the lost. He would become like those he was trying to reach.

Becoming like those was not walking in the sin that they were doing, but understanding their position in life. Some were slaves, some were living under the Law of Moses, others were weak, or other positions in life.

Today there have been people and churches who have worked to become so much like those around them that they are trying to reach, that one cannot see a difference between the two. Believers have started to live in sin, stating that they are trying to reach the lost by being like the lost.

Reaching the lost is meeting the person where he is at in life. What is his position?

A believer driving a high end sports car and making a six digit income will have a difficult time reaching a person who is homeless and living on the street. The same goes the other way around. The homeless person will have a hard time reaching the wealthy person.

One who follows sports closely will be able to reach the lost who follows sports. They can both speak some of the same language. The believer can use analogies from sports to show him who Jesus is.

The entire purpose of living and speaking this way is to reach more people for Jesus. It is not to change the way of living or to step into sin.

Who are you striving to reach that is lost?

What methods are you using to bring the gospel message to that person or group of people?

God can use you to reach the lost in many different ways. You have to be willing to show love and meet the person where he is at, without falling into sin.

Do not limit yourself to just a few people, but open yourself to reach as many as God puts in your path.

I pray today that God will bring people to you who need Jesus; that God will give you the ways to be His witness; that you will not fear being His witness; and that your heart will be to reach as many as possible for Jesus. 

2 Corinthians 2:15 A Pleasing Aroma

 

girl smelling flowers

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:15

An aroma is a smell that something gives off. The smell can be something good or bad, depending on who is smelling it and what that person likes or dislikes.

Every person has memories of some aroma that they have smelled at some point. Some of those were good and some were very bad. If anyone has smelled the smell of a skunk spray, it is usually seen as an extremely bad smell. Smelling a baby’s dirty diaper is a bad smell.

While smelling some perfumes can be great. Smelling the aroma of a pie baking in the oven is great. Some like the smell of pine needles in a forest.

As one thinks about past smells, he may feel as though he can literally smell that aroma right now, even though there is nothing there to smell.

Paul said that he and the Corinthians were a pleasing aroma Christ to this world.

Looking at some people, they are not always a pleasing aroma. People living in sin can bring about a bad aroma to those near them. They are an aroma of death and decay, with no hope left.

Believers are to be giving off a different aroma. It is an aroma of life and freedom. One that brings about joy and life to the heart at smelling. Just as smelling the favorite dessert or meal brings a smile to a person, so the smell of a believer should bring about a smile to someone else.

The life of a believer should be marked with joy, love, compassion, grace, hope, and mercy. These are things that are a pleasing aroma. They also are the aroma of Jesus. He was all these things and more when He walked on this earth.

As you walk around on this earth, you will be giving off an aroma, and not just the aroma of your body. It is an aroma of life or death, living for God or living for self.

When people walk around you, what will they smell?

Is it the aroma of death, just like most of the world and what they are giving off? This is one of no hope and filled with sin.

Or are you giving off the aroma of life and hope that is found in Jesus?

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will live your life for God; that you will give off the aroma of Jesus to those around you; and that your life will be like that of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 9:16 What Needs To Be Said

 

stream outdoors

For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 1 Corinthians 9:16

Paul had just stated that he was willing to do whatever it takes to get the gospel message to the people. He did not want to hinder it from getting to anyone who needs to hear it. Now he states that he must preach the gospel message, regardless of any cost.

People usually look for a benefit in doing something. There has to be a benefit in doing an action, prior to their desiring to do it.

When a person invests money, he expects to receive a significant increase in his investment. When a person exercises, he expects to see immediate results in the workout. The benefit can be a quick, short-term one or a long-term one. If there is no direct benefit, however, he will most likely stop the action and not continue it.

Believers will often do certain actions because they know there are some great benefits to it. However, there are some things, that regardless of what benefits one may or may not receive, it needs to be done.

Preaching the gospel is one action every believer should do, regardless of the benefits. When the gospel is preached, sometimes it will be well received, while other times it may bring on persecution.

Many believers will stop the preaching when the persecution begins. They do not want to receive trouble, yet, the gospel still needs to be preached.

No believer is a believer, unless someone had preached the gospel to him. One must hear, before he can believe.

The preaching of the gospel is just sharing what Jesus did in the life of a believer. Telling others why he believes in Jesus.

One of the great priorities in your life should be to preach the gospel message. There are billions of people in this world who are dying not knowing the salvation Jesus provides. They need a chance to hear the gospel message.

Be willing to share what God is doing in your life with everyone you meet. Do not be the one who did not share, when you had the opportunity. This may be the one reason a person does not get into heaven and goes to hell.

Don’t make your life only about yourself, but about others in telling the gospel message.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will tell others about Jesus; that God will remove fear of telling the gospel message; and that God will give you the words to say.

Romans 1:14 An Obligation To Everyone

Valley

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. Romans 1:14

Paul talks about he is striving come and see the Romans. He wants to bring the gospel message to them in person. He then tells them that he has an obligation to everyone.

In this world people do not like to have an obligation to someone else. An obligation is a requirement of a person to do something to, for, or with someone else. Each person wants to be his own person and free to do what he wants, when he wants on his own, thus does not like having an obligation.

Obligations are often seen in contracts. People do not want to be tied to a binding contract with another person. They want their freedom. They want a contract with no requirements or obligations for in the future.

When a person is obligated to another person, he may feel tied to him. People do not want to be tied down and required to do something.

Believers often have the same feelings. There are times that they are obligated to do something in or outside the church and they don’t want to do it.

One area that every believer has an obligation in is to tell others about Jesus. Jesus gave that command to every person who follows Him. Paul had shown this by his statement. Every person on this earth is either a Greek or a non-Greek, wise or foolish. Paul felt the responsibility to every person.

Believers have the responsibility to tell others about Jesus. This responsibility is their obligation to every person. Some of those people will be wise and listen. Others will be foolish and reject listening. Yet, the obligation to tell them about Jesus remains the same.

You have the same obligation as Paul did. Every person you meet is either a Greek or a non-Greek, a wise or foolish person. You have a duty to tell that person about Jesus. Give every person you meet a chance to accept or reject Jesus. Do not make the decision for them.

You also have the obligation to follow the commands of Jesus–go and tell the gospel to all of the world. You may not have to travel around the world, but you can travel around your community. Fulfill your obligation.

I pray today that you will find people to tell about Jesus; that you will tell everyone you can about Jesus; that you will fulfill your obligation to others and God; and that many will believe in Jesus through your message.