2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 Encouragement, Strength & Hope

 

Hope in prayer

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Life is tough. There are never ending problems everywhere. There is pain. There is suffering. There is violence, hatred, sickness, death and sin. When a person looks at the world, there does not appear to be any hope.

People all around the world are committing suicide because of the loss of hope and the amount of pain they are in. All types of drugs are used by people to help cope with all the pain that they are going through, both physical and emotional. Doctor’s prescribe many different types of drugs to people to help them calm their nerves and be able to deal with life.

Fear runs rampant among people. Fear of the government, fear of other people. Fear of death or sickness. Fear of the unknown.

Even in the church, there runs a level of fear. People fear that they are not good enough for God and will not be allowed into heaven in the end. They fear that God has not forgiven them.

Yet, God does not work with fear, He works with love and grace. God is there to encourage a person and give Him real hope and strength to make it. Believers have a hope of a better life, one that will be found in eternity. This can encourage a believer to stay strong and true to God’s word, despite what this world looks and acts like.

God, in His great love and grace, is giving every believer strength to do what needs to be done, to do the good works He has called every believer to do. He is giving strength to overcome sin and be His witness in this world, and to look past the momentary and painful sufferings of this world.

Take a look at what God has given you. Take a look at what God has promised you. Be encouraged and rely upon His strength to keep moving forward in His ways, to do good and be His witness.

Know that some day you will inherit eternal life in heaven. All that you are going through today will be worth it when you step into eternity with God.

Be encouraged and strengthened today.

I pray today that you will know what Jesus has done for you; that you will know the salvation He is giving you; that you will know God’s love and grace to you; that God will strengthen you; and that God will encourage you to keep going in Jesus.

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Colossians 4:5 Using Opportunities Correctly

 

Immigrants

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5

All around the world in every nation and every city or community, there will be people who are outsiders. These are people who have moved into the area from some other location. This location can be from the same country, maybe only a few miles down the road, or from across the ocean. Regardless of where they come from, they are outsiders.

When these outsiders come from another nation, they are called immigrants. There is currently lots of discussion on how to treat those immigrants and what should or should not be done with them. Some want to kick them out, some what to put them in jail, and others want to let them stay.

The same problems arise with people who are outsiders coming around the church. These are people who are not believers. How does one in the church act towards them?

Often many believers treat them with distrust and hatred, not giving them an opportunity to know Jesus.

Paul says that the believer must be wise in how one acts towards them and to make the most of every opportunity.

Wisdom can be seen in being careful in choosing the words and actions spoken. Every believer is supposed to be a witness of who Jesus is and a representative of His great love and mercy towards others. This takes great wisdom from God to know.

The believer is to take every opportunity he can to show God’s love to the outsider–the non-believer, the world. This can only be done with love, mercy and grace in both words and actions.

Every day and at every moment there are many opportunities to be a witness to an outsider. More than half the world is an outsider to God.

Instead of being afraid of an outsider, find ways to reach out in love to the outsider. Take a look at what you are saying and doing around the outsider. Are your actions and words drawing them or pointing them to Jesus? Or are your actions and words pushing them away from Jesus?

Allow God to open your eyes to the many opportunities that come your way each day. Grab every opportunity you can to be His witness. Draw in as many outsiders into His kingdom as you can. That is the goal of Jesus.

I pray today that you will know God’s love for all people; that God will guide you in what to say and do around others; that you will show God’s love and mercy to all people; and that you will be filled with God’s wisdom. 

Ephesians 3:17 Rooted In Love

 

Tree roots

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, Ephesians 3:17

Every person has some roots as to who he is. Ancestry plays a large part in who a person is. Often people are determined who they are by who their parents were and where they were from. For many years in America, people were labeled as some nationality because within two to three generations, they had family that had immigrated from another nation. Their roots were from another nation.

Although ancestry is still looked at, it is not seen as much. Yet, people are still rooted in things that are often family related. It is common to see people rooted in their job positions. What their position is, determines who they are.

Those who have not become believers are rooted in the things of this world and the sin of this world. It is the things and sin of this world that determines who they are. Since they are rooted this way, they do not know anything different.

Some believers are rooted in a church. They see themselves as some denomination or another. This is not the root God has given them. The physical church does not give them purpose or meaning in this life.

Believers, however, are to have a different root system. They are rooted in love. Scriptures state that God is love and that Jesus is God, therefore Jesus is love. He gives the believer a root and meaning in this life.

Love becomes the whole purpose of the believer’s life. It is what causes a person to turn from sin. Love is what causes a person to tell another person about Jesus. Love is what causes a person to forgive, have mercy, show grace and be patient.

God’s love is what begins to define who a person is. It gives the person an eternal purpose and value.

As a believer you must look at what you are rooted and established in. Your base line root system must be rooted and established in Jesus–Love. Love is what should determine your every action, thought, motive, and word.

Being rooted in love will keep you from sin and on the right path with God. It will make you more like Jesus everyday.

Who or what are you rooted in today? Jesus or the things of this world?

I pray today that you will know the love of God; that you will know the salvation Jesus gives you; that you will live in the love of God; and that your life will show the love of God.

Galatians 5:13 Free To Serve

Serving Others

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13

Freedom is usually seen as all about one’s own self. It is the ability for one to be able to not be under the bondage of another person, to be allowed to do what one wants to do. It is having the ability to make one’s own self happy.

The process of making one’s self happy is usually a selfish, and often sinful way. Man’s heart is always inclined to sin, unless God is allowed to change it. Just the fact that it is usually about pleasing one’s self, makes the action sinful because selfishness, in itself, is a sin.

The majority of the things that the world finds pleasure in are sinful. Getting drunk, sex out of marriage, violence, hate, suffering, pornography, greed, and many more things are the things the world loves, yet are sin. Each of these things appears to please self, even though it is destroying self.

God does not want the believer to live in this same way. Paul states that every believer is called to be free, but not to use that freedom for sin. The freedom that is given to a person is not to be selfish, but to serve someone else.

Jesus came to this earth, not for His own pleasure or to serve Himself or be served, but to serve all mankind. He came to give every person a chance at forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus did not have to do it, but He chose to do it out of love. It is only in love for someone else can a person find the power and ability to serve someone else above himself.

As a believer you are free, but you are not free to do whatever you want as the world does. You have been set free from the bondage of sin to live a life for God and to serve God and others. Just as Jesus put others before Himself, you must also put others before yourself.

As you put others before yourself in service to them, God will put others before you to serve you. He will meet your every need. You will then find the joy and happiness that will last for eternity, not the temporary happiness of this world.

I pray today that you will know the freedom Jesus has given you; that you will know the love God has shown you; that you will show God’s love to others; and that you will serve others as Jesus has served you.

2 Corinthians 10:4 A Different Set Of Weapons

 

weapon of war

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4

Battles and wars are occurring all around the world. From large, full nation against nation wars, to sibling fights of little children in families. It does not take a person looking very far to see some type of war or battle going on. Watching or reading about any news will show that the majority of the news is centered on some type of battle.

These battles can be someone or group physically fighting someone else. Or they may be fighting with words.

The world likes to uses all types of weapons in the attempt to destroy the enemy or opponent. When people hear about battles and wars, most will think about guns and bombs, however, the arsenal is much larger than just those items, and many of which are much more destructive.

Some common weapons that the world uses are: slander, lies, rebukes, cut-downs, and back-stabbing. Words are used to attempt to destroy the enemy. Politicians are constantly talking about how bad another politician is in order to get their own way. Spouses talk about how bad the other spouse is in order to justify leaving. Members of a church back-stab another person with lies and gossip to get their way.

Believers are not to use those same weapons. They have weapons that are better than that and are much stronger. The believers arsenal of weapons are: joy, peace, kindness, grace, mercy, forgiveness and more, along with God’s Holy Spirit and favor. All of these are wrapped up in love, the greatest weapon and full of divine power, because God is love.

Love will diffuse anger, reconcile differences, and overlook wrongs. Walls that people build up can be destroyed by love.

As a believer you are in a war. The world is against you. It is a battle for your soul. You have to choose how you will wage that war against the enemy.

Do not be like many people around the world, using the weapons of this world, cutting down and physically destroying people. Use God’s weapon of love against them. Show His love to your enemy.

As you do this, the walls will come down, the enemy will have to surrender or flee. Satan will run. Don’t give up, but fight the war in God’s way.

I pray today that you will know the power of God in your life; that you will know the weapons God has for you; that you will battle war with God’s weapons; and that the world will see that you live for God.

2 Corinthians 8:7 Excel In Giving

 

Giving money

But since you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in love we have kindled in you–see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7

Paul starts out this section talking about the Macedonian church, that even though they were extremely poor and suffering, they were extremely generous in giving. He now commends the Corinthian church in that they excelled at many different areas in life–faith, speech, knowledge, and love. They are now encouraged to excel in giving.

Some of the extremely wealthy people give out of the generosity of their heart, while many are giving just to get a break on their taxes. There are several who are atheists, but are still willing to give to help the poor around the world. The reasons for giving are very different for different people.

People look at those who are extremely wealthy and see how some of them are very generous in giving. They state that if they had the millions of dollars, they would also give generously. There are some believers who are known to think this way.

It has been shown that in a restaurant, believers are among the cheapest tippers. They are stingy with their money. Many do it because they do not have a lot of money. However, a person is to give generously according to what he has, not according to what He does not have.

The purpose of giving this way, is because Jesus gave all. He owned everything and gave it all up to come down to this earth, suffer, and die on a cross so that someone who did not love Him, could be forgiven of all sins. There was nothing more that He could give. He trusted the Father to provide for all of His needs as He poured out all He had for all mankind.

Take a look at your own life and see how you are at giving. If you do give, do you give generously with a joyful heart, or grudgingly just to look good to others?

Trust in God’s provision for all of your needs as you pour out what He has given you to meet the needs of others. Be willing to give with a joyful heart. Excel so much at giving that people will know you as a generous giver. This will be the representation of how Jesus gives.

I pray today that you will know what Jesus has given you; that you will have the same heart as that of Jesus; that you will trust God to meet your needs; and that you will allow God to meet the needs of others through you.