2 Thessalonians 1:4 Perseverance In Trials

 

Hanging On

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4

Persecutions and trials are not something most people look forward to. No one wants to be persecuted or put on trial for anything. This becomes especially true when someone is innocent of doing anything wrong.

When a person is summoned for a court hearing to be tried, he usually gets very nervous, especially if innocent. He runs out quickly to find a good lawyer to defend him. He wonders if he will be able to prove his innocence. Many will start to fight back saying that they are innocent. In the process of fighting back, some will end up committing a crime.

It is common to hear of people slandering or cursing their accusers. They run to the media to try and clear their name. Or they try to flee and never face their accuser.

Paul tells the people of the Thessalonian church that he boasts about what they are doing in the face of persecution and trials. They are staying strong and true to God’s word and holding on to their faith.

Over the years, not every believer has acted liked the Thessalonian church. The trials can be real court trials against them, but often they are just trials in life to test their faith. The little day-to-day struggles are trials that test what a person is really like. Slander and lies are the persecutions that many face.

As believers are faced with these types of persecutions or worse and the many types of trials in life, they are given a choice as to how to react to them. Many begin to curse the person or situation, or they get angry with God for allowing it to happen.

Believers are to hold on to their faith and trust God through every situation. They are to not give up on God and take the way of the world.

Persecutions and trials will come your way. Jesus promised them. You have a choice as to how you will react to those situations. They may be big and grand persecutions, but usually they will be the little things in life each day.

Will you give into the trial and act like the world?

Or will you hold on to your faith that God is in control?

Hang on to God and the trial will come to an end in His time.

I pray today that you will have faith in God’s abilities; that you will hold on to God during trials; that you will focus on God and His promises in persecutions; and that you will shine as a witness of Jesus in this world.

 

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1 Thessalonians 3:4 Walking Into Trouble

 

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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. 

 

Philippians 2:3-4 How To Do What You Do

 

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

The majority of people do not think of themselves as selfish. They want to believe that they are concerned for others. Yet, when it is closely looked at the reason why they do what they do, there is usually an underlying characteristic of selfishness.

Very few people do the majority of what they do without selfish ambition. A person may work hard for his boss, appearing to be looking out for his boss, but inside the person is striving to look good for a promotion or a pay raise…selfishness. Many people help another person out just to look like a good person who helps others out, not for the focus of helping that other person out. Many wealthy people give away millions of dollars to the needy every year, not so much to help the people, but to have a tax write-off…selfishness.

This type of action and thoughts occur even inside the church. People teach a Sunday School class to look good or out of guilt, not out of the desire to help others. Some will argue over the color of the carpet for selfish reasons, not for the benefit of others.

Believers are to put others first, just as Jesus did when he died on the cross. He laid His own life down to give life to others and does not charge any one for the price of that death.

Putting others first is not an easy thing to do, because of man’s own selfish nature. People are out for self-preservation, not the needs of others.

As you seek to put others first and their needs above your own, God will meet your needs. God can bring another person into your life to meet your needs, while you are out meeting the needs of another person.

Putting others first is the ultimate show of love that you can show any person. There is no greater love than putting another person above yourself.

Take time to take a look at what you do and why you do. Ask God to reveal you the true reasons behind your actions. Then strive to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit as you trust God.

I pray today that you will know what Jesus has done for you; that you will know God’s love for all people; that you will trust God to meet all of your needs; and that you will allow God to use you to meet the needs of others.

1 Corinthians 6:7 Being Wronged And Not Fight Back

 

Being Wronged

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 1 Corinthians 6:7

Paul talks about how the Corinthian church was taking people to court. They would place a lawsuit against another person because of something that person had done wrong. He calls them completely defeated because of these lawsuits.

In America, lawsuits against a person or company is a very common thing to happen. Something does not go just perfectly right and a person is ready to file a lawsuit.

A doctor does not do something correctly or makes a mistake and there is a lawsuit made up. A person in a restaurant or some other business treats someone wrong and there is a lawsuit. The floor is wet in a business and some one slips and gets hurt, and there is a lawsuit. Workplaces see lawsuits all the time for treatment of the workers. And the list of lawsuits is endless.

In this mix of lawsuits are many believers. Paul said a believer must take the wrong and move on.

Look at the life of Jesus. How many times did people do Him wrong? And yet, He did not fight back or create a lawsuit against them. He knew who was in control and let His Father deal with the person correctly.

Every believer must know who is control. It is God who is in control. If God is the one in control, then it is probable that He allowed the situation to occur to build you up in a certain way, or to allow the believer to be a witness to someone.

When a believer shows love to a person who has done him wrong, it will speak volumes. If a believer does not fight back when wronged, it will show God’s love.

There is going to be times when someone does something wrong to you. Even though the government and the world says you have a right to fight back, that is the time to turn the other cheek and let God deal with that person in His own way and time.

Instead of drawing up a lawsuit, seek to show that person love and forgiveness Be a witness of who Jesus is and was. Trust that God is the one who is in absolute control and not fight back.

I pray today that you will know God’s love for all people; that you will trust God’s path for your life; that you will not fight back against those who have done wrong to you; and that God will give you strength to love your enemies.

Romans 13:2 Stop Rebelling

Rebellion

Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:2

Rebellion is fighting against some authority. It is commonly thought of as teen-agers as those who are the ones who rebel. They rebel against those in authority and parents. Yet, it is not just teen-agers who rebel. Many adults rebel on a regular basis.

Often rebellion is seen as a form of legal right and responsibility. People feel that they have to rebel against some authority in order to make a change to occur.

Some of the rebellion will be seen in physical violence, while a lot of rebellion is in the heart and words against the authority.

Paul points out that every authority on this earth was put in place by God. This means every authority, whether Godly, or extremely against God. Take a look at the history of Israel in the Bible. Nebuchadnezzar was a pagan king from Assyria, who did not serve God at the beginning of his reign. Yet, God put Him in the place of authority over the Israelites and the prophets of God told the people to serve and obey him. They were not to rebel against him.

Those who are in authority may not always be doing the best action, yet, God had still placed them in that position. They may be there to draw His people back to Him, just as was the case with Israel falling under the authority of Nebuchadnezzar.

Rebellion is just a form of selfishness. One cannot get what he wants, so he rebels to attempt to force getting what he wants. This is not a way of love, nor is it showing trust in God’s power and abilities.

Very likely you have someone in authority over you in some part of your life that is doing something you do not really like. Do not rebel to force your right, but go to God in prayer about the situation. Allow God to either change your heart and desire, or to change the other person.

God has every authority in place for a purpose. To fight and rebel against that authority is to fight and rebel against God. Trust God in His choices. He knows what is best for you and every other person on this earth. Seek God, not selfish rebellion.

I pray today that you will know God’s purpose in your life; that God will strengthen you to love those in authority; that you will obey those in authority as God desires; and that you will be a witness of God’s love to those in authority. 

John 18:11 Accepting What God Gives

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Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11

The disciples were in a garden and had just finished praying when a group of soldiers and leaders came up to arrest Jesus. Peter tried to defend Jesus and cut off a servant’s ear with his sword. Jesus rebuked him saying that He needed to drink the cup His Father had given to Him.

People love to accept gifts that are good gifts. The definition of good gifts, is gifts that are usable, helpful, makes a person feel good and are pleasurable. They are eager to accept these gifts because they are usually what the person wants.

There are many times that a person gets a gift that he really does not want. Such as a child getting a pair of socks for Christmas. The child wanted toys more than clothes. The child is very disappointed with the socks, because it is not what he desired.

Adults get the same way. They will get some gift that they really did not want. Although most adults don’t complain out loud, they do mumble under their breath at not wanting it.

Believers in God have the same problem. God gives things to people all the time. Sometimes those things are physical things, other times it is situations. When the good things come in, people are happy. They like when they get great favor, a pay raise, repairs done, a healing, the needed sleep, and other ‘good’ things.

However, along with giving ‘good’ things, God also gives, what appears to be ‘bad’ things. There are times of sickness, breakdowns, job loss, persecution, hatred and more. As with Jesus getting arrested, these things appear to be bad.

The important thing to remember is that God only gives you what is best for your life. God will not give you anything that will not be for your benefit. Even the bad things can be for your benefit.

When a bad situation happens, it is time to turn to God for strength and direction. It is not a time to fight back and complain of what is happening.

Trust God that He knows what is best for your life. So accept all things that He puts in your path. Do not accept only the good and reject what appears to be bad. With God, all can be used for good.

I pray today that you will see God giving you all that you need; that you will trust God’s provisions; that you will seek God’s strength in tough times; and that you will give God thanks for everything.

John 13:7 Understanding Later

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Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7

The night that Jesus was going to be taken captive to be crucified, He sat down with His disciples to eat the Passover meal with them. He went up to Peter and washed his feet. Peter did not understand what Jesus was doing at the time. Jesus told him that later he would understand.

Parents often have to make choices for their family or children that the children do not understand. They will tell the child to do something a certain way and the child thinks it is crazy and does not understand why it has to be done that way.

Or in the workplace, the boss will change up how something is done. The workers do not always understand at the moment, but must comply with the change.

In both cases, often later the child or worker begins to understand why it was done a certain way. With the child, it may take years before that happens, but with growth and learning, the understanding begins to come about.

Believers run into the same situation with God. God will guide them down a certain path to do a certain thing, and the person may not understand why or what is going on. God is in heaven looking down on the earth from beginning to end. He sees the whole picture of all creation and all time. God is guiding everyone to walk in His path.

In order for God to do that, there will be times He will do things that do not make sense. Only with time will a person begin to understand. Looking back at situations will open the eyes as to what was really going on and why it occurred.

There will be times God will do things in your life, that at the moment you will not understand. Some of these things you will never understand until you step into heaven. Other things you may understand at a later time, after seeing the bigger picture.

Peter had to just trust Jesus in washing his feet, so that later he may understand what had happened. You also must trust God in working in your life, so that later you may also understand what He had done and why He had done it. Allow God to be in control and trust Him.

I pray today that you will see what God is doing in your life; that God will give you understanding; and that you will trust what God is doing.