DATE POSTED: Saturday, 2023-03-11
WRITTEN AT: O’Brien, FL
SCRIPTURE FROM: 2 Thessalonians 1:3-6
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)
BIBLE TEXT: 3 Dear brothers, giving thanks to God for you is not only the right thing to do, but it is our duty to God because of the really wonderful way your faith has grown and because of your growing love for each other. 4 We are happy to tell other churches about your patience and complete faith in God, in spite of all the crushing troubles and hardships you are going through. 5 This is only one example of the fair, just way God does things, for he is using your sufferings to make you ready for his Kingdom, 6 while at the same time he is preparing judgment and punishment for those who are hurting you.
OBSERVATION: Paul was able to help the Thessalonian church, to see beyond the heavy load of persecution, that God was still at work within them. But as we meditate today on the Word of God, I would like for us to especially tune into verse 5, then think about our prayers each time that we feel persecuted or tribulations arise in our life, or the life of our family, our pastor, and yes, even our church – God’s church. Seldom do we glorify God for them!
APPLICATION: Do you sometimes wonder if your prayers are on track – in accordance with God’s will, for you and/or others who are suffering in one form or another? We pray hard for God to cure that problem so the church could once again be like all other churches – relaxed in worship and praise over everyday blessings, don’t we? But what if Paul nailed it, when he said that God might be using those challenging situations to ready us for His Kingdom – just like he did told the church at Thessalonica? To help soften your mind and see where Paul was coming from with this line of instruction, think on these things: 1). Was Peter’s faith stronger when he sat in the boat marveling over the awesome power of God to allow His Son to walk on water, or was it stronger when Peter stepped out of the boat and trusted God to keep him on top of the water? 2). Could Moses have been just as faithful in believing that God was very capable of getting he and the million plus people following him across to the other side of the Red Sea, or when he simply held out his rod in response to God’s orders, knowing full well that God would make a way, some way, for them? and 3). Over the years I have been actively involved in a few churches. I can’t think of any that have not faced their challenges in one form or another. Really, it was a type of persecution, because those challenges tested the faith of those churches and their ability to thrive and show the communities in which they served, that their faith was in Almighty God and that they should choose to stand firm in their belief, and trust in the God who placed them where they were, under the circumstances they faced, and still represent Him as the Savior of the World. Yes, their faith was definitely tested, as indicated by Paul, but I never remember hearing any believer praise God for those times of testing as God solidified their faith for the Kingdom of God. Oh that God would send a ‘Paul’ to each of our churches to remind us that it’s God we serve, Him that we preach, teach and represent. It’s not the trials, temptations and tests of Satan that defines us, but the loving, all-powerful God of the universe, and He never changes. If only we could learn to always focus on our source, and not on our circumstances. Imagine being part of a congregation where we will hear our communities flock to our church because even though they heard about our struggles, temptations, trials and setbacks, yet we remain strong in the One who got our gathering started in the first place, and He will be waiting with open arms to receive us when life here on earth is over. Satan would love nothing better than to know that he and his demons are getting through to us and destroying the work of God. Please join with me in vowing that this will never occur under our watch, as God prepares us for His Kingdom!
BLESSING(S) NOTED: While God will take care of those who persecute us, we will benefit from His strengthening power as He helps us to keep praising Him – especially through the storms of life.
PRAYER: It’s easy to worship you and lift up holy hands in praise to You when we see Your good works and rejoice in Your blessings. But, oh Lord, it is very challenging to follow in the footsteps of the church at Thessalonica and continue to praise You when others persecute us and try to take advantage of us. I am convinced of what Paul told the church, that You would grow them spiritually when they stand firm in their faith during these difficult times. You didn’t promise us good times every day because we accepted You as Lord of our life. But in having You by our side, at least we can defy all odds and do things like walking on the water, expecting the waters to part so that we could safely march to the other side, and even more. Please Lord, teach us to trust You in the good times, and trust You even more in the challenging times, but to never lose hope in knowing that You are with us in every circumstance of life in which we decide to draw close to You. Show the unsaved that You are still Lord and that You are alive and well in Your church today – the ones that are flourishing, and the ones struggling to overcome persecution. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!