Thursday, July 31, 2014

II Thessalonians 1:4-10

4 We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. 5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. 6 In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you.

7 And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. 10 When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.

What is a bit of suffering now for the greater rewards of the future? I am willing to take all the pain that this body has to offer because I know that a better place with a new body awaits me when I am done here. (2 Corinthians 5:4) I look forward to praising God in my new heavenly home and finally having the rest I don't have here. Those who choose not to accept this wonderful gift of life will have to answer for what they have done wrong on that day by being completely separated from God.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Thessalonians 5:4-8

4 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. 7 Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. 8 But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

There is a stark difference between the light and the dark, they truly are mutually exclusive. Paul is using this comparison to show how I should be filled with God's light in such a way that there is no shadow of the old sinful life left in me. I should also be on my guard against the creeping darkness of this world that wants to overtake the light in me and make me just as dark as it is.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Thessalonians 2:4-12

4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. 5 Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! 6 As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.

7 As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like children among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children. 8 We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.

9 Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you. 10 You yourselves are our witnesses—and so is God—that we were devout and honest and faultless toward all of you believers. 11 And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. 12 We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.

This word from Paul is something that I hope shapes my witness to non-believers. Lord, keep me from using flattery to get my way or expecting others to carry my load. I want to be one who nurtures their faith like a parent would a child instead.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Thessalonians 1:10

And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.

It will be a great day when the time comes for the long awaited return of my brother in heaven, Jesus. He will come to take those who are adopted with Him to the place the Father has prepared for us. The rest will face judgement even though they had the choice not to. It is sad to think that a simple decision could have saved them from an eternity of pain.

Friday, July 25, 2014

I Thessalonians 1:2-6

2 We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. 3 As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

4 We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. 5 For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. 6 So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.

These words that Paul used to describe the Thessalonians are things that I want to be for God. Faithful, enduring, and joyful in the midst of trials. I am part of God's family and gladly take my share of the suffering as I try to act in a way that please my Father.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Psalms 139:19-22

19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
    Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
    your enemies misuse your name.
21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
    Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
    for your enemies are my enemies.

Oh, a life of unopposed right living seems so wonderful and yet sounds a bit like being a mindless robot. If God destroyed all those who did wrong in this world and kept only the ones who seek to do good - the world would be sparsely populated with a population of righteous robots incapable of making a mistake for fear of being scrapped. I treasure the choice to do the right thing, even if it means dealing with the evil choices of others.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Psalms 139:13-16

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
 Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

It would be easy to sit around and marvel at the intricacy of just the tip of my finger. The way the nail grows, the sensory organs built into them, the delicate bones beneath them and the tendons knit together to make them move. God's power and beautiful design are unfathomable in their depth.