1 Thessalonians 5:12-28; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18; Acts 18:4-23
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First Thessalonians - Today we wrap up Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians! There is a lot of good letter-closing advice in these today's readings. To make sure this advice gets heard throughout the church in Thessalonica Paul commands in chapter 5 verse 27: "I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters." Think this letter got read to everyone? :) Below is a great image for verse 25 from today's readings -
Verses 12 & 13 stood out to me in today's readings: "Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord's work. They work hard among you and warn you against all that is wrong. Think highly of them and give them your wholehearted love because of their work." This verse ties in perfectly to Clergy Appreciation Month! Did you know that October is Clergy Appreciation Month? I don't know who started this trend, but I like it! We're in November, but hopefully you can take 15 minutes to write a letter or send a card of encouragement to your pastor or clergy? I encourage you to encourage your pastor this month! :) More details about how you can participate in clergy appreciation month are on this website link: https://parsonage.org/cam/index.cfm
More verses from today's readings that stood out -
Verse 16 - "Always be joyful." How's joy doing in your life these days?
Verse 17- "Keep on praying." And prayer?
Verse 11 - "So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." I like this. It reminds me that we have the opportunity to encourage people that we come in contact with each day. Spread some love. How are you doing on being encouraging to others each day?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Thessalonians chapter 5 titled "The Conduct of the Assembly" is at this link. Below is a powerful image for 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 from today's readings:
Second Thessalonians - Today we begin Paul's second letter to the church in Thessalonica!
~ Second Thessalonians ~
Author: Paul the apostle
Date: A.D. 51
Content: Either Paul’s first letter or a forged letter purporting to be from him had disturbed the Thessalonians concerning the second coming of Jesus. Perhaps adding to the confusion was the continued persecution that they were enduring. Paul writes to assure the believers that Jesus will certainly return to comfort the believers and to punish those who are troubling them. He also tells them that the great Day of Judgment (the Day of the Lord) will not take them by surprise but will be preceded by a series of events. In the light of Jesus’ sure return, Christians are to live above reproach.
Theme: Throughout this short letter the promise of God’s victory over evil is stressed. Believers may suffer now, but God has planned comfort and reward for them. For those who refuse to obey God, however, there will be distress and judgment. Paul also stresses the need for living in such a way that God is honored. Some people at Thessalonica may have stopped working because they believed Christ would return soon. This does not honor God and Paul says concerning it, “He who does not work shall not eat.” (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 28-29) A wonderful commentary on Second Thessalonians by J. Hampton Keathley, III, titled “The Struggles and Growth of a Church” is at this link.
Paul's encouragement during times of persecution is powerful in chapter 1 verse 5 today: "But God will use this persecution to show his justice. For he will make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering." If there is persecution in your life today, I hope this verse is encouraging to you. It reminds me of the old adage - "it builds character." I know this is tough to realize in the midst of persecution - that God is working in the midst of it to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom. Your suffering is for His Kingdom. You are not suffering alone.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Second Thessalonians chapter 1 titled "Commendation and Comfort in the Face of Persecution" is at this link. Below is a great image for 2 Thessalonians 1:12 from today's readings:
Second Thessalonians chapter 2 is a good look at the 2nd coming of Jesus. Verse 7 is interesting - "For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way." Seems that this is alluding to sin and the temptation to sin that pursues people in our world today. The lawlessness is at work - secretly - and will remain secret until it comes out in the open in the form of the anti-christ? Again, I'm not big into end times stuff. But, clearly, there will come the day of Jesus' return. And the Bible is preparing believers for what to expect and to know that God is bigger than whatever evil comes in those days. God is bigger!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Second Thessalonians chapter 2 titled "Challenges to Believers in View of the Day of the Lord" is at this link.
Second Thessalonians chapter 3 is a nice closing chapter to this 2nd letter of Paul's! The first few verses remind us of the need to pray. Pray for those doing the Lord's work! How are you doing in praying for your pastors, your church, other ministries you support?
Paul then goes into an exhortation for proper living. These verses remind me of the importance of work in our lives. We are not called to be blissful aesthetics - but called to work. Paul worked hard during his time of ministry. He was at times a "tentmaker" - making a living during the day and preaching and conducting ministry in the evenings and weekends. How are you doing with work these days? Are you giving your all, your 100% for the hours you are at work? No matter where you are working - are you working as if you were working for God?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Second Thessalonians chapter 3 titled "Final Exhortations Regarding Idleness in the Church" is at this link.
Acts - Today's readings in Acts 18 are important in that Paul is beginning his work of building the church in Corinth through his ministry! We of course are very familiar now with Paul's letters of 1st and 2nd Corinthians - today we get a glimpse of how Paul's relationship with the city of Corinth began. Verses 9 through 11 let us clearly know that the Lord was very involved in Paul's ministry in Corinth: "One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, "Don't be afraid! Speak out! Don't be silent! For I am with you, and no one will harm you because many people here in this city belong to me." So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God." How are you involved in helping to build or support the church today? What are some ways that God has called you to love and serve your local church? How about the global church?
Per Tyndale's One Year Bible Companion today: "Corinth was the political and commercial center of Greece, surpassing Athens in importance. It had a reputation for great wickedness and immorality. A temple to Aphrodite - goddess of love and war - had been built on the large hill behind the city."
Worship Video: Today's readings in First Thessalonians reminded me of Matthew West's song "My Own Little World." Here's a great live version of this song:
Are you in your own little world? Click here for the true World!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on three verses of Scripture today: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." First Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you are joyful always. Pray that you pray without ceasing. Pray that you give thanks to the Lord in all circumstances. Pray that you are living in the center of God's will for you through you saving faith and relationship in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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