Tuesday, July 19, 2016

1 Thessalonians 1:4-6

1 Thessalonians 1:4-6 
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, I BELIEVE You are the one and only true and living God! 
Thank You for choosing me out of all the people on the face of the earth to hear the good news that Jesus, Your own dear Son, left the hallowed halls of heaven, came to earth, endured temptation, trials, and torture, and died a gruesome and grisly death so that I wouldn't have to endure the punishment I deserve for my disobedience and defiance. After He was buried for three days in the damp, dark tomb, He suddenly rose to glorious new life so that I could also arise and live harmoniously with You forever.

Thank You for the person who reasoned with me from the Scriptures, explained the facts, proved the point, and proclaimed the truth until I was fully persuaded. I'm grateful for the harassment, humiliation and hardship that person bore to bring the gospel to me. The life-changing power, eye-opening Spirit, and deep conviction that overcame when I believed the whole story are remarkable.

Help me O Lord, to remove the idols from my life, turn toward You, and serve You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I long to be an imitator of my spiritual parent and You. By Your Spirit, help me to study my Bible earnestly so that I will be ready, in season and out, to plainly present the Scriptures even when it's not popular so that others may hear the good news, believe it, and receive the same incredible life-changing power, eye-opening Spirit, and deep conviction that were so graciously given to me.

In spite of all kinds of difficulties and dangers, help me continually do good deeds by faith, carefully labor in love, and readily endure hardships so that others will know by my lifestyle that I serve the one and only living and true God who rescues people from the dominion of darkness and death for the glory of His good name. Amen.

Since you responded to the gospel of Jesus Christ, has your life changed so that you are an exemplary example to others? The Thessalonians were known for their boldness in sharing the gospel, their work produced by faith, their labor prompted by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. If others were to imitate your life, would the result be for their good and God's glory?

Paul walked into the synagogue in Thessalonica, and on three Sabbath days reasoned with the worshippers from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. Some of the Jews and a large number of God-fearing Gentiles, many of them women, believed. 

Paul's message wasn't popular. What happened to him wasn't pretty. The jealous Jews rounded up a mob and started a riot in the streets. They attacked Paul's friends and put them in prison. 

The Thessalonian believers saw the bold courage and exemplary behavior of Paul and his friends in the face of extreme adversity, were faithful to their commitment to Christ, and followed Paul's example after he left. 

The one and only true gospel that gives life is unpopular in America. Will you share it anyway? Does it inspire you to love your enemies radically? Paul and friends didn't fight back with angry words. They patiently endured because of the power of the Holy Spirit in them. 

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