God is faithful!

Scripture reading for June 18th: 1st Thessalonians 5

Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 5:16-24 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He Who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

Paul closes this letter with an exhortation and a promise. He calls on the believers to be filled with joy and rejoicing and faithful in prayer and thanksgiving. This is the simple will of God. They must not quench the Spirit nor despise prophesies, but test everything to see if it is of God. They are to abstain and avoid every form of evil. He states that God will Himself sanctify them completely–spirit, soul, and body. God alone is faithful and will do it through the Holy Spirit and God’s Word (Prophesy). By faith in Christ and His grace we will be counted blameless at His sudden return. Amen!

1st Thessalonians 5:28 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for helping me through the indwelling Holy Spirit to be transformed into Your image and abstain from all forms of evil. I trust You to complete this process at Your return as You are faithful and true!

1st Thessalonians 5:9-10 “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him.”

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Abstain from sexual sin!

Scripture reading for June 17th: 1st Thessalonians 4

Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 4:3-7 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us to impurity, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, Who gives His Holy Spirit.”

The apostle Paul loved the Thessalonian believers and because of this told them the truth in very clear terms. Sexual immorality was a problem in that culture, as in every Gentile nation. God has not called us to impurity and immorality, but to holiness and being set apart for Him. He desires godly offspring, raised in a covenant marriage between a man and a woman who know God. In fact, sexual immorality wrongs those involved and God is the Avenger of all sexual sins. Those sins include fornication (any sex outside of marriage), adultery (sex with another’s marriage partner), homosexual relationships, incest, and pornography and related sins. This is God’s instruction, not Paul’s or man’s. To disregard this will bring God’s vengeance.

1st Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, not thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and clearly warning all Your brothers and sisters concerning sexual immorality. I believe that You are the avenger of such sins. Help me to clearly and lovingly preach the truth of the Gospel and call people to repentance from these sins and cleansing by Jesus’ blood. My greatest joy will be Your return!

1st Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

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Standing fast in faith!

Scripture reading for June 16th: 1st Thessalonians 3

Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 3:4-8 “For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you– for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.”

Paul loved the Thessalonians and was concerned how they might be taking the afflictions and persecutions coming against Paul as well as believers. He sent Timothy to them to find out about their faith. Timothy informed Paul that the believers were standing firm in faith and love. This brought great comfort and encouragement to Paul. He knew that Satan, the tempter, would be at work as well and wanted to strengthen these friends with God’s Word, as he had earlier when he warned them of coming affliction and persecution. Good pastors and apostles love and watch over their people and guard them against the tempter by equipping them with the Word.

1st Thessalonians 3:9-10 “For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for godly pastors and apostles who care for the souls of those they are sent to serve. May I give you joy by serving faithfully and praying for those you send me to. May You have great joy as believers stand firm in their faith! One day there will be a great reunion as we enjoy Your love and presence forever and ever!

3rd John 3-4 “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

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Like a mother and father!

Scripture reading for June 15th: 1st Thessalonians 2

Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 2:7-11 “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you as believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, Who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

Paul loved the Thessalonian believers. He tried to convey his love and that of God for them in using the familiar example of a nursing mother with children. As the mother shares her own milk through her breasts to her growing children, so Paul (and God) shared himself and His Word with them. As a father (and God the Father) would teach and admonish his children, so Paul exhorted, encouraged and charged them to walk worthy of the family Name! God the Father calls each one into His own family, kingdom, and glory! He gives us His Holy Spirit to nurture and guide us into the holiness of His Character and Word that we will reflect His glory.

1st Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God, which is at work in you as believers.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God and the Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing love. The examples of a nursing mother and godly father help me to understand Your love and calling. Open a door for me to preach Your love to those hungry for truth today.

1st Thessalonians 2:19-20 “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”

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A Gospel of full conviction

Scripture reading for June 14th: 1st Thessalonians 1

Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 1:2-7 “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our Gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the Word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and to Achaia.”

Paul commended the Thessalonian believers for their strong stand of faith and steadfast hope in Jesus Christ as Lord. He was convinced that God had chosen them for salvation through the Word of Christ that he and other brothers had preached. This Word came to them not just as words preached, but with the power of the Holy Spirit bringing a deep conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment. This godly conviction brought godly sorrow for sin and repentance as they received the Word of God with joy in the Holy Spirit. Their example spread to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia and brought many into Christ’s fellowship. Conviction is the necessary precursor to repentance which brings salvation and deliverance from God’s wrath.

1st Thessalonians 1:9- “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, . . “

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the ‘full conviction’ of the full Gospel that brought me to know my need of repentance and faith. I give myself to use as an instrument to preach the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and full conviction, offering deliverance from Your wrath.

1st Thessalonians 1:10 “. . and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, Jesus Who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

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The cheerful giver!

Scripture reading for June 11th: Philemon

Key Scriptures: Philemon 8-14 “Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you–I. Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus–I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the Gospel but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.”

Paul was not into authoritarian leadership. He was a servant leader who acted in respect towards others in the Church. He had the opportunity while in jail in Rome to lead Onesimus, Philemon’s run-away slave, to Christ. Under Roman law, slaves who ran away could be put to death. But Paul appealed to Philemon to treat him now as a brother in Christ. As a run-away slave, Onesimus would have not been at all profitable to Philemon, but now as a brother, he would serve him as a brother and was also valuable in the Church as a member of Christ’s body. Paul could have ordered the proper treatment, but he knew that allowing Philemon to choose freely to do the right thing was by far the best for all involved.

Philemon 15-16 “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother--especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for this amazing story of a run-away slave who was saved and restored to his master. Thank You that we are all like this slave, running from You. Thank You that You received us back and made us profitable again! Help me to never forget! Give me opportunity to share Your great mercy today!

1st Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

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Steadfast in prayer!

Scripture reading for June 10th: Colossians 4

Key Scriptures: Colossians 4:2-6 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison–that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Paul closes this letter to the Colossians with an encouragement to pray and with a request for prayer himself. He encourages continuous prayer as a way to strengthen and prepare the believers. Prayer keeps us watchful and thankful for God’s provision. Prayer helps us to focus on God’s will and ask and depend on Him for our needs and His priorities. In light of this, Paul from prison, asks for open doors. Not prison doors either, but doors of opportunity to share the Gospel with lost prisoners or jailers. He also asks that He be able to clearly speak God’s Word and know how to respond to each person. That is true for all us who believe in Jesus and pray continuously.

Colossians 4:12 “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes I struggle to pray for others. Help me to be faithful and steadfast in prayer. I want believers that I know to be mature and fully assured in the will of God.

First Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

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Living in perfect harmony

Scripture reading for June 9th: Colossians 3

Key Scriptures: Colossians 3:12-16 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Paul simply stated that God’s love flowing through His Body, the Church, would bind together the various members of His Church in “perfect harmony.” It is the character of Jesus Christ that embodies ‘perfect love.’ When we repent, we ‘take off’ the old man and ‘put on’ the new man. This includes forgiving one another of past issues. We must forgive as the Lord Jesus has forgiven us. We replace our complaining with thankfulness for God’s mercy toward us and for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are also being transformed into Christ’s likeness. There is no room for offense and bitterness where the peace of Christ and Word of Christ dwells in our hearts. Instead we sing psalms and spiritual songs of worship to our Lord.

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I sometimes struggle with forgiving others in Your body who have wronged me or the church. Fill me with Your love and Word and thankfulness for Your mercy so I might live fully in Your perfect harmony with all believers. Let the world believe the Father has sent Jesus through my life of unity and practicing harmony.

John 17:20-21 “I do not ask for these only but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”

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Rooted in Christ Jesus

Scripture reading for June 8th: Colossians 2

Key Scriptures: Colossians 2:6-10 “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, Who is the head of all rule and authority.”

Paul was concerned for the Colossian believers because of false teachers. These teachers were in the church and sought to gain control over believers through philosophy and human tradition. They often used dreams and visions of angels to captivate people’s attention and make themselves appear super-spiritual. Paul’s remedy was to encourage these believers to be rooted in Christ Jesus as Lord and to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Christ through studying God’s Word. Christ was the Head of all rule and authority, not angels or those with visions. Believers must follow Christ alone as the preeminent One!

Colossians 2:18-19 “Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from Whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, give me daily discernment in these times to follow You alone and not become distracted by those claiming to have dreams and visions, but not anchored in Jesus as Lord. Use me to help others to become rooted and established in Biblical faith. Thank You for Christ Jesus, my Lord!

Ephesians 3:17-19 “. . .so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

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Christ the Preeminent

Scripture reading for June 7th: Colossians 1

Key Scriptures: Colossians 1:15-20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.”

Paul explained to the Colossian believers the place held by Christ Jesus in the grand design of creation. Christ is the exact image of the invisible God. Christ is the firstborn of all creation and the creator of all things. He sustains all things and holds them together. Christ is the head of the church, His body, now active in this world. In Christ Jesus all the fullness of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, dwells. In Christ alone is peace with God through His sacrifice of His body on the cross of Calvary. Looking at a summary, Christ Jesus is preeminent in all things and He now resides in us who believe! He hold first place!

Colossians 1:27 “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I give You the place of preeminence in my life in honor and worship of Who You are. Thank You for the blood shed on the cross and for placing me in Your Body, the Church and for sending the Holy Spirit to reside in me. May I declare Your preeminence in word and deed in Your power through my daily living.

Colossians 1:28-29 “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me.”

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