Archive for the ‘1 Thessalonians’ Category

Ceaseless

August 1st, 2017 by Maureen

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thess. 5:17

We call the times when we ask God for direction and express desires “prayer” and prayer certainly is that.
But prayer is more than that. Prayer is also conscious acknowledgement that we are together with God. We are in Him and He is in us. We recognize His love and goodwill for us and everyone we meet. We express that we trust Him and that He is trustworthy. Before we ask Him to do anything for us or ask Him what we should do, we can settle into Who He is and who we are because we know Him.
But prayer is more than that. Prayer is also our unconscious, involuntary, inexplicable spiritual life functions. We breathe His love in and out and the lifeblood of grace courses through our veins even when we are completely unaware of Him. Even when we hurt. Even when we doubt. Even when we are spiritually comatose. God’s presence in us and with us does not require our conscious prayer. But He likes it. And it helps us.

Lord,  I am grateful to live and move and have my being in You.

Election results have no eternal consequence

November 8th, 2016 by Maureen

Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thess. 5:17-18

In this divisive political season I’ve heard and read rhetoric about “God’s will” in this election. Occasionally, some of this rhetoric offered well-reasoned, good-intentioned, scripturally-supported reasons from apologists for every party explaining why voting for a particular candidate was “God’s will” or the “Christian” way to vote. And there is even more rhetoric that contains inflammatory, knee-jerk, reactionary rhetoric. What if the “this is God’s will” refers to “be thankful” rather than “circumstances.” (It does, after all say “in” not “for.”) God’s solution to all circumstances is Jesus, Redeemer of circumstances, King of all that is Eternal,  from before the foundation of the world. Today’s election results have no eternal consequence and only as much power to disrupt our peace and trust as we allow them to have.

Lord, thank You for Your elegant solutions and loving hand that moves beyond the possibilities circumstance presents.

A spirit, a mind, and a body walk into a garage

July 19th, 2016 by Maureen

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 1 Thess. 5:23

Our spirit, mind, and body can sometimes pull in different directions, like wheels on a car that needs alignment. Spending time with Christ and embracing His teaching gets us back in alignment.What is a spirit? What is a mind? We can be helpless victims of our own pasts, our limited educations, our brain chemistry and firing neurons or we can tap into the influence of mind of Christ, the body of Christ, and the Spirit of Christ.

Lord, do work on my spirit, soul, and body, and teach me to maintain that work.

Every little thing’s gonna be alright

June 28th, 2016 by Maureen

Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:17-18

God is with us through every single thing we face. God wants to be our source for provision, comfort, healing, guidance, solutions, and inspiration. Prayer and thanksgiving are platforms for awareness that God is all that to us. We also gain better perspective on whatever we’re facing when we acknowledge all the good things that we do have and shift our focus toward God and others. And changing perspective shrinks big things into little things.

Lord, thanks for the help – I can’t make it without you.

The unforgettable few and beyond

February 26th, 2016 by Maureen

Every time we think of you we thank God for you and mention you in our prayers. 1 Thess. 1:2

Each of us have a few people who are never far from our minds and hearts. We constantly tell God how much we love them, pray for their needs, and thank Him for putting them our lives because they matter so much to us. How much deeper would our relationships become if we found ways to tell them how much they matter to us every day? We can’t possibly have deep supportive relationships with everyone we encounter, but how would it change our interactions with each person if we simply recognized God’s incredibly love and deep understanding of each one? What if we treated the people in front of us to the love and value we hope our unforgettable few are receiving at that same moment?

Lord, show me ways to express love and appreciation for everyone I encounter today and pour that out on my unforgettable few.

Abounding we will go

November 5th, 2015 by Maureen

May the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all, even as we do for you. I Thess. 3:12

For some reason the word “abounding” makes me think of an excited pup bounding joyfully toward me, tail wagging in delight. Dog owners will understand what I am talking about. Dogs are so happy to see their humans they can barely stay in their own skin! Such overt expression of emotion can be a bit of a stretch, especially for us introverts, and it might be a bit much to come at our acquaintances leaping and bounding anyway. There are, however, socially acceptable equivalents to let others know how important they are to us and how delighted we are to see them coming.

Lord, help me to show those around me how much I treasure them.

Sound check

July 31st, 2015 by Maureen

For we had the courage in our God to declare the gospel to you in spite of great opposition…not in deceit or impure motives or trickery…not to please men…not with flattering speech…or with pretext for greed. We could have made demands but instead we were gentle among you like a mother tenderly nursing her own children. I Thess. 2:2-7

We live in a noisy world where everybody has a public platform for expressing and opposing viewpoints. Before getting into the fray ask this: What’s the most important message to communicate? What’s my tone? What’s my motive? The message we carry about Christ is redemptive and life-giving and our motives for sharing His message and our tone in communicating His message should match the great news of His core message of love and reconciliation.

Lord, fill me with your grace and love before I open my mouth.

Thank God for everybody

January 18th, 2015 by Maureen

We thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. I Thess. 1:2

In any group of “all” there is probably “that guy” who tends to be tolerated more than welcomed. Yet everyone we know is beloved by God. He made each one in  His image. If we find something – just one thing – about every person we know for which to thank Him, then it’s so much easier to be gracious about the things about those folks that get on our nerves. It becomes easier to enjoy the company of “that guy” instead of focusing on the things we don’t like about him. Life becomes more joyful and peaceful with this attitude. When we are thankful for individuals, even the way we pray for them changes.

Lord, reveal Your delight in each one I meet today.

Plan for peace

February 11th, 2014 by Maureen

Show [spiritual leaders] great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. I Thess. 5:12-13

Before we have the first conversation of the day  with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, leaders or students we can plan to extend the benefit of the doubt, find common ground, show respect, recognize talents and contributions, trust, listen, love, and build grace-filled relationships. We can not only seek peace and reconciliation, we can plan for it.

Lord, help me worry less about being right and more about being a loving peacemaker in the communities where I live and work and worship.

 

 

Circumstances surrounding thankfulness

November 14th, 2013 by Maureen

Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God concerning you. 1 Thess. 5:18

It would be really sadistic to ask us to smile and call pain and evil good. We can be thankful for God’s comfort, peace, and guidance. We can be thankful that He can make all things work together for good. But we aren’t obliged to be thankful for painful circumstances themselves. Our honest responses to troubles, our willingness to admit pain and need opens us to the kind of responses from God and others that will make us truly thankful.

Lord, help me to be appropriately thankful for every circumstance.

 

Never meet a stranger

March 23rd, 2013 by Maureen

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too. I. Thess. 2:8

We share the amazing, transformative News about Jesus because we love others already not so that He can make them lovable to us. Love means being involved in the lives of the people around us. Love brings acquaintances into our circle of friends and gives strangers a place at our tables. The love of Christ enlarges our hearts beyond the borders of our shyness, trust issues, or busyness.

Lord, help me to open my heart wider to those around me.

A spirit, a soul, and a body walk into a garage

March 16th, 2013 by Maureen

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 1 Thess. 5:23

There is plenty of disagreement as to what constitutes the spirit and the soul. Mind-body-spirit seems to be the current thinking. However they divide up, our spirit, soul, and body can sometimes pull in different directions, like wheels on a car that needs alignment. Spending time with Christ and embracing His teaching gets us back in alignment.

Lord, do work on my spirit, soul, and body, and teach me to maintain that work.

Grace and peace

November 28th, 2012 by Maureen

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Rom. 1:7, I Cor. 1:3, 2 Cor. 1:2, Gal. 1:3, Eph. 1:2, Phil. 1:2, Col. 1:2, I Thess. 1:1, 2 Thess. 1:2, Titus 1:4, Phil. 1:3, 1 Pet. 1:2, 2 Pet.

Grace and peace seems to be the default greeting for Paul and Peter. When any of us have something to say, especially something important, grace and peace belong at the beginning of what we say and at the root of our intentions and purposes. Grace and peace are God’s gifts to our hearts, souls, spirits, and minds and a gift we can bring to our interactions with one another as well.

Lord, bring grace and peace to all I say and do today.

Under the circumstances

November 9th, 2012 by Maureen

Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thess. 5:17-18

The “this is God’s will” refers to “be thankful” not the “circumstances.” Circumstances can be influenced by any combination of human error, social or  environmental conditions, and the evil that abides in this world so it’s counterproductive to get hung up on why a circumstance occurred. Prayer and thanksgiving is a way of expressing trust in God and submitting ourselves to His service as He acts on the circumstance.

Lord, thank You for Your elegant solutions and loving hand in all my circumstances.

Where you invest your love…

March 8th, 2012 by Maureen

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too. I Thess. 2:8

Is it effective, or even possible, to be fully invested in the gospel of Christ without fully investing in people? The gospel itself is built around having loving relationships. There is a difference between  living with people in our community and just living among them. The Mumford & Sons lyric says it well: “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”

Lord, help me to express Your love in how I invest my love and my life.

Bold, rich, and fearless

June 11th, 2011 by Maureen

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. I Thess. 3:12

Fickle, distracted humans only manage fleeting moments of rich, uncontained love. In these moments every face is precious, every relationship is of tremendous value, and the love of Christ is a tangible force. Falling into these moments, vulnerable and unreserved, cements families, unifies churches, makes friends of strangers and brothers of friends.

Lord, give me bold and fearless love.

God is all that

April 5th, 2011 by Maureen

Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:17-18

Through every circumstance we face, God wants to be our source for provision, comfort, healing, guidance, solutions, and inspiration. Prayer and thanksgiving are platforms for hope so that God can be all that to us. We also gain better perspective on whatever we’re facing when we acknowledge all the good things that we do have and shift our focus and concerns toward the needs of others.

Lord, thanks for the help – I can’t make it without you.

Put it to the test

October 19th, 2010 by Maureen

…but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. I Thessalonians 5:21

It’s okay to ask questions. It’s good for us to strip away the layers of tradition, spiritual habit, and personal preference to discover the defining truths that unite us as followers of Christ. In the marketplace of ideas the truth will stand up to scrutiny.

Lord help me to put my ideas to the test.