Again, I apologize for the gap between communications with me. Life goes faster than I can keep up it seems sometimes. I have been trying to carve out a bit of time where I can actually take some time to relay what has been going on.
In the last couple weeks we have gone through Mark, Luke, and Acts (this week). God has spoken some mighty things, some of which I think I should have already known and have certainly heard before, yet the Spirit has the power to really drive things deeper into my heart and with a more stark reality. Along with these three books I am currently studying 1 Thessalonians like my life depended on it – I teach next Monday the 29th (prayer request!).
There is sort of this repeated theme throughout these books of really pushing through all the difficult things life seems to throw at us…pushing through to see the good, to see the bigger picture of what’s going on, to realize that difficult things will last only as long as our lives to live a radical life worth Christ dying.
My point here is not to blatantly say that life has been horrible lately (on the contrary actually) but to say that truly, life will consistently have difficult times. I don’t really ever think there is anyone who has life completely easy for their lifespan. With this in mind, what is our perspective? I think of a little kid with a hurt thumb…not just a little hurt but grossly infected, throbbing, might fall off kind of hurt thumb. Ohh it hurts… and we immediately go to God and say “pleeeease heal my thumb because it hurts!” Maybe God will heal your thumb right away…maybe He’ll wait. For the sake of my point let’s say He’s waiting. We deal with our hurt thumb for awhile…
Okay…now I need you to picture this in your mind for me… picture this kid (or yourself) with his hurt thumb shaking it in the air up to God… pleading God to heal his thumb… what are you looking at? You’ve got your thumb up in the air between yourself and God…you can’t even see God…you only see your hurt thumb.
So that’s my point…we need to pull our thumbs down and see the character of God. What do we know of Him?
He’s faithful, good, trustworthy, has taken care of things in the past, is bigger and more powerful than the storm we’re going through, the list is endless…
The Thessalonians were suffering persecution from the Jews and the Gentiles when Paul wrote to them in 1 Thess. My mind and heart are wrapped around who these people in Thessalonica were (mostly because I’m studying them)… Paul, Silas, and Timothy had come through teaching them for at least 3 weeks – teaching them about Jesus, that God had called the Gentiles to be His elect people – and then had to go on their way down the road…to Berea, Corinth… Many of these believers were abandoned by their families, rejected by communities for turning from idols to God…they were being persecuted.
What do you think Paul tells them??
He says “not only has your faith sounded forth in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere…” (1:8) The Greek verb he uses here for “sounded forth” is “exêcheô,” which is where we get our English word “echo.” Paul paints this picture of the faith and acts of the Thessalonians resonating out forever. They’re setting an example in the midst of their suffering of living a life worthy of God…loving one another, serving one another…loving God and people (which by the way was completely different from non-Christian culture at that time. There really weren’t any morals at all. Even their religions included sexually immoral behavior as WORSHIP!) Paul is saying that by turning from idols to God, by choosing to live a life holy to God, despite opposition, they were making a larger impact than they even realized! There was a bigger picture…
So what do we choose to see in life?? Do we focus on the things round us that could be better or do we see the good? What are we making of life? Do we waste time? And the main question is if today was your last day on earth…would it have been worth Christ dying for?
That’s been the question rolling around in my mind each day the last few weeks… I suppose it is a good thing to think about. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and regret all the wasted time, energy, and love on anything other than what brings glory to God.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I know it was long! I trust this finds you well and living a life that impacts eternity.
Please keep me in your prayers as I finish preparing to teach 1 Thessalonians and teach on Monday. Pictures will be coming soon (after I teach). Have a good day!