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Sunday, May 26, 2024

I Thessalonians 2:19

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

For further study - I Thessalonians 2:1-20

As we read the second chapter of I Thessalonians today, I am reminded that Paul is writing this letter to brand new Christians who at the time of the writing of the letter were only three weeks old in the Lord.

One thing I love about Paul in all of his letters is the straightforward approach of helping those he led to the Lord to grow in the Lord.

Paul's message was not one geared to please men but instead to lift up and to honor Jesus Christ, verse 4. Even though Paul was straightforward, he was also gentle even as a nurse that cherished her children, verse 7.

Paul expected these new young converts to "walk worthy of the Lord". Throughout all of Paul's writings we see time and time again that we are to walk right and to walk worthy of the Lord.

He exhorted them and us also to walk right, but he also teaches us in his letters how to "walk right". Paul, the "father figure" to these Thessalonians, was responsible before the Lord to train them up to serve the Lord.

There is a great thought found in our key verse for today. It is the truth of the "crown" each of us can receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ if we are involved in the ministry that Paul had. Paul’s ministry was "soul-winning". Verse 19 declares that the "crown" that we can receive for being a soul-winner is the "Crown of Rejoicing".

This "crown" is one of 5 crowns we can receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Paul who also wrote II Corinthians 5, verse 9, which says that he was ambitious to receive all the crowns he could get. The reason for getting these crowns is not to be able to brag about them but to be able to lay them at the feet of Jesus Christ, Who shall sit on His throne, Revelation 4:10.

We return the crowns received from Christ at the Judgment Seat back to Him in thanksgiving for what He has done for us. Each of us can receive that "crown of Rejoicing" as we lead needy people to Jesus Christ and see them trust Him for eternal salvation.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord, to be in the business of soul-winning for the sake of those who need a Savior today.
Sunday, May 19, 2024

I Thessalonians 1:10

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

For further study - I Thessalonians 1:1-10

The extended reading today is another example of the "heart of love" Paul had for those he had led to the Lord or had a ministry in their lives. Paul must have been a real man of prayer. We read over and over again of his prayers for the brethren. Also he is always thanking the Lord for brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul sets the example for a good, and faithful minister to people.

All that I've written is true but the blessings of the truths from the one key verse will take up my space with you for this devotional. Stop a moment and reflect on what the verse says, we "are to wait for His Son to return from heaven". Just think of some of what that means.

Jesus said in the upper room that He was going to Heaven to "prepare a place for us", John 14:2. This place is in His Father's house and He is getting our place ready so that we can dwell together, forever. The Lord exhorted us to watch for Him, because we know not which hour He comes, the spiritual application for us from Matthew 24:42.

As we watch for Him to come from Heaven we are also to pray, Matthew 26:41, so that we will not enter into temptation. What an amazing formula for our daily life, we can have victory over temptation by being watchful for our Lord to come back from Heaven as we watch and as we pray.

Also in verse 10 is found the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, by His Father, the most High God. The "Resurrection" is the "cornerstone" of our faith and the "foundation" of Bible prophecy. It was recorded in Revelation 1:18, that Jesus testified of His Resurrection, after His death.

Sometime, look at Revelation 1:19. The Lord, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ tells John the Revelator to write down what was to come, that's prophecy.

The last phrase in verse 10 is a promise that we as Christians will not enter into the terrible time of judgment to come, the seven year Tribulation Period as described in Revelation 4:2 through 19:10. In our verse for today He promises us He will deliver us from that "wrath to come". There is a "judgment period", yet to come. What a promise!

This passage is a parallel passage to two other passages in scripture, I Thessalonians 5:9 and Revelation 3:10. The book of I Thessalonians is crammed full of prophetic passages, which we will get to in future devotionals. Please notice the truth of the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:13-18, which explains how He will keep us from the wrath to come. By the way, the Rapture could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to be pure and productive as I wait for Jesus to come from heaven for me.
Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

For further study - Colossians 3:15-25

As we approach our extended reading for today reflect with me on our devotional in Colossians the last time we were in the book, which was the first fifteen verses of Colossians 3 .

Verses 2, 3 and 4 exhort us to set our focus and affections on the heavens where Jesus awaits the command from His Father to call the body of Christ, the Church, up to be with Him. Verse 4 says we will appear at that time with Him in the heavenlies. What a glorious hope that is for each of us as believers.

Now to our reading for today, in verse 16 we see Paul exhorts us to "let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly". That means to first read God's Word and then meditate upon what we have read. Finally we internalize the Word of God, as we apply every bit of it to our daily lifestyle.

In verses 15-22 Paul tells us what will happen when the Word does dwell in us richly. Our music will be God-honoring music. Music, by the way, is not for evangelism. In the 500 references to music in the Bible they all deal with worshiping the Lord and not for evangelizing lost people. Therefore, we don't need to mimic the world's music.

If the Word fills us, we will use psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to teach each other and admonish each other in our worship of the Lord. What we do, we do in the name of the Lord, verse 17.

Wives will submit to husbands, verse 18. Husbands will love their wives and be not bitter to them, verse 19. Children will obey parents because it pleases the Lord, verse 20. Fathers will raise their children but won't provoke them to anger, verse 21. Servants will obey masters, verse 22. Again Paul tells us that whatever we do, do it "heartily as unto the Lord and not to men," verse 23.

What we have just thought through is the lifestyle of the person that has the Word of God dwelling in them richly. Verse 24 refers us to the time of reward when the Lord will give us a special reward at the "Judgment Seat of Christ". That "reward" He will give us is for living the Word-rich life on earth, before the Judgment Seat and before we appear in His presence.

He tells us of our reward and at the same time tells us how to live so that we will indeed receive that reward. The provision He gives is His Word, which we must allow to dwell in us, richly. Thank you Lord for your Word.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for your Word, help me to let it dwell in me richly.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Colossians 3:1

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

For further study - Colossians 3:1-15

In our devotional passage for today, we are told to "put off" some items and "put on" others. This exhortation is because we have "risen with Christ", Colossians 3:1. Paul tells the Colossians that when they, and thus when we put off the "old man" we also put off his "deeds" - deeds like anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communications in addition to fornication, inordinate affection, and idolatry.

These are the deeds of the "old man", which we once were, but in Christ we are told we are the "new man" and therefore have items to "put on". We are to put on holiness, mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering, forbearing one another, forgiving one another, and above all, put on love.

I know you have already read in your devotional reading for today all that I have just mentioned. However, it is good to rehearse what we "put off" and "put on" as the followers of Christ. The passage also reveals to us that the "peace of God" is to rule in our hearts and we are to be thankful.

You know, thankfulness is foreign to most of us. Have you noticed how people seem to forget to say "thank you" when you serve them? It is as if we are supposed to serve and those that we serve take it for granted.

Paul exhorts us to serve others anyway. Each day we spend time in God's word we see the instructions there for us to live by in the life He has for us to live today.

I think it is great to know exactly how the Lord wants us to live. Just this reminder, we do not live this way to get saved but because we are saved. The truth is that we could not live this way unless we were saved and empowered by Him to do so.

Before I conclude the devotional for today, a "prophetic prospective" on the passage is needed. Notice the first four verses of our extended reading. The "if" in verse 1 is a conditional "if" and thus could read "since we have been risen with Christ" at salvation then we should seek those things above, in the heavenlies.

In fact, verse 2 says to set our affection, or our focus, our ambitions on these things above. We do this so that when Christ shall appear in His glory we also shall appear with Him in glory.

A close study of current events in light of Bible prophecy will help us to focus on His return and how close it might be. We need to daily study the prophetic word of God to better understand the times in which we are living. This will help us to better seek those things above and set our affections on the future with Him in the heavens.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, help me to look with great anticipation for Your soon return and our future existence, with You, throughout eternity, in heaven.