Letters to the Thessalonians

This devotional is written by Annabel Burgher our kids worker who once got stuck in a pyramid when all the lights went out.

1 Thessalonians 1

1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.

Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians’ Faith

2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia - your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Reflection

In a world where believing that Jesus Christ is our saviour, the Son of God, is seen as 'backwards' and a danger to society, it can make it very difficult to stand strong as Christians. We can easily forget the privilege of being able to enter a church and worship our Lord in a safe space, without the fear of someone taking our lives for worshiping Jesus, or the fear of the law making it illegal for us to express our faith freely.  Many of our brothers and sisters who may live in different parts of the world do not have this comfort and face persecution daily for standing up for their belief in our Lord. Paul celebrated the strength and dedication of the Thessalonians despite having to come against challenges to their faith from cultural influences and pagan religions (1 Thessalonians 1:1). From this verse it is clear the Thessalonians were a community who stood firm in their belief in Christ through faith, love and hope, as a result they were role models for other believers (1 Thessalonians 1:3). We can all do the same, reflecting Gods love is something that will not go unnoticed especially by those who may not know of Jesus, and this is something that will stir curiosity and a hunger to find out who he is. In his letter, Paul emphasises that through the holy spirit people are changed, and that we must depend on the power of the holy spirit to open their eyes and that they will come to Jesus Christ our saviour. Through the good and especially the difficult times of our lives we must remember that our strength is in Christ alone, to look towards the second coming of Jesus Christ, and to live our lives preparing for his return through belief and action, whether it is through sharing the gospel, showing love to others, giving to others who are in need, sharing words of encouragement, praying for those who do not know how much God loves them or praising God through the good, bad and the ugly.

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