Letters to the Thessalonians

This devotional is written by Alina Speller who was ecstatic to find a group of such free spirited and nice joyful bunch of people like those at the St Mary's family. Her first reaction, when finally properly engaging with the people was "Wow I feel just like in the surf camp, except these people are not going anywhere, they can be found here next week as well."

1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

3 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God's service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.
Timothy's Encouraging Report
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Reflection

We are all appointed to spiritually encourage, strengthen, and look out for one another. To rejoice in each other's victories, and to hold each other's hands through the troubles. To expect and push each other to mature in Christ, and to recognise all the small victories along the way.
I feel we are called to be active participants in each other's lives. Who are the Christians around you that God placed on your heart to watch over, and mentor? Not necessarily, knowing more than them but to really feel personal joy when they succeed and personal sadness when they stumble, a care that is equal to what we feel towards our parents, siblings, roommates those that are closest in our life. Who are those believers in the Church that you can be Timothy for?

In one of the explanations I was reading to prepare for this devotional, said that trials or "troubles" may teach us what we cannot learn from theoretical learning and that is why trials are to be expected.

I had a hard time with this notion as a young person, it made me scared. I imagined great troubles and I was afraid and anxious from the thought, but now I think it's like exercise pain, or pain from entering the scary sea before trying to ride its waves, or a huge bruise one gets when learning to snowboard and so on. Spiritually that is. For Jesus has won the ultimate battle but we are called through Him to train, and training hurts, but it's also rewarding, and it makes us fit, and gives us more strength and endurance. Jesus said "For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:30 NLT)

So let us pray, Paul's prayer today "Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. [12] And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, [13] so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."

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