FOR ALL, OUR THANKS
Thank you, Father, for the long-recorded history of your church. Thank you for the many evidences of your faithfulness and for the things we are taught through those who have gone before us.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 1
1 Paul, Silas[a] 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[b] 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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPaul began each of his letters praying for peace—in the Bible that’s more about wholeness and completeness than the absence of conflict. Whatever storms you are facing, take a breath and look to God to fill you with his peace.
After his customary greeting (v. 1), Paul showed the depth and warmth of his love for the Thessalonians. Have a look at what he gave thanks for (vv. 2, 3). Notice how Paul’s thanksgiving was grounded in things they did: their work (of faith), their labor (of love) and their endurance (in hope). The reality of their faith, love, and hope was proven by what they did.
He carried on in the same vein: the gospel message came not only with words but with power (v. 5); they turned away from their old lives and began to live differently (vv. 6, 9); they became visible examples of faith (v. 8). As Jesus said (in Matthew 7:16), ‘By their fruit you will recognize them.’ I wonder what people would recognize from the fruit of your lifestyle, and mine?
One final point is important: did they do this to earn God’s love? No, for that is where Paul began (v. 4). God first loves and chooses his people; then his people respond, hopefully as wholeheartedly as in first-century Thessalonica.
How can you give thanks for your Christian family? What is the good that you can say thank you for—especially when it comes to those you find difficult?
Gracious God, help me to see the ways you provide, teach, and encourage me within my Christian family. Thank you for the community of the church and that together, we can grow in grace and spread the good news of the gospel.
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