3114.) 1 Thessalonians 3

I never promised you a rose garden.

1 Thessalonians 3 (ESV)

Paul loved the Thessalonian Christians. After all, he had been instrumental in leading most of them to Christ. He and Silas and Timothy had organized them into a church. They were Paul’s spiritual children. Naturally he was concerned about their well-being.

While he was away from them he began to think about them. He decided that he just had to know their true condition, so he deputized Timothy to visit Thessalonica and learn firsthand what their situation was. He also wanted him to encourage the Thessalonian Christians to remain faithful in serving the Master.

When Timothy returned with the word that they were remaining firm, that they were faithful, and that they wanted a reunion with him, Paul was filled with happiness. He realized that his labor among them had not been in vain, that it had paid dividends the value of which only eternity would reveal.

–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.

1Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

1 Thessalonians 3:3 — That none of you might be unnerved by your present trials: for you yourselves know that they are our appointed lot.

Have you difficulties? They are our appointed lot. Have you trials? They are our appointed lot.

These five words were written to people who might any day find themselves in prison, tortured, lonely, oppressed. Here if we have to have a tooth out, we have an injection. There was no injection for the Christians of Thessalonica. Let us not forget that when we are tempted to fuss over trifles, and call things trials which are mere nothings.

Still, there are trials sometimes, and they may look very big. But they are our appointed lot — we were never promised ease. The early Christians were not taught to expect it. Don’t let us slip into the expectation of the easy. It isn’t our appointed lot.

But for us there is always another word (2 Corinthians 12:9):  My grace is sufficient for thee.

4For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Timothy’s Encouraging Report

6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

“Never is the servant of God so full of delight as when he sees that the Holy Spirit is visiting his hearers, making them to know the Lord, and confirming them in that heavenly knowledge. On the other hand, if God does not bless the word of his servants it is like death to them. To be preaching and to have no blessing makes them heavy of heart: the chariot-wheels are taken off, and they drag heavily along: they seem to have no power nor liberty.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

11Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

A little boy was once asked what a saint was. Thinking about the stained glass windows in his church, he replied, “A saint is someone the light shines through.”

Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Hear the Call of the Kingdom” by Keith and Kristyn Getty.  I do like this song!

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Rose garden.  http://tolunnet.blogspot.com/
big girl panties.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/big-girl-panties.jpg
roaring lion.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/roaring-lion1.jpg
stained glass window, St. Andrews Church in Slaidburn, England.    https://www.picturesofengland.com/England/Lancashire/Slaidburn/pictures/1052134

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