Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012 … Living in Readiness for Christ

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 331

Blogger's Note: ... Any readers here ... forgive my tardiness in posting later in the AM today.  I was not able to post before going to my weekly morning "Sonrisers" group, ... a prayer group of men who meet every Monday AM to let the Son rise in our hearts to begin.  But here's my entry for today.  

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Thessalonians, Chapters 1-5 and 2nd Thessalonians, Chapters 1-3 … To study these chapters, please use any Bible version, online or printed, to seek out, read, and study from Paul’s letters to the church (at Thessalonica).

Highlight Passages: 1st Thessalonians 5: 14-22 : [NLT] … {Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica, written shortly after his second missionary journey, around 52, is a letter of encouragement and exhortation for the Christians there. And the Thessalonians were a church where Paul and his companions had experienced a lot of hostility, as Luke had documented in Acts 17 – the chapter on which I blogged yesterday. Yet a church in the midst of challenge was birthed there nonetheless; and those Thessalonians needed direction on how to live in anticipation of Christ’s second coming. Hence, from Corinth, Paul writes this letter to that church. The first four chapters are strong, but loving, words of encouragement and direction for these Christians; and in chapter 5, there is brief, hard-hitting section which gives Christians a great check-list of exhortation to Christian living in anticipation of Christ’s return. It would behoove any of us – as disciples of Christ – to use this list to do a self inventory to see if we’re living rightly in our desire to follow Christ. … Check it out!}  
14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else. 16 Always be joyful. 17 Keep on praying. 18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Keep away from every kind of evil. 
Highlight Passages: 2nd Thessalonians 2: 13-15; : [NLT] … { And then 2nd Thessalonians is a follow-up letter to 1st Thessalonians, written several months after the first letter to enhance the message of Christians living in/for Christ in anticipation of His second coming. Sometimes it takes repetitive communication from God to really “get it” the way God intended it. Have you ever read a segment of God’s word a second or a third time and said to yourself, “Oh, now I get it!” Well, Paul heard that the Thessalonians needed more explanation and exhortation to clarify certain points from 1st Thessalonians. Hence this letter to give more punch to the message from Paul to this bunch of disciples. }  
13 As for us, we always thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation, a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and by your belief in the truth. 14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on everything we taught you both in person and by letter.  
{And then from Chapter 3: 1-5, a further exhortation … }
1 Finally, dear brothers and sisters, I ask you to pray for us. Pray first that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. 2 Pray, too, that we will be saved from wicked and evil people, for not everyone believes in the Lord. 3 But the Lord is faithful; he will make you strong and guard you from the evil one. 4 And we are confident in the Lord that you are practicing the things we commanded you, and that you always will. 5 May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and the endurance that comes from Christ. 

Reference Passages: Romans 12: 1-2 : [NKJV] … { Paul wrote to Christians the essence of Christian living. } 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

My Journal for Today: It felt good yesterday with only one chapter to read in my chronological reading assignment [Acts 17]; but the editors of this through-the-bible reading really poured on the gas today with BOTH letters from 1st and 2nd Thessalonians assigned; and I’m encouraging any reading with me to take this very large pill of truth with me by reading both letters. … THANK YOU!

Well, Paul, when he returned from his long and rigorous 2nd missionary journey, obviously felt the need to help the church which had been started up in Thessalonica after his journey there. Yesterday, in Luke’s account of Acts 17, we read of Paul and Silas being run out of town by a mob of Thessalonians and even pursued all the way to Berea by Jews who simply would not buy into the truth of the Gospel as Paul and Silas preached it there. But some did receive God’s gift of salvation and desired to follow Christ; and Paul, learning of the church forming in Thessalonica wrote one letter and then another, trying to help the Christians in Thessalonica (as well as any Christian who might read his letters – like you and me) to live in preparation of Christ’s second coming.

And when I re-read through these letters today, another – formerly memorized = passage from Paul’s teachings popped into my mind, … that I’ve copied above from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, … from Romans 12: 1-2, where the Apostle charges all Christians to live lives of “living sacrifice,” which is exactly what Paul was writing to the believers he had helped to receive Christ in Thessalonica. And Paul went into some descriptive depth in these two letters to help disciples live lives of worship (i.e., “living sacrifice”), preparing for Christ’s return.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, that’s how all of us are to be living; and above I asked my fellow readers today to use the list of challenges in 1st Thess. 5: 14-22 as a “living sacrifice” check-list today … to see if we’re living NOW as Paul desired for the Thessalonian believers and as he wrote these two letters. So, for me, I found some areas of lethargy and ill-begotten worship to attend to from this list. I’ll leave it to you to see if you – as a disciple of Christ – need to be attending to some area in your “living sacrifice” worship as well.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, … oh, how I desire to live as a “living sacrifice” to/for you in preparation for Your return to reclaim Your Bride. Amen

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