“the Gospel came to you not in word only..but in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction…” Much Christianity these days tends to focus upon right words, right answers and catch phrases; Paul speaks here of the Thessalonian believers receiving and welcoming God’s saving work in their lives in a manner that transcends words alone. The words “power, Holy Spirit, and full conviction” imply full involvement of both God’s initiation and human response. Does my life show the power of the Holy Spirit and my full engagement? – Holy Spirit you are welcome in my life. Amen.
“your work of faith, your labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” These are the things that Paul is thankful for in the life of Christians; faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13). Is our gratitude for the people around us based upon them living fully for Christ or am I tempted to see people just for what they do for me or for my visions and goals in life/ministry – Forgive me Lord when I see people only as resources to further my ends, help me to value and appreciate them as your children.
“We always give thanks to God for all of you…” Paul’s relationship with the people in the city is a highlight of his letter. There is great love and affection, joy and thanksgiving to know them and be with them. Who are the people that you always give thanks to God for? How could you be more intentional this week about giving thanks to God for “all the people” he has put in your life? – Heavenly Father, thank you for the people you have surrounded me with and not leaving me along. Let me live with joy and gratitude.
“To the church of Thessalonica…Grace to you and peace.” Paul’s begins with “grace and peace.” There are many longing for grace and peace to be a reality in their lives. Imagine if our church gatherings started with a welcoming “grace and peace” both in word and action. Imagine if running the sound, rushing to do the program, and recruiting a new volunteer gave way to welcoming everyone with grace and peace. How would this change our churches and worship? What could you do to offer grace and peace to others? – Holy Spirit, give us grace and peace in Jesus. Amen.
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry…” Bread is the basic staple of life. Is Jesus the essential, the basic staple of life for you? How is Jesus like bread? What feeds your soul? Are you filled or hungry? – O Bread of Life, feed my deepest hunger.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” How earnest is my “seek”? Does my soul thirst? Do I feel it in my body? Have I come to find there is no water except Jesus, the Living Water? What do I thirst for more than anything in life? Quench the deepest thirst of my soul, O God. Lead me to refreshment from the deep wells found only in you.
“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Jesus’ early learning at the temple was characterized by sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. Seeking God among his people and those who reflected deeply on God and his ways caused Jesus to amaze people with his understanding. As Christians people could we learn more by sitting, listening and asking questions? Who do I sit with? To whom do I listen? What kinds of questions am I asking these days? – May we grow in wisdom and statue with both God and man, O Lord.
“Help Lord, for no one is faithful anymore…” Many have experienced it, others have heard about it on the news or in social media; no one is faithful or so it seems. Broken marriages, difficult neighbors, police, and politicians; seems like it impacts almost everyone. Yet the Psalmist reminds us, when humans are faithless, God “arises and protects” the needy, the poor, and the powerless. Am I faithful in all my relationships? Lead us O Christ our Savior to be faithful even as you were faithful. Amen.
“Hear me, Lord, my plea is just…” The Psalmist is confident the Lord God will answer his prayer (vs. 6) because his prayer does not flow from sin, evil, or violence; rather his prayer comes from a righteousness that follows in the ways of the Lord. Do you think there is prayer that is unjust? How so? Does God hear unjust prayers? Can we confidently prayer if we are consciously walking a different way than the way of God? Save us Holy Spirit from faulty religion, presumption, and unjust prayers. Teach us to pray!