Daily Devotion

Filter By:

1 Thessalonians chapter 3


Author:  Jeremy Witt
We may never know fully the impact that we have on others.  People are watching that we are unaware of.  Some little things that we may do can mean so much to another person.  For example, I sent a “happy birthday” text with GIF of Jerry Seinfeld on it.  (A GIF is a picture or brief video/animation of many pictures put together.)  I did not consciously choose that image, because I had forgotten how much they like Seinfeld.  However, their response was that how much that made their day despite all the social media messages and text messages they received that day.  Somehow mine stood out because of this GIF image.  Paul writes to the church in Thessalonika and tells them how much their continued faithfulness encourages him.  He was fearful that they were led astray by the evil one, but they had remained faithful. 
What are examples of this that mean the world to you?  Is it when you see and have known someone for your entire life and know how they have walked with the LORD?  Is it when you see young families worshipping together in church?  (Remember back when we were able to do that?  By the way, if you missed yesterday’s sermon, (May 10, 2020) you should hear our plan for coming back to church.  Are you encouraged when you see parents leading their own children to salvation?  Because of my past ministry experiences, I am encouraged when I see college students and young adults continuing to worship and follow God.  These things encourage me.  When we see these things, we should tell those how they encourage us and our faith!
The other big thing in chapter 3 in my mind comes in verse 3.  Do you see that “we have been destined for this” in the NASB or “but you know that we are destined for such troubles.”  What was once off in the distant future is right here in our country.  In the news almost daily, I am seeing how churches are being regulated more than before.  Churches in the north are being told that when they return, they can not sing due to health concerns.  In the Midwest, I read that churches will not be allowed to open until next year while other larger events are being planned for and put on calendars.  We have already had many in the past 3-4 years calling for pastors’ sermons to be turned in early so that they do not offend.  Church, we are facing persecution today.  Those who do not like our message are trying to regulate the church, and I believe more is coming.
For the speech police and political correctness officers out there, I am not attacking any political party nor any specific persons.  (This is online so it will be seen.)  All I am trying to point out to the CHURCH is that we will face suffering and persecution in the coming days for our faith in the LORD Jesus Christ.  We must not be “asleep” or not watching.  Paul is telling the church that their faith in the midst of suffering has encouraged him.  Paul is reminding the church to be watchful and waiting for the coming of the LORD.  Encourage one another with our faithfulness to the LORD.  Verses 7-8 speaks of this again. 
Think again of those who encourage you despite their circumstances.  Think about the single parent who is faithful to bring their children and faithfully disciple their children in the LORD.  Think about the teenager who comes to worship alone each Sunday.  Think about the widow and widower who are faithful to the LORD.  Think about the family who is faithful and continue to give their time and resources despite losing their jobs.  Think about the spouse who is married to an unbeliever and strives to live a life that will share the hope of Jesus by both their words and actions.  We encourage each other when we do these things and more.  We need one another, and this is part of the reasons why we need to worship together each week.  We may each other better!!!  Would you reread verses 12-13 again as this is my prayer for us today?

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

1 Thessalonians chapter 2


Author:  Jeremy Witt
Paul speaks of one of the most difficult battles that we face as a Christ-follower.  We see their example in verses 1-3.  Our visit to you refers to their first visit that is recorded in Acts 17:1-9.  Before coming to them, Paul was in prison in Philippi.  Read Acts 16:11-17 for the entire backstory.  What is the battle that I mentioned?  We face a battle found in verse 4.  “Our purpose is to please God not people.”  We face a battle to be a people pleaser and become popular and well-liked or to please our LORD and Savior.  You might think, “so what is so hard about that?”  Are you willing to speak up at the risk of going to jail?  Are you willing to speak out the Gospel to an organization that attacks anything related to God or Christianity?  Are you willing to lose your job at the cost of believing and confessing that belief in Jesus?  Are you willing to lose friendships and even family relationships in some cases for your faith in Jesus?  This happens all over the world right now.  To be a Christian in Thailand, Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Indonesia, Sudan, etc means to give up your culture, your place in the community, and in many cases, it means to give up your family and become disowned. 
In America, it may mean giving up a promotion at work, or it might mean being let go at “cut time.”  It might mean not being accepted by your peers because you will not participate in the activities that they do.  It might mean that your kids do not get accepted to “group” or “club.”  This battle is fought all over the planet between those who choose to make their faith be active versus those who do not or those who reject Jesus Christ. 
Pleasing Jesus Christ over pleasing man can cause division here on earth, but it will bring blessings in our eternal home.  This battle has costs here and rewards there.  To hear the words, “well done” is a special honor for those who give up the things of this world.  As we read in James, there is a crown given to those who are persecuted for our faith in Jesus.  This is a very real battle in this physical world that has spiritual and eternal consequences. 
One of the issues that Paul is dealing with in chapter two is providing for himself and others who seek to minister to the people.  They worked on the side so that they could share the Gospel with the people of each city they went to.  They were not paid, but they had every right to be as in verses 7-11. 
In verses 14-16, Paul ties the persecutions that the Thessalonikans went through to the ones that the Church in Jerusalem went through.  This would have been an encouragement to them to identify with so many who got to see Jesus with their own eyes.  Persecution unifies those who are going through the situation. 
Verse 18 is the last one that we will address together.  Let us be clear.  Satan does have power, but he is not all-powerful.  Satan is limited while our LORD and Savior are unlimited as He defeated Satan’s best attempt.  Let us not overlook Satan but let us not either be fearful of him because we are united with the all-knowing, all-present, perfect, holy, and never-changing God our Creator.  We are told in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan is the god of this world, but we are also told that Jesus Christ has overcome this world.  Satan is called in Ephesians 2:2 that Satan is the commander of the powers of the unseen and that many of the difficulties that prevent us from doing God’s work can be attributed to Satan and his imps.  Satan may use this limited power to keep us like Paul in this situation from going to where God wants us.*
*We must also not attribute everything to Satan either.  In many circumstances, we do the work for the devil by not obeying God, listening for His voice, or by sin in our lives.  We may not trust in the moment and doubt.  When we do this, we are doing the work for the devil ourselves.  However, we must not be naïve and not realize what power he does have.  When we have “eyes to see and ears to hear” we can better understand the situation when we are led by the Holy Spirit as Paul and others did.  Paul understood who kept him from returning to this church but still sought to go to them.
May we be a people who follow 2:13 and be people who continue to allow God’s Word to work in our lives.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

12345678910 ... 363364