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Showing posts from October 7, 2012

Revenge

There is a series on television with this very name. It is in its second season and reviews the life of a daughter whose innocent father was blamed for a terrorist attack. He was imprisoned and later murdered there.
She has focused her whole life around making everyone who was responsible for her dad’s wrongful imprisonment and ultimate death pay for what they did. In the midst of her efforts at revenge there are twists and turns which she has not planned on and which she has to deal with. It is a fascinating review of what happens when you begin down the road to revenge.
Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:15 challenged the Christians there to “make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” This is not the only place Paul speaks out against revenge, see Romans 12:17-21; 1 Peter 3:9; and illustrations in 1 Corinthians 4:12; 6:7.
The person who is impatient with the timing of God concerning injury occurring to him will retaliate and …

Reputation

How can you gain the respect of unbelievers and not have to depend on others to support you? The answer is clear and crisp in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands..”
Paul shares with the group of believers at Thessalonica that it is important for every one of them to do the right thing every day. He mentions three particular menaces to unity and testimony among believers and unbelievers.
First, they are to be ambitious about leading a quiet life. The emphasis here is on quietness of mind and heart. This is a faith life that is not caught up in the currents of overzealousness about any particular doctrine or life style. It is a picture of believers who are properly grounded and at rest in their minds, therefore less likely to shoot off in tangents filled with emotion.
Second, they are not to meddle in the affairs of others. Idleness can lead to a search for something interesting to do and that often means …

Fathers

There are responsibilities for each member of a family and fathers/husbands have clear responsibility toward their wife and children. Ephesians 5:22 and following shares the husband’s responsibility to his wife and 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 shares three responsibilities of each father for his children.
It states, “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”
Paul understood the very important role a father plays in the life of a child. He was responsible to encourage the child. This word is also translated admonish and means to warn or caution against specific faults. This is the job of a father.
Second, they were to comfort them, for as is true of all children they can be filled with fear, doubt and pain and the father is the one who must take his arms and surround them with his comfort.
Further, he is to urge them in the good path of living…

Joy

How often do you have joy in the middle of trouble? Seems like it would be impossible for them to be fellow citizens; to exist together when the circumstances are painful, troublesome or strained, but that is just the place where joy can shine.
Paul speaks to this active contradiction in 1 Thessalonians 1:6 by saying, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus was “full of joy through the Holy Spirit” in Luke 10:21. He was sent to a world where he had many enemies and they would eventually crucify him but the Holy Spirit brought joy into his heart despite his circumstances.
Paul experienced this also when he and Silas were singing songs in the middle of the night while being in prison in Philippi. Joy outside of circumstances was theirs through the Holy Spirit.
The Thessalonians were imitating both Christ and Paul in their severe suffering and joy was given by the Holy Spirit in that mom…