May 29, 2014

Today you should read: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

What is God’s Will? ….

“I just want to know God’s will for my life!”  As Christians, we talk like this.  We are always looking to the next step.  We ask questions like: “What’s God’s will?”  “What does He want me to do?”  “Does He want me to take this job?”  “Does He want me to move?”  And the list goes on…  What is there in your life, currently, that you are seeking God’s will in?

Well, here’s the answer that you’ve been looking for!  Paul tells us clearly what God’s will is for you, for me, and for all of us.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

This letter is addressed to the community of the Thessalonians.  And the end of this letter is specifically concerning with how the people are to act in a community.  This has direct application for us as a church.  We are to respect our spiritual authorities and value them in high regard (v12-13), we are to maintain peace among ourselves (v13), we are to help people to give up their idols (v14), we are to encourage those who are discouraged (v14), help the weak (v14), and be patient with everyone (v14).  Wow!  What great encouragements.  We could take this as a list and work on each one for some time.  But then Paul speaks on 3 things that we are to do, always.  He says these three things are the will of God for us in Christ Jesus.  And I must credit my lovely wife, Kasey, because she wrote a message for a class on this very subject.  Her study of this passage is what gave me these ideas. J

Verses 16-18 say,

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

So what’s God’s will for your life?  Here are 3 things:

  1. Rejoice always. 

God commands us to have joy.  He values our joy. He gives us joy.  As Christians, we don’t have to feel guilty about being consistently joyful.  Actually, the opposite is true!  When we are joyful God gets glory.  So, fight for joy.  Not sometimes, not once in a while, but always!

  1. Pray without ceasing.

This is the idea of being in a constant state of dependency upon God.  Always seek to be reliant upon God in every situation, at every point in the day.  We should be praying throughout our day about all things.

  1. Give thanks in all circumstances. 

We should be thankful to God at all times.  Why?  Because there is never a point in our lives that we are operating on anything other than grace.  When we give thanks at all times it changes us and brings glory to God.

So, there it is!  God’s will for your life!  How will you align your life in accordance to God’s will in these areas?

Posted: Sam Cirrincione

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May 28, 2014

Today you should read: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Be ready.  (verses  1-7 )

When it comes to the return of Jesus, it’s not “if,” but “when.”  We don’t know when He is coming, so, just as Paul told the Thessalonians, we had best be ready for His return.

As a follower of Jesus, the return of the Lord should be exciting and motivating.  He’s coming back for me and for you to be with Him forever.  Therefore, I should delight in serving Him today as if today may be the day He returns.

For those who are not in a relationship with Jesus, this passage is a huge exhortation and warning to be ready for His return.  Please do not live with an “I’ll get it right with God later” attitude.  Get it right now.

Believer and non-believer, if He returned today, would you be ready?

How to get ready (verses 8-10)

If we want to be ready for Christ’s return, we ought to follow Paul’s instructions here in verses 8-10 for how to be ready.  For followers of Jesus, be sober (self-controlled:  fruit of the Spirit), put on the breastplate of faith and love, and wear the helmet of salvation.

Another way to put this is to say that we should walk Spirit-filled and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.  When we are Spirit-controlled, we can trust that we will be more than ready for His return.

Now, for the non-Christian, please note what verse 9 says is true about Christians.  It says that followers of Jesus are not destined for wrath.  In other words, Christians have been rescued through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Non-believers ARE destined for wrath.  So, how can a non-believer get ready for Christ’s return?  The answer is simple:  receive forgiveness of sin form Jesus, surrender to Him as Lord, and be rescued.

What do you need to do to get ready for Christ’s return?

How to stay ready (verses 11))

In verse 11, Paul gave some instructions for Christians about how to stay ready for Christ’s return.  In other words, he told the Thessalonians how to keep walking with Jesus and helping others to do the same.  We’re to keep on encouraging and comforting others and building each other up.

Reading this reminded me of the importance of being connected to a local body of believers.  Even more important is the necessity of being involved in a smaller group of believers where I can process life, be encouraged, and grow with others.

Make it a priority to get in one of our summer bible studies that will be offered beginning in late June at any of our CPC campuses.  I’m sure it’ll help you to stay ready for Christ’s return.

Posted: Rich Duffield

May 27, 2014

Today you should read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Have you ever lost someone close to you? If you haven’t then you are very blessed, but the reality is all of us will experience losing someone we love at some point in our lives. Genesis 3:19b reminds us of the reality of death: “till you return to the ground for out of it you were taken, for you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Sin brought death into our world and we all must face the sting and hurt that comes with it.

I remember when I lost my grandfather. He was a great man and was more like a father to me rather than a grandfather. Growing up I spent a lot of time with him on the farm. However, he was a lost man and struggled with alcohol. His health deteriorated drastically over the last couple of years of his life. I remember that time and how much I was afraid for him to die. I was a believer at that time and I knew that he would not experience eternal life. I had shared the gospel with him a couple of times but it never went anywhere. In the last year of his life he ended up in the hospital and was dead for a few minutes. He made it through this time and when he woke up my mother’s pastor had a chance to share with him. This time he accepted the gospel. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

Today’s passage reminds me of the day that my grandfather passed away. I was sad and missed him a lot, but I had peace and joy because I knew that he was with Jesus and I would one day see him again. I was able to grieve my grandfather’s death with hope, which is what Paul means when he says: “that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” I hope that you are able to grieve your loved ones with the same hope.

This life is not the final destination, and I want to urge us all to think of those in your life that you love. Do they know the hope that is in Jesus Christ? If they died would they go to be with our Lord Jesus? What about you?

Posted: Chad Wiles

May 26, 2014

Today you should read: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Until you finish college, you don’t realize how much of your life has been structured up to that point (at least I didn’t). Classes ended every semester, summer breaks came every year, and there was an ebb and flow to it all. Classes that were bad ended eventually, internships that were incredible came to completion; everything had a season. When I graduated in 2012 I had the world in front of me, and I felt I could do almost anything. So I set out to become the next big thing (whatever that was) and I looked forward to ‘checkpoints of time.’ I knew that soon I would be in my dream job. August came and went, Thanksgiving passed as did Christmas of that first year. No job offers, no opportunities to apply, and only a handful of interviews.

“But wait, I’m a Christian! I should have something by now, surely! I mean, I’m seeking God’s will for my life!” My flesh tortured me with negativity and doubt. I was waiting for God to create a yellow brick road before me. I wanted to know my whole path. I wasn’t interested in this ‘faith’ thing or ‘trusting’ stuff that people close to me were pushing on me. I agonized over the uncertainty in front of me and I wanted God to show me His will. I wanted to know what God wanted for me.

Verse 4:3a: For this is the will of God, your sanctification.

The Thessalonians were getting it right – they were filled with the Holy Spirit in a powerful way. The joy they had was overflowing and changed the people around them. This was God’s will for them: for them to walk with Him and please Him. They were becoming sanctified, becoming holy. Paul laid out what this would look like for the Thessalonians and what it should look like for us. By abstaining from sexual immorality, practicing brotherly love and building up one another. God didn’t redeem us for impurity, but for holiness!

Remember today that God has a perfect will for your life. He may not reveal it all to you at once, but know that His desire for you is to become sanctified. I learned to trust God and have faith that my pursuit of Him would bring me to where He wanted me to be.

Posted: Alex Boswell, Richmond Campus Worship Intern