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Tag Archives: 2 Thessalonians

  • Strengthened By Grace

    Posted on December 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    The grace of God strengthens a child of God. Like a B1 vitamin gives energy to the body, so God’s grace energizes the inner being of believers. This is why in the face of human weakness, grace flourishes. Fear weakens, but faith strengthens. Anger weakens, but forgiveness strengthens. Busyness weakens, but prayer strengthens. Noise weakens, but quiet strengthens. Stress weakens, but rest strengthens. Yes, the love of God strengthens His servants by grace!

    Has your patience been tested to your very last nerve? Are you exhausted and depleted by the demands of others? Look for the way of grace to give you what you need in your emotional emptiness. Your heart yearns for what only the Lord can provide through the fullness of His Spirit. So, Christ consoles your soul with His eternal encouragement, the good hope you have in Him. Gladly and gratefully receive God’s grace like at salvation, abandon yourself to His care. Because of the disgrace Jesus experienced on the cross, you enjoy His grace when you bear a cross of pain.

    It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace. Hebrews 13:9

    Furthermore, the inner energy we receive by God’s grace is supplied for our service. This is why it is remarkable when a man or woman on their sickbed become a blessing to those who serve them. Nurses, nutritionists and neurologists go away scratching their heads having been in the presence of heaven’s emissary, a grace filled follower of Jesus. Indeed, our adverse condition is not about us, but about how we can graciously exhibit what we believe for God’s glory. Grace strengthens!

    Grace gives you stamina to serve a needy child or an aging parent. Grace engages your empathetic heart with a friend’s hurting heart. Grace is the fortitude you need to remain steadfast in a relationship that is not life giving right now. So, whether strength of character or mental toughness is required, God’s grace is available as your supply chain. Grace does carry Christ’s expectations, but with it HIs power to execute. Grace is a sweet, soothing sound that is music to your soul.

    I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ. Ephesians 3:7-8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, strengthen me by Your grace, so I can serve others in Your power.

    Related Readings: Acts 15:39-41, 18:27; Romans 5:2, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:10; Galatians 5:4

    Post/Tweet this today: Grace does carry Christ’s expectations, but with it His power to execute. #strengthenedbygrace

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Cranky Pants

    Posted on March 11, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all." 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)

     

    I thrashed the covers in the small bed, punching my pillow, trying to ignore the green numbers on the clock that flashed 2:00 a.m.

    Recovering from a recent illness, I was exhausted. My laptop was evidently just as sick as I was, for when I booted it up, numbers and scrolling messages exploded on the screen.

    This normally happy girl was grouchy ... overly sensitive ... emotional.

    Earlier that evening I had been quiet. if I opened my mouth, I wouldn't be happy with what came out. The last thing I wanted on this ministry trip was to be the girl with her cranky pants on. Yet here I was wearing them with a capital "C."

    As the numbers flashed to 2:30 and then to 3:00, I wrestled with God.

    Lord, what is wrong with me?

    Father, how can you use a girl who's wearing such a giant set of cranky pants?

    That's when the scripture came to mind. Soft. Gentle. Like a whisper it played through my thoughts, filtering down to my heart:

    "The LORD your God is in your midst..." (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV).

    Right then. Right there. He was with me.

    "He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love." (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV).

    My spiraling feelings. My fatigued brain and body. He saw them all, and yet His gladness poured over me. He would quiet my whirling thoughts with His love.

    "He will exult over you with loud singing." (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV).

    That's when the tears came, because right there, even in my cranky pants, God saw me and was singing a majestic lullaby over His daughter.

    I curled up in the blanket, closed my eyes, and sleep finally came.

    Maybe today you're wearing your cranky pants with a capital "C." You're out of sorts. You're biting your tongue to keep harsh words away from those you love. You're tired spiritually or emotionally, or maybe it's been a long time since you've rested physically.

    He sees you. He sees all of you. Not just the cranky pants, but your heart, and that you want nothing more than to be yourself again.

    My prayer is that you hear that lullaby gently playing. That you sense Him drawing you close. I pray that you'll remember that we all have those days when we are out of sorts, or when everything seems to be going wrong. But most of all, I pray that you remember that our Heavenly Father doesn't turn away from us in those moments, but brings peace to our troubled thoughts when we hold up them up with absolute honesty.

    That next day I woke up tired physically, but rested on the inside, and my cranky pants were nowhere in sight.

    I know they'll pop up again. Life does that sometimes. But when it does, rather than hide from God, I'm going to run to Him instead ... cranky pants, and all.

    Dear Father, some days I stay away from You because I am ashamed of my feelings. Thank You that I can rest in Your grace as You pour out peace and quiet my thoughts with Your peace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    God's grace is needed on good and bad days, but it's often sought only on those days when you feel worthy and approved. But whose approval are you looking for? Yours, or the One who knows you best?

    When you have your next cranky pants day, ask this question: Will I live today ACCUSED or will I be RESCUED by my Heavenly Father who promises to quiet me with His love?

    Power Verses:
    Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." (ESV)

    Philippians 4:6-7, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Learning to Live Stressed-Less

    Posted on January 23, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)

     

    Does Jesus really understand what it means to be stressed?

    I used to wonder ... until I got desperate enough to ask Him.

    For years, I was under the impression the Bible was not a resource for handling stress, much less a place to look for stress management tips.

    However, although the word "stress" is not a commonly used biblical term, Jesus referred to stress consistently by using words such as anxiety, worry, trouble, fear, burdens, anguish, dismay, trials, and adversity, just to name a few.

    He spoke of the heartache of worries, frustrations and betrayals; the sadness of deceit, the pull of temptation, and the devastation of sin. He addressed difficult circumstances taking place in politics, churches, marriages, families, parenthood, communities and the world as a whole.

    Despite the differences between biblical times and the 21st century, the presence of stress and our need for Jesus is the same. He understood what we would face and promised the peace we would need in our busy and chaotic world.

    Throughout the Bible we're shown how to celebrate and enjoy life, despite stressful situations. How to find joy, despite circumstances. How to overcome stress, despite constant balancing acts. How to not only survive the storms of life, but stay afloat in the midst of them. From Genesis to Revelation, we can discover infinite suggestions for biblical stress relief.

    2 Thessalonians 3:16 encourages us that Jesus Himself provided a solution to stress. Peace is only available in and through Him.

    Stress is not a sign of the times; it's a sign of living. Always has been, and always will be. Our stressors may be different today than when Jesus walked the earth, but the overwhelming power stress holds over our hearts is the same.

    Maybe you have tried massages, vacations, relaxation techniques, shopping, and soft music or bubble baths to help you manage stress. Or maybe you've coped with stress through drugs or alcohol. Perhaps you've tried every stress relief tactic known, to no avail.

    All the stress management tactics in the world cannot hold a candle to the very real stress relief Jesus offers. His methods have withstood the test of time, used by generation after generation for thousands of years.

    If you have been searching for a peace and serenity that seems completely out of reach, might I encourage you try a few other things? Sneak away for a few minutes and simply rest in His presence. Invite the Lord into your stressful situation and seek His perspective in Scripture. Before we turn to anything the world has to offer, let's turn to Jesus. Our number one stress solution.

    Dear Lord, I am drowning in stress and I have tried everything to relieve it — except for You. Forgive me not trusting You enough to believe that You offer the peace I am searching for. Today, I invite You into my circumstances, and into my life, and ask You to open my eyes to see the real truth and stress relief that my heart is aching for. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Tracie's new book Stressed Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World can help you have a less stressed year in 2013.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you trying every stress relief tactic available, except for Jesus?

    Have you asked Jesus to help alleviate your stress, and fill you with His peace?

    Commit to turn your stress and doubts over to Jesus today, moment-by-moment.

    Power Verse:
    Romans 5:1, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Never Give Up Hope

    Posted on December 19, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” Luke 2:25-26

     

    Sometimes the Lord gives His children a promise or assurance that is not fulfilled until later in life. It’s in this process of time that trust needs to stand firmly vigilant over a soul, like the ever present Queen’s Guard at the gates of Buckingham Palace. God’s promise sometimes requires a pregnancy of obedience before the vision is birthed. Hope in Jesus is a lifeline that leads Christians to trust in His promises. Hope holds on to God.

    The coming of Christ at Christmas is our hope incarnate. The promise of His first entrance to earth took generations to fulfill, just as His second coming has. So, as we wait on our ultimate hope of reigning with Jesus, we enjoy His presence in prayer and faithfulness. What has the Spirit revealed to you that you will one day experience? A loved one’s salvation, children who love God, a healed hurt, a volunteer ministry or a best friend? 

    “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3

    Your hope in Christ gives you the capacity to grow old with grace. You anticipate being better because, with understanding, you come to know the Lord better. While the body gradually grows old, your faith grows more robust like an aged bottle of fine wine. The flavor of your words are tasty to other thirsty hearts and your luscious love gives hope.

    Furthermore, do not discount the hope you personally provide for other people. Your weekly visit to the nursing home gives life to those ebbing toward the end of life. Your coaching and mentoring of younger leaders gives them confidence and peace to persevere. Your financial gift to a ministry gives them hope to carry on for Christ. Never give up hope and you will always be able to give hope. Hope in Jesus brings great joy!

    “May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.” 2 Thessalonians 2:17  The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I place my hope in You so I can extend other’s hope.

    Related Readings: Job 6:8; Micah 5:3; Hebrews 3:6; Titus 2:13

    Post/Tweet today: Hope in Christ gives us the capacity to grow old with grace. #hope

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    Order our new book: Seeking Daily the Heart of God, vol. II... http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

  • God of Hope

    Posted on November 26, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

     

    I struggle with consistently placing my hope in God alone. I say He is my support, but then I add a secular safety net as a back up to my belief in Jesus. So, my prayer is to hope in God without any worldly props. When He is the sole focus of my faith then trust in Him trumps any whispering idols in the temporal. Christ’s hope is all I need to persevere though pain, change and challenges. His hope anchors my soul in His unchanging grace.

    There are many gods who offer fleeting hope. The god of more money offers financial hope. The god of bigger government offers entitlement hope. The god of blind loyalty offers relational hope. The god of harder work offers security hope. However, all hope not founded on God is false and disappoints. Hope in heaven gives peace on earth. And any earthly competitor for the Lord’s hope is powerless. God’s hope generates real joy! 

    “Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.” Jeremiah 14:22

    Is your hope in God conditional or unconditional? Is it merely words or the conviction of your heart? You know your hope is all in with the Almighty when your life overflows with the power of the Holy Spirit. Bad news only emboldens you to look for the Lord’s creative solutions to sticky situations. You hand over people out of your control over to Christ’s control. Your focus on heavenly hope silences howls from the hounds of hell.

    Therefore, hope in God, the Savior of your soul. He is your sole provider who needs no supplementary support. Intensified belief in Jesus is your back up plan. Thus, you embrace hope—an unchanging attribute of God. He is the object and author of your hope. Joy comes from being justified by Jesus. His peace produces perseverance. When Christ’s hope has its way—He shows you the way. Open hope’s door; it hinges on God!

    “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, my hope is in You—not the competing hopes of this world.

    Related Readings: Psalm 43:5, 62:5; Micah 7:7; Ephesians 2:12; Titus 1:2, 2:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Hand people out of your control over to Christ’s control. #hope

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Thankful Prayers

    Posted on November 23, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2

     

    Prayers of thanksgiving bring a smile to the face of God. He delights in hearing His children express to heaven their gratitude for their sisters and brothers on earth. Jesus expects His followers to not just tolerate one another, but to celebrate each other’s uniqueness. A prayer of thanksgiving for another needy soul grows a heart of love for souls. Consistent prayers of gratitude gets God’s attention and moves His heart to bless, forgive and love.

    We all need prayer; prayer for wisdom, prayer for solutions, prayer for healing, prayer for forgiveness, prayer for reconciliation, prayer for salvation, prayer for God’s will, prayer for strength, prayer for faith, prayer for courage, prayer for work and prayer for patience. How grateful we soon become, when we reflect on friends who lift us to the Lord with passionate petitions. We thank God for those precious souls who pray for our soul care. 

    “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3

    Do you thank Christ regularly for those whose faith is on fire? Are you grateful to God for the grace of God that is ever growing in your community of faith? Those who boldly bear a beautiful banner for Jesus need our serious prayer support. The enemy rages against the righteous who are engaged in eternal issues: justice for the poor, education for the ignorant, church planting, job training, discipleship and food for the hungry.

    Your grateful prayers to God garner good will for those executing God’s will. Thank Him for their trust that perseveres through persecution. Thank Jesus for those who share Jesus with words and deeds. Thank your heavenly Father for the fathers and mothers who model compassion, love, leadership and the nurturing of their children. Thank Him for single adults who hope in Christ and who serve unselfishly in His name. Gratitude prays!

    “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus.” Philemon 1:4-5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the passionate prayers of Your people.

    Related Readings: Nehemiah 11:17; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 1:3; 1 Timothy 2:1

    Post/Tweet this today: A prayer of thanksgiving for another needy soul grows a heart of love for souls. #thanksgiving

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com
    www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Righteous Light

    Posted on October 26, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out” (Proverbs 13:9).

     

    Righteousness shines the brightest when dimming days become the darkest. We are called and compelled as Christians to glow for God during gloomy times. Are you caught up in our culture’s chaos, or do you see a chance to burn brightly for Jesus? Hard times can harden our hearts or humble them, but it is a broken heart that burns the brightest.

    Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Light left unattended extinguishes, but light exposed to the air of almighty God’s love illuminates. Difficult days demand dependency on the Lord; so, in fact, your acts of service are fueled by faith. If you panic instead of praying, you will miss out on the opportunities to love others.

    “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing” (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

    I often ask, “In my uncertainty, am I more worried about my stuff or the window of opportunity to serve others?” It may mean inviting someone to live in my home for a season, paying three month’s mortgage payments for a friend, volunteering at a local shelter, or increasing my gifts to the church. Righteous light longs to love liberally.

    Christ in us invites others to know Him, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Perhaps you invite some neighbors over for a six-week Bible study on money or marriage, and watch what God does.

    “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:14–15).

    Prayer: Where can I bring the light of Christ’s love to someone’s dark circumstance?

    Related Readings: Job 18:5–6; Isaiah 50:10–11; Luke 11:36; Revelation 21:23

    Post/Tweet: Hard times can harden our hearts or humble them, but it is brokenness that burns the brightest. #brokenness

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
  • Pray for One Another

    Posted on September 21, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    "As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you." 2 Thessalonians 3:1

     

    Prayer for one another is a spiritual secret weapon. It rocks the devil's world, wins over a lost world, and brings peace in this world. Prayer for another is a necessary ingredient in the recipe for successful living. A prayer investment is an eternal investment. Prayers for healing, prayers for wisdom, prayers of praise and prayers to courageously spread the gospel all acknowledge the Lord's priorities. Indeed, prayer promotes God's agenda.

    Moreover, our prayers for others change us. When we implore Christ to heal the illness of a sweaty browed small child, our heart grows tender. When we ask God to give a friend wisdom in a crucial decision, we grow in wisdom. When we pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers, the Spirit directs us to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Prayer is a platform that produces righteous results for the giver and the receiver.

    "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:15-17

    Be careful not to take your prayers for granted, treating them as an afterthought or mindless routine. Asking God's blessing over a meal is a big deal. Whether in private or in public you give glory to your provider and sustainer, Jesus. Are you bold when eating out to politely ask permission to pray out loud before you partake? Yes, you can pray quietly, or you can remind everyone present who is Lord of the meal.

    Who needs your fervent prayers today? Do they know you are praying for them? Perhaps you send an email or text prayer to a special friend in need. Sometimes a hurting person needs less advice and more comforting words of Christ on their behalf. A supplication to your Savior for suffering saints brings fear to its knees and elevates faith and hope up front and center. Thus, ask for prayers and offer prayers for God's glory. Prayers hold up one another.

    "So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him." Acts 12:5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to pray for those who need your comfort and conviction.

    Related Readings: Acts 1:14; Romans 15:13; 30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:1

    Post/Tweet: Prayer is a platform that produces righteous results for the giver and receiver. #prayer

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ

  • Fruit of Goodness

    Posted on August 30, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “The fruit of the Spirit is goodness...” Galatians 5:22b

     

    The Holy Spirit’s fruit of goodness flows from the heart of God. It is pure in its essence and it is sure in its application for good. Good is to God what bad is to evil—a reflection of its origin. Goodness is the expression of moral excellence found in any man or woman surrendered to the Spirit’s control. It is virtue that bubbles up from a deep seated belief that outside of Christ there is no good thing. His goodness reveals His glory to the world.

    To say he or she is a good man or woman does not do justice to the depth of the fruit of goodness. It puts too much emphasis on the human element in being good. Goodness comes from God to do good for God. We are only good to the extent that our goodness is initiated by Christ and sustained by the Spirit. At salvation God’s goodness floods our soul like a warm bath cleanses a dirty body—our soiled soul is washed clean. Goodness takes permanent residence when the Lord Jesus is the Landlord of our life. He’s all good!

    “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3

    So, what does it mean to have a good heart? It is a heart governed by God. A good heart is more than following a set of principles—additionally it recognizes the Lord is the moral authority over what is defined as good. For example, we can feel good about someone, but if their morals or ethics violate Christ’s code of conduct, theirs is not a good life to emulate. Goodness is not defined by what we feel, but by what God says is good.

    God has made you good in Christ to be a humble but bold standard bearer of goodness. Good and decent followers of Jesus have a moral obligation to obey God and thus be a force for good in a morally decaying culture. Goodness defines you as more than a do gooder—it marks you as being a slave to your Master Jesus. Your goodness gives you the influence to change the culture. God is calling you to be an agent of change for His glory!

    “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for Your goodness and mercy that follow me all the days of my life.

    Related Scriptures: Exodus 33:19; Psalm 23:6; Romans 15:14; Hebrews 6:5

    Post/Tweet this today: Goodness comes from God to do good for God. #goodness

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ

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