Episode #184. Today we’ll read 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 together: Paul recounts both reception and opposition to the message and assures the Thessalonians of his desire to see them.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #184. Today we’ll read 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 together: Paul recounts both reception and opposition to the message and assures the Thessalonians of his desire to see them.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
Have you ever been absolutely thrilled for someone you love, know that you are facing a loss in light of their good fortune? I’m happy-sad like that today.
July 5, 1994, marked my first day on the job as Operations Manager, at a transportation company in Merced, CA, where we lived. It was also Barry’s first day. He was hired as the Controller and we became fast friends. I guess those of us who only have a sister are always at least mildly curious what it’s like to have a brother. I found out when Barry came into my life. In time, Mitch and I met his wife, Sherri, and suffice it to say, the four of us have done life together ever since.
Our children were young. Heck, I remember the day their youngest was born. We have camped together, moved each other innumerable times, and walked through the joys and heartbreaks of raising our kids together. We have shared the sorrow of burying parents and a child. Thankfully, our kids are all grown now and doing well, so we even share in the relief of that.
This past week, we watched as they closed the door on the U-Haul truck for the last time. By the time you hear this podcast, they will be settling into their retirement home in the woods outside a small community in Montana. They’ve been prepping for this for years and I couldn’t be happier for them. On the other hand, I have a catch in my throat. I mean, the reasoning part of me, knows that this is an exciting new chapter and we will stay close and they are only a plane ride away. But there is another part that is painfully aware of the miles that will separate us and the fear that things might change.
I love these two more than I can say. As friends, they are faithful and dependable. As human beings, they are upright and ethical. I am eternally grateful to count them as friends and I wish them the best that God has and pray a blessing on them as they go. I will miss them.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 2
For you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our visit with you was not without result. On the contrary, after we had previously suffered and were treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, we were emboldened by our God to speak the gospel of God to you in spite of great opposition. For our exhortation didn’t come from error or impurity or an intent to deceive. Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please people, but rather God, who examines our hearts. For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives — God is our witness — and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others.
Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle among you, as a nurse nurtures her own children. We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember our labor and hardship, brothers and sisters. Working night and day so that we would not burden any of you, we preached God’s gospel to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly we conducted ourselves with you believers. As you know, like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Reception and Opposition to the Message
This is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the word of God, which also works effectively in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us. They displease God and are hostile to everyone, by keeping us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. As a result, they are constantly filling up their sins to the limit, and wrath has overtaken them at last.
Paul’s Desire to See Them
But as for us, brothers and sisters, after we were forced to leave you for a short time (in person, not in heart), we greatly desired and made every effort to return and see you face to face. So we wanted to come to you — even I, Paul, time and again — but Satan hindered us. For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Indeed you are our glory and joy!
When I read this chapter, I come away having seen Christians do life together. The ups and the downs, the wins and the losses, the joys and persecutions. Everyone pulling their weight and lending a hand as they could.
It seems to me, this is the way it should be amongst believers who supposedly love each other and have learned to love from Jesus. There is gentleness yet firmness in Paul’s teaching. There is unity in the Spirit. Remember the infighting we just read about in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians? So different from what we see here. My pastor mentioned that this morning as a matter of fact. He took it one step further – and I have to agree with him – that our country here in America reminds us a little of the Corinthians. They were saved but their minds had not yet been renewed. Typically that takes a lot longer. We can learn lessons from the Thessalonians…their grace, their endurance, their kindness to Paul, and their generosity. These are all things we should emulate as Christ-followers everyday. Let’s pray.
Lord, help us be like the Thessalonian believers. Help us to be kinder to one another. Help us to consider sacrificing our wants for someone in need. Make us hungry to know You. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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