Thankful for My Church Family

2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 NASB

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is only fitting, because your faith is increasing abundantly, and the love of each and every one of you toward one another grows ever greater. As a result, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.”

My church family, for right now, is primarily on the internet, on social media, blogs, and Christian Forums. It is you who are trusting Jesus Christ with your lives and who are following him in his ways and in his truth, whose desire (hunger, craving) is for him and not for the things of this world.

I am blessed of God to have you in my life and to be in your lives, too. I am blessed of God to be in fellowship with you, to have you encourage my heart, and for him to use me to encourage you, too. I am encouraged by your walks of faith in the Lord, too, to see how you are growing in him.

I am encouraged, too, by the love that I see that many of you have toward one another, how you reach out to one another in prayer, in good counsel, and in sharing words of encouragement one with the other. You minister to my heart in this way, and you teach me better how to love, too.

I know that some or many of you are going through difficult times right now, too, and I sympathize with you. I know, too, that some or many of you are being persecuted in some way (small or big) because of your love for Jesus and for your stand for truth and righteousness. I empathize with you.

Be encouraged! The Lord has brought us this far, and he will keep us through every trial that he will yet take us through in the days, weeks, and perhaps years to come. Don’t let the things going on in this world dishearten you. Know that God is in control, and it will all work out for our good.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 NASB

“This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you indeed are suffering. For after all it is only right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us, when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

“These people will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified among His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—because our testimony to you was believed.”

One day our time on this earth will be over, as will all our suffering. The Lord Jesus will return for us and we will go to be with him forever, amen! He will wipe away all the tears from our eyes and crying, sorrow, and pain will be no more, praise his holy name!

But sadly, not everyone is going to be with the Lord forever, not even everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ, but only those who have died with Christ to sin and who have been raised with Christ to newness of life in him, who are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 6:7-8).

For, those who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, who did not die with Christ to sin, and thus were not raised with Christ to newness of life in him, and who are not dying with him to sin and living to him and to his righteousness, unless they repent, they will face God’s wrath (Rom 6 & 8).

And this should grieve our hearts, and we should pray for those who are still lost in their sins, even those professing faith in Jesus Christ but who are still living in bondage to sin. And we should be sharing the truth of the gospel to everyone because we don’t know who is truly saved and who isn’t.

If they refuse to listen, then we walk away. If they say they don’t want to hear it, we shouldn’t force it on them. It doesn’t mean we compromise our faith or that we are ashamed of the gospel or that we change who we are when we are around certain people so that we don’t offend them, though.

We have to remain true to who God created us to be and to what he has called us to do, and not everyone is going to like us, you know. It is just the facts. Not everyone is going to want to be around us, and that’s okay. But we must desire the Lord’s approval of us over any approval of humans.

They may reject us now, but if we remain true to God and to his word, and if we maintain our integrity, and we don’t change who we are depending upon whom we are with, we never know but what God may be using us in people’s lives without us even knowing God is using us. So, don’t ever give up, and don’t compromise, but keep the faith and pray for the lost.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NASB

“To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will consider you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, in accordance with the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We are urged in the New Testament writings to walk (in conduct, in practice) in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called. And we are instructed to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ and worthy of the Lord (Eph 4:1; Phil 1:27; Colossians 1:10).

And “worthy” means suitable, fitting, appropriate and proper to our calling.

And our calling is to belong to Christ, to be holy (separate from the world), to live according to God’s purpose for us, to be in fellowship with Christ, to freedom from addiction to sin, to purity, to God’s own glory and excellence, and out of darkness into his marvelous light (Rom. 1:6-7; Rom. 8:28; 1 Co. 1:9; Gal. 5:13; 1 Thess. 4:7; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. 1:3).

So, if Paul’s prayer here was for God to consider the people of this particular church fellowship worthy of their calling, in Christ Jesus, he was also praying that they would walk in a manner worthy of that calling which would then give God cause to regard them in such a way.

The goal of Paul’s prayer for these believers in Jesus was that the name of the Lord Jesus would be glorified in them, and them in Him, in accordance with the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

And God’s grace which brings salvation trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Titus 2:11-14; cf. Eph 4:17-24).

So, I join with Paul in praying for my church family throughout the world that we would all walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and of the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that Jesus Christ will be glorified in us and us in Him, and so that we would be for his praise and his glory, and that through us the light of the gospel would go forth to the salvation of many people before the end.

For, I believe the days are short, and the Lord’s return is soon, and that our days are numbered, and it is critical that we now walk in holiness, in godly lives, pleasing to the Lord, and that we share with others the truth of the gospel so that they can come to know Jesus Christ before he returns.

Courageous!

An Original Work / December 24, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures

The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard, but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.

They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.

He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.

By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.

Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.

Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.

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