Daily Devotion for November 18, 2014
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
You Belong to Me is a Christian song by Grey Holiday, even though the video (a clip from the movie Fireproof) gives it a romantic twist.
You run, you hide,
As tears fall from your eyes.
They fall like snow
From a wounded soul.
You hold inside,
The hurt of great divide.
The hole is starting to get old.
So come back to the light,
To the love, you will find,
It’s been here all along.
So come back to the start
And you’ll find in your heart
That you always belonged
Just take the rope,
I won’t let it go.
We can start again.
I’m life, I’m hope,
And I’m ready to explode.
With how bad I want you back home.
You’re my daughter, you’re my son,
You’re the one I long to love,
And you’ve heard I chose to die;
Do you know you’re the reason why?
Music and Lyrics by Jason Ingram and Matthew Minor.
A Child's Prayer
For Morn, my dome of blue,
For Meadows, green and gay,
And Birds who love the twilight of the leaves,
Let Jesus keep me joyful when I pray.
For the big Bees that hum
And hide in bells of flowers;
For the winding roads that come
To Evening’s holy door,
May Jesus bring me grateful to his arms,
And guard my innocence for evermore.
For the Departed
We give back to you, O God, those whom you gave to us. You did not lose them when you gave them to us, and we do not lose them by their return to you. Your dear Son has taught us that life is eternal and love cannot die. So death is only an horizon, and an horizon is only the limit of our sight.
Open our eyes to see more clearly, and draw us closer to you that we may know that we are nearer to our loved ones, who are with you. You have told us that you are preparing a place for us; prepare us also for that happy place, that where you are we may also be always, O dear Lord of life and death.
[We do not lose our loved ones when they return to God.]
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
“I was in Heaven. I know this cause the lights were brights and it was beautiful I saw a cloud with a million eyes It was God I was near a lake full of honey. It was Jesus next to me. I jumped in and felt safe Bees swarmed around my head like a crown.”
God is not afraid of pain. He does not try to keep us from it. He does not avoid it for Himself.
~ Rachel Phifer
1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (DP)
Thankfulness for the Faith of the Thessalonian Church
1-3 Eventually, we could not bear not knowing how you were doing, so we hit on the plan to send Timothy to you, while Silas and I stayed in Athens. Timothy, we thought, being a proven worker for the Gospel of Christ, would be able to bolster your faith against the trials you would certainly face. We knew what you were up against, since we have been through it ourselves time and again. We did our best to warn you what to expect. From what we hear, it was as bad as anticipated.
4-5 I was also, I admit, a little worried that the great Tempter might have enticed you away from your faith, undoing the good we had accomplished among you. Building up the church is our calling; having a church grow in faith means everything to us. So you can understand, it was agonizing when communications were completely cut off and we had no idea how you were holding up.
1 Therefore no longer enduring we consented to be left behind in Athens alone,
2 and we sent Timothy, the brother of us and fellow worker of god in the gospel of Christ, in order to strengthen you and to encourage about the faith of you
3 nobody to be upset in the tribulations these. [For] yourselves you know that for this we are appointed*;
4 [For] indeed when with you we were, we kept telling in advance to you that we were going to be afflicted, just as indeed happened and as you know.
5 On account of this I also no longer tolerating sent in order to know the faith of you, lest somehow had enticed you the tempting one and in vain might have become the labor of us.
Notes on the Scripture
Timothy was an odd bird. His mother and grandmother were Jewish and quite devout; they taught Timothy his Scripture from an early age, and by the time Paul met him, he was well-educated. His father was Greek and Timothy had not been circumcised — which Paul took care of! It would have been painful, as he was an old teenager or perhaps 20ish when Paul and he met; one would guess Paul did this, in order that Timothy might be more effective in preaching to Jews. Anyway, he was converted, circumcised, and left home to accompany Paul and Silas on their journey to Macedonia.
He was an extraordinary young man, obviously, and nowhere do we see it more clearly than in today's Scripture. Paul sends him out alone on a fairly long and dangerous journey — probably two weeks, each way — and even more surprisingly, trusts Timothy, both in his knowledge and in his character, sufficiently to let him act in the capacity of a solo apostle to the Thessalonian church. Paul builds him up a little in the epistle, to help him be accepted by the church, but it probably was not necessary at this point; the Thessalonians would have known him well by the time they read this letter.
Paul is also sending him out to face down not only hostile synagogues and excitable, prejudiced Gentiles, but also Satan himself; for remember, Paul blamed Satan directly for blocking his path to Thessalonica. One can imagine Paul giving him the advice Christ gave His disciples: “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
Paul knows and fears that all his time, energy, and punishment might have gone in vain. As Isaiah pointed out, failure is an option. “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nought.” (Isa. 49:4)
Paul's anxiety about the outcome of his effort seems to be as great a reason as for sending Timothy the first timeJust to make sure it is straight: Timothy had gone to visit Thessalonica a few months after the team had been driven out, which Paul discusses here; he was then sent a second time, to deliver this letter. as his desire to have someone capable bolster the church up. There is no fault in it. Paul's powerful love for the Thessalonians cannot be doubted.
His primary concern is not that they may have been murdered, imprisoned, or dispersed, but that they have been led away from salvation. (Either sort of problem, however, would pose a huge challenge for Timothy.) But Paul did not fear physical death or discomfort; he feared hell. If we compare this to most Christians today — and probably, ourselves — it shows how great a difference in conviction has arisen separating us from Paul's red-hot gospel. How many parents do you know, who are much more concerned about their grown children having such comparatively minor problems as not having good jobs, not finishing school, or not being married, than about their lack of faith in Christ?