Happy Wednesday! It’s mid-week.
Intro: Saying a goodbye to a friend or family who either came to visit or that you are leaving somewhere for a period of time can be difficult. Emotions can take over or your heart can ache because it’s hard to see them go or its hard to leave. You may have talked to them for hours, but when they are about to leave or vice-versa you have a lot more left to say.
Each time I dropped a kid off at college I would try to remind them of every safety precaution, to text and check-in, to remember to make good decisions, and be safe. That conversation would happen during my visit, but I would recap it at the end with long hugs and slow goodbye. Today, we will begin reading Apostle Paul’s final advice in his first letter to the Thessalonian church. Join me today as we read verses 12 through 22. Each day we will focus on a section of these verses – today we will focus on verses 12-13.
Bible verse – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 NLT
“12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.”
Apostle Paul wrote those words to the believers in Thessalonica, but they are written for us too.
In verse 12, we are called to honor those who are leaders in the Lord‘s in the work – to demonstrate authentic respect and love because of their work. Apostle Paul, reminded the believers that those leaders work hard among them in the church and provides spiritual guidance.
Sisters and brothers, I know their have been some challenges with spiritual leaders misusing authority and at time failing to be authentic, but that is not and should not be a characteristic for spiritual leaders. Unfortunately, this is not something new, in fact throughout the New Testament we are advice to watchout for false prophets and those who want to lead believers away.
However, we as believers are reminded to always ask the Lord for discernment and wisdom regarding these things. Sisters and brothers, just as this past year has been difficult for you, consider it the same for your pastors and faithful leaders in the church. Among them are people who also lost parents, family and congregation members due death. They are the ones who lost jobs, homes, and maybe at times struggled with their own faith. They are still standing with you in prayer, tirelessly praying for our nation and looking to the Lord for guidance too. They need us just as we need them. These are the key words in the verses 12-13:
- Live peacefully
Things to consider and pray about:
- When was the last time you prayed for your pastor(s) and their family?
- Will you pray for them today?
- When was the last time you prayed for the leaders in your church (e.g., deacons, elders, Sunday school and Bible study teachers, worship leaders, etc.)?
- Will you pray for them today?
- Where is God calling you to serve His global church?
- Is it within the four walls of the building or doing something in the community?
- How can you live peacefully with those who are leaders in the Lord’s work?
- Will you allow the Lord to be the leader of your life?
Father God thank you for today. Thank you for the final advice from Apostle Paul to believers. Lord, we thank you for his work to share the Good News of Jesus, but Father God we are forever grateful for your love toward us that you sent your One and only son Jesus to save us. Lord Jesus, thank you. Lord, continue your mighty work in us and in the church. Lord, if there is any bitterness and anger in us regarding leaders in the church reset our minds, humble our hearts and help us to heal. Lord, unite your church with Christian’s who are bold in faith, compassionate, caring, nurturing and full of wisdom and discernment. Lord, flood your churches with nonbelievers who desire to follow you. Equip the church to minister to them – no matter their background or past. Help the church to disciple them and raise them up in the truth of the word in the Bible and not a false version of truth.
Lord, we don’t want to aimlessly follow those in positions – we want to follow you. Lord, align your church to follow you over tradition, to follow you over public opinion, and to follow you in every decision it makes. Lord, keep us focused on you. Help us to be the light in the darkness. In Jesus name, amen.
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