+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Opening (A Collect for Guidance – Thursday)
Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: Guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our lives we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading – 1 Thessalonians 3-5 (NLT)
Finally, when we could stand it no longer, we decided to stay alone in Athens, and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.
But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.
How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence. Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.
May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.
Live to Please God
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
The Hope of the Resurrection
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.
Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.
But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Paul’s Final Advice
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. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
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.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.
Paul’s Final Greetings
2Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us.
Greet all the brothers and sisters with a sacred kiss.
I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Live to Please God.
And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.
– 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 –
In today’s reading, Paul gives us basic instruction concerning Christian living in order to promote our maturation in Christ and to guard us from error. The will of God for the Christian is clear.
The general principle to keep in mind is that God’s purpose for all Christians is not impurity but purity. It is a life set apart from sin unto holiness. In addition to sexual purity, believers are to
- Live quiet,restful lives, avoiding frenzy and being good neighbors.
- Tend to their own affairs, not meddling in others people’s business.
- Provide for the needs of their own families, not placing a burden on others.
- Prepare for the return of Christ in glory to judge the living and the dead.
- Live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
- Encourage those who are timid; take tender care of those who are weak; and be patient with everyone.
- Pray for one another.
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way,
and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 –
Questions for consideration:
- What role does holiness play in your understanding of the Christian life? Please explain.
- What is the greatest impediment to your living a holy life? Please explain.
- When you review Paul’s instructions, what stands out as something you need to work on? Please explain.
- Where do you need God’s help in living a holy life – in body, mind and spirit? Please explain.
Morning Prayer – For Holy Living
Thank You Father for calling me out of darkness into Your marvelous light, for setting me free from slavery to sin, and for releasing me from bondage to fear. Thank You for breathing the new resurrection life of Christ into my very being and for taking up permanent residence within my heart. Lord I want to be led by Your Holy Spirit and walk in spirit and truth – I want to live a godly life.
Lord I come to You incapable of living a holy life myself, and humbly ask You to send Your Spirit to instruct me in godliness and empower me to live as You would have me. Open my eyes to see what only You can do; unblock my ears so that I can hear Your still small voice within me; and give me a willing spirit to practice all that You show me.
I ask this in Jesus name, Amen
“Holiness unto the Lord” – Vineyard
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen