NT Sept. 20-24

September 20 — 1 Thessalonians 5 — Admonishing.  No one likes to be corrected but it is sometimes necessary.  Twice in this chapter, Paul used a word normally translated “admonish.”  In v. 12, he instructs us to “respect those who … are over you in the Lord and admonish you.”  They would correspond to the pastors in our churches today.  Paul had to command us to “respect” them because it is “unnatural” for us to react positively to someone who corrects us or urges us to change our ways.  But we need to “esteem them very highly in love because of their work” (v. 13).  It is their God-given job.  The same word is used for the second time in the next verse but the shoe is on the other foot—we are the ones doing the admonishing: “We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle [or ‘unruly’]” (v. 14).  When we have to correct a fellow believer, we get a feel for how hard it is for our pastors to do it the way it should be done, with love and care.  It takes humility and grace to give and to receive admonition.

September 21 — 2 Thessalonians 1 — Affliction.  This letter was written by Paul, probably also from Corinth, not long after his first letter to the Thessalonians.  Both letters have much to say about Jesus’ expected return to earth.  Opposition to the gospel message in Thessalonica was particularly severe.  Paul had to flee the city after his short stay there and the persecution seems to have continued for those believers because Paul mentioned, “… all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring” (v. 4).  Paul assured them that those who were afflicting them would ultimately be afflicted at Christ’s return: “God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you” (v. 6).  In the meantime, believers might have to suffer affliction until Jesus returned, at which time He will “grant relief to you” (v. 7).  God does not promise a trouble-free life for believers until He returns to collect His Church.

September 22 — 2 Thessalonians 2 — Grateful and Faithful.  Paul said that the day of “the coming of our Lord … and our being gathered together to him” (v. 1) will not happen until “the rebellion” occurs, led by “the man of lawlessness” (v. 3).  What should we do in the meantime?  First, Paul said we should thank God for two things: that “God chose you” (v. 13) and that “he called you” (v. 14).  Being chosen and placed into the family of God is priceless.  The second thing we should do is to be faithful: “stand firm and hold to the traditions … taught by us” (v. 15).  Thanking God and being faithful are particularly important when circumstances are hard.  “When life is gray, pray!”   May “grateful and faithful” be our life motto and epitaph.

September 23 — 2 Thessalonians 3 — Idleness.  Paul comes down hard on lazy people in this final chapter.  They were “walking in idleness” (v. 6) and had become “busybodies” instead (v. 11).  That reminds me of the old expression, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” a quote by Isaac Watts (b. 1674) perhaps having originated in “The Canterbury Tales” by Chaucer (b. 1342).  Instead of being idle, Paul exhorts them “to do their work quietly and to earn their own living” (v. 12).  I love his firm solution for dealing with lazy people: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (v. 10).  That would solve many problems today where people are living off family or government when they are capable of earning their own living.  Let us keep active today, setting an example for others who may need motivation.

September 24 — 1 Timothy 1 — Pocket Praise.  We move now from two of Paul’s first letters (Thessalonians) to two of his last letters to Timothy and Titus.  First Timothy was apparently written after Paul’s first two-year imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28:30) and before his final imprisonment there.  In this first chapter, Paul gives a brief, but powerful example, of praise: “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen” (v. 17).  Sometimes we just want to give praise to God.  What should we say?  Here is a very good example.  Write it out and put it in your pocket or purse so you can pull it out and read it to your heavenly Father occasionally.  Better yet, memorize it, so it is always available to you—in your bed or car or shower.  As an aid to memorizing it, I noticed an alphabetical sequence of ascending order, M-N-O, followed by descending order, H-G-F-E-A.  Try it this way: “To the King of the ages, iMmortal, iNvisible, the Only God, be Honor and Glory Forever and Ever.  Amen.”  Make this a focus of praise to God today, this week, this year.

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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