Sunday 30 June, 2013

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. Silas and Timothy join me in writing. We are sending this letter to you, the members of the church in Thessalonica. You belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be given to you. 2 We always thank God for all of you. We pray for you. 3 We never forget you when we pray to our God and Father. Your work is produced by your faith. Your service is the result of your love. Your strength to continue comes from your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 Brothers and sisters, you are loved by God. We know that he has chosen you. 5 Our good news didn’t come to you only in words. It came with power. It came with the Holy Spirit’s help. He gave us complete faith in what we were preaching. You know how we lived among you for your good. 6 We and the Lord were your examples. You followed us. You suffered terribly. Even so, you welcomed our message with the joy the Holy Spirit gives. 7 So you became a model to all the believers in the lands of Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you. That was true not only in Macedonia and Achaia. Your faith in God has also become known everywhere. So we don’t have to say anything about it. 9 The believers themselves report the kind of welcome you gave us. They tell about how you turned away from statues of gods to serve the living and true God. 10 They tell about how you are waiting for his Son to come from heaven. God raised him from the dead. He is Jesus. He saves us from God’s anger, and his anger is sure to come.

Do you feel quite ordinary? Not gifted or knowledgeable and does anyone notice your faith? Why are the Thessalonians loved by God?

No-one becomes a chosen one of God against their will.  God chose them, and made the gospel come to them not just with words, but with power, the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. Their faith transformed lives, cultures and destinies.

What does it mean to be loved by God? The world’s perspective of being loved is to have a romantic relationship, being treated special, or having people adore you.  People strive to earn love by changing themselves.

However, I have been loved because the gospel came to me. I don’t have to earn love or be loveable.  God chose me even when I was a sinner.  God allowed the gospel to come to me even though I was not interested in Him.  No matter what the world says, I am loved by God.  I’ve experienced the power of God’s words speaking to me and convicting me of my sins.

I need to continue to battle my false views of what it means to be loved by affirming that God loves me, and that he did whatever it took to allow the gospel to come to me.

As a young girl I didn’t understand the passages I heard, they were just words. Every encounter I had was significant.

People planted, watered, weeded, and tended the seed(s) that led me to ‘receive the word’. As an adult, the gospel message came alive as I heard it preached, and I knew I must get right with God.

Lord, thank you for the power of Your Holy Spirit, that when I encounter obstacles and doubts, I receive Your word with conviction. Thank You for Your understanding and the transforming power of the gospel. Amen.

Written by Cath Croft

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