Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. (2Thess. 1:3-4 NLT)
Yesterday was an incredible day – warm weather, blue skies, sun shining brightly. We held our house church gathering outside because someone was getting baptized! It was a wonderful time of worship and praise, fellowship and joy. It was the church being the church! God is moving…even in the midst of the chaos of the world. He is seeking and saving the lost, maturing the saints through the trials of life, and leading His people through the turbulent waters into the peace of His presence.
I don’t know about you, but I needed yesterday to happen. I needed to know that God is still on His throne. I believe that with all my heart, but it is nice to see evidence once and a while, that the kingdom of Christ is advancing and the darkness is being driven back, at least in the moment of eternity that was yesterday. God is good!
About a month ago, we celebrated the death and resurrection of our Savior – Easter Sunday. That specific day was set aside by some local churches to do baptisms. There is perhaps no greater way to demonstrate the truth of the Gospel message, than to see people “getting saved”, choosing to die to their old life, and walking in resurrection life in Christ. A month ago, I heard of God saving people, and people responding in baptism. Yesterday, I participated in it myself. There is a big difference between hearing about it and seeing it with your own eyes. I praise God that He allowed our little flock of believers to experience that special moment. But even more so, I praise God that He is still working - saving, maturing, calling – preparing a bride for His Son.
When I read the first few verses of 2Thessalonians, I really get Paul’s heart of thanksgiving. Listen to how The Message Translation puts it: “You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have broadsided you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you” (2Thess. 1:3-4 The Message).
God is moving! People are responding to His invitation - young and old alike are coming to hear the good news of salvation and freedom in Christ. The saints are maturing, growing in their faith and love for each other. Even in the midst of hard times, followers of Jesus are learning to trust and lean on Him. Believers are being discipled and the church is pressing on united in the cause to make Jesus known and provide hope to a wayward world.
Yesterday, in another house church I am part of, we looked at the end of 1Thessalonians: “Rejoice always…in everything give thanks” (1Thess. 5:16-18). In order to fulfill that command, we need to choose what we look at – the darkness in the world or God moving in our midst. As Paul writes to the Philippians, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phil. 4:8).
And so today, because of what God has showed me, I am choosing to give thanks to God like Paul did. I am choosing to fix my thoughts on those things that are excellent and worthy of praise! God is on His throne ruling in all His sovereignty! The Church of Jesus Christ is being prepared and refined! Praise be to God!
Have a super-blessed amazingly awesome week!