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1 Thessalonians

A poor widow had two sons. She was consumed with their success, and feared that they would fail. Both were self-employed. One sold umbrellas and the other one sold fans.

The first thing she would do each morning was to run to the window to check the weather. If it was raining, she would sigh and say, “Oh, me, no one will want to buy fans today. It’s going to be cool.” And, if it was sunny, she would fret and say, “Oh my, no one will need an umbrella because it’s not raining.”

One day a friend said to her, “Listen, if the sun is shining someone will buy a fan and if it’s raining, someone will buy an umbrella. The weather is always changing so someone will always buy one or the other.”

Many of us allow the conditions around us to control the attitude that’s in us. It’s “what’s out there” that controls “what’s in here.” Wrong! We have things backward. When we are “in Christ” we need to go to Him and ask Him to fill our hearts with thanksgiving and joy for all that we have “in Him.” We have all of His promises available to us in His Word. And if we accept them, rain or sun, come what may – God is in control and will give us what we need.

Prayer:  Lord, help us to see things through Your eyes, and know that Your care for us exceeds what ever need we might have. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scripture for Today:  1 Thessalonians 5:16-17  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,

The games were played, the gifts opened, the food eaten. Turning to his uncle, Billy said, “Thank you for my birthday present.”
“Oh, it was nothing,” he said pleasantly.
“Mom and I agree,” he replied, “but she said I should thank you anyway.”
An attitude of gratitude is very important. A mind that is alert to and aware of the gifts and kind acts of others is an invaluable asset to anyone. And a heart that is quick to express a word of “thanks” for any expression of thoughtfulness is deeply appreciated by others.
Too often as we make our way through life we focus on our worries and woes rather than God’s blessings that come to us through others. We seem to harbor problems and losses deep within us and tend to lose sight of God’s gracious and generous gifts.
Although it is normal and natural to bring our needs and necessities to God, we must never lose sight of our obligation to express our gratitude to Him for everything that He brings into our lives. If we truly love and worship Him our lives will be one continuous celebration of thanksgiving.
Prayer: Father, we ask that You will open our eyes to gifts that You constantly lavish upon us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
A visitor from Wisconsin was traveling through the rural roads of Georgia and noticed a fruit stand with a sign reading, “FRESH PEACHES.” Having heard of the large, sweet, juicy peaches of Georgia, he decided to stop and purchase a small basket to take on his journey.

Approaching the fruit stand he said to the farmer, “My goodness, these peaches are really small.”

“Yep,” replied the farmer with a nod.

“Well, I’ll take some anyway,” said the traveler.

A few moments later the traveler returned. He approached the farmer once again, this time looking angry. “These peaches are not only small,” he said sternly, “but they are hard and tasteless!”

“Well,” said the farmer quietly, “you ought to be thankful you didn’t buy a bushel full!”

“No matter what happens,” Paul wrote, “always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you when you belong to Christ Jesus.”

Far too often our thankfulness seems to depend on the circumstances in our lives. When “good” things happen, we rejoice - sometimes not even pausing to thank God. When “bad” things happen we complain and blame God.

Paul precedes “thankfulness” with a challenge to “be joyful” and to “keep praying.” And that’s the key: If we are always joyful and in constant prayer, we will see God at work in our lives and “be thankful” for His gifts.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize the importance of expressing our gratitude for all of Your gifts. May we learn to look beyond the immediate to Your eternal plan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Joseph Priestly left college believing he was called to serve God as a minister. However, he soon became uncomfortable with this calling and decided to teach school. One day Benjamin Franklin visited his classroom and was very impressed with his teaching skills. At the conclusion of the class he said to Priestly, “I believe that you have the abilities to write a history of electricity. I’ll help you by lending you my books and notes.”

Encouraged by the generosity of Mr. Franklin, he accepted the challenge and immediately began writing a book on the history of electricity. He was so enthusiastic and excited about this project that he researched and wrote the entire book in one year. This inspired him to dedicate his life to scientific research. His research led him to the discovery of oxygen. He is also credited with developing the first carbon dioxide fire extinguisher.

Paul recognized the important role of encouraging others. In his letter to the Thessalonians he encouraged them to “encourage each other and build each other up!”

At the end of a long race the runners often speak of muscles that are cramping or throats that are parched and burning as their body is about to collapse. But then the crowd begins to shout, “You can do it - keep it up - you are going to make it!” Those few words of encouragement are all they need to finish well.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to be alert to those around us who need a word of strength, hope or love to persevere in the face of adversity. Make us Your encouragers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
A company was well known for its highly effective sales personnel. They were able to out perform all of their competitors by their volume of sales, the new customers they attracted and the loyalty of their old ones.

Once, during an interview, a professor asked the personnel director what he did to attract so many outstanding people to his company. After thinking for a moment he replied, “We give them a water test.”

The professor was surprised. He thought he knew of every pre-employment test available. So he asked, “What is the water test?”

“Well,” he responded, “before we hire anyone, we take them into a room where the faucet is running, the sink is overflowing and water is pouring onto the floor. We offer the person a mop and say ‘Mop up the water.’ If they begin to mop up the water without turning off the faucet, we know they are poor problem solvers and decision makers and they would not be good employees. So, we don’t hire them.”

Too often Christians try to “clean” up their lives without turning “off” old habits and behaviors that lead to sin. If we want to become who God wants us to become, we must turn away from every temptation that can distract, defeat and destroy us. We can solve the problem of sinning by deciding to keep away from evil.

Prayer: We look to You, Heavenly Father, for insight and guidance as we face the difficult choices of life. May we always recognize our need for Your wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Grover Cleveland Alexander is recognized as one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all time. His record of ninety shutouts still stands and his 373 recorded victories has been achieved by only one other pitcher. In 1938 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

From his earliest days on the farm his only desire was to play baseball and be a pitcher. He actually began his career by throwing apples and stones at fence posts between chores to sharpen his throwing skills.

One day he bought a few baseballs and nailed an old catcher’s mitt to the chicken coop. He would spend every available moment throwing baseballs at the mitt and finally became successful at hitting the mitt nine times out of ten.

During his pitching career reporters mounted heaps of praise on him as his record grew and fame spread. But none of them were ever aware of the many hours he practiced with no one watching or helping him develop the skills that would eventually bring him world recognition.

Fame never comes unless one is willing to pay the price it requires. Hard work is God’s plan for all of us. Those who work diligently are the recipients of many benefits in their own lives and the lives of others. God blesses those who develop the skills He gives them.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to take the gifts You give us with great humility and work with all of our might to develop them to bring honor and glory to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
When four-year-old Sammy awoke after surgery, the nurse explained that it would be necessary for him to be fed intravenously for the next few days.

After assuring him that everything would be fine, she began the process to administer the glucose. Always in the habit of giving thanks before each meal, Sammy asked in a brave and cheerful voice, “Aren’t you going to give thanks?”

It is not easy to give thanks in painful situations. Nor is it natural to see God’s goodness in all of life’s trials and troubles. But the Apostle Paul reminds us to “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

When we give thanks, we acknowledge our confidence in the Lord, knowing that He cares for us. When we give thanks, we express our closeness to God, realizing that He is with us in every situation. When we give thanks, we declare that we are willing to accept the counsel of God knowing that His will is being done.

Prayer: Dear Lord, may I learn the grace of giving thanks to You in all of life’s situations. Help me to realize that You are always with me, watching, protecting, providing and guiding me in every area of life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (Read more…)
It was a devastating shipwreck. Only one man survived by clinging to a piece of the ship that floated to the shore of a desolate island. In order to survive, he built a hut with the leaves of palm trees and wood he was able to find.

One morning he went out searching for food when he saw clouds of smoke arising from the location of his hut. Hurriedly he ran to his dwelling only to find that it had been consumed by fire.

That night he slept little. When he awakened the following morning, he was amazed to find a ship anchored off shore. As he stood looking in disbelief, he noticed that the ship was lowering a small life boat. As it came to shore one of the sailors said, “We saw your smoke signal and wondered if everything was OK.” After he told them what happened, they took him back to the ship and eventually he returned to his family.

Scripture tells us to “Always be joyful. Never stop praying.” Situations may change but our God does not. While it is normal and natural for our emotions to change when our circumstances change, we must always turn to the Lord, believing that He will rescue us from the difficulties and dangers of life.

Prayer: We know, Lord, that You will never leave us or forsake us no matter how desperate we may be. Give us the faith to trust You completely. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
It was the rush hour in New York. People were leaving work, anxious to get home – pushing, shoving, and glaring angrily at those not walking fast enough. The crowd seemed intent on getting where they were going with no one being concerned for the safety of others.

In the midst of it all was one man singing as loudly as he could. Sitting in a wheelchair, he was pushing himself along with his arms, being careful to avoid bumping or running into anyone.

A man, who had been walking alongside him, touched him gently on the arm. “Tell me, sir, you have been making your way through the crowd for quite some time. You have been singing loudly and smiling graciously. You have no legs, you have to push yourself in an old wheelchair, and yet you appear happy and joyful. How do you do it?”

Looking the stranger in the eye, the wheelchair-bound man said, “When I stopped looking at what I had lost, and began looking at what I had left, I realized that I could sing again.”

As Christians, we must realize that God will, if we allow Him, bring us His joy even in times of pain.

Prayer: Lord, even in sickness and suffering, may we sense Your peace and presence and give You thanks. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The games were played, the gifts opened, the food eaten. Turning to his uncle, Billy said, "Thank you for my birthday present."

"Oh, it was nothing," he said pleasantly.

"Mom and I agree," he replied, "but she said I should thank you anyway."

An attitude of gratitude is one of the most important possessions anyone can have. A mind that is alert to the kind acts of others, a heart that is thankful and the grace to express ones appreciation for the blessings of life are most important.

Often, as we make our way through life, we focus on our woes and worries that seem to always be present and overpowering. So we lose sight of God's gracious and generous gifts.

It is natural to bring our pains and problems to the Lord. We know that He expects us to do so. But He also invites us to offer Him thanksgiving for everything good that happens in our lives. We need to be aware of everything He brings into our lives.

Prayer: Father, we ask that You will open our eyes to gifts that You constantly lavish upon us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
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