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Posts tagged ‘First Epistle to the Thessalonians’

History’s Best Seller.

We also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:13

Recommended Reading
1 Thessalonians 2:13-20 ( )

According to Wikipedia’s list of best-selling books, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is history’s top novel, followed by The Lord of the Rings, The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), and  The Hobbit — each selling more than 100 million copies.1 But none of those compare with the circulation or impact of the Bible, which is by far the most widely distributed book on earth and in history.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( )

If you’re facing a crisis, how much strength do you find in A Tale of Two Cities? If you need spiritual encouragement, do you turn to The Lord of the Rings? These may be enjoyable reads, but they can’t bring salvation to our hearts, life to our souls, strength to our spirits, or heaven to our pathways. While we treasure the heritage of good literature, only one book is given by inspiration of God.

Welcome, read, and obey the Bible each day not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in those who believe. (accessed September 4, 2013).

1 Corinthians 14-16

By David Jeremiah.

The Joy of Thanks-Living.


In everything give thanks; for this is God‘s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

We are heading into the best time of the year – the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.  I just love being with family and friends … enjoying great food, great fellowship, and great football (Go Longhorns!).

As we enter Thanksgiving, we tend to focus on our blessings and giving thanks for God’s goodness.  While that is certainly a good thing, it is not the best thing.  The best thing is to turn Thanksgiving into Thanks-living.  Regardless of the day or the situation, God wants us to be thankful.  Why is that?

1.  Thanks-living lets God know you have confidence in Him, no matter how deep the problems or how dire the circumstances.  Thanks is faith turned inside out.

2.  Thanks-living changes your countenance and disposition.  Instead of being down and discouraged, spreading gloom and despair everywhere you go, you begin to radiate the joy of the Lord.  The best witnesses for Christ are those who are facing life’s trials with a song of thanksgiving on their lips.

3.  Thanks-living opens the door for God to work.  God hates it when we grumble and gripe … but He loves it when we praise and give thanks.  As we begin to live a life of thankfulness to God, He begins to work, even through the toughest trials and tests of faith.  Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison … and they sang a hymn of praise to the Lord.  And when they finished singing, the Lord sent a jailhouse rock, and the prison doors were opened.  You mark it down: God does miracles on our behalf when we choose to thank Him and praise Him, even in the deepest, darkest pit.

Let me challenge you as I challenge myself.  Discipline yourself to give thanks in everything.  Thank Him for the mountains … and thank Him for the valleys.  He is worthy of all your thanks and praise.

A Prayer You May Need to Pray

Dear God, I hate to say it, but I have been guilty of grumbling and griping about all my problems and trials.  I have failed to be thankful and to remember that You are at work in my life, even through all the troubles.  Please forgive me, God.  I want to be a person who keeps my eyes on You and praises You, no matter what may come my way.  So, thank you God for these blessings (name them) and these challenges (name them).  I know You are in control of all things.  I know You love me and work all things together for my good.  I choose to trust You, Lord.  Teach me to be a “praiser” who always finds the good … and not a complainer who always finds the bad.   In Jesus’ name, amen.


Jeff Schreve

P.S.  Would you let us join you in prayer?  Leave your prayer request on ourPrayerWorks link and allow people from all over the world to pray for you.  You can also receive an email alert when someone does pray for you … and it is completely anonymous.  Thanks for letting us be a blessing to you.

Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.

The Nine Guys Who Missed Thanksgiving (1 of 4).

Series: The Optimism Factor
Pastor Chris Brown
Luke 17:11-19

Luke 17:11-14

– What does it take to get you to use your “Master” Card?
Luke 17:13

– Obedience always precedes God‘s blessings.
Luke 17:14


1. It’s a decision and an action.

Luke 17:15, Philippians 4:4-7, Colossians 3:17

2. It’s an act of humility.
Luke 17:16, Deuteronomy 8:11-17

3. It draws us closer to God.
Luke 17:12 and 16, Psalm 100:4, James 4:7-10, Romans 1:21

4. It’s God’s will.
1 Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:19


1. We’ve all found ourselves at some point falling into the trap of not showing gratitude just as the nine lepers did. Which of the following gratitude roadblocks could most likely become a barrier for you?
– Not realizing all I have been given
– Taking for grant …

A Lost Art: The Ministry of Encouragement.


Who are you encouraging? Who are you building up?(Tim Dorr)

When our home phone would ring on Saturday morning, I knew it was probably my future wife’s grandfather, Hubert Sparks, calling. He called my dad almost every Saturday morning. He didn’t call to complain, make a suggestion or ask for anything; he called because he was genuinely interested in the welfare of his pastor.

“Sparks here, Pastor. Just calling to see how you and your family are doing. How can I be praying for you today?” The conversations were always short and to the point, and my dad always hung up feeling better. Hubert Sparks was the most encouraging man I’ve ever met.

The ministry of encouragement seems to be a lost art, replaced by the art of networking. Every relationship needs to be milked for all it’s worth. Who does this person know? What can they teach me? How can they help me or my organization get ahead?

Lip service is given to a person’s well-being, but what we really want is information and connection. I love networking and helping others, but I find myself getting cynical when every email, text or phone call begins, “I was wondering if we could get together? I have something I want to run past you.”

This week I had the chance to catch up with some old friends in Charleston, S.C. None of them wanted or needed anything from me, and I wasn’t trying to learn, grow or network. We were just friends swapping stories, hurts and prayers.

I walked away from each conversation refreshed and encouraged. It made me wonder, “Who am I encouraging? Who loves to get my call or text because they know I’m just checking to see how they’re doing? Who looks forward to getting together for coffee because they know they will walk away encouraged?”

The interesting thing is that encouragement is a biblical imperative:

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (1 Thess. 5:11, NLT)

Who are you encouraging? Who are you building up? Who do you connect with on a regular basis with no agenda other than a genuine interest in their life? We all need a Grandpa Sparks in our lives.

Geoff Surratt has served as the pastor of church planting at Saddleback Church and pastor of ministries at Seacoast Church. He is the co-author of The Multisite Church Revolution and The Multisite Church Roadtrip as well as the author of Ten Stupid Things that Keep Churches from Growing. Geoff blogs here and Twitters here, but he juggles for no man.

For the original article, visit

Written by Geoff Surratt

Feeling Good by Being Grateful.

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?
Psalm 42:5a

Recommended Reading
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ( )

Dr. Robert Emmons is unofficially known as “the gratitude scientist”. Officially, he’s a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and author of  Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.  His “10 Ways to Become More Grateful” are helpful, especially number four: Learn Prayers of Gratitude.1 It’s hard to feel depressed and grateful at the same time.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( )

Actually, linking prayer and gratitude together is not so much “new science” as it is old wisdom. The apostle Paul linked the two together in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18: “Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.” When we find ourselves discouraged — or “cast down” to use the psalmist’s language — finding ways to give thanks is a positive antidote to a negative condition. While it may be counterintuitive to give thanks for the circumstance causing our discouragement, we can still give thanks “in” that circumstance.

Whether you are happy or sad at this moment, give thanks to God for the blessings you enjoy.

Christian doctrine is grace, and Christian conduct is gratitude.
J. I. Packer (accessed 6-13-13)

Mark 12-13

By David Jeremiah.

The Power of Prayer.

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer is our communication link with God. Open, constant communication with Him keeps us within calling distance. When we neglect our prayer life, we experience a major breakdown in communication from headquarters. Then we can’t receive orders from our Commander-in-Chief.

When that line of communication is down, our spirit man cannot receive direction from God. We become vulnerable to the enemy and are subsequently motivated by our flesh instead of our spirit. Our ears become deafened to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, and the whispered lies from the enemy begin to sound believable.

When you pray, you have access into the spirit realm where God is; and He will reveal to you the root cause of any battle you are facing.

Prayer in private equals power in public. Battles are won in your prayer closet on your face before God interceding in prayer, seeking His wisdom and receiving His direction.

Teach me, Lord, how to pray without ceasing in both
my private and public moments. Help me to keep my
mind and heart continually communicating
with You. Amen.


A Sound From Heaven.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. —Acts 2:2

Sound is the vibration of air molecules; the Greek word translated “sound” here is echoes, which means “to reverberate.” Acts 2:6 says, when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together. The word noised” is phoneo, meaning “to publish” or “to proclaim.”

Luke is telling us in these two verses that the multitude heard a voice echoing like a mighty rushing wind and the phenomenon was made public. On Pentecost, God spoke life to the church in much the same way He created heaven and earth. Ezekiel prophesied to the wind, and the army came alive (Ezekiel 37).

When God speaks to us, His Spirit reverberates in our human spirit. We can then speak the oracles of God and allow His message to reverberate in the hearts and spirits of others (1 Thessalonians 1:8).

What has the Spirit deposited in your heart that you are burning to speak? What message from the Lord are you passionate to share with others?

Lord, open my mouth and baptize me in fire so that
I may share Your Word with anyone who will listen.
Empower me to speak Your message. Amen.


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