No matter our profession or purpose in life, there will always be naysayers. Reading the book of Jeremiah, my husband and I were surprised by how many times he had to stand up to false teachers.
Importantly, help and comfort can be ours when we encounter difficult situations. We must realize the difference between God’s mercy and grace and the worldly-minded naysayer. When put on a balance, God is much “weightier”. Who’s opinion really matters most?
Basking in the comfort that comes from understanding God’s character, we begin to withdraw from the war and receive His help. There is no conflict when we are confident in His favor!
14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. 15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. 17 Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
Gentleness is depicted in this photo along with absolute trust. Even now, two birds are taking their morning bath in my front yard, trusting the gentle water to cleanse them while enveloped by serenity and safety.
Paul saw the need for this with new believers. When troublemakers came attempting to bring conflict, Paul endured much pain for the sake of those who were still young in the faith.
Are we willing to suffer for those who receive the gospel? Are total strangers dear enough to us that we will not only refuse money/profit but endure discomfort for their sake?
Flattering words may produce “fast friends” but authentic encouragement will be highly influential to the next generation of believers.
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly[a] mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Paul’s Ministry to the Thessalonians
2 For you yourselves know, brothers,[c] that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery,[d] as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle[e] among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 1:4 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi(translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters
Paul had amazing “religious” credentials, nevertheless he was willing to give up their value in order to gain Christ.
He could have chosen to be well respected and stand in the light of his credentials but he chose to be looked on by the world as “nothing”. In so doing, he brought many to glory. It was his passion to only know Christ and him crucified.
My righteousness must originate from faith in Christ alone. He has become the lover of my soul and the passion of my life. Losing what I value (i.e. achieving goals and starting non-profits) becomes easy in light of this great love.
What has He called you to lay down in light of achievements? – Teresa #powerfulOne #myprovider #IamHisandHeismine
Philippians 3: 4b-21 (ESV)
If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,[a] blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Straining Toward the Goal
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
The way to build my house is first to apply the fear of the LORD (the beginning of wisdom). According to Mathew Henry’s commentary, “The spirit is strengthened for the spiritual work and the spiritual warfare, by true wisdom.”
The way to establish its foundation is with an understanding of how to walk in righteousness. (Trusting in the completed work of my loving Savior)…#JesusChristheLORD.
How are the rooms of this house filled with the treasure God desires? In order to fill it with precious and pleasant riches, I can share His love with others. (Aka- not living exclusively for self but trusting God’s provision for the people around me and the generations to come).
Help me , LORD, to let go of fear of this world system so that I may live by faith (fear of you alone). #wisdom
Intentionally waiting for the silence to come. Not as an exercise but as an expectation of what it means to wait on God.
The distractions and distractors hope to sabotage this worship. How could I know they were inwardly cursing while showing that dazzling smile?
I almost carried out an online purchase promising me the same amount of dazzle. #deceit
His character is all powerful and He has a love that is steady. What more do I need?
I will choose the silence as I wait on God. – Teresa #beinghopeful #thisismywork
Psalm 62:1-12 (ESV)
My Soul Waits for God Alone
To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
62 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. 3 How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah 5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah 9 Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. 10 Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.
Both King David and the Apostle Paul touch on the value of humility in the passages below. For David, he described being crushed by the betrayal of his close companion (possibly his spiritual advisor, Ahithophel -see 2 Samuel 15:30, 31). For Paul, he could not do everything he wanted on his own due to the thorn in his flesh (possible eyesight deficiencies after being struck by a saving light on the road to Damascus).
Relying on God to get us through an overwhelming situation or relying on others to help because of our own “deficiencies” develops a strong sense of humility.
Humility is important because it reminds us who it is we worship!! (…not our capable self!) Instead, we are freed to worship our capable God. It frees us to recognize and give Him thanks for all that He provides.
For those, like me, who are plagued by a need for perfectionism, I remind myself that needing God and others is what makes me human and relatable. Instead of getting angry at myself, I get amazed at those who don’t mind helping in a time of need. In fact, they actually enjoy being a part of the solution.
I have to humble myself and admit that I cannot do it all. In fact, it’s better that I don’t, in order to keep my eyes on our great God. I found an old voice memo of me attempting to sing a meditation to God. It was so refreshing to hear in my song a humility before the Creator and sustainer of my heart. Try making up your own song today and know God is waiting to show His strength through your weakness. -Teresa #beauty
Psalm 55:20-23 (ESV)
20 My companion[b] stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. 21 His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. 23 But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.
2 Corinthians 10: 7-10 (ESV)
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Our daughter is moving out today. Although it has been sweet to have her at home for the past 10 months, I can sense her excitement to move on with her life.
When I retired in May, I was excited to move on with my life but found there was much healing to be done first. Patience and honest reflection helped me to find a place of peace.
Because I’m goal driven, my new goals are: healing, health and helping my family. In addition, I’ve kept up with ministry service at the mission and seasonal volunteer work with the discipleship program of Head2Heart.
Ending something is truly a blessed time. It forces reflection and if we are honest, it can direct us into healthier choices.- Teresa #wisdom
Ecclesiastes 7:8-10 (ESV)
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart[b] of fools. 10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
God is like water, not any water but water that is fresh, not stagnant. #comeallwhoarethirstyISAIAH 55:1
Knowing we must drink makes our thirst heightened and desperate. I never tire of drinking from the deep well of God’s love, even when I’m waterlogged by the breakers of opposition.
Where is He? Where is God? He touches the water of my tears, He feels the pouring out of my prayers.
He watches me cast down the turmoil in my soul and brings me hope through His steadfast love and comforting song.
The deadly wound of the enemy is fought through the life-giving stream of God’s provision. #ChristJesus #springofwaterwellinguptoternalife (see John 4:14)
Psalm 42: 1-11 (ESV)
42 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?[b] 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation[c]6 and my God.
My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. 8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. 9 I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
The tree gave unreservedly that year. The fruit was sweeter and juicier, somehow more satisfying.
It may have been similar to our 2021 harvest from the Santa Rosa plum tree. Who knew that such an old, gnarly tree could still produce an abundant crop.
When the seed of God was crushed, buried and left for dead, He produced a generation of faith unlike any other time on earth. #kairos
At that moment when all seemed lost, life was renewed. He rose from the dead with a new body, no longer a seed but with a body (bread) of spiritual provision for mankind. A reconnection with the Father.
The only requirement for us is to be naked before Him. By removing our pretensions and good works, we realize how vulnerable we truly are.
We will be amazed that He is able #worthy to bring us into the Father’s presence. In that place, we can be richly clothed with the communion of our forever family. #Hisrighteousness
Job feared God and was clothed through worship. What will stop us today from truly worshiping our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ?
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.