Today's Lectionary Text
1 Thessalonians 5:14-24
And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
These are difficult days. We should not be surprised because Jesus warned us about the last days. And we are in the last days; in fact, we have been, ever since Jesus’ ascension to God the Father’s right hand.
Living for Jesus takes faith in the work and victory of Jesus Christ. Our faith is lived by our devotion to God first, through our self-sacrificing love, in His strength, in our ongoing confident hope, and Holy Spirit led wisdom and courage to finish the race well.
Yes, it is certainly more challenging with greater competition for allegiance to God and His Word. Most people knew the church was the place to be on Sunday mornings, evenings, and Wednesday nights, too. People recognized the Bible as authority for their lives and our society. Most counted the salvation offered through the cross of Jesus to be the source of peace with God.
When things went well for Israel, it was when God’s Word was trusted as true; when the Lord’s love and mercy were sought, and His law was the standard by which to live, regardless of the other cultures around them. They struggled to remember their Covenant with God.
So do we. Our nation has fallen away from God’s leadership. How do we respond? By remembering our HOPE and FUTURE through the New Covenant in Christ Jesus our Lord. Renew your commitment to His Presence in our lives through Holy Spirit and Bible and share the truth in self-sacrificing love – no matter what the culture around us is doing or saying!
-- Sandy Ferguson, pastor
Keats Riley-Leonardville-Swede Creek-Randolph UMCs
Prayer for Reflection
Holy God, help us to rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Your will for us in Christ Jesus. We desire a closer walk with You, fed by Your word and guided by the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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