Ministry, leadership, discipleship, the local church and the deep riches of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Today's time being shaped like Christ is in 1 Thess. 5:1-11.
Help me be awake to the need to do spiritual battle today so that I will encourage and build up others (6-8, 11). Since there is no escaping the Day of The Lord, use me to make Your hope known so that people will not be caught unprepared for judgment (2-8). Amen
Today's time being reshaped by the Word is in 1 Thess. 4:13-18.
Use me today to encourage someone to hope in You as he/she grieves over the death of a loved one (13,18). Our hope of living forever with Jesus and with those who trust Him is grounded in Jesus' death and resurrection (14,17). Help me live today in light of Jesus' coming by bearing fruit that will last when He comes.
Today's biblical mindset is from 1 Thess. 4:13-18.
Thank You for defeating death (14). Thank You that even though we rightly grieve when separated from loved ones who have died, we know that for Your children, the separation is temporary. When Jesus comes, He will reunite me with all those I have lost. Then together, we all will get to meet Jesus (17). Thank You that I don't have to worry about missing that day since You will announce it with the archangel's voice and trumpets (16). Let me live today in light of the reality of Your coming by encouraging others to trust You (18).
Today's attitude-altering truth is in 1 Thess. 4:9-12.
Teach me how to love my faith family more and more (9-10). Develop in me a good reputation among those not in the faith family by: limiting my speech only to what You want me to say, not sticking my nose where it doesn't belong, and not mooching off anyone, but rather having a reputation of being someone who works hard for Your (11-12). Accomplish these in me by Your kindness toward me.
Today, be transformed by the Spirit-applied word in 1 Thess. 4:1-8.
Thank You for making Your will for my life completely clear. Your will is that I be holy (3-7). Don't let me be satisfied with how holy I was yesterday, but cause me to align my life "more and more" with Christ's holiness that You put in me as a gift (1). Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to teach me holiness. Don't let me ignore You when You ask me to be holy (8).
Today, be changed as the Spirit applies 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.
Direct my way completely today (11). Make my love for Your people, and for everybody grow radically (12). Prepare me to be holy to the core for when Jesus comes again, when He presents me to You, Father (13).
Today, be changed by the truth if 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5.
Sample way to pray this text,
Let me choose loneliness if that is what it will take to strengthen others' faith (1-2). Thank You for the privilege of being Your "co-worker" (2). Show me the work You have prepared for me to do today. Put believers in my life to help me stand "unshaken" when I suffer (3,5). Help my faith endure the Enemy's attacks that are sure to come when I proclaim the truth about Jesus (3-4).
Today's time in the life-changing Word of God is in 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20.
Give me a love for Your people that makes me willing to face abuse to help them grow in the Lord (17-18). Those whom You mature in Christ through me will be the only accomplishment worth mentioning when Jesus returns (19). The greatest and most joy-giving thing I can do in this life is to point others to Christ (20).
Note: See Acts 16:5-13 for a description of the dangers of Paul going to Thessalonica.
Yesterday, my youngest child, my son, graduated from high school. This is a letter I wrote him to mark the occasion:
On your graduation day, it would
be good to look back on all of the adventures we’ve had over the past 18 years
of your life.We could reflect on all
the funny stories and great memories—the fun times, the goofy stuff.But I want to take this time to be serious
and remind you of something that you hated about school.I want to remind you of the tests.I know—on graduation day, the last thing
anybody wants to think about is tests. But since your diploma is still in our
hands and not yours, we’re going to talk about what I want to talk about.
In your 18 years on earth, you’ve
experienced some tests. One of the blessings of homeschooling is that your
whole life doesn’t revolve around a test schedule—except the dreaded annual
testing.It was different before we
started homeschooling, and it certainly has been different with all the classes
you have been taking at Bluefield College.Tests are tough.They require
preparation.They require mental
toughness.They require being able to
adapt to the teacher’s idiosyncrasies and style.They require you to see and communicate the
material as the teacher sees it, not necessarily how you see it.
But school tests aren’t the only
tests you’ve experienced. You have been blessed to be raised in a Christian
home and we have worked hard to protect you from many of life’s tests until you
were ready to handle them.But you’ve
still had some.It took you 10 days in
neonatal intensive care to pass your first test.Later, you were tested with moving from state
to state, having to leave friends behind and make new ones—that’s a test.A dad being away from home far too much when
you were little—that’s a test.Extended
family issues, dealing with the loss of loved ones—those are tests.Transitioning from being a military brat to a
PK—that’s a test.Those tests have been
tough.We tried to prepare you for them
and shepherd you through them.They
developed a mental toughness in you.They required you to learn to adapt to different styles and
situations.They allowed you to see and
communicate with people through their eyes, and not just your own.
The thing about tests is, there
is great satisfaction when you do well—and you have done very well.My pride wells up as I think about how well
you’ve done. But then there are the
times when failure comes.You are a good
student and haven’t experienced much failure.Through God’s grace and protection, you haven’t experienced much failure
in life either.But it will come.And how you handle those failures is what
will determine the kind of man you become.You’ve heard me say before—a man’s character is shaped and displayed
more in failure than in success.James
puts it like this: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of
various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces
My prayer for you on your
graduation day is that you will be steadfast and immovable—that you will endure
in your faith, in your strength, in your manhood.I would love to pray that tests and trials would
not come your way—but I won’t.As much
as it will hurt your mother and me to see you go through trials and tests, we
will pray that you continue to learn endurance and steadfastness through them,
so that you will never be shaken.So my
words to you on this important day are the same words that were given to me by
my Papaw Drake.They are the words King
David spoke to his son Solomon in 1 Kings 2:2-3: “Be strong, and show yourself
a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and
keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it
is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and
wherever you turn.”
Son, you are growing into a man
of faith, character and strength.I am very
proud of you now.But more than that, I’m
proud of who the Lord is making you to be.May the Lord give you just enough tests in life that you will be able to
be strong and show yourself a man.
Today's reminder of the Truth is in 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16.
Enable me to accept Your Words today not merely as human wisdom or opinion, but as Your very instructions to me that powerfully change me unlike any other Words (13). May Your Word effectively enable me to endure hardship for Jesus (14). May Your Word keep me from sin so that I won't cause anyone to stumble whom the Spirit is drawing to be saved (15-16).
Today's time being shaped by Scripture is in 1 Thessalonians 2.7-
Use me today to grow someone up toward Christ-likeness by being a gentle giver, not a taker (7,9). Let my conduct not cause anyone to stumble (10). Let me encourage others, comfort others, and implore others to walk worthy of God (12). Thank You for calling me into Your rule and greatness (12).
Today's time being shaped by the Word is in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6.
Make me bold to speak the gospel despite opposition (2). Let me strive to please you rather than people today (4). Examine my heart and remove any impure motives in my speaking Your Truth today (4). Let me not glorify people or live to be glorified by people, but to point to Your greatness alone today (5-6).
Although his father Patricius was an unbeliever until just a few years before he died, Augustine of Hippo was blessed to have a Christian mother. Throughout years of rebellion, sin, adultery and lust, Monica never failed to pray and fight for her son’s salvation.
One day in late August, 386, when Augustine was 32 years old, his mother’s prayers were answered. From that point until his death in 430, Augustine became one of the most influential Christians in history. Christian History magazine put it succinctly when they wrote, “After Jesus and Paul, Augustine of Hippo is the most influential figure in the history of Christianity.” And it was all because of the faithful prayers of his mother, Monica—just as all I am is because of the faithful prayers of my mom, Carol.
Today's effective Word for us is in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10.
Let the Gospel truth empower me, connect me with Your Spirit, assure my heart that I am Yours, and be my joy despite suffering (5-6). If others imitate me, let them be imitating You (6). Let the gospel that is changing me "ring out" and change others too, ringing out from them to change yet even more (7-8). Turn me from anything that competes with Your rightful rule of my heart (9). I live today waiting for Jesus to come and take me home (10).
Let others see Your grace and peace overflow in me today (1). Let me be known for having a faith that compels me to work at spreading Your rule throughout my life and my world motivated by Your love (2). Cause my hope to be only in You and to last because I know You chose me and love me (3-4).
Today's time being shaped by God's Word is in Philippians 4:19-23.
Teach me the difference between needs and wants. Thank You for supplying all I need (19). Thank you for revealing Your greatness in Christ (19). Let me live to reveal Your greatness now and always (20). Use me to strengthen the partnership among everybody at church (21-22). Use me to reach those least likely to trust you, just as You saved those in caesar's house through Paul's imprisonment (22). Let me deeply know Your grace so I can share it with others (23).
Today's time being conformed to Christ by the Spirit-applied Word is in Philippians 4:15-18.
May I be a part of my church's reputation of being a people who give (15). Help my giving produce spiritual fruit (17). Let it be worthy of and point to Your generosity (18). God, are You pleased with my giving? Make me aware of an opportunity to give today as a way to confirm the truth of the gospel and of Your love for others.