Benedictions for Faithful Followers

The first measurable snow fall for the season. It is at least two weeks late from what you could expect in past years. I remember commenting to someone recently that it seemed like it always snowed on or by Halloween.

In spite of the weather and cold, I did make it out for my Tuesday morning prayer meeting. I also made it to my fitness center workout with my trainer. As I was getting ready to leave for the gym Ted Grizzel was finishing up shoveling our sidewalk and driveway. Thanks Ted!

My workout went well, but I think after three days in a row, I am ready for a rest day tomorrow. It is interesting how fatiguing some of my exercises can be. While making progress, I’m not up to my five or six days of workouts per week, like in the past. My neurologist, told me that he believes that all of my thymus gland may not have been removed during my surgery last year. That was his best take, without a chest MRI, as to why  the Myasthenia Gravis blood panel comes back show the same results as before the surgery. I scheduled my next appointment at Northern Colorado Rehab Hospital for a week from Friday. This will be sooner than I expected, but hope to see some positive results from the past few weeks.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word….May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ….Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”  1 Thessalonians 2:16,17; 3:5,16

Paul is writing to a church, but it seems many of his admonitions and instructions apply to those devoted to serving Christ’s purposes in the world. Paul writes with a perspective of Christ’s second coming in view. It is this promise that is to give focus and perseverance in the face of persecution for the sake of the gospel. His prayer is…“that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power…”       (2 Thess. 1:11)

In chapter 2, Paul writes about the coming of “man of lawlessness” (i.e. The Antichrist) and then pronounces God’s blessing on their life, trusting God to do for the Thessalonians  what they had received from the Lord. Paul says,  as we have received from Christ comfort and good hope, [we pray] for your hearts to be comforted and established in every good work and word.

As Paul brings this short letter to a close he expresses confidence in the Lord’s protection of His people and their obedience and then prays for the Lord to direct their hearts to the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ. I find it interesting, but not out of place, for Paul to place a focus on these two areas. When persecution comes love for God and love for others can be tested. Our perseverance can be challenged as well, especially when fruit may be lacking in our efforts. I believe this is in Paul’s focus because before his final “benediction” he says, “do not grow weary in doing good.”    (2 Thess. 3:13)

Paul’s final desire is for God’s peace to be with [the Thessalonians] at all times and in every way. This not peace that comes from the absent of conflict from without, because these believers have been experiencing the opposite of that. This is peace that resides on the inside regardless of what is happening in our world.

When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, His greeting was, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:21) We see in the upper room that Jesus twice makes reference to the peace He desired to characterize the life of the disciples. When Paul writes to the Ephesians he says, “Christ is our peace…” (Ephesians 2:12). When he writes to the Philippians he tells them as they focus their thoughts on the right things that the “God of peace will be with you…” (Phi. 4:9) When Paul writes to the Thessalonians he refers to Christ as the “Lord of peace.” It is then only natural that when we are walking in relationship with “Lord of peace” that God’s peace will characterize our life.

Comfort for hearts, being establish in every good work and word….hearts directed in the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ….peace at all times in every way...the Lord’s abiding presencewith those attributes characterizing our lives, we are ready for the “glorious appearing” of our Savior.