ADORATION – Reflect on God’s Greatness
GOD IS PEACE In 1 Corinthians 14:33 Paul says, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” Although “peace” and “order” have not traditionally been classified as attributes of God, Paul here indicates another quality that we could think of as a distinct attribute of God. Paul says that God’s actions are characterized by “peace” and not by “disorder” (akatastasia, a Greek word meaning “disorder, confusion, unrest”). God himself is “the God of peace” (Romans 15:33, 16:20, Philippians 4:9). But those who walk in wickedness do not have peace: “‘There is no peace,’ says the Lord, ‘for the wicked’” (Isaiah 48:22, 57:21).
CONFESSION: Confess your sins to God and receive his continued mercy.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
THANKSGIVING: Giving thanks to God for his specific blessings in our lives.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100
SUPPLICATION: Bringing our requests to God.
- Bring your personal prayer requests to God.
- Pray for Christian Challenge. Pray that college students would attend tonight and God would use the time together to challenge and encourage students in their discipleship to Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 3 – The Message
1-2 So when we couldn’t stand being separated from you any longer and could find no way to visit you ourselves, we stayed in Athens and sent Timothy to get you up and about, cheering you on so you wouldn’t be discouraged by these hard times. He’s a brother and companion in the faith, God’s man in spreading the Message, preaching Christ.
3-5 Not that the troubles should come as any surprise to you. You’ve always known that we’re in for this kind of thing. It’s part of our calling. When we were with you, we made it quite clear that there was trouble ahead. And now that it’s happened, you know what it’s like. That’s why I couldn’t quit worrying; I had to know for myself how you were doing in the faith. I didn’t want the Tempter getting to you and tearing down everything we had built up together.
6-8 But now that Timothy is back, bringing this terrific report on your faith and love, we feel a lot better. It’s especially gratifying to know that you continue to think well of us, and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you! In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive.
9-10 What would be an adequate thanksgiving to offer God for all the joy we experience before him because of you? We do what we can, praying away, night and day, asking for the bonus of seeing your faces again and doing what we can to help when your faith falters.
11-13 May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.
Let’s tie in the themes of the desolation of isolation and the desperation of suffering. When Paul was afraid that the church might be struggling with their faith because of persecution he sent his friend Timothy to encourage them. They had already been taught the truth but now what they needed was a “ministry of presence.” They needed a person, Timothy, to come and pour courage (en-courage) into their hearts. You don’t have to have brilliant things to say to people who are suffering. You need only be there with them. In order to maximize impact you need to have built a trust relationship with them prior to the trouble. That being said, even if you have not built a strong trust bridge before, perhaps God is going to use their suffering to open them up to deeper relationship with you and with him. If you are struggling personally and you feel both the pain of isolation and of suffering, then consider who God has given you to encourage you. They will not be perfect. You may have to reach out and ask for help. You may feel like they don’t want to help or that you don’t like to appear needy. My experience has validated the truism, “People are challenged by your strengths and encouraged by your weakness.” As you let others see your weakness, your need, they will often be ready to help however they can. In addition, you will be modeling courageous, humble, openness for them.