March 9

1 Thessalonians 2:2 – But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.

Paul and his friends were in no way on some sabbatical, kicking back and taking it easy. They came to Thessalonica after suffering, being insulted, beat up, and thrown in jail for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in Philippi. Their mission trip had cost them greatly, but God gave them courage to take a stand in the synagogue at Thessalonica and to share the same message that had brought them trouble in Philippi. Even when these men were criticized in Thessalonica they just kept on preaching, for that is what God had called them to do. Paul encouraged his readers to remember these actions and to recognize the sincerity behind them. Their boldness while under strong opposition was the sign of God at work in them and was proof of their genuineness. Opposition did not stop these men or slow them down in anyway whatsoever. A great example for you and for me to follow.

Challenge:

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes allow difficulties in my life to stop me from going where I thought God was leading me. The weather, a cold, being tired and other things sure do seem to be able take us out of the responsibilities we have in life. This verse is a great reminder for all of us to keep pushing through even though there may be obstacles getting in our way. Your challenge this week is to not allow worldly influences from stopping you from anything God is asking you to do. Rather, like Paul and his friends, let those obstacles be an opportunity for God to strengthen you through whatever is hindering you and then give you greater boldness to overcome and push through anything in your way. Just today, I heard of a friend who was broken down on the side of the road and waiting for their spouse to come pick them up. Certainly not something that they had planned for their already busy day. Even though they were frustrated in the situation, they found themselves Praising God in their trial. That makes all the difference in the world. Rather than getting mad and bothered at what is happening to you, take a moment, take a breath and trust God is using your situation to draw you closer to Him. You will be stronger for doing so and you will find your circumstance are much more tolerable. I like to put it this way. Your situation is already bad, why make it worse by getting angry? May the Lord bless you.

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Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18