we ought always to give thanks to God

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (ESV)

More on the topic of Thanksgiving. But this time it’s Paul’s thankfulness for his “brothers” at Thessalonica.

Specifically, because their “faith is growing” and their “love” “for one another is increasing”.

I love the balance between the inward, personal “faith” and the outward, helpful “love”.

And how their “faith” is not just “growing” but “growing abundantly”. Such providence can only come from God.

Both are important aspects of the Christian life. Both are necessary elements.

I imagine one leads to the other. That their trust in the Lord results in greater “love” for each other as they become less distracted by worldly concerns.

And so how could Paul not be thankful?

Kim+

prayer : that my “faith” would “grow” and thus my “love” for my brothers and sisters in Christ would “increase”

action : pray for my fellow Christians

give thanks to the LORD

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalms 118:29 (ESV)

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving today I am challenged to think about thankfulness.

It’s a common theme these days but I want to look at it from a Biblical perspective.

It’s an easy trap to thank God for the many blessings we have. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, it is thanks to Him that we have all these good things.

But do we thank Him for simply “loving” us “steadfastly”.

For His patience? His forgiveness? The wonderful gift of His precious Son sent to die on the cross for us despite our, and sadly because of our, rejection of Him who loves us unconditionally?

In a materialistic society the focus is, more often than not, centred around our welfare and wellbeing.

We thank God for possessions and health and family etc. But as great as these all are, they’re simply temporal. Fleeting. Transitory. As the writer of Ecclesiastes astutely observes.

We seem so selfish. So self-interested. So self-absorbed.

There are people living on the streets of our cities. Countless millions starving in Third World countries. Kids being sold into slavery and prostitution.

Friends suffering from disease. Mental anguish. Stress. Pain. Loss. Grief.

I lament the greed and idolatry of our society and the way it distracts us from the important things: God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible.

Shouldn’t our energy be spent helping others? Loving others? Praying for others?

Isn’t our priority to be a witness of God’s love in this broken world?

How can we best do this? What practical things do you do?

Kim+

prayer : thank you God for your never-ending love

action : seek to love others as God loves us

prayers be made for all people

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” 1 Timothy 2:1 (ESV)

Reading Paul’s letters it’s abundantly clear that prayer is a priority.

But what’s astonishing here is that it’s not some selfish, self-serving, self-seeking petition for his perceived wants and needs.

Instead, his concern is “first” and foremost for others.

And not just his family and friends. But for all people.

What a challenge!

To not think of ourselves before others: friend and enemy alike.

To care about their salvation, their very real need for “the knowledge of the truth”. (1 Timothy 2:4)

Kim+

prayer : that all people may be challenged by the Holy Spirit to seek the one true God, repent of their sins and believe, so they may be saved

action : pray for others more regularly