Monday, January 28, 2008

Thankfulness and Prayer

Moving along to the next section in 1 Thessalonians 3, we read:
6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

11Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Timothy has returned to Paul. He brought with him good news. The Thessalonican church was doing really well. :) He brought them good news of their faith, of their love, and mentioned how they as leaders are thought of fondly. We learn how they both long to see each other again. I read those words and I see "family" written all over it. The joy in knowing that family is doing well, the desire to be with each other once again. But that is what we are called to be as believers...a family. God's children. Caring, loving, being concerned for --- family.

Knowing how well they are doing is a huge comfort to Paul. I like how Matthew Henry puts it (as found in the e-sword software):
The apostle thought this good news of them was sufficient to balance all the troubles he met with. It was easy to him to bear affliction, or persecution, or fightings from without, when he found the good success of his ministry and the constancy of the converts he had made to Christianity; and his distress of mind on account of his fears within, lest he had laboured in vain, was now in a good measure over, when he understood their faith and the perseverance of it. This put new life and spirit into the apostle and made him vigorous and active in the work of the Lord. Thus he was not only comforted, but greatly rejoiced also: Now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord, 1Th_3:8.
Paul was so happy and thankful for the belief of his young Christian brothers. He hardly knew where to begin in his thanksgiving to God for them and their faith. Gill tells us:
They had given thanks to God for them before, for their faith, love, and patience; see 1Th_1:2 and now having received a further account of them, they looked upon themselves bound to give fresh thanks to God for them, for the increase of their faith and love, and for their perseverance, as they did; see 2Th_1:3 since these are gifts of God's grace; but they knew not where to begin, what to render, and when to end.
All Paul can do is pray earnestly for them day and night. He can express his gratitude for God to them, he can pray that God continue to direct their paths, he can pray that God will help them to increase in love, and to abound in love to each other, and that God will establish their hearts in holiness before him when Christ comes again.

Hmm..... I read those words and I think, now that's something I can pray about for my hubbie. I have to admit sometimes I scarce know how to pray for him. He is such a solid man of God that sometimes I wonder. But I read these words and think now this...this I can pray for. But not only for him, but other Christians that I know who are solid in their faith. That God help them love more, that God help them become more holy, and that God continues to direct their paths. I like it. :)


Lillie Ammann said...

This is a good reminder. So often we tend to pray for people who are in trouble and forget to pray and thank God for the faithful ones who are doing well.

Annette said...

I do the same thing, which made this so poignant. One must pray I think for the strengthening of the body of Christ, not just for those struggling within it. :)