All Glory to King Jesus!

Scripture reading for September 23rd:  1st Timothy 1

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Timothy 1:15-19  “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”  

Paul’s testimony formed the basis of his advice to the younger minister Timothy.  Paul knew he was the worst of sinners because he had persecuted and killed Christians.  Jesus Christ appeared to him and personally confronted him with his need to repent.  God showed His patience and great mercy for Paul as an example to all who would believe on Jesus Christ.   In sharing these truths of Christ’s great mercy and patience, Paul’s heart and pen flows with worship to His Lord and King!

Observations for over-comers:   Our salvation and new creation life is based on Christ’s patience and mercy and intervention on our behalf.  Overcomers base their lives on this truth and live a life of worship!  “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.  I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”  (Psalm 89:1-2)

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Believers are workers!

Scripture reading for September 22nd:  2nd Thessalonians 3

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Thessalonians 3:10-15  “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”  We hear that some among you are idle.  They are not busy; they are busybodies.  Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.  And as for you brothers, never tire of doing what is right.  If anyone  does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him, in order that he may feel ashamed.  Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.”  

The teaching of Christ’s sudden and imminent return for those who believe caused some in the fellowship at Thessolonica to come to the conclusion that they should quit their jobs and live off what others had accumulated.  This was a cause of strife in the church because the idle believers became gossips and spread discord.  Paul wanted the church to know how to handle these people and call them back to proper doctrine.   “Settle down and earn the bread they eat” was simple sound doctrine!  Those that would not obey were to be shunned until they repented.

Observations for over-comers:  Sound doctrine makes for righteous and harmonious living.  Those who are not living in sound doctrine and claim to be believers must be lovingly confronted and disciplined if not repentant.  “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.  . . .Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.”  (Proverbs 12:11,23)

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The man of lawlessness!

Scripture reading for September 21st:  2nd Thessalonians 2

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Thessalonians 2: 1-4  “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophesy, report, or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”  

One of the false teaching going around in Paul’s day in the Thessalonian church was that the second coming of Christ known as the ‘day of the Lord’ had already taken place.  Paul assured them that this had not taken place and would not take place until a time of rebellion occurred that would culminate with the ‘man of lawlessness’ being revealed.  This man would oppose God and God’s people.  He would set himself up as ‘god’ and take over the temple.  This man would also come with counterfeit signs and wonders from Satan used to deceive those who were perishing.  (2nd Thessalonians 2:9)  Believers must not worry because this man is doomed to destruction!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers walk in the light of Christ’s prophetic plan and understand the basic events preceding the ‘day of the Lord’.  They avoid deception by loving the truth of God’s word and staying in step with the Holy Spirit.  “until the time of the end” . . .”The king will do as he pleases.  He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.  He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.”  (Daniel 11:35-36)

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Suffering and God’s retribution!

Scripture reading for September 20th:  2nd Thessalonians 1

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Thessalonians 1:6-10  “God is just:  He will  pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.  This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels.  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power on the day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.”  

The Thessalonian church was suffering severe persecution and Paul sought to bring them comfort and hope.  Here he reminds them that God is just!  God’s justice shows mercy to those who suffer and promises relief at the right time.  God’s justice forgives those who repent of their rebellion and of the suffering they caused the righteous.  God’s justice also repays unrepentant sinners for their wickedness in causing human suffering, especially of God’s people.  The payment is “everlasting destruction” and being “shut out from the presence of the Lord”!  God’s people will see His glory and behold His majesty!

Observations for over-comers:  All vengeance belongs to the Lord–He alone is just and able to judge the heart and know those who have not repented.  Remember all lost people will suffer “everlasting destruction!”  “And they (the Redeemed) will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”   (Isaiah 66:24)

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Children of the Light!

Scripture reading for September 19th:  1st Thessalonians 5

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Thessalonians 5:4-9  “But you, brothers are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.  You are all sons of the light and sons of the day.  We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.  For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  

Paul encouraged the Thessalonians concerning their new identity as sons of light.  Those who live in the light of Christ and God’s word will not be caught off guard when events of the end time prophesy are being fulfilled.  As children of the light, we belong to the day of Christ and live self-controlled lives by trusting in God’s word and His promises of salvation.  We know that we have escaped the coming wrath of God because of sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and are now awaiting the new day of Christ’s millennial reign on the earth and then His eternal reign over the new heaven and new earth.

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers are awake in the Spirit and live life in the light of Christ’s coming and eternal promises to those who believe!  “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you.”  (Isaiah 60:1-2)

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Learn to control your body!

Scripture reading for September 16th:  1st Thessalonians 4

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Thessalonians 4:3-8  “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:  that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.  The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit.” 

God has designed men and women with sexual desire and drive.  This is to be fulfilled in a marriage commitment with a spouse of the opposite gender.  God has also given us all a will and control over our appetites and bodies.  After salvation, we can and must learn to control our bodies and their appetites.  Sexual immorality is to be avoided in all its forms.  We are set apart for God and are to love our brothers and sisters and not wrong them by sexual sins.  Paul warned the church that God would punish men for all sexual sin and that rejection of this teaching and failure to apply it was rejection of God!

Observations for over-comers:  Sexual sin is a favorite temptation and trap of Satan through our flesh.  Over-comers learn to control their bodies and live by the word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.  “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all his paths.  The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the chords of his sin hold him fast.  He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”  (Proverbs 5:21-23)

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Praying for God’s people!

Scripture reading for September 15th:  1 Thessalonians 3

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Thessalonians 3:10-13  “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.  Now may our God and  Father Himself and  our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.  May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.  May He strengthen your hearts so that you will  be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His  holy ones.”

Paul knew that for the Thessalonian church to overcome Satan’s temptations and traps, prayer was a key ingredient! Paul prayed that he could see them again and strengthen their faith through teaching God’s word.  He prayed that God and Christ would clear the way for his visit.  Since all disciples would make Christ known by their love for one another, Paul prayed that their love would increase and overflow like a mighty river.  Paul also knew that Jesus would soon return and he wanted the church to be prepared.  Without holiness, no one would see the Lord!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers must be people of prayer and should imitate the prayers recorded in Scripture for their instruction.  “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  (Jeremiah 33:3)

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Satan’s hindrances!

Scripture reading for September 14th:  1st Thessalonians 2

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Thessalonians 2:17-20 “But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you.  For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, did, again and again–but Satan stopped us.  For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes?  Is it not you?  Indeed, you are our glory and joy.”  

Paul was sent out of town by night by the brothers from Thessalonica because of severe opposition and threat of death.  He had sought again and again to return to them, but stated: “Satan stopped us.”  Satanic opposition is part of every believer’s life and is especially active when missionaries take the Gospel where Satan has strongholds.  Prayer by believers and persistence to do God’s will on the part of missionaries brings breakthroughs.  Paul viewed the believers in Thessalonica as his “crown” and “glory and joy” when Jesus Christ would return!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers keep their eyes on the mission and on the return of Jesus Christ and their reward when He comes.  Satan is a defeated foe who will suffer in the Lake of Fire forever!  “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.  A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name.  “They will be Mine,” says the Lord almighty, “in the day that I take up My treasured possession.”  (Malachi 3:16-17)

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Modeling Jesus Christ!

Scripture reading for September 13th:  1st Thessalonians 1

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Thessalonians 1:4-7  “For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.  You know how we lived among you for your sake.  You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomes the message with joy given by the Holy Spirit.  And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.”

Paul had founded the Thessalonian church during his first missionary journey. He wrote to them expressing God’s love for them and His calling on their lives.   His stay there was interrupted by severe persecution and he left before he could do all the training he wanted to equip the new believers.  He preached the Gospel with power and deep conviction that had effected the believers to such a degree that Paul commended them for modeling his own life and that of the Lord Jesus!  This change came in spite of the persecution from Jews and Christ-haters.

Observations for over-comers:  The power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit to bring deep conviction and transformation should encourage us to preach and live boldly, even in times of persecution and inadequate discipleship.  “. . .so is My word that goes out from My mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  (Isaiah 55:11)

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Praying for open doors!

Scripture reading for September 12th:  Colossians 4

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Colossians 4:2-4  “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should.”

Paul was in chains for preaching the Gospel but was not hindered from encouraging the Church!  He knew that prayer was a key factor in evangelism and that missionaries and apostles especially needed prayer.  He did not want to be left out as the church in Colossae prayed.  He told them to devote themselves to prayer and to be watchful in the Spirit over themselves and those laboring for the Gospel.  He did not ask prayer to be released from his chains, but rather for clarity and boldness in preaching the message and an open door to share Christ.  He asked that he might have appropriate responses to each person that would salt them with the knowledge or hunger for Christ Jesus!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers must be devoted to prayer for open doors each day among those the Lord puts in their path.  Prayer for boldness and clarity is appropriate and commanded!  “The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”  (Proverbs 28:1)

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