Summary: What gives a Christian the ability to face each week no matter what may come? The Gospel! The fact we are God’s children! The blessings God has poured out onyo us.
1) Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. 2) We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3) We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4) For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5) because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
Dear Brothers & Sister in Christ Jesus:
Sunday marks the beginning of another week on our pilgrimage here on earth. Some of us look forward to each new week with excitement. We get excited of the possibilities of what a new week brings and the week may have flown by. Sometimes we are so busy that a week seems more like a day.
Some of us do not because the events that have taken place this week have brought trials and hardships into our lives. The week has taken forever (or so it seems) to pass – its then it feels like that each day is as long as a week by itself.
We do not know what this coming week will bring. We don’t know today what physical or mental pain we will suffer before the week is over.
We are unaware of the joy that will come into our life during this week. Even though we do not know what lies ahead, we are not afraid to begin a new week because as God’s children we know that he is in control and that he will work out all things for our good. Knowing this allows Christians face each week with confidence.
We can’t really begin any week with confidence without first looking back over the past weeks, months and years and being grateful for all the blessings that we have received. As the Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians his thoughts went back to the past. He thought about the time he began the congregation and how God blessed the Thessalonians with the gift of faith. Paul thought about how God had blessed him by allowing him to be the shepherd of his flock. And as he thought about the past he did so with gratitude. He wrote “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.”
The gratitude Paul felt in his heart, he expressed to God in prayer. As Paul prayed for the Thessalonians, he also expressed his thankfulness to God for all the blessings God had graciously poured out on him. It is the same for me. Each day I thank God that he has allowed me to be your Pastor. Thanking God for each one of you in my prayers. Thanking God for the blessings he has given me – expressing my gratitude.
As we think back on the past events in our lives, we do so with gratitude. We are thankful for all that God has done for us in the past. We are thankful that he has provided us with all that we need for body and soul.
He has watched over us so that no harm or danger came near us. He has been with us through the good times and the sad times. He has strengthened us and encouraged us when things looked bleak and we were ready to give up. Those are but a few of the many reasons we have for viewing the past with gratitude in our hearts.
In writing to the Thessalonians, Paul mentions two reasons especially for being grateful for blessings received. The first reason mentioned is our election. Paul writes “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.”
God has chosen us too. This is something we can have confidence in as we begin each week. Before we were born, before God created the world, in eternity he chose us to be his own. God elected us to salvation through his Son Jesus Christ. God made the choice. We didn’t. We did not influence his choice in the least. How could we? We weren’t around in eternity.
In our hymnal we have a hymn that reminds us that we were chosen by God. Hymn #380. Open up the hymn book and let’s look at this hymn. In this hymn we sing “Lord tis not that I did choose you; That I know could never be, For this heart would still refuse you Had your grace not chosen me. You removed the sin that stained me, Cleansing me to be our own; For this purpose you ordained me, That I live for you alone.”