Summary: 3rd in the series "Left Behind: 1 & 2 Thessalonians." Looks at the community of believers.

Just Want to Be With You

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:5

SEBRING (FBW)—Susan Cook, a member of Sunridge Baptist Church in Sebring, Florida recently received a letter from her 21-year-old son Dustin Beerbower, a specialist with the Army National Guard serving in Iraq.

Dear Mommy,

Just want to let you know I’m still O.K.....

Wanna tell you this cool story. Two nights ago, I had gone to bed late. I couldn’t sleep as usual. Then about midnight I heard 2 loud booms, which sounded like they were 2 feet away from me… after about 5 minutes of silence we all got up off of the floor and got back to bed.

Come to find out, we had 2 rocket propelled grenades (otherwise known a RPG’s) fired at our building from across the river. The Chaplain had gone up on the roof to see the guards up there, and they vouch for this, too, by the way.

He said he saw the 2 men fire the RPG’s almost simultaneously, and the small exploding heads were on their way, no turning back. Being a Chaplain, what is the one thing you always carry with you?...a Bible. The Chaplain said he saw the 2 RPG’s coming, looked almost as though directly towards him. He heard a loud voice yell "STOP THEM." He said he didn’t know why but he held up the hand with the Bible in it and softly said, "Please."

What happened next is gonna blow your mind. The Chaplain said he watched the RPG’s almost instantly do a 90 degree turn away from the building and land harmlessly in a field about 100 feet away from the palace.

Mommy, I think that there is a second force here in the palace, even stronger than we are. Our guardian angels have taken up post all around our perimeter. I know it has been because of everyone’s prayers back home, and I have 100% faith that I will be returning home safe and in 1 piece. Though I do not know the time or the day, I do know it will happen, hopefully soon.

Well, just thought I had to share that with you ... I just wanna say thanks, Mommy. Thanks for always having faith, thanks for all of your prayers, thanks for never giving up hope, and most of all, thanks for being a wonderful Mommy! I love you. Love, Dustin (Florida Baptist WitnessA letter to ‘Mommy’ from a soldier in Iraq...

Published September 25, 2003)

Apart from the obvious supernatural factor, this is a typical letter home

Andrew Carrol is the founder of Project Legacy which records a piece of American history in the form of some 75,000 letters home from every conflict the US has ever engaged in.

Carrol says ‘The common theme in the soldiers’ letters home from every war is "I am OK, don’t worry." The most common phrase -- "I love you." ‘

In that way, the letter we’re reading from Paul to his dear friends at Thessalonica is very similar. He wants them to know he’s OK and that he loves them.

In these few paragraphs we’ve read today we can see an example of how love expressers itself, or a kind of pattern for how we in the church should relate to one another.

The first way is to…

1. Love One Another

17But, 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.

DL Moody once said “Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in the community.” To illustrate he told this story: “In Chicago a few years ago a little boy attended a Sunday school I know of. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far, and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer his home.

"They may be as good for others, but not for me," was his reply.

"Why not?" she asked.

"Because they love a fellow over there," he replied.

Moody Concludes, “If only we could make the world believe that we loved them there would be fewer empty churches, and a smaller proportion of our population who never darken a church door. Let love replace duty in our church relations, and the world will soon be evangelized.” Moody’s Anecdotes, pp. 71-72.

John said “Let us not love with words

or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” - 1 John 3:18.

Loving isn’t always easy. But love demonstrates itself in sacrificial action. Taking time when you don’t have any, sharing from what little you have.

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