Posts Tagged ‘2 Thessalonians 1:3’

Ever increasing faith

February 9, 2019

The Verse of the Day for February 9, 2019, comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 in the Amplified Bible:

3 We ought and indeed are obligated [as those in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as is fitting because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of every one of you each toward the others is increasing and abounds.

This verse reminds us that faith is not static, but God wants our faith to grow, increase and abound. When the apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith,” he responded:

6 And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6 Amplified Bible)

As we plant and water the Word of faith in our lives, God will give the increase, as we grow from those of “little faith” to those who demonstrate “great faith.” That particular expression along with the Verse of the Day brings to mind my recently released book, Embracing Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs. Indeed, faith continues to be an essential component of my life, and I discuss its importance in Chapter 6: “The Faith Factor: Without faith it is impossible. . .” This excerpt serves as an appetizer to the full course meal offered in the book.

Throughout my encounter with prostate cancer, I was well aware of the importance of faith because the diagnosis challenged me to go to God and seek His guidance and direction as never before. During this time, I was asked to write an article sharing what faith means to me. This task helped me to articulate the importance of faith which I describe as the “bedrock of my life.” Defined as confident assurance, trust and conviction in God that I will prevail, faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I recognized that the topic has been of interest to me since high school when I first taught a Bible study on faith at a youth camp. Focusing on Hebrews 11, verses 1 and 6, I shared what little I knew at the time, but I have since expanded my knowledge of the subject and personal application of the principles of learning to live by faith. Those two verses have contributed to the foundation upon which I have built my life as a teacher and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the years following my diagnosis, I expanded my knowledge of the subject of faith, examining the Word of God and pointing to essential illustrations of faith in Hebrews 11 and elsewhere in the Scriptures and in life. . . . The Gospels offer an account of an individual who impressed Jesus Christ with his “great faith.” The centurion in Matthew 8 comes to Jesus Christ with a request that he heal the man’s servant. In response, the Lord says that he will come and do as he asks. The centurion counters by saying that Jesus does not have to come to his house, but he has“. . . only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” In response, the Lord says, “I tell you truthfully, I have not found such great faith [as this] with
anyone in Israel. The centurion demonstrated “such great faith” and profoundly impressed the Lord.

A contemporary term corresponding to “great faith” is “crazy faith.” When believers encounter circumstances that seem utterly impossible and respond that they know the situation will turn out favorably, despite what appears to be a hopeless case. The world might respond to their positive expectations with, “That’s crazy!” We know, however, that we walk by faith and not by sight, and we counter with “That’s not crazy. . . That just means we have ‘crazy faith.’” Larry King says, “Crazy faith is when you simply refuse to let what you perceive –that is, your circumstances, your situations, your trials, tests, and obstacles – interfere with what you believe.”

Here is a poetic description:

Such Great Faith—Crazy Faith

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed,
Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith,
not even in Israel!

Matthew 8:10 (KJV)

As servants of a king assess his vast treasure,
When the Lord returns, will he find faith on the earth?
When He appraises our faith, what will it be worth?
When all is said and done, may we add our measure,
Though small as the grain of a tiny mustard seed.
Should the Lord come during the Age of the Gentiles,
May our faith be found so pure that nothing defiles.
May we be living by faith in word and in deed,
For God is ever faithful and His Word is true.
May such great faith descend from the centurion
To the faithful ones who bear this criterion:
Whatever God shall speak, this shall He also do.
We will still be walking by faith, not by what we see,
While pressing toward the mark, reaching toward our destiny.

Here is John Waller offering a musical expression of “Crazy Faith”:

Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs is available wherever books are sold and online. For more details check out https://lonnelledwardjohnson.com.

Increasing faith and abounding love

February 9, 2018

2 thessalonians 1-3

The Verse of the Day for February 9, 2018 comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 in the New International Version:

[Thanksgiving and Prayer] We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

 We ought and indeed are obligated [as those in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of every one of you each toward the others is increasing and abounds.

The Verse of the Day notes two areas of growth in Christian believers, as faith and love are mentioned throughout 1 and 2 Thessalonians, the Church Epistles whose focus is the hope of Christ’s return.

Faith

Faith is not static but God’s desire is that our faith grow, increase and abound. When the apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith,” he responded:

 And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6 Amplified Bible)

The plant mentioned by Jesus Christ to illustrate faith is the very small seed of the mustard tree, a pod-bearing, shrub-like plant, growing wild, which is also cultivated in gardens. The little round seeds were an emblem of any small insignificant object. Faith is described in this way:

“It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth.” Jesus goes on to say, “It [faith] is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.”

In another account, we encountered a situation where a man brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples, but they could not deliver the son, but Jesus healed him. Later when the Disciples asked why they could not cast out the demons, Matthew 17:20 explains:

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” This verse is graphically illustrated in this video clip:

The passage also brings to mind the power inherent in “mustard seed faith”  alluded to in this poem:

Just have a little faith

Just have a little faith—it is all that you ever need.
All God asks for is a grain, the size of mustard seed.
Faith will move the highest of mountains make no mistakes.
Wholehearted believing, no doubt, is all that it takes.
Faith abounds in God’s Word for all those who read and heed.

Follow in the steps of Christ wherever they may lead.
Those who walk by faith and not by sight are rare indeed.
Inspired by people of great faith, a hero awakes:
Just have a little faith.

Passion to serve grows each day, a fire you must feed,
Striving for more–energized by love and never greed.
Faithful is our loving Father who never forsakes
But fulfills to the ultimate each promise He makes.
Walk forth in victory–live by faith and you will succeed.
Just have a little faith.

A mustard seed once planted and nurtured grows into a mighty tree, just as our faith should grow and abound.

Love

Not only are believers to grow in faith, but they are also exhorted to abound in love, as is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:7 (AMP):

But just as you excel in everything, [and lead the way] in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in genuine concern, and in your love for us, see that you excel in this gracious work [of giving] also.

Philippians 1:9 (AMP) also reinforces the message:

And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more [displaying itself in greater depth] in real knowledge and in practical insight,

1 Thessalonians 3:12 (KJV):

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

A classic metaphors to describe love is a rose. Indeed, love is a rose that grows—

The budding rose never stays the same but unfolds in lovelier ways.

The Verse of the Day and related scriptures remind us our faith and love are to increase and abound.

We conclude with the musical group “Two or More” offering a lively song “Faith of a Mustard Seed” in English and Spanish.

 

Faith is a journey

April 24, 2017

Within the past several weeks, a number of Quotes of the Day as well as Verses of the Day have focused on faith. In addition, faith continues to be a topic of importance in that Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC has been teaching a series related to faith. From the series a metaphor emerged which described “faith as a journey.”

In addition, I discussed a related quote “Faith is a journey; when you start, you can’t quit.” Bishop Mellette also make the following statements to corroborate this point:

“Faith is not an experience—Faith is a journey. . . Your faith is coming and growing,” as he also shared 2 Thessalonians 1:3:

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,

He also shared Romans 10:17:

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

He went on to say, “Your faith grows exceedingly—Faith is progressive . . . It involves a process. It is ongoing. God is not your previous experience. . . God is your new beginning, as we are living our faith every day.”

In a previous blog post on faith, I commented on the significance of faith in my life as a believer, as I recalled that my first Bible teaching shared at a Youth Night service at a church camp in high school centered on faith, as I explored Hebrews 11:1, and verse 6. More than 50 years later when I was required to write my personal testimony to share with students whom I taught at Indiana Wesleyan University, I entitled my sharing “My Journey of Faith”

One of Bishop Mellette’s teachings related specifically to “Faith as a journey” and inspired the following poem:

 On Our Journey . . . The Journey Continues

May we see clearly where our paths have led

And be strengthened for the journey ahead.

“Strengthened for the Journey”

 

“And now I cause you to begin even a new journey. . .

The journey has already begun.”

Apostle John Tetsola

 

We are steadfast– our souls remain anchored in hope,

Eagerly watching and waiting, looking above.

Feeling during dark times that we can barely cope,

But seasons swiftly change, for we have come to know

Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.

Despite appearances, God has the last say so.

Once more we seek to serve, to go where we are sent

That our lives should reflect the praise of His glory,

The finishing touch on your crowning achievement:

The surprise happy ending of this love story

When all creation finally gets back to being one,

Even as with Father, Holy Spirit, and Son.

The perfect will of God unfolds for all to see,

As we begin each new day on our journey.

Recently while developing an online American Literature course for Carolina College of Biblical Studies, I incorporated the same metaphor: “Life is a journey of discovery,” as a theme revealed in a variety of literary works by American authors. Students also explore their personal feelings, thoughts, and reactions evoked from the various readings as they intersect with each individual’s quest to find his or her personal identity.

The course points out one of the universal concerns of humanity is the quest for identity. Every individual seeks to find out “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose in life?” Life can be viewed as a “Journey of Faith,” the  quest to discover our true identity as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In thinking about this concept, a meaningful song comes to mind to remind us to take joy in each phase of our ongoing journey of discovery.

Michael Card offers “Joy in the Journey”:

Flourishing faith and growing love

February 9, 2016

2 thessalonians 1-3

The Verse of the Day for February 9, 2016 comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 in the King James Version:

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

The New Living Translation of 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NLT) puts it this way:

[Encouragement during Persecution] Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.

Today’s verse notes two areas of growth in Christian believers: faith and love which are mentioned in Thessalonians, the Church Epistles whose focus is hope, the hope of Christ’s return. Paul commends the believers in Thessalonica for two reasons: “because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.”

In the corresponding verse in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (KJV) Paul also offers a similar commendation:

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

Amplified Bible offers this rendering:

Recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith, and your service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout First and Second Thessalonians we find no reproof or correction directed toward this group of believers who are commended because of their flourishing faith: Their reputation as believers of great faith has spread across the world.

1 Thessalonians 1:8 in the Amplified Bible notes this:

For the word of the Lord has resounded from you and has echoed [like thunder], not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place [the news of] your [great] faith in God has spread, so that we never need to say anything about it.

The heading preceding the Verse of the Day in the New Living Translation mentions “Encouragement during Persecution.” This is precisely what these notable believers provide in 1 Thessalonians 3:7 in the Amplified Bible:

For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and suffering we have been comforted and greatly encouraged about you because of your faith [your unwavering trust in God—placing yourselves completely in His loving hands];

Not only are believers at the Church at Thessalonica to grow in faith, but believers everywhere are also exhorted to abound in love, as mentioned in

2 Corinthians 8:7

Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

Philippians 1:9 offers these encouraging words:

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

Observe this part of the prayer offered in 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (KJV):

12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

One of the classic metaphors related to love is that of a rose. Indeed, love is a rose that grows—“The budding rose never stays the same but unfolds in lovelier ways.” Concerning the love of God, Paul offers this exhortation to those whose “love for one another is growing:”

1 Thessalonians 4: 9-10 (NLT):

But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.

Just as the Verse of the Day commends the believers in Thessalonica, the Scriptures also remind us that our faith and love are to increase and abound.

In thinking about the encouraging words found in First and Second Thessalonians and elsewhere, recall 1 Thessalonians 5:11 which provides the inspiration this poem:

Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Don’t stop now—keep on pursuing

Keep seeking His face

Don’t get weary in well doing

You must keep the pace

Seek and you shall find

The strength to be transformed–

Renewed in the spirit of your mind

Encourage yourself

And encourage one another

Build each other up

Every sister and brother

Speaking the truth, we grow up

Therefore, encourage one another

The accompanying video “Encourage one another” is also a compilation of the same verse from I Thessalonians 5:11 and other scriptures along with words of encouragement from Kimberly Culpen. May we all be strengthened and encouraged today.

Flourishing faith and growing love

February 9, 2015

2 thessalonians 1-3

The Verse of the Day for February 9, 2015 comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 in the New Living Translation:

[Encouragement during Persecution] Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NLT):

Today’s verse notes two areas of growth in Christian believers: faith and love which are mentioned in Thessalonians, the Church Epistles whose focus is hope, the hope of Christ’s return.

Faith

Faith is not static but God’s desire is that our faith grow, increase and abound. When the apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith,” he responded:

 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17:6)

The plant mentioned by Jesus Christ to illustrate faith is the very small seed of the mustard tree, a pod-bearing, shrub-like plant, growing wild, which is also cultivated in gardens. The little round seeds were an emblem of any small insignificant object. Faith is described in this way: “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth.” Jesus goes on to say, “It [faith] is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.” A mustard seed once planted and nurtured grows into a mighty tree, just as our faith should grow and abound.

Love:

Not only are believers to grow in faith, they are also exhorted to abound in love, as is mentioned in

2 Corinthians 8:7

Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

Philippians 1:9

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

1 Thessalonians 3:12

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

One of the classic metaphors that describe love is a rose. Indeed, love is a rose that grows—

The budding rose never stays the same but unfolds in lovelier ways.

The Verse of the Day reminds us that our faith and love are to increase and abound.

The Epistles of First and Second Thessalonians with their emphasis on the Return of Jesus Christ are sources of strength and encouragement for believers. There is no correction or reproof to “the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The passage for today opens with this note in the New Living Translation: Encouragement during Persecution

In thinking about the encouraging words found in Thessalonians, I recall Thessalonians 5:11 which provided the inspiration for this poem:

Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Don’t stop now—keep on pursuing

Keep seeking His face

Don’t get weary in well doing

You must keep the pace

Seek and you shall find

The strength to be transformed–

Renewed in the spirit of your mind

Encourage yourself

And encourage one another

Build each other up

Every sister and brother

Speaking the truth, we grow up

Therefore, encourage one another

The accompanying video “Encourage one another” is also a compilation of the same verse from I Thessalonians 5:11 and other scriptures along with words of encouragement from Kimberly Culpen. May we all be strengthened and encouraged today.

 

Let faith and love abound

February 9, 2014

2 thessalonians 1-3

Note the Amplified Bible:

We ought and indeed are obligated [as those in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of every one of you each toward the others is increasing and abounds.

The Verse of the Day notes two areas of growth in Christian believers: faith and love which are mentioned in Thessalonians, the Church Epistles whose focus is hope, the hope of Christ’s return.

Faith

Faith is not static but God’s desire is that our faith grow, increase and abound. When the  apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith,” he responded:

 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17:6)

The plant mentioned by Jesus Christ to illustrate faith is the very small seed of the mustard tree, a pod-bearing, shrub-like plant, growing wild, which is also cultivated in gardens. The little round seeds were an emblem of any small insignificant object. Faith is described in this way: “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth.” Jesus goes on to say, “It [faith] is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.”

A mustard seed once planted and nurtured grows into a mighty tree, just as our faith should grow and abound.

Love

Not only are believers to grow in faith, they are also exhorted to abound in love, as is mentioned in

2 Corinthians 8:7

Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

Philippians 1:9 also reminds us:

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

The point is further reiterated in 1 Thessalonians 3:12

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

One of the classic metaphors used to describe love is a rose. Indeed, love is a rose that grows—

The budding rose never stays the same but unfolds in lovelier ways.

The Verse of the Day reminds us that our faith and love are to increase and abound.