Jesus Changes Lives (1 Thessalonians 1-2)

An interesting letter, this one. It’s kind of neat to see how the Thessalonians are continuing to grow after the last letter. It is a common story in the early church, but one that still amazes me when I read it, that they would be thriving so much under persecution (and apparently someone saying that Christ had already returned!). I said it a few posts ago, but I’ll say it again. Clearly lives were being changed here, and it was evident.

Also, I like how everything they tell the Thessalonians to do is for the glory of Christ Jesus. It makes sense to continue to push them to greater things but always to bring it back to Jesus. It’s a reminder for me too – that everything I do be for his glory and not my own.

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Glory to God (Acts 11-12)

“But the word of God increased and multiplied” – Acts 12:24

I find it so cool that God continues to do amazing things in Acts. In today’s reading, this is primarily focused on getting Peter out of jail and bringing the good news to the Gentiles. Whenever I read about grace being extended to those who were not of the Jews, I feel a particular sense of happiness, because I know that this is why I am able to approach God freely today.

What I love most about all the things that God is doing, is that they all bring HIM glory. Yea, it’s super cool that these things happened, but the end result is always for him. Persecution happens. But the Good News spreads. God is always glorified.

In death, in life,
I’m confident and covered by the power
Of your great love!

All Sovereign

So lately I’ve been powering through Jeremiah – and when I say powering through, I literally mean I’ve been forcing myself to read 3-4 chapters per day, and those chapters aren’t short. Truth be told, I’m trying to catch up with my own goal I, for some reason, set to finish the whole Bible/Old Testament by the end of this year (I’m not convinced I’ll make it, but hey – I’m trying).

Regardless, the point of this post is Jeremiah, not my strange plan for reading the Bible without a study plan or intermittent goals.

So Jeremiah has been difficult to read. I’ve always known the token verse Jeremiah 29:11-13,

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek mewith all your heart.

(ok, I’ll be honest, I actually only knew verse 11 for the longest time, but reading the other two and the ones surrounding it make the verse a whole lot better)

But reading though Jeremiah … man is there a lot of foreseen destruction towards Israel! I got confused at times because I could have sworn God gave them over to famine and pestilence 5 chapters back … and I’m still not quite clear on the whole story line. However, it has resulted in me pondering the idea of destruction of a nation because of the ‘entire nations sins’.

For a while, it didn’t really make sense to me why God would destroy his nation with another nation … and then destroy THAT nation because they attacked His people. And, to be honest yet again, I still don’t get it.

but thats ok.

What I’ve come to realize is this: God does all of these things, whether they seem good or bad in our eyes, to bring about further glory in Himself. The Isrealites are warned time and time again and they don’t heed Jeremiah – so God must bring about what he said he would for His word is true. He also cannot allow his name to be defiled because he is worthy of all honour and praise. And really, its a wonder He even let them go as long as He did!

The thing that even still amazes me in all of this is that God never will fully destroy his people. He, like a loving father, sternly disciplines His people, but then he gives His people another chance. He still needs people to declare his glory to the world.

If God builds six billion statues of himself in the world, what might be the point?

Every rise and fall, though we don’t understand it, is part of God’s plan. He is all sovereign, and directs man as He pleases.

While I don’t like not being able to understand everything, this humbles me as I consider the perfect control God has over my life – and its all so that He can proclaim His glory.

I am on my knees
’cause You’re everything I need
And I’ve made a mess of myself on my own
And now I am on my face
and I’m calling out Your name
And I won’t run away
’cause I’m already home

– Thousand Foot Krutch