Will you Pray for the Persecuted and their Persecutors?

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1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

14 For you became imitators, brothers and sisters, of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, because you too suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they in fact did from the Jews,

15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us severely. They are displeasing to God and are opposed to all people,

16 because they hinder us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they constantly fill up their measure of sins, but wrath has come upon them completely.

———

Context: In the previous verse Paul thanked God that they accepted his words as God’s words and how those words continued to work in them. Now he likens them to the persecuted church in Judea.

Phrases:

For you became imitators, brothers and sisters, of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea because you too suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they in fact did from the Jews-

  • Meaning just as the Judean churches suffered at the hands of the non-believing Jews, so the Thessalonian believers suffered at the hands of the non-believing Jews.
  • We know the Jewish leaders during Jesus’ time threatened believers in Jesus to be ostracized from synagogue life.  See below.
  • John 9:20-23 So his parents replied, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But we do not know how he is now able to see, nor do we know who caused him to see. Ask him, he is a mature adult. He will speak for himself. (His parents said these things because they were afraid of the Jewish religious leaders. For the Jewish leaders had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, “He is a mature adult, ask him.”)
  • Also, we know the new Jewish believers were poor in Jerusalem. Wealthier members sold lands and possessions to support those in need. Being ostracized by the Jews due to their belief in Jesus may have caused this crisis.
  • Acts 2:44-45 All who believed were together and held everything in common, and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need.
  • Jews persecuted the church after the death of Stephen causing many to flee.
  • Acts 8:1 (NET) 1 And Saul agreed completely with killing him. Now on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria.

who killed both the Lord Jesus-

  • Meaning the Jews killed the Lord. They even verbally took responsibility for this before Pilot.
  • Matthew 27:24-25 (NET) 24 When Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but that instead a riot was starting, he took some water, washed his hands before the crowd and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. You take care of it yourselves!” In reply all the people said, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

and the prophets –

  • Meaning the Jews were also responsible for killing the prophets throughout their history. Jesus also testifies to this.
  • Luke 11:50,51 (NET) 50 so that this generation may be held accountable for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation.
  • Luke 13:34 (NET) 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it!
  • Stephen also proclaimed this before his martyrdom….
  • Acts 7:51-52 You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become!

and persecuted us severely-

  • Meaning the Jews persecuted Paul and all of the gospel ministers.
  • Persecution of Peter and John
  • Acts 4:1-3 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests and the commander of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, angry because they were teaching the people and announcing in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. So they seized them and put them in jail until the next day (for it was already evening).
  • Stephen was Martyred by the Jews
  • Acts 6:12 (NET) 12 They incited the people, the elders, and the experts in the law; then they approached Stephen, seized him, and brought him before the council.
  • Acts 7:58 (NET) 58 When they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, and the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.
  • Paul persecuted after his conversion by Jews in Demascus
  • Acts 9:21-23 All who heard him were amazed and were saying, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem was ravaging those who call on this name, and who had come here to bring them as prisoners to the chief priests?” But Saul became more and more capable, and was causing consternation among the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. Now after some days had passed, the Jews plotted together to kill him,
  • Acts 9:28-29 So he was staying with them, associating openly with them in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. He was speaking and debating with the Greek-speaking Jews, but they were trying to kill him.
  • Paul persecuted by Jews in Thessalonica and Barea as shown below.
  • Acts 17:5 (NET) 5 But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly.
  • Acts 17:13 (NET) 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God in Berea, they came there too, inciting and disturbing the crowds.

They are displeasing to God and are opposed to all people, because they hinder us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved-

  • Meaning the Jews in various places not only persecuted Paul but also hindered the message to the Gentiles.
  • Acts 13:14 (NET) 14 Moving on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.
  • Acts 13:44-50 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city assembled together to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and they began to contradict what Paul was saying by reviling him. Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, “It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.‘” When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice and praise the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life believed. So the word of the Lord was spreading through the entire region. But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high social standing and the prominent men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out of their region.
  • Acts 14:1-6 The same thing happened in Iconium when Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a large group of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they stayed there for a considerable time, speaking out courageously for the Lord, who testified to the message of his grace, granting miraculous signs and wonders to be performed through their hands. But the population of the city was divided; some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. When both the Gentiles and the Jews (together with their rulers) made an attempt to mistreat them and stone them, Paul and Barnabas learned about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding region.

Discussion Questions:

  • In what places are Christians being persecuted today?
  • In what ways are Christians being persecuted today?
  • How can we help them?

Thus they constantly fill up their measure of sins-

  • Meaning the Jews have had a pattern of being on the wrong side by killing the prophets, the Lord, persecuting the church, Paul, and hindering the gospel to the Gentiles.

but wrath has come upon them completely-

This phrase can be interpreted in two ways…

  • 1. Meaning God’s wrath in hell is already planned for the Jews though not yet completely experienced – it is as good as done – it’s a done deal.
  • John 3:18 (NET) 18 The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.
  • 2. Meaning Jerusalem will be completely destroyed in 70 AD as Jesus foretold in Mathew 24, Luke 19, and Luke 21- it is as good as done – it’s a done deal though not yet experienced. When Paul wrote this letter, Timothy and Silas, those who accompanied him to Thessalonica, are still with Paul. Therefore, many believe this letter was written shortly after their visit to the Thessalonians, possibly while he was in Corinth. This would have been before 70 AD. Also, in chapter 5, Paul uses similar language of Jesus in Mathew 24 which seems to refers to the destruction of Jerusalem which he describes as still a future event.
  • Luke 19:42-44 (NET) 42 saying, “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. 44 They will demolish you – you and your children within your walls – and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”
  • Luke 21:20-24 (NET) 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those who are inside the city must depart. Those who are out in the country must not enter it, 22 because these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Discussion Questions:

  • What will happen to those who reject the Son?
  • How can we help them?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Will you Pray for the Persecuted and their Persecutors?

Bob,

Just as the Christian Thessalonians and Judeans were persecuted by the Jews, My people are still being persecuted all around the world by various groups because they hold to the name of My Son.  Be diligent to pray for them!!!

I will have wrath on those who reject My Son and harm My children.  My Son was born in the flesh, did good, taught many good things, yet they killed Him.  What else could He do to save the world?  He has done it all.   Warn those who reject My Son and persecute My children.  Pray for them to receive forgiveness through My Son.


Persecutions around the world

China

http://www.bpnews.net/48505/religious-liberty-in-china-rapidly-deteriorating

Egypt

http://bpnews.net/44263/isis-victims-spark-call-for-prayer

Africa

http://www.bpnews.net/47579/christians-massacred-in-central-african-republic

Middle East

http://www.persecution.org/?s=middle+east+persecution&x=0&y=0

India

http://www.persecution.org/2017/09/05/church-planters-in-india-faced-with-growing-resentment-and-persecution/

Norway

https://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-family-gets-5-children-taken-away-by-govt-for-teaching-god-punishes-sin-151693/

Kentucky

http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/Jailed-clerk-vows-not-to-back-down-over-marriage-licenses-324751891.html

Colorado

https://www.adflegal.org/jack-phillips

 

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Nimuel Chhatria India Missions Report – August 2017 thru October 2017

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1, REPORTING TIME PERIOD , August to October 2017

2, DONATION RECEIVED THIS PERIOD ,Contributions through Western Union Money Transfer

3,DONATION SPENT THIS PERIOD , Spent all

4, ACCOUNT BALANCE END OF THIS PERIOD , email for more information

5, LIST OF PEOPLE SERVED THIS PERIOD , Total ,89 people and children professed to Jesus Christ

6, LIST OF PLACE VISITED THIS PERIOD , 14 Hindus villages

7, SPECIAL EVENTS THIS PERIOD

Blessed be the name of God that 13 people took baptism this time in the name of the Father ,the Son and the Holy Ghost , and established a fellowship ,Church name is Bethany Baptist Church ,Pastor xxxxxx is taking care of this service ,

Praise God that we could reached out to Hindus Children ,total ,238 Children and some Youths

We had the Bible Study Class among 50 Pastors ,Leaders and believers

Reaching to a unreached Hindus Tribal areas with the gospel ,arranged gospel meetings and they heard first time gospel in their life

8, PRAISES FROM THIS PERIOD

Our God is doing marvelous work in our life ,He enable us to Visit many many unreached areas

Praise God for Baptism service

Praise God for Children ministry ,among Hindus children and many Children professed to Jesus Christ

Praise God for Bible Study class among Pastors leaders and believers

Praise God for our outreach team work ,reaching Hindus Villages and arranging gospel meetings ,

Praise God for our prayers partners and contributions ,

9. PRAYER REQUEST

Praying for the new souls ,their Spiritual growth

Praying for our follow up work

Praying for the new location , may God open the door reaching out

Please do pray for community Tribal people living under poverty

Praying for Leprosy Camp people ,Children as we are doing ministry among those group

Pray for a Church Building at xxxxx, there having around 50 believers and this time 13 people took baptism

In order to do the gospel Team work , we have been praying for a Four Wheeler (car) because it will be helpful for Summer and Rainy Season time

Please do pray for out Missionaries Funds

10, NOTEWORTHY FUTURE PLAN

As God has called me to reaching out to unreached areas , Visiting Door to Door ,Distributing gospel Tracts ,NT ,sharing the gospel ,doing follow up work ,arranging gospel meetings in many villages , We must need a Four Wheeler and praying earnestly to use it for His Kingdom and glory

Praying and planing to arrange the gospel meetings thrice in a Month

Praying to reach many more Children and Hindus Villages

Praying for our Baptist Bible School and Bible study Class

I prefer much to see the fruitful gospel work

God bless you all ,
With much regards ,

Rev,Nimuel Chhatria ,

President ,NEW LIFE MOVEMENT ,INDIA ,

www,indiasnewlifemovement.org
Cell ,+91 94377 39404

Do You Believe the Bible is God’s Word? 1 Thessalonians 2 verse 13

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1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NET)

And so we too constantly thank God that when you received God’s message that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human message, but as it truly is, God’s message, which is at work among you who believe.

——

Context: In the previous passage, Paul reminded the Thessalonians how he worked to provide for himself to not burden them, how he lived holy, righteously, and blamelessly among them, and how he treated them as a father treats his own children. Now Paul tells them why he thanks God regarding them.

Phrases:

And so we too constantly thank God –

  • This is the second time Paul mentions his thankfulness to God for the believing Thessalonians.
  • The first time Paul was thankful for their work of faith, labor of love, and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (chapter 1 v 2-3)
  • Now he mentions he is constantly thankful for them because of the below reason.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you share a few examples of people who you are thankful that God is working in their lives?
  • What are some practical ways that we can be reminded to ‘constantly’ be thankful?

that when you received God’s message that you heard from us you accepted it not as a human message, but as it truly is, God’s message-

  • Miraculously, some of the Thessalonians, previously idol worshippers, accepted Paul’s words as the words of God.

A) God

  • Strong’s Definitions: θεός theós,theh’-os; of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially the supreme Divinity.

B) message

  • Strong’s Definitions: λόγος lógos,log’-os; something said.

Below are other passages where a similar miracle happened.

  • The historical account of Paul at Thessalonica.
    Acts 17 
    After they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
    Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
  • 3000 accepted Peter’s words.
    Acts 2:41 (NET) 41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added.
  • Cornelius believes Peter’s words are from God.
    Acts 10:33 (NET) 33 Therefore I sent for you at once, and you were kind enough to come. So now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to say to us.”
  • Gentiles in Perga in Pamphylia believed Paul’s words as the word of the Lord.
    Acts 13:45,48 (NET) 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and they began to contradict what Paul was saying by reviling him. 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice and praise the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life believed.
  • Peter says Paul’s words are scripture.
    2 Peter 3:15-16 (NET) 15 And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, 16 speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures.
  • A Christian believes Scripture is God’s words though they were written by men.
    2 Peter 1:21 (NET) 21 for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Discussion Questions:

  • Explain when you believed the Bible was God’s Word?
  • Explain what made you believe it was true?
  • Can you name ‘professing christians’ who do not believe parts of the Bible?

which is at work among you who believe-

A) Work

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἐνεργέω; energéō, en-erg-eh’-o; to be active, efficient.
    The English derivative is the word energy.
  • Notice the present tense of the phrase. It does not say the word of God worked, but it says the word of God is at work in the Thessalonian believers.
  • In a true believer, God’s word not only worked in their conversion years ago but continues to work in the life of the believer day by day.

Discussion Question:

  • In what area(s) has God’s words recently worked in your life?
  • What do you think happened to others who seem no longer effected or interested in God’s words?
  • We only see what is going on from the outside with others who seem backslidden, can you give an example of someone who seemed like God’s word had no effect, but later came back to the Lord and professed God was working in them the whole time?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Do you Believe the Bible is God’s Word?

Bob,

Be thankful for the miracle of believing the Bible is My Word.  Praise Me for what I am doing through My Word in the lives of those in your church. Glorify Me for sustaining the trust in My written words within your family members and friends. Don’t take for granted the miracle of others believing the Bible as My words in your culture which is declining rapidly.

Continue to trust all of My Words. Don’t throw out Paul’s teachings as some do. Don’t redact the miracles of My Son in the Gospels like Jefferson’s Bible. Don’t reject James because you think it contradicts Paul. Believe all My Words.  Work in studying them, and don’t cut them out because you can’t figure them out.

My work in you was not a one time event years in the past, but My words continue to work in you to mature you day by day. Pray for those who profess Me, but seem to deny Me with their behavior. Pray for their regeneration – possibly they have not a living faith. Pray for their repentance – possibly they are born again but are babes in Christ.


Do We Treat Others Like a Father Treats His Own Children? 1 Thessalonians 2 verses 9 through 12

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1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

9 For you recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery: By working night and day so as not to impose a burden on any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
10 You are witnesses, and so is God, as to how holy and righteous and blameless our conduct was toward you who believe.
11 As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his own children,
12 exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you live in a way worthy of God who calls you to his own kingdom and his glory.
——–

Context: In the last passage, Paul reminded the Thessalonians that he did not burden them with his Apostleship, instead he loved them as a nursing mother. In this passage he continues to remind them how he did not burden them financially, but loved them as a father loves his own children.

For you recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery: By working night and day so as not to impose a burden on any of you –

  • Meaning Paul, Silas, Timothy, and possibly Luke labored extremely hard for about a month (Acts 17) to provide for themselves so they were not financially dependent upon the Thessalonians.

Discussion Question:

  • How do you think the Thessalonians felt about the Apostles’ message knowing they were not asking for any money from them?

we preached to you the gospel of God –

  • Meaning not only did they provide for themselves, but they also told them the gospel throughout the week and at the synagogue meetings on the sabbaths (Acts 17).

You are witnesses, and so is God, as to how holy and righteous and blameless our conduct was toward you who believe-

  • Meaning the Apostles lived upright lives among them as an example before them. Also they did nothing to take advantage of the believers.

Discussion Question:

  • How does the way we live effect our gospel message presentation?

As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his own children-

  • The last passage mentioned his love for them like that of a nursing mother, but here his love for them is like a Father for his own children.

exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you live in a way worthy of God –

  • Paul lists three ways his fatherly love was expressed toward them:

A) exhorting-

  • παρακαλέω, parakaleō, to call for, invite to come, send for.

B) encouraging-

  • παραμυθέομαι, paramytheomai, to exercise a gentle influence by words; to soothe, comfort, console.

C) insisting –

  • μαρτυρόμενοι, marturomai, mar-too’-rom-ahee. I call to witness, testify, solemnly charge.

D) worthy

  • ἀξίως axíōs, ax-ee’-oce; appropriately.

Paul called them to his side to follow his example, he used gentle words to comfort them, he confronted them directly and clearly to live their lives appropriately for God in the same way that he demonstrated by living holy, righteous, and blamelessly among them.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you name a spiritual Father in your life? How did he call you to his side, comfort you, and charge you to live appropriately for God?
  • Who have you spiritually challenged in a Fatherly way?

who calls you to his own kingdom and his glory-

A)  glory-

  • A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature by Walter Bower,
  • 1. Brightness, splendor, radiance. The state of being in the next life is thus described as participation in the radiance or glory.
  • 2. Magnificence, splendor, anything that catches the eye.
  • 3. Fame, renown, honor.

Meaning, although Paul preached the gospel, it is God who calls them to His own kingdom and to His own glory.

Discussion Question:

  • Explain how you feel when contemplating this phrase, who calls you to his own kingdom and his glory?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Do We Treat Others Like a Father Treats His Own Children?

Bob,

When you teach the Gospel of My Son to others, be sure that they know you don’t want anything from them in exchange.  Make sure that they know your only motive is the salvation of their souls through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Also, when you teach My gospel, your walk had better match your talk.  Live holy, righteous, and blameless.

Be grateful for those men who walked the talk, and be grateful for men who led you by example, comforted you, and challenged you to walk uprightly.  Be that man for a younger brother.

I am calling you into My kingdom and into My glory.  Live worthily!  You are a citizen of My Kingdom.  You will be in awe when you see My radiance, splendor, and majesty – though present now dimly, it will be so bright on that Day.

 

Do You Love Others Like a Nursing Mother? 1 Thessalonians Chapter 2 verses 5 through 8

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1 Thessalonians 2:5-8

5 For we never appeared with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed – God is our witness –
6 nor to seek glory from people, either from you or from others,
7 although we could have imposed our weight as apostles of Christ; instead we became little children among you. Like a nursing mother caring for her own children,
8 with such affection for you we were happy to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

——

Phrases:

Context:

In the previous passage, Paul spoke of his courage in God to declare the gospel to the Thessalonians and of his motive to please God and not men. In this passage, he further describes his pure and humble motive and manner among them.

For we never appeared with flattering speech, as you know –

  • Webster defines flattery as praise that is not sincere.
  • Romans 16:18 (NET)
    18 For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naive.

Discussion Questions:

  • What should come to our mind when someone is using flattering speech?
  • Can you give an example where someone is using flattering speech to sell you something or convince you of something?

nor with a pretext for greed – God is our witness –

  • Meaning Paul’s conscience before God was clear because he was not teaching them with the motive to get their possessions.
  • 2 Corinthians 2:17 (NET)
    17 For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit, but we are speaking in Christ before God as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God.
  • 1 Peter 5:2 (NET)
    2 Give a shepherd’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you give examples in modern Christianity of those who preach to obtain a lot of  money?
  • Should pastors and evangelists ask for money?  Explain.
  • Should we provide for pastors and evangelists?

nor to seek glory from people, either from you or from others –

  • Meaning Paul’s motive in teaching them was not to receive praise and great honor from men. This idea was also implied in v. 2:4.

although we could have imposed our weight as apostles of Christ –

  • Some Greek texts include this phrase and others do not.
  • As an apostle, Paul could’ve burdened them by requiring money and glory as mentioned above. As Jesus’ sent-one, He deserved as much.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you think of a example of a church leader appearing to desire too much praise and honor from men?
  • When do service toward God, do you sometimes feel a desire to be recognized and lifted up by men?

instead-

  • This word contrasts what Paul could have expected from them. Instead he appeared humble before them.

we became little children among you –

  • Again, Greek texts differ on the inclusion of this phrase.
  • Paul uses the phrase, little children, to show how humbly he came to them – children having the lowest demands for respect in society.

Like a nursing mother caring for her own children, with such affection for you –

  • Paul uses a second image of his humbleness. Instead of the image of a dignitary, he instead chooses the image of an affectionate nursing mother feeding her own children.

Discussion Questions:

  • What adjectives come to your mind when you think of a nursing mother ?
  • John Gill says ….and so designs a nursing mother, one whose the children are, has bore them as well as nurses them, and therefore has the most tender concern for them; she lays them in her bosom, and hugs them in her arms, and so warms and cherishes them; gives them the breast, bears with their frowardness, condescends to do the meanest things for them; and that without any self-interest, from a pure parental affection for them: and such were the apostles to these Thessalonians; they were their spiritual parents, of whom they travailed in birth, till Christ was formed in them; they used them with the greatest kindness and tenderness; they fed them with the sincere milk of the word; they bore patiently all the slighting and ill treatment they met with; and condescended to men of low estates, and did them all the good offices they could, without any selfish views or sinister ends…
  • Can you think of church leaders who act this way toward their flock?
  • Can you think of people throughout your day in which you can treat with this type of attitude?

we were happy to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives-

A) share

  • Strong’s Definitions: μεταδίδωμι; metadídōmi, met-ad-id’-o-mee; to give over, i.e. share.

B) gospel

  • Strong’s Definitions: εὐαγγέλιον; euangélion, yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on; a good message, i.e. the gospel.

C) lives

  • ψυχή psychḗ,psoo-khay’
  • Walter Bauer’s Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2nd ed, p 893:
  • The word means “Soul, life, it is often impossible to draw hard and fast lines between the meanings of this many-sided word.”
  • i. Of life on earth and its external physical aspects.
  • ii. The soul as seat in the center of the inner life of man and it’s many and varied aspects.
  • iii. This sole as seat and center of life that transcends the earthly….
  • Other English translations translate the word has follows:
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (KJV) So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (ESV) So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
  • The sense of the word seems to mean that Paul was willing to invest great energy into this people. He desired to pour his life into them like a mother into her child.
  • The word could even mean that Paul was willing to die for them.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you name some examples of Christian leaders who have poured their life into others?
  • Can you think of opportunities in your life where you can invest energy to teach or serve others within or outside of your family?

because you had become dear to us-

A) had become

  • Though others can become dear to us fairly quickly, it usually takes time being with them before they become dear to us.

B) dear

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἀγαπητός; agapētós, ag-ap-ay-tos’; beloved.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you share names of Christian brothers and sisters who have become dear to you?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.
———————————————————————————————————————————–

Do you love others like a nursing mother?

Bob,

My message is not flattering.  Mankind has sinned against Me, they are headed for the judgement!  Tell others the danger they are in.  Do not speak with flattering language making them feel good about their sinful condition.  But speak the truth with humility and love.

Serve others with a pure heart.  Do not serve with the motive of money or recognition.  Don’t miss out on My reward to receive a reward from men.

Again, be humble in reaching out to others with My message of reconciliation.  Reach out to them as a friend.  Serve them with care as a nursing mother.

Invest your life, soul, and energy into others by serving them and by telling them the message of forgiveness of sins through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

Nimuel Chattria Missions Report from May through July 2017

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Dear Prayer Partners ,
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM MINISTRY FIELD ,
God is so faithful in His works using us to extended His Kingdom among the Poor ,Needy and the Outcast People ,
1, REPORTING TIME PERIOD , May to July 2017 ,
2.DONATION RECEIVED THIS PERIOD – Received through Western Union Money Transfers
3,DONATION SPENT THIS PERIOD ,Spent all ,
4, ACCOUNT BALANCE END OF THIS PERIOD ,Rupees xxxxx
5,LIST OF PEOPLE SERVED THIS PERIOD ,

Total ,101 people received to Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and God ,

6, LIST OF PLACES VISITED TO THIS PERIOD ,

Total ,11 new Hindu villages visited

7,SPECIAL EVENTS THIS PERIOD ,

A, Gospel meetings in three different places ,

B, VBS program among 130 Children in two different places and total 35 children professed to Jesus Christ ,Distributed 40 NT and booklets for the Children ,

C, Bible Study Class among Lutheran Pastors and Elders ,I thank God 7 people Got saved and 4 Pastors rededicated their life
D, Pr, Biskot reaching out a Hindus Village and shared the gospel the first time in their life and we are praying unto the Lord to arrange there a gospel meetings among hundreds of people
E , Our gospel Team Work ,reaching out by Four Wheeler
F, Gifted a Fan to a Handicaps lady
G, Visited Leprosy Camp and having one day women’s meetings ,distributed Washing powder ,Bathing Soap ,and Snacks
H, Visited Leprosy Camp for Children ,distributed Booklets ,Note Book ,Pen ,and Snacks ,
I ,reaching out a Hill site Tribal areas and we won some souls
8, PRAISES FROM THIS PERIOD
A , Praise God that He enabled us to reaching to new/new areas ,arranging gospel meetings and winning souls ,
B, Praise God for 101 new souls ,
C, We had VBS among 40 Hindus Children ,Their parents are completely Hindu yet they allowed Children to attain our program ,
D, Praise God for reaching to Lutheran people ,
E, Praise God for our gospel Team work ,Taking a rented Car and reaching to the people ,
F, Praise God for our prayer partners , and their gracious hand ,Although I am not getting as it’s our ministry requirement yet He provide us little bit ,

9, PRAYER REQUEST ,
A, Pray for our new souls ,new fields ,
B, Pray for the Church establishment in a Village on October ,many people will be taking Baptism ,
C, Pr,Biskot will be reaching in three different Villages and planing to arrange the gospel meetings in many villages ,
D, Although God has opened many doors to reaching out new/ new villages for the gospel work yet praying for the needs ,
E, please do pray for our missionaries Fund ,
F, Please do pray for a Four Wheeler for the gospel team work ,
G, Please do pray for Community Tribal people living under poverty reason is lack of unawareness and non literature ,
H, Pray for LEPROSY Camp people are living very pathetic conditions ,most of them are handicaps , work is begging ,
I ,Pray for the future of Orphan Children in LEPROSY Camp , their Parents died already due to disease ,Pray for future plan to keep these children in a separate place and give them better education so they can be used for the glory of God ,Some of the children are having parents but parents are fully effected by disease , they cant do any thing for them , Suppose if these children will stay long time with their parents there is possible to effect the same disease ,
J , Pray for a Church building in Raipur City ,
K , Please do pray for a Hall in KESINGA , whereby I may arrange many more program without taking any rented Hall ,
L , pray for our Children program ,Follow up work ,Bible study class ,Outreach program ,

10, NOTEWORTHY FUTURE PLANS AND EVENTS ,
As God has led me a burden to reaching out unreached areas , visiting door to door , distributing gospel tracts NT , sharing the gospel we must need a Four Wheeler ,
A, Gospel meetings in various places ,God already opened the door to reaching to a new Villages ,
B, Follow up work ,
C, ORIYA BAPTIST BIBLE SCHOOL to be continued once in a month ,My prayer and heart desire in His work that I may train up some laborers and sending them to the fields whereby they may do the evangelism work among Hindus people ,
D, I do prefer much to see the fruitful gospel work ,
Who will go ? Reaching out for the lost one ?

 

Thanks for your prayers and kind cooperation ,

God bless you ,
REGARDS ,

Nimuel Chhatria ,

NEW LIFE MOVEMENT ,INDIA

Cell ,+91 94377 39404

Are You Courageous to Continue? 1 Thessalonians 2 verses 1 through 4

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1 Thessalonians 2:1-4

1 For you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, about our coming to you – it has not proven to be purposeless.
2 But although we suffered earlier and were mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of much opposition.
3 For the appeal we make does not come from error or impurity or with deceit,
4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we declare it, not to please people but God, who examines our hearts.

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Phrases:

Context:  In the previous passage, Paul provided more details of how the Thessalonians changed and how that news spread everywhere.  Now Paul describes how he declared the gospel with courage despite his previous persecution and opposition.

For you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, about our coming to you – it has not proven to be purposeless –

Meaning that the conversion of the Thessalonians, described in chapter one, was proof that Paul had a purpose in coming to Macedonia.  That purpose was to preach the gospel.

But although we suffered earlier and were mistreated in Philippi, as you know –

When Paul said we suffered earlier and were mistreated in Philippi, he is referring to the same event.  That is the persecution they received before coming to Thessalonica.  See how it is described below from the book of Acts.

Acts 16:11 We put out to sea from Troas and sailed a straight course to Samothrace,  the next day to Neapolis, 16:12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia, a Roman colony. We stayed in this city for some days. 16:13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the side of the river, where we thought there would be a place of prayer, and we sat down and began to speak to the women who had assembled there. 16:14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, a God-fearing woman, listened to us. he Lord opened her heart to respond  to what Paul was saying. 16:15 After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me to be a believer in the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she persuaded us.16:16 Now as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit that enabled her to foretell the future by supernatural means.  She brought her owners a great profit by fortune-telling. 16:17 She followed behind Paul and us and kept crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”  16:18 She continued to do this for many days. But Paul became greatly annoyed,  and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out of her at once. 16:19 But when her owners saw their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 16:20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion.  They are Jews 16:21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us to accept or practice, since we are Romans.”  16:22 The crowd joined the attack against them, and the magistrates tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 16:23 After they had beaten them severelythey threw them into prison and commanded the jailer to guard them securely.16:24 Receiving such orders, he threw them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.  16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,  and the rest of the prisoners were listening to them. 16:26 Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so thatthe foundations of the prison were shaken. Immediately all the doors flew open, and the bonds of all the prisoners came loose. 16:27 When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison standing open,  he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, because he assumed the prisoners had escaped. 16:28 But Paul called out loudly,  Do not harm yourself,  for we are all here! 16:29 Calling for lights, the jailer rushed in and fell down trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. 16:30 Then he brought them outside and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” 16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him, along with all those who were in his house. 16:33 At that hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds;  then he and all his family were baptized right away. 16:34 The jailer brought them into his house and set food before them, and he rejoiced greatly that he had come to believe in God, together with his entire household. 16:35 At daybreak the magistrates sent their police officers, saying, “Release those men.” 16:36 The jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent orders to release you. So come out now and go in peace.” 16:37 But Paul said to the police officers, “They had us beaten in public without a proper trialeven though we are Roman citizens and they threw us in prison. And now they want to send us away secretly? Absolutely not! They themselves must come and escort us out! 16:38 The police officers reported these words to the magistrates. They were frightened when they heard Paul and Silas were Roman citizens 16:39 and came and apologized to them. After they brought them out, they asked them repeatedly to leave the city. 16:40 When they came out of the prison, they entered Lydia’s house, and when they saw the brothers, they encouraged them and then departed. 17:1 After they traveled through  Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.

we had the courage in our God –

A) Courage

  • Strong’s Definitions: παῤῥησιάζομαι parrhēsiázomai, par-hray-see-ad’-zom-ahee; to be frank in utterance, or confident in spirit and demeanor.
  • Some English versions say, we were bold in our God.
  • Meaning the persecution they received did not cause them to shrink back, but they had the courage in their God to continue their ministry of speaking the gospel.
  • This courage to continue comes from fully trusting in God and His sovereign plan for our lives.  No matter what happens in life, whether good or bad, it is within God’s plan for us.  Therefore, we may have courage and be confident that we are right where he wants us to be.
  • Lost souls may get their courage in a bottle, but a Christian gets his courage in God.

Discussion Question:

  • Describe a time when you had courage to go through a difficult time knowing that you were experiencing God’s plan?
  • Can you describe areas in your life where you have shrunk back due to fear caused by suffering instead of continuing forward with courage?

to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of much opposition-

A) declare

  • Strong’s Definitions: λαλέω; laléō,lal-eh’-o; to talk, i.e. utter words.
  • They word just means to talk. But since they were bold and had courage in God, some English versions translate the word stronger, to declare.

B)  the gospel of God

  • 1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I want to make clear for youbrothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. 15:3 For I passed onto you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 15:8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.

C) in spite of much opposition-

  • Through their courage in God, Paul and his companions declared the gospel to the Thessalonians even after suffering in Philippi and being opposed by the Jews in Thessalonica.
  • 7:1 After they traveled through  Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica,  where there was a Jewish synagogue. 17:2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures, 17:3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 17:4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few  prominent women. 17:5 But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly.  17:6 When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, screaming, “These people who have stirred up trouble throughout the world have come here too, 17:7 and Jason has welcomed them as guests! They are all acting against Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king named Jesus! 17:8 They caused confusion among the crowd and the city officials who heard these things. 17:9 After the city officials had received bail from Jason and the others, they released them17:10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 17:11 These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so. 17:12 Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men. 17:13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God in Berea,  they came there too, inciting and disturbing the crowds. 17:14 Then the brothers sent Paul away to the coast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. 17:15 Those who accompanied Paul escorted him as far as Athens, and after receiving an order for Silas andTimothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.

For the appeal we make does not come from error or impurity or with deceit-

A) appeal

  • Strong’s Definitions: παράκλησις; paráklēsis, par-ak’-lay-sis; imploration, hortation, solace

B) does not come from error

  • Meaning their gospel message was not a false teaching.

C) impurity

  • Meaning their message was not only free of complete error as mentioned above, but it was also free of any defect.  Instead, their message was perfectly pure.

D) or with deceit

  • Strong’s Definitions: δόλος; dólos, dol’-os; from an obsolete primary verb, δέλλω déllō (probably meaning to decoy; a trick (bait), i.e. (figuratively) wile.
  • Meaning Paul was declaring this pure message for their benefit and not to trick them nor take advantage of them.
  • Titus 1:10-11 (NET) 10 For there are many rebellious people, idle talkers, and deceivers, especially those with Jewish connections, 11 who must be silenced because they mislead whole families by teaching for dishonest gain what ought not to be taught.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you think of an example from the news or from your experiences where someone knowingly deceived others for their own gain?  Do you know of an example from the Christian world?

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel-

A) have been approved by God

  • Strong’s Definitions: δοκιμάζω; dokimázō, dok-im-ad’-zo; to test (literally or figuratively); by implication, to approve.
  • Think of a product that has been tested at the manufacture and given their approval stamp.
  • Paul and his coworkers were tested or proved by trials in the gospel work to prove that they could be….

B) entrusted with the gospel

  • Strong’s Definitions: πιστεύω; pisteúō, pist-yoo’-o; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ).
  • Meaning through the testing of trials, God found them faithful to carry forth His gospel.  God trusted them.

so we declare it – not to please people but God, who examines our hearts-

a)  so we declare it – not to please people but God

  • Meaning inasmuch as God has proved and trusted Paul and his coworkers with the gospel, then they must declared the gospel with the motive to please the One who entrusted them and not to please men.
  • Paul did not please the men in Philippi by ruining their business with the healing of the slave girl, nor did Paul please the Jews in the synagogue of the Thessalonians with his gospel message of Salvation though faith and not by trusting the works of Moses’ law.
  • See a similar statement that Peter made in the book of Acts 5.
  • [Act 5:27-29 NET] When they had brought them, they stood them before the council, and the high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name. Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood on us!”  But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people.

B)  who examines our hearts

  • The word, examine, is from the same Greek word above translated approved.  The word means to prove or test.  It is God who tests our hearts.  If we do not do his will because we would rather please people, then our conscience will be pricked by the Holy Spirit.  After our internal struggle, we must please God instead of man.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you describe an example where you had to displease a person or persons so you could please God by speaking His truth?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


 

Are You Courageous to Continue?

Bob,

Your small suffering is much different than the suffering of My Son for your sins or the suffering of Paul for the sake of my gospel.  You have not suffered much in life.  However, I know you have suffered a little, and those sufferings shook your faith and are still causing you to shrink back a little.

I’m glad you held onto Me through suffering, but I want you to continue onward with courage in spite of the fear.  Don’t let fear hold you back. Continue to serve me, to risk relationships, to get out and live.  Yes, more suffering is coming, but look to My Son and to Paul and how they kept going – even to death.

Continue to declare the gospel.  It is true.  It is pure.  Teach it with a pure motive.

Stand up for Me, My Son, and for righteousness.  Do not compromise My truth to please the world, friends, or even family.

 

 

Benefits of a House Church

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Benefits of a House Church

Our church has been meeting as a house church for the last 10 years.  Our house church currently consists of 5 families.  I must say it has been the best church experience of my life.  Of course, churches meeting in homes is nothing new.  After all, meeting in homes was the primary meeting place in the New Testament (see additional references at the end of this post).  Below are the benefits I’ve experienced in the house church model.

Flexibility in Changing the Statement of Faith, Constitution, Bi-Laws, Policies and Procedures

I know its a strange thing to mention first, but our church has recently started the process of updating our church documents, including, The Statement of Faith, Constitution, Bi-Laws, Policies and Procedures, and Articles of Incorporation.  Many of these documents were created years ago to obtain 501c3 tax exempt status, but they need some refreshing.  We are already finding statements we want to add to our Statement of Faith, and I am sure we will modify some policies and procedures as the process goes forward.  The men from all the families are having input.  It’s just a great thing to see, and a great way to learn about our beliefs and the organization of the church.  I’m 50 years old, and I’ve never had this opportunity until now.  It’s a strange thing to mention as I said, but it is something we should not take for granted.  Most regular church members in traditional large churches just don’t get this kind of opportunity and exposure to the inner workings of a church.

Direct access to the Pastor

Do you know during my big church days I only had dinner with the Pastor three or four times in 20 years.  Yet in the house church we have dinner and fellowship every Sunday with our Pastor.  Not only I, but all the families and all of our children have direct access to fellowship with him.  I praise God for this wonderful opportunity to really know our Pastor, his family, and their godly example.  And when you need some counseling, it is such a blessing not to be pushed off to the counseling department, but instead to receive devoted-godly counsel from our wise Pastor and his wife.  Our Pastor is a great example because he has a full time day job, is very family focused, yet he still prepares the Word weekly for us.  If he can do it, then what is our excuse not to get into God’s Word, focus on our families, and serve our Savior.

On the flip side, a smaller group is better for the Pastor as well.  The Pastor is to tend to his flock.  It is difficult to know the spiritual condition of your members even within a small group.  In the big church, it is hard for the pastor to learn and remember everyone’s name, and it is near impossible to know the spiritual condition of a large flock.

Sharing in the Hospitality

Our house church rotates the meeting location about every 4 months throughout the year to different members’ homes.  It is a pleasure to serve the church in this way.  It takes some preparation, but to have your home filled with children, brothers and sisters, hymns, prayers, the Word of God, and godly teaching is a blessing.  At the larger churches, I only remember a few opportunities in 20 years to have groups of believers to our home.  People are just so busy, and we were busy.  The times we did have small groups at our home was a blessing, but the opportunities seemed very infrequent in my experience.

Deeper Relationships

Oh, the house church relationships are beyond compare.  I can tell many stories.  Please read my blog post link at the bottom of this paragraph for a list of highlights over the years.  There were some good relationships at the big church, but never as close as the house church.  I’ve been so blessed to really know and continue to get to know these brothers and sisters.  When you are only meeting with a few families over an extended amount of time, you have a good opportunity to really get to know them during the sharing time, the meeting discussions, the after church meals, and all the other church activities.  I’ve been blessed to sometimes be the object of their love, prayers, and even their fasting over the years.  We have been to weddings and funerals together. We have done outreach together.  We’ve encouraged each other through hard times like divorce, marriage problems, financial issues, and dealing with wayward children.  We’ve celebrated together at graduations and in new houses.  And when one has to leave for some reason, it really hurts and you really miss them.

https://robertjgood.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/why-i-go-to-a-house-church/

Knowing the Children

I’m happy to say that I know all the names of all the children in our church.  I know one young man wants to be a fireman.  I know the school subjects one daughter is taking in her homeschool and co-op program.  I know where the teens are working.  One dear girl just looks at me with fascination when I sing and play the guitar on Sunday mornings.  And the little ones love my tic-tac candies.  Sometimes it’s hard to know how much they are getting out of the meetings, but they are listening.  They hear the prayer requests for marriages and sicknesses.  They pick up on their favorite hymns, and sometimes they even request them.  One dear daughter even blew her musical instrument and blessed us with the tune Amazing Grace.  And when the church meeting is over, the rooms fill with sounds of children as they are playing and talking to their friends as we share lunch together.  I remember in my big church days the kids were separated from the congregation.  It was very difficult to learn their names and know their interests.  My son recently went to a traditional big church youth group, and he said, “Dad, I didn’t know these songs the band was playing, there was dancing up and down, and a lot of kids were on their cell phones during the message – it seemed so different.”  Well, I’m sure good is going on there, and there are godly brothers doing the Lord’s work.  But, it seems to me that with my job I already struggle to get enough time with my children, so do I want to be separated from them at church also?

The Small Group is the Primary Event

I know big churches have their small groups, and I thank God for them.  However, having experience them, I know they are not as good as the house church.  First, some meet together only monthly due to all the other church activities.  Second, in the summer, some groups will even shut down because of all the vacations going on.  Third, there are so many groups, people hop from one to the other from time to time and it’s hard to develop relationships that way.  Forth, many of the small groups are held during the week and they compete with other family activities like Scouting, sports, or school activities.  Fifth, many of the groups are divided by demographics:  age, youth, elder, career, divorce care, etc….  These types of specialized groups can be helpful, but they can also divide up the family throughout the week – mom to the womens group, dad to the mens group, kids to the youth group.  Last, the main problem is the small group in a big church is not the main event.  Obviously, the big church service is the main event.  So when families get busy, the small groups gets sacrificed.   That is the beauty of the house church.  The house church is on Sunday, and all the families come together at the same time, in same place, and they are not divided up at the door.  It is the main event.

Giving to Stuff that Really Matters

Our church is very open in giving.  We are free to give to the Pastor to honor his efforts and to give to outside missions or other organizations.  The money goes exactly where we want it.  There is no large staff, no facility water bills, no electric bills, no building mortgage or maintenance, no busses, etc…….

Accountability

When you are only meeting with a few families, you can’t help but know when someone is missing in attendance for a few weeks.  When someone typically shares something from the Word week after week during sharing time, and then suddenly stops, you notice.  And if someone is publicly living a rebellious sinful lifestyle, they will be lovingly confronted.  Of course, we are not out looking for faults with a magnifying glass, after all, we all have sins, but it’s not that easy to hide as it is in larger churches.

More Participation

I remember being in Engineering School during college. I felt free to ask questions and participate in the Engineering courses when surrounded by 12 students, but I didn’t say a word in the Economics class when surrounded by 100 students.  Participation is just better in smaller groups – no doubt about it!

Below are ways participation is increased in a house church.

A) Events – This year we are not only updating our church documents as mentioned earlier, but we are also celebrating the 500th year of the Reformation.  All the families will be involved in the celebration event and planning:  speeches, costumes, music, activity tables.  It will be a good time with full participation.

B) Music – Yours truly writing this blog post plays guitar every Sunday.  Do you know before attending this house church I’ve never played a musical instrument.  The small size of our church stretched me out of my comfort zone to pursue music.  Sometimes, sisters will sing a duet or a solo.  To my knowledge they just sing to Lord without any practice, and it is beautiful.  We’ve had one daughter play her musical instrument as I’ve mentioned earlier.  Sometimes children request the songs we sing.  Sometimes we sing Christian children’s songs.  In a way, the big church has taken away the simplicity of music from the congregation because the music is run by professional musicians and trained singers. No, the house church can’t compare to the big church in talent and musical quality, but it’s nice to hear the kids request, This is My Commandment, or Trust and Obey.

C) Prayer – Every Sunday is a prayer group because everyone has the opportunity to publicly pray before our teaching time – no prayer by one or two specified deacons here.  If something is on your heart, pray.

D) Free to share – Did God show you an amazing truth this week, and you just want to tell the whole world?  Did you witness to someone about Jesus’ love and want to share your experience?  Do you want to encourage the group with a passage from a Christian book you’ve been reading?  Every Sunday before our Pastor’s interactive teaching time, everyone has an opportunity to share what God is doing in their lives.  Everyone.  You know, in a big church, people are afraid to share in a big group, and it is not practical to have a hundred people share.  In many ways, the big church has created spectators instead of participants.

E) Interaction with the teaching – Back in the big church, I always wanted to say, hey I have a question about that, or I have an insight into that as well.  But of course, when your are surrounded by lots of people, you tend to keep quite.  And if you don’t, I’m sure the ushers will come have a whisper with you.   I love that the house church model naturally encourages interaction during the teaching time.  The group is just the right size that people feel more safe to speak up.  Everyone knows that education is better when you are able to interact.

F) More free to serve – Oh the bureaucracy of some larger churches!  We can all think of stories when a brother wanted to do something, but it was shut down because it needed to be reviewed at the Elders meeting or such and such committee which will be held in the 2nd quarter of the year.  One time my brother wanted to do some service through his large church to help tornado victims, but unfortunately his idea was squashed and it deeply affected his ideas about the church.  Yet in a house church, there is still oversight, but things are much easier to get going and get done.  Now don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to just speak your idea and let someone else do the work –  because there is nobody else to do the work.  But if you feel lead of the Lord to pursue it, and you are willing to lead it and work at it, then most likely it’s a go.

Our Future

Well, I don’t know how the Lord will lead us into the future.  Will we grow into another house church, will we grow into a rented space, a building, or stay as we are?  I don’t know. However, if we grow into a size where the things above are becoming difficult to do, then I think we are too big.

God Bless you, and thank you for reading.

Bob

References:

It is clear in the New Testament that believers met together primarily in individual’s homes. See below…

  • Acts 2:46 (NET) 46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts,
  • Acts 12:12 (NET)
    When Peter realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered together and were praying.
  • Romans 16
    3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
    4 who risked their own necks for my life. Not only I, but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
    5 Also greet the church in their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
  • Romans 16:23 (NET)
    Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus the city treasurer and our brother Quartus greet you.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:19 (NET) 19 The churches in the province of Asia send greetings to you. Aquila and Prisca greet you warmly in the Lord, with the church that meets in their house.
  • Philemon 1:2 (NET) 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets in your house.
  • Colossians 4:15 (NET) 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters who are in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.

Is the Gospel Echoed Forth by Your Faith? 1 Thessalonians 1 verses 7 through 10

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1 Thessalonians 1:7-10

7 As a result you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
8 For from you the message of the Lord has echoed forth not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place reports of your faith in God have spread, so that we do not need to say anything.
9 For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God
10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath.

—–
Phrases:

As a result –

  • The previous verses showed the evidences of the Thessalonians’ election. These next verses tell how they became an example to others, and the verses show more details of how the Thessalonians dramatically changed.

you became an example to all the believers –

A) example

  • Strong’s Definitions: τύπος; týpos, too’-pos; a die (as struck).
  • Their work of faith, labor of love, endurance of hope, and changed life mentioned in the previous passage became a model for others.
  • They imitated Paul and the Lord, but now others are imitating them.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you name Godly brothers or sisters in your life that are models for your Christian life?

in Macedonia –

  • Easton’s Bible Dictionary
    In New Testament times, was a Roman province lying north of Greece. It was governed by a propraetor with the title of proconsul. Paul was summoned by the vision of the “man of Macedonia” to preach the gospel there (Act 16:9). Frequent allusion is made to this event (18:5; 19:21; Rom 15:26; 2Cr 1:16; 11:9; Phl 4:15). The history of Paul’s first journey through Macedonia is given in detail in Act 16:10-17:15. At the close of this journey he returned from Corinth to Syria. He again passed through this country (Act 20:1-6), although the details of the route are not given. After many years he probably visited it for a third time (Phl 2:24; 1Ti 1:3). The first convert made by Paul in Europe was (Act 16:13-15) Lydia (q.v.), a “seller of purple,” residing in Philippi, the chief city of the eastern division of Macedonia.

and in Achaia –

  • Easton’s Bible Dictionary
    The name originally of a narrow strip of territory in Greece, on the north-west of the Peloponnesus. Subsequently it was applied by the Romans to the whole Peloponnesus, now called the Morea, and the south of Greece. It was then one of the two provinces (Macedonia being the other) into which they divided the country when it fell under their dominion. It is in this latter enlarged meaning that the name is always used in the New Testament (Act 18:12,27; 19:21; Rom 15:26; 16:5, etc.). It was at the time when Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles under the proconsular form of government; hence the appropriate title given to Gallio as the “deputy,” i.e., proconsul, of Achaia (Act 18:12).

For from you the message of the Lord has echoed forth not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place reports of your faith in God have spread –

  • By the changed life of the Thessalonians, the Lord’s message, meaning the gospel message, resounded forth to…
  • ‘Every place’ is a hyperbolic statement meaning that the news of the gospel and their faith spread to many places and had a great impression on others.

A) Echoed

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἐξηχέομαι; exēchéomai, ex-ay-kheh’-om-ahee; to “echo” forth, i.e. to resound (be generally reported):
  • Webster defines, resound, as to become filled with sound; to make a loud, deep sound; to make a strong impression or have a great effect on people

B) Spread

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἐξέρχομαι; exérchomai, ex-er’-khom-ahee; to issue (literally or figuratively).

so that we do not need to say anything. For people everywhere report –

  • Again, “everywhere” is a hyperbolic statement meaning that most people where Paul traveled already heard the news about the Thessalonians.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you name the strongest Christian in your extended family, at your job, or in your school whose faith has resounded to many? If their faith has resounded to you in that you know their testimony, do you think your faith has resounded to them?
  • For fun, can you name the person that is the farthest place away from you that know’s of your faith in Jesus?

how you welcomed us –

  • The first part of the report their heard was how they welcomed Paul as mentioned in the previous passage, verse 5-6. Paul’s words were received in great joy, in power, in the Holy Spirit, in deep conviction, and how they became imitators of Paul and the Lord.

and how you turned to God from idols –

  • The second part of the report they heard was how the Thessalonian turned away from idols.
  • This is amazing that they were willing to forsake idols that may have been worshipped for years or even generations.

A) Idols

  • Strong’s Definitions: εἴδωλον; eídōlon, i’-do-lon; an image (i.e. for worship); by implication, a heathen god, or (plural) the worship of such.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you think of a Christian whose sinful strongholds were defeated at the time of their conversion? How about your own strongholds at your conversion?

to serve the living and true God –

  • Third, they heard how the Thessalonians now served the living and true God.
  • The idols are lifeless and false, but our God is living and true.

Discussion Question:

  • Do you know personally of other Christians who began to serve God after their conversion? Can you name ways that you began to serve God after your conversion?

and to wait for his Son from heaven –

  • Forth, they heard how the Thessalonians were waiting for God’s Son from heaven.
  • It appears the teaching of the second coming of Jesus had already been taught there, and the Thessalonians already accepted the doctrine.
  • The doctrine of the second coming should motivate us to live a life that would please Jesus at his coming.

A) Wait

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἀναμένω; anaménō, an-am-en’-o; to await.
  • Titus 2:13 (NET) 13 as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • Hebrews 9:28 (NET) 28 so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation.

whom he raised from the dead –

  • Meaning God raised his Son, Jesus, from the dead.

Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath –

  • Meaning Jesus will deliver us from God’s wrath at the end of the age at the judgement.

A) Wrath

  • Strong’s Definitions: ὀργή; orgḗ, or-gay’; properly, desire (as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind), i.e. (by analogy), violent passion (ire, or (justifiable) abhorrence); by implication punishment.
  • Webster defines, Ire, as intense anger.
  • Most English translations say, wrath or judgement, Young’s literal translation says, anger that is coming.
  • Romans 2:5 (NET) But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed!

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Is the Gospel Echoed Forth by Your Faith?

Bob,

Be grateful for those good examples in My scriptures and in your life.
Live a life that will be a good example to others.

Is news spreading to others that your life has changed because My grace has transformed you?

Continue to truly believe My message.  Read it.  Study it.  Live it.

Fight against sinful strongholds.  Resist those sins that pull you.  Don’t ever be comfortable with sins.

Serve Me with your time, talents, and treasure.  Stop waisting so much precious time.

Just don’t pass the time aimlessly waiting for Jesus, but live a life set apart for Me as you wait for My Son to return from heaven.

I am angry because of sin!  My wrath is coming! Rejoice and tremble that you will be delivered from the day of wrath through my Son.

 

Is There Evidence of Your Election? 1 Thessalonians 1 verses 4 through 6

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1 Thessalonians 1 verses 4 -6

4 We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,
5 in that our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction (surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you).
6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction.
——

Phrases:

We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you-

  • Paul knows that the Thessalonian saints were loved and chosen by God based on the evidence he states in the following verses in this passage. 

However, below are other verses regarding believers being chosen by God.

  • John 6:44 (NET) 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
  • Romans 9 (NET)
    10 Not only that, but when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our ancestor Isaac –
    11 even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election would stand, not by works but by his calling) –
    12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,”
    13 just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
    14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!
    15 For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
    16 So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.
    17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
    18 So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden.
    19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?”
    20 But who indeed are you – a mere human being – to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
    21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use?
    22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?
    23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory –
    24 even us, whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
    25 As he also says in Hosea: “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved,’My beloved.'”
    26 “And in the very placewhere it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”
    27 And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved,
    28 for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth completely and quickly.”
  • Ephesians 1:4 (NET) 4 For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.
  • Ephesians 2:4,5 (NET)
    4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! –
  • Colossians 3:12 (NET)
    12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NET)
    13 But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
  • 2 Timothy 1:9,10 (NET)
    9 He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but now made visible through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus. He has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!
  • Titus 1:1 (NET) 1 From Paul, a slave of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God’s chosen ones and the knowledge of the truth that is in keeping with godliness,
  •  1 Peter 1:1-2 From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure!
  • Revelation 17:8 (NET)
    8 The beast you saw was, and is not, but is about to come up from the abyss and then go to destruction. The inhabitants of the earth – all those whose names have not been written in the book of life since the foundation of the world – will be astounded when they see that the beast was, and is not, but is to come.

Discussion Question:

  • In Acts 16 Paul wanted to go to Asia, but God called him to Macedonia where the Thessalonians were located. Express how you feel knowing that God has chosen you and brought you the gospel message?

in that our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction –

  • The first proof of their election is the profound affect the gospel message had on the Thessalonians.
  • Paul taught the Thessalonians with the same words and in the same way that he has done with many others, but with these Thessalonians the gospel came to them in …

A) Power

  • Strong’s Definitions: δύναμις; dýnamis, doo’-nam-is; force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself).
  • The English derivative is dynamite.

B) Holy Spirit

  • Meaning the Third person of the Trinity had influenced their understanding and their will.

C) Deep conviction

  • Strong’s Definitions: πληροφορία; plērophoría, play-rof-or-ee’-ah; means entire confidence.
  • Meaning the Thessalonians had a life changing confidence, assurance, and conviction in the gospel message.

Discussion Questions:

  • How would you describe how the gospel message made an explosion in your heart and understanding?
  • How did you perceive the Holy Spirit’s work in your life when the gospel came to you?
  • How would you describe the sense of confidence you had in the truth of the gospel message?

(surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you) –

  • Paul mentions the character of himself and his team which they displayed to the Thessalonians to emphasize the following verse …

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, –

  • The second evidence of their election is how their character changed to imitate the character of the Lord, Paul, and Paul’s coworkers.

A) Imitators

  • Strong’s Definitions: μιμητής; mimētḗs, mim-ay-tace’; an imitator.
  • English derivative is mimic.

Discussion Question:

  • How would you describe how your character was transformed after receiving the gospel?

when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction-

A) Message

  • This is referring to the gospel message mentioned in v 5.
  • Paul defines the gospel message in 1 Corinthian 15 as…
  • 1 Corinthians 15
    1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand,
    2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.
    3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,
    4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures,
    5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
    6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
    7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
    8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.

B) Joy

  • Their third evidence of their election was their joy.
  • Strong’s Definitions: χαρά; chará, khar-ah’; from cheerfulness, i.e. calm delight

C). that comes from the Holy Spirit

  • Galatians 5:22-23 (NET) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Discussion Question:

  • How would you describe the calm delight you felt after receiving the gospel?

D) even in great affliction

  • The forth evidence of their election was not only their general joy but also their joy during suffering.
  • Below shows the violent start against the church in Thessalonica. Imagine what it must have been like to live there as a Christian.
  • Acts 17
    1 After they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
    2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures,
    3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”
    4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
    5 But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly.
    6 When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, screaming, “These people who have stirred up trouble throughout the world have come here too,
    7 and Jason has welcomed them as guests! They are all acting against Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king named Jesus!”
    8 They caused confusion among the crowd and the city officials who heard these things.
    9 After the city officials had received bail from Jason and the others, they released them.
    10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
  • James 1:2 My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials,
    3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
    4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.

Discussion Question:

  • Although you may not have been persecuted as the Thessalonians, you may have experienced great suffering. Can you describe the inner joy you felt when you were in that time of suffering?
  • Can you describe how you were influenced by the joy displayed by a brother or sister during their time of suffering?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


 

Is There Evidence of Your Election?

Bob,

You should feel awe and great gratitude that the gospel came to you.  I chose you in My Son before the world began.  Nothing is by accident:  your birth, house, friends, circumstances, mental health, ability to hearing and understanding, church, preachers, Bible, repentance, and faith – it all came from Me for your salvation.  Do not take it for granted because not all will be saved.

Go, tell the world, you may be the agent that I use to call My loved ones to My side.

Don’t forget how the power of the gospel affected your heart, thinking, and purpose in life.

Don’t forget how the Holy Spirit convicted you of sin and pursued you to come.

Don’t forget how you were persuaded to that the gospel was so true that you chose to change your whole life because of it.

Don’t forget the drastic changes that you made in your life by thinking different, talking different, and having a different purpose in life.  Don’t forget how you wanted to be holy in character and imitate My Son.

Don’t forget how the Holy Spirit placed His fruit within and how He challenges you even today to live with love, joy and peace.

And when the suffering came into your life, don’t forget the joy I gave you by close fellowship with Me, by knowing that I was perfecting your character, by trusting in My sovereign will.

Don’t forget.  Continue to show evidence of your election.