I Thessalonians 2:13-20

We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.  For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews,  who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last.

As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you–in person, not in heart–we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face.  For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again–but Satan blocked our way.  For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?  Yes, you are our glory and joy!



  From Rev. Jamie Gump, Madison Avenue Christian Church, Huntington:

With freedom to worship, we don’t experience what this congregation did. Or do we?  We may not be persecuted for our beliefs, but we are challenged.  Our worship, prayer life, and service are challenged by all that pleads for our time and energy.  Do sports, brunches or kids’ activities pull you away from worship?  Do your job, TV and social life leave no time for prayer?  Are you so busy that you cannot find time for acts of service? 

We could point fingers of blame at all that grabs for our precious time, but truly it’s our choice.  So, will it be said that God’s message is visibly at work in you?  Will people give thanks that you are a glorious crown of hope and joy? 

Lord, help us consider our choices

 as we prepare this season to celebrate your coming.