Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sixteen Powerful Truths in Eleven verses

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you are as well.

Over the next few days I plan to look at eleven verses found in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. In these verses are sixteen powerful, practical truths. I hope to expound a little on each one. This passage of Scripture has been some of my favorite since I was a young boy. Let me share it with you from the English Standard Version of the Bible:

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, (13) and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (14) And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (15) See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (16) Rejoice always, (17) pray without ceasing, (18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (19) Do not quench the Spirit. (20) Do not despise prophecies, (21) but test everything; hold fast what is good. (22) Abstain from every form of evil.

As you read that, and meditate on it, there are some great truths that will affect the way we live and get along with people. Let's look at the first truth:

#1 Respect and esteem with love those in leadership over you. (v. 12-13)

We are living in a time of great disrespect. People curse in front of children, women…it doesn't matter anymore like it used to. There was a time that even the guys who had "potty mouths" would AT LEAST guard their words in the presence of certain people. Not so much anymore. Also, many men and boys will stand through the national anthem, and never remove their caps from their heads. Very few men open doors for their wife and children. I was raised that when you are in a room where women or the elderly have to stand, you get up and give your seat away and stand. I was at a restaurant the other day when a man, about 40 years old, almost ran over a lady who had to be in her seventies just to get to a seat before she did. She ended up standing while this man enjoyed his seat.

My friends, this carries over into the church as well. God tells us to respect and esteem with love our leadership. That would be our pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers…and I could go on and on. Even if you don't agree with them, you still respect them by guarding your attitude and your words. You and I will be held accountable for the way we treat our leadership. Not just to their face, but the way we treat them at our homes in front of our children. So many children today are developing a dislike for the church and its leadership because of their parent's ungodly and disrespectful treatment of leadership.

How about leadership at work? It is important that we respect and esteem with love our employers. If you cannot serve them with a good attitude, then start looking for another job.

How about at school? When I was raised, I knew that if I got in trouble at school, then my dad was going to get me when I got home. If I received two "licks" with a paddle at school, then I would get four when I got home. My mom and dad respected the school and its leadership, and expected me to as well. Too often today, the parents will be at the school getting in the faces of the teachers holding them responsible instead of their children. This disrespect from the parents to the school leadership carries over to the classroom, thus leading us to a lot of the problems that we are facing today in many of our schools.

How about in our homes? It is imperative that we respect, and esteem with love, each other. Children need to obey their parents, parents need to refuse to provoke their children to wrath, husbands and wives need to love each other, and respect one another. Many times our children learn how to treat their parents by watching how their parents get along and treat each other.

Lord, help me today to respect and esteem with love those you have placed in my life!

#2 Be at peace (v. 13b)

God wants us to live in peace with each other and AMONG each other. We should learn to get along with people as men and women of God. There is too much fighting and bickering in the kingdom of God. This does not bring glory to God. Quite the contrary! It brings shame to the kingdom of God. There are many times that I have found myself "trying to get offended" because of what someone says or emails to me. I have to make up my mind, with God's help, to rise above that. We are called to live by a different standard than the world. We must stop responding like the lost around us; in fits of rage, and frustration.

Too often when things don't go our way in the church, we pout and threaten to leave the church. My good friends, it is time for God's people to grow up and learns to resolve conflicts without running from them. We will never be what God is trying to make us, if we do not learn to stop living with a "chip on our shoulder." Many people look for reasons to get offended. This ought not be among God's children. My prayer is, "Lord, forgive me for being such a spiritual baby. I want to grow up into who you want me to be.

It is my choice today, to respect and esteem with love, and to be at peace with everyone! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty


LAURIE said...

This was a great post today. I totally agree with you that we have "lost" respect and honor in our society.

"Also, many men and boys will stand through the national anthem, and never remove their caps from their heads."

Since you said it - I have to tell you that THIS is one of my greatest heartbreaks when I go to ballgames. When I see people talking and laughing and not standing during the anthem ... it literally brings me to tears. I think I am the only person who can cry at a ballgame. :) But the disrespect that people have for our country, for my son who is sacrificing for their freedoms and the disrespect for my savior who sacrificed it all for them is beyond words.

This respect also goes for the church, and I was reminded of the song "back to the basics" that was popular a few years ago. We, as Christians, need to get back to the basics and start with honoring, loving and respecting others.

Ok ... thats my soapbox ... I'll get off now.

-Blessings, Laurie