Be strengthened and emboldened

On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV)

Read: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16

Consider: In his first letter to the believers in Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul speaks of having been treated outrageously at Philippi.  This involved both Paul and Silas being stripped, beaten with rods and imprisoned (see Acts 16:16-40 for a fuller account).  Only when Paul mentioned their Roman citizenship did the city officials seek to appease them and send them on their way.  As a result of their bad treatment at Philippi, Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica to spread the good news about Jesus.  We know from Acts 17:1-9 that Paul and Silas used the opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with the Jews there.  We read: As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,’ he said (Acts 17:2-3).  While many believed, we are told that there were other Jews who were jealous and sought to stir up unrest in the city (17:5).  As a result Paul and Silas moved on to Berea.

Despite the opposition Paul and Silas encountered at Philippi, Paul tells us in his letter that: ‘… with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition (1 Thessalonians 2:2).  Paul and Silas were not distracted by the opposition they encountered at Philippi and Thessalonica.  They continued with their mission of sharing the good news.

You can detect the love Paul had for the Thessalonian believers when he says: For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).  Paul also says: And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe (2:13).

We may not face such opposition for our faith, but there are many believers across the world who face opposition daily for their faith and suffer direct persecution as a result.  How would you react to such opposition?  Would you be discouraged or emboldened by it?  Notice from the example of Paul and Silas that when persecuted in Philippi, they did not shrink back from their task and moved on to Thessalonica.  When persecuted in Thessalonica, they moved on to Berea.  They could have given up at the first hurdle, but instead they carried on with their God-given task.

Pray: Father, may we be emboldened to share the good news of the gospel, even in the face of hostility and persecution.  We pray specifically for those Christians across the world who face persecution and opposition, that you would strengthen ands embolden them for the task that you have appointed for them.   Amen

Every blessing

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