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Keith Green - Oh Lord, You're Beautiful

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Almost......like a road service?

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2......

Have you ever locked the keys in your car while out shopping?
I have and it isn’t a very pleasant experience.

First you search frantically in your bag...hoping to find it, then you have that dreadful look in your car...... (hoping against hope that you won’t see the key)....but you do.....”Oh no!”
Then you call the N.R.M.A....( our road service here) and usually you have to wait half an hour or so, and all this after you’ve done what you came to do, and all you can think of is the ice cream will melt, or some such silly thought.

Paul and his missionary companions repeatedly faced dangerous situations and wicked men in their journey. They knew the value of enlisting others to pray for them on a regular basis, so they specifically asked the Thessalonians to pray for them as they ministered.

As the believers prayed, it would be like having a kind of spiritual N.R.M.A. helping them, but.......
How would you feel if you called the N.R.M.A. road service, and they promised to help you, but then didn’t come through?

(1) How seriously do you take people’s requests for you to pray for them?

(2) When was the last time you told someone you would pray for him or her and then actually did it?

The apostle Paul understood the value of prayer. He requested prayer for himself and no doubt expected the Thessalonians to honour his request.

He also prayed for them, enlisting God’s help and direction in their lives.

Have you ever felt the urge to pray for someone and then just put it on a list and said, “I’ll pray for them later”?
Or has anyone ever called you and said, “I need you to pray for me, I have this need”?

Chapter 3 begins the last major section of 2 Thessalonians and the apostle Paul begins to bring this epistle to a close, but in doing so, we are privileged to see a wonderful model as Paul demonstrates how his team’s confidence lay not in human plans, promotion, programs, or human personalities, but in the Lord Himself.

Their confidence for whatever they might need and face was an unending trust in the provision and faithfulness of the Lord and His powerful Word.
The Lord Jesus said emphatically, “I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” While God uses frail human instruments in accomplishing His work on earth, the ultimate accomplishment of the work depends on the work and faithfulness of the Lord and His Word.
Our modern ‘go-go’ tendency is to be quick to plan and act, rather than pray, wait on the Lord, and then in God’s timing and leading, work in His strength, leading, and provision.
This is not only the position of wisdom but of humility as we put our trust not in ourselves, but in a sovereign God and Savior. Again, the apostle provides us with a model, not just for ministry but for life.

I. Paul’s Prayer Request (3:1-4)

3:1, “Finally pray for us, brothers and sisters, that the Lord’s message may spread quickly and be honoured as in fact it was among you,
3:2 and that we may be delivered from perverse and evil people. For not all have faith”

What an excellent prayer, "that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified."
Paul asked the Thessalonians to pray for him and his fellow missionaries. Notice that Paul did not list specific people whom he wanted to pray for him.

The prayers of the new believers he had never met would be just as effective as the prayers of the most mature, seasoned believers in the church because all believers have equal access to the Father.
Paul knew that he would need prayer for as long as he lived. He would never reach a point in his life when he would be exempt from prayer.

Have you ever felt as if your prayers for a particular person weren’t being answered or that you might be wasting your time?

What makes praying for the same people over and over again so difficult?

Prayer for a believer in Christ is a privilege and one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. It allows us to have access and talk to the God who spoke into existence the heavens and the earth.

There is no secretary to screen His calls. No need for a decision on whether or not we should bother Him.

No need to leave a message so that He can get back to us later. The psalmist reminds us, “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15). As believers in Christ we have been given at least one gift.

Although everyone isn’t called to be a pastor, teacher, or evangelist, the privilege of prayer is available to all who have trusted Christ as Saviour.

3:3, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command

God is forever faithful, and the apostle Paul believed that He would help the Thessalonians to not yield to satan (v. 3). Paul knew that God would establish them and guard them from the evil one. Verse 3 implies that all believers in Christ who is in danger of being successfully attacked by satan will be strengthen and protected. Because of God’s faithfulness to the Thessalonians, Paul was convinced that they were doing, and would continue to do, the things that the missionaries had commanded of them (v. 4). The word “commanded” in verse 4 refers to a military order that a superior officer passes on to those under his direction. God was the source of those commands, while Paul was the conveyor of them. Paul had ultimate confidence in his Superior Officer. So he spent time praying for the Thessalonians, and believed that his prayers would be answered (2:16-17).

Why is it important to tell people you are praying for them and that you are confident that God will work in and through them?

Who is praying for you?
How does the awareness of their prayers on your behalf help you?

. Paul’s Prayer (3:5)
For the love of God (3:5a), “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God””

Paul closed this section with another prayer that came out of his preceding confidence statement.
He prayed first that the Lord might direct the Thessalonians’ hearts into the love of God (v. 5). The word “direct” means to “clear the way.”
As God answered Paul’s prayer, the Thessalonian believers would be able to understand God’s love for them.
As they focused on the love of God, even while they were being persecuted, they would reciprocate His love by obeying Him.
Christ’s words in John 14:15 echo this principle; The Lord said to His disciples, “if ye love me, keep my commandments.”
The remarkable thing about God’s love for us is His promise that it will never end.
People may tell you that they don’t love you anymore....and the pain of that can be undescribable....But God’s love will never end!

In his darkest hour Jeremiah considered God’s unfailing love and wrote,
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion’ says my soul, ‘therefore I hope in Him!’” (Lamentations 3:22-24).
A person may vow to love us forever yet fail to keep that promise, but God’s love remains steadfast and sure. “He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Now, that’s a love we can trust because God’s love never fails.

When we pray for others, we become partners with God in His work of salvation, healing, comfort, and fairness.
God can accomplish those things without us........but in His plan, He gives us the privilege of being involved with Him through prayer.
When we intercede for a grandson in trouble,

a mother having surgery,

a neighbour who needs Christ,

or a pastor who needs strength,

we are asking God to provide for that person what we cannot provide.

If you begin to open your life to the people you pray with, they will learn from your example and will open their own lives. The result will be meaningful, heartfelt prayers that God would be delighted to answer.

1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. The psalmist wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God” (46:10).
The apostle Paul exhorted the Philippians to “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6), and Peter instructed his readers to cast all their cares on God (1 Peter 5:7).

You know what?

If Paul and Peter were here today, they would tell us the same thing.
So, how can someone stop worrying and be “still”? Only through prayer and trust in the loving God (Philippians 4:6-7). Those who cast their cares on Him can set aside the noise and confusion, ambitions and strivings, and enter into the peace of God.

This doesn’t mean that those who are “still” before the Lord will escape life’s dangers and dilemmas, but it does mean they will have the ability to live with tranquility in the midst of them. Though trouble may remain, the confusion, apprehension, and despair begin to fade away. Such people show poise under pressure; they’re unshaken by life’s alarms and they radiate peace wherever they go.

The highest form of prayer comes from the depths of a humble heart.

thank you Mikey,

Bless you....Yaddy

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