Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 3

Gods will 1 Thessalonians

Have you had a refreshing weekend and are you ready for the blessings of a new week?  I hope so!  My hubby was off work this weekend (in camp ministry, weekends are often work days).  He has been working on the trim in the sun room so it is so much closer to being usable!

For the past month, our church elders have been giving their testimonies of how God has and is working in their lives.  The congregation has been encouraged to look deep and so last Sunday individuals took turns sharing.  It was a holy time, and I was suddenly struck by how our congregation was fulfilling 1 Thessalonians 1–talking about how God redeemed each life, and how God is working in our circumstances today; we were sounding forth our faith!

While I know that the congregation’s leaders had this planned even before we began this study of the Thessalonians, because of learning to pray God’s will in these chapters, I was able to recognize how God is working and give praise!  It was the highlight of my week!

Are you ready to look into chapter 3 with me?  I’m not a Bible Scholar or Theologian.  I’m a “home-schooled” student of God’s Word.  I used the ESV, NASV, Amplified Version and the study tools at in my study of this chapter.

Let’s pray for understanding!  I can’t wait to learn how God spoke to you through this chapter!


thess, ch 3

My Notes: (I really do study with a spiral notebook!)

vs.1 & 2– Therefore: because Paul and his Fellow apostles desired so strongly to see the Thessalonian church again. (This is a continuation of chapter 2)

Paul and Silas stayed in Athens so that Timothy could return to Thessalonica.

vs. 2 & 3– Purpose of Timothy’s visit:  1) To strengthen and encourage them in their faith 2) so that none of them would be disturbed (saino~disturbed, moved {the mind of one}, agitate, trouble, unsettle, be shaken) by “these afflictions” (that the apostles were encountering).  The whole chapter is really anchored in Paul’s concerns here.

vs.4– The apostles had tried to prepare them in advance, warning them that they (the apostles) would encounter persecution.  We know from from chapter 2 that the Thessalonian Church was also undergoing persecution from their countrymen.

vs. 5–Paul was concerned because Satan had prevented him from being with them (ch.2 verse 18), and would try to test them.  This reminds me of Jesus’s parable of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13.  Paul wanted to be sure that the gospel would not be choked out by worries and distractions, but that they would continue to grow in Christ and have spiritually fruitful lives.

vs. 6&7–Timothy returned to Paul with good news, which comforted and encouraged the apostles, despite their difficult circumstances.  What was this news: 1) The Thessalonian church was standing steadfast in their faith (unwavering in their trust in God), and 2) they missed the apostles as much as the apostles missed them! 🙂

vs.8–Their faithfulness made all the apostles had been through worth the cost.

vs.9– The apostles continued to give thanks for the Thessalonian church

vs.10– and continued to pray for them.  The opportunity to finish discipling them is Paul’s concern.

vs.11–Paul trusts God to bring them together again for this purpose,

vs.12&13– and then in the spirit of verses 2 & 3, Paul prays for them, that: 1) God will cause them to increase and overflow with love for one another and for all people, 2) so that HE may strengthen and establish their hearts to be without blame at the coming of Christ. 


Personal thoughts:

I am struck by Paul’s concern that the Thessaonians have the opportunity to be discipled so that they can grow to maturity in Christ, and not be discouraged.  It is just killing him that he can’t get back to them.

I love the example Paul sets for us.  He expresses his concern, but then when there is nothing further he can personally do, he ultimately places the burden for producing growth in the Thessalonian church precisely where it belongs–square on the shoulders of God.  Not only that, but he prays specifically for them, believing that God will answer his prayers in time.

In camp ministry, every year we see many young people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and what He did for them on the cross.  It is amazing to be able to witness their salvation, but after camp is finished and they go home?  Then what?  It is an utmost priority to work and pray for opportunities to connect these young people to churches in their home towns so that they can be discipled, grow in love for all people, and become active members of the church body.

In our age, so many are trying to “do church” on their own because for whatever reason,  but Paul makes it clear that God created the Church Body to be a live, growing, interdependent entity.  We need God, but we also need one another–you need the Church AND the Church needs you.


“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”  1 John 5:14-15

How can I use these observations to pray according to God’s will?

* vs.4 & 5– Pray that we (the Church) will be prepared for the difficulties that God knows we will encounter, and that our faith will never be shaken by trials.

* vs.10–Pray that we will be concerned for younger ** Christians and have opportunity to disciple/mentor them, give thanks to God for them, and pray for them!  **(younger in the length of time they have walked with Jesus and/or younger in their level of maturity~sometimes older Christians need to be discipled by someone more mature, though not necessarily older in age.)

*vs.12–Pray that God will cause all of us to increase and overflow with love for one another and for all people (Jesus said the world will know us by our love!)

*vs.2, 3, & 12– Pray that God will continue to strengthen, encourage, comfort, and establish our faith and our hearts to be without blame at the coming of Christ.  He can return any day!  In what condition will he find our hearts?  Let us stand firm in faith.  Let us live for Him, one day at a time.

How did God speak to you in this chapter?  

I invite you to join me every Monday to pray God’s will.  If you would like to be notified when a new post is ready, please subscribe to follow Growing Grace-Full, and you will receive an email when each post is available! ♥

1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1

1 Thessalonians, Chapter 2


Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 2

Happy Monday, Friends!  I’m so glad you can join me again. 🙂  Have you been digging into 1 Thessalonians to see what God has to show us?

Gods will 1 Thessalonians

This chapter really includes a LOT of history.  The apostle Paul was one of those super smart people who sometimes talks in circles before getting to the crux of his message.  I had to read through this chapter several times, and you’ll notice that I have grouped some of the verses out of order to make more sense for my own study.

I am not a Bible Scholar or theologian.  I’m just a child of God who loves His Word, and I desire to understand His will.  In John 16:13, Jesus tells us the the Spirit of Truth (God’s Holy Spirit) guides us into all truth!  I do hope you’ll share with me what God revealed to you in your study–we can learn from each other!  Let’s pray for understanding.


My Notes:

vs. 2– Some background: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy (apostles) came to the Thessalonians from Philippi.  They had suffered shameful treatment there, but were still bold to speak the gospel in Thessalonica (where they also experienced “oppression”–they were accused of civil treason {Acts 17:7})

vs.1–This was not in vain (because the Thessalonians ultimately embraced the gospel)

vs. 3– Paul seems to feel the need to support his qualifications and the integrity of their ministry to them.  He stated that their ministry 1) did not come from error, 2) did not come from impurity, 3) did not come from deceit.

vs. 5– While ministering to the Thessalonians, the apostles 1) didn’t smooth talk or flatter, 2) their ministry was not a front for personal profit (not greed driven), 3) did not seek personal glory from anyone


vs.4–The apostles were 1) approved by God, to share the gospel, 2) taught the gospel to please God (not men) as they answered to Him.  And,

vs.7–They were 1) gentle (kind) among the Thessalonians (cherishing them like a nursing mother cherishes her baby) and  2) very willing to give the gospel to them even if it cost them their lives to do so.  Why? Because the Thessalonians had become “very dear” (beloved) to them.

vs.9–The apostles worked to support themselves while they were among the Thessalonians.  (The Philippian church also sent support to them. {Philippians 4:16}  Paul later wrote to them and told them how much this meant to him.)  This supported Paul’s claim that he didn’t minister to them for personal gain.

vs.10–The apostles behaved blamelessly among them.

vs.11-12–They had exhorted (strongly encouraged/invited) them, imploring them “like a father would his children” to live worthy of God who “calls you into His own kingdom and glory”

vs.13–So then (as a result of this): the apostles constantly thank God that the Thessalonians responded to the gospel, accepting it as God’s own word, and they were saved! 🙂

vs.14,15–The Thessalonians became imitators of the churches in Judea who were persecuted by the Jews for following Christ.  The price?  The Thessalonians were also persecuted by their countrymen.

vs.16–The unbelieving Jews wanted to stop the gospel from being dispersed.  God’s judgement will come upon them.

vs. 17,18–Paul was grieved that he had been forced to leave the church in Thessalonica prematurely.  He wanted to visit them again, but had been prevented.  He said he was with them in spirit.  Interestingly, if Paul had not had to leave them, we would not have his letters to this church.  We have to believe this was all part of God’s plan to give His inspired Word to the WHOLE Church Body.  (Thanks to Miriam for pointing this out!)

vs.19, 20–Paul calls the Thessalonian Church his glory and joy~a crown of exultation.  They were his spiritual children.  He was proud of them and took great joy in their salvation.


Paul and his fellow apostles give us a tremendous example of the kind of attitude and motivation we should have in sharing the gospel with others, and also gives us clues to identify false prophets (vs. 3,5).  He shows us that even when we are not the ones “sent,” we can and should be part of supporting the sounding forth of the gospel in other places.  Lastly, in Paul’s example, I see that those we disciple need our continual prayers as well as our candid and sincere encouragement and admonishment to remain strong in the Lord, whatever the cost.

On a different note, in reading the ways in which the apostles regarded the Thessalonians as a mother and father would: tenderly cherishing and strongly encouraging and exhorting them, I am reminded of how I as a parent should be discipling my children on a daily basis.


“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”  1 John 5:14-15

How can I use these observations to pray according to God’s will?

* vs.2–Pray for my church leaders, for those on the mission field, the Church Body and for myself, that we will always be bold to share the gospel, even when oppression, persecution, or personal loss are a possibility.

*vs.1–Pray for those God has entrusted to go out and preach the gospel, that their labor will not be in vain.  Scripture says God’s word will not return void, but will accomplish what He pleases.  Isaiah 55:11

*God has qualified every believer to share the gospel.  Thank Him, and pray that we, and our church leaders, will never minister from a place of greed or a desire for personal glory.  Instead, give us integrity, truthfulness, and the motivation to please only God, who examines our hearts.

*vs. 6,11,12–Pray for our church leaders and teachers, that they will love people as a parent loves a child, deeply and tenderly, and admonish them/us to live worthy of God!  Are you a parent or grandparent, teacher or mentor, spouse or friend?  We need this prayer too!  “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

*vs. 9–Pray for the support and provision of those who serve in full time ministry, and thank Him! 🙂  (and then act if you are in a position to do so).  Fundraising for missionary support and for Christian non-profits is hard work (and scary for many).  It takes a great deal of time away from actual ministry.  I live in an area with many small, struggling churches who cannot adequately pay their pastors, so these men work full-time while preaching and fulfilling as many of the responsibilities of a full time pastor as possible.  As Paul shared, it is a hardship!  Church growth is slow when this happens, and pastors burn out before their time.  They can’t do it all!  They need support.

*vs. 10–Pray that we will walk blamelessly (living by the Spirit) and so not tarnish our testimony.

*vs.13-15, 19-20–we are reminded to continue to pray as we learned in chapter one, that the lost will accept the gospel as God’s word, in the Holy Spirit, in Power and FULL conviction.   Rejoice over those God is adding to His kingdom!

*vs. 17,18–Pray for the church in other areas.  Many of our brothers and sisters are suffering and in need.  We can be with them in Spirit (as well as supporting church work in their area), and ask God to teach them, strengthen them, and empower them according to His will.

When I had the privilege of discussing Thessalonians with my church sisters, those working in secular fields shared how even though they strive to walk blamelessly, they know they mess up, and sometimes experience concern that they may damage their testimony.  Yet time and time again, God continues to use them and allow them to be a light of influence in dark places.

Do you ever feel this way?  Praise God for grace.  He isn’t finished working in us yet!  My friend Lynn over at Through Ink & Image created a beautiful short video to illustrate this truth. 🙂  I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to go watch it!  It is worth your time!

Did you miss our study on 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1?  You can find it HERE! 🙂

Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1

Links to chapters 2 though 5 of 1 Thessalonians are available at the end of this post.

Happy Monday, Friends!  I’m so glad you can join me!  As we’ve been learning in our series on experiencing More Power in Prayer, one of the keys to effective prayer is praying according to God’s will.  So starting today, I’m going to be spending Mondays reading to see, “What is God’s Will?” and then pray it!  I’m beginning in the book of 1 Thessalonians, chapter one.

Gods will 1 Thessalonians

I’m sitting here with my cup of hot herbal tea and my own notebook, with “1 Thessalonians” written across the top of the page.  My husband is finishing a remodel on the sunroom off my kitchen and diningroom.  He just finished installing the flooring, and I can’t wait for the trim to be completed so we can clean up the construction mess.  I’m looking forward to being able to sit in front of the windows and take in God’s creation while I study.

When I study a new book, I like to look at the what historians know about the background so I have a better understanding of where the author is coming from.  Then I group verses with similar ideas together and summarize them for myself, and finally I go back and look at how they may apply today.  I may learn something new each time I go over a passage, so this devotional will in no way be comprehensive!  I am not a Bible scholar or professor.  I am just a daughter of God who loves His Word and am seeking His wisdom in living for Him.  Lets ask God to show us what He wants to teach us in this chapter and get to work!  Shall we compare notes?!?  Please share your insights and musings in the comments so we can all learn from one another!

The book of 1 Thessalonians is a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica.  Thessalonica was a busy seaport, an important communication and trade center, the largest city in Macedonia, and the capitol of its province.  Paul was able to spend only a short time discipling the new believers there before he was forced to leave, suddenly, leaving them without outside support during a time of persecution.  Paul wrote to encourage them, teach them Godly living, and give them assurance about their future.  This book is 5 short chapters.

vs. 1–an introduction

vs. 2–Paul prayed thanks for the Thessalonian Church

vs. 3–specific thanks: work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope

vs. 4–Paul knew God chose them

vs. 5–the church didn’t receive the gospel by word only, but in power, in the Holy Spirit with FULL conviction!

vs. 6&7–they became imitators of Christ & Paul, AND they became an example for other believers.  (1 Cor. 11:1)

vs. 8–they shared the gospel–everywhere they went, their faith sounded forth

vs. 9&10–other believers were talking about their faith (they had turned from idols, were serving a living & true God, and waiting for Jesus’s return).


As I read this chapter, I wondered if perhaps it was written like we write an English essay, with verse 3 being like an introductory sentence that the following verses unpack?

*Whether or not this was Paul’s intention, I can imagine that the work of faith Paul gives thanks for in verse 3 points forward to the Thessalonian Church receiving the gospel in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction” (vs.5).  We know (vs. 4) that all Christians are chosen by God first, and that we need the Holy Spirit to give us faith to believe the gospel.  Once we are saved, this faith grows and results in lives full of spiritual fruit.

*I can imagine that when Paul gave thanks in verse 3 for their “labor of love,” that he could be referring to the way they became an example for other believers, and shared the gospel everywhere, sounding forth their faith (vs. 6-8)

*I can imagine that when Paul gave thanks for their steadfastness of hope, that he could be referring to the way they turned from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for Jesus’s return (vs.9&10)


How can I use these observations to pray according to God’s will?

  • Give thanks for my church, being mindful that God has chosen them, and look for ways that God is specifically producing a work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope…  For example: My home church enjoys meeting together, truth is taught, we pray together, discipleship happens, hospitality is practiced, etc…  When my church ladies met to discuss this, they pointed out that Paul is not only praying thanks for the fruit He sees in the church in Thessalonica, He’s writing to tell them about it!  He is encouraging them in the process.  Hebrews 10:24 tells us to consider how we can spur each other on to good works—Imitating Paul’s action here is one of those ways!
  • Pray for myself, my family, and the Church, that God’s word will always penetrate our hearts and minds in Power, in the Holy Spirit, and in full conviction (renew our minds and sanctify our hearts.)
  • Pray that we will be imitators of Christ and live lives worthy of being imitated by others–an example for other believers.  Godly examples help us learn what God’s word looks like in real time, and lets face it, some of us learn best by watching and doing.
  • Pray that we will be thankful and enthusiastic–sharing with others what God has done and is doing in our lives.  Our testimony is more than just sharing how we were saved.  God is constantly working.  Sound forth our faith!!
  • Pray that we will have steadfastness of hope, remembering daily that we serve a living Savior who we are waiting to return!
  • For the Lost: pray verse 5 (that they will become saved by receiving the gospel in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction… that they may also become verses 6 and following.  Who in your life is in need of Jesus?  Make a list, and mention them by name.

What did you learn from this chapter?  I can’t wait to hear how God is moving in your life.  And I can’t wait to see how God uses our prayers this week!

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”  1 John 5:14-15

1 Thessalonians, chapter 2

1 Thessalonians, chapter 3

1 Thessalonians, chapter 4

1 Thessalonians, chapter 5

BE RENEWED, A Refreshing Getaway at the 3CA Conference

What is the 3CA, you ask? 3CA stands for the Christian Camp and Conference Association.  The CCCA exists to help Christian camps accomplish their mission.  They do many things toward that end, but a big one is that each region has an annual conference which gives camp professionals an opportunity to “unplug” a little, network with other camps, observe trends, attend workshops where they can learn from each other, worship together while receiving encouragement from God’s Word, and don’t forget– the opportunity to eat lots of food they don’t have to cook. It’s a showcase for ALL the food service companies to show off their best offerings. 😉 (If you’re looking for a job in Christian Camping, you can check out the CCCA’s job boards).


{Lake Geneva Christian Center’s new dining hall is beautiful!  This is their serving area… 4 lines at two stations and a double drink station on the end.  About 260 camp professionals packed this area out at every meal.}

Our section is called the Minn-E-Dakotas Section because it includes the camps in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.


{This picture only shows about half the dining hall.  There are windows all around, a fireplace on one end, and the serving lines are to my right.  Good to see these camps mingling, resting, and enjoying fellowship.}

Years ago, I attended the sectional with my husband every year, but after baby number three I just found it easier to stay home and take care of the family. This is the first year in probably a decade that I’ve been able to come and stay overnight for the whole conference. I have been loving it!

Conference theme

My favorite times have been the general sessions, when we have listened to a speaker teach from the word of God and enjoy a time of worship with awesome music. I know that music is not everyone’s worship language, but it is very refilling to my spirit.


The speaker has been Kirsten King, the Director of Youth and Family Discipleship at Maplewood Evangelical Free Church here in Minnesota. She really has a knack for striking her audience’s funny bone, but then she balances that with a message packed with truth.  If you’re looking to book a speaker for a women’s retreat or conference, she has my reference!

There are some retreats you don’t learn something new or deeply meaningful, and that’s okay because Retreats like that can be God’s way of affirming something He’s already been teaching you, or perhaps the get-away is an opportunity  for you to reach out and bless someone else at the retreat.

This conference has been a little different for me.  I’ve been laughing and crying (in a good way) a lot. There have been many reunions. I was SO excited to find a couple sessions addressing women’s ministry, because this is my heartbeat–this is the passion God has given me.  The worship time has been amazing. And the messages have each included some nugget that spoke to my heart.


After dinner Tuesday night, we enjoyed a wonderful drama  called, “The Psalm King” by Theater For The Thirsty created by Jeremiah and Vanessa Gamble.  Jeremiah is a product of growing up in a camp ministry family. 😉  I you live in Minnesota, I hear they do a fabulous show in St. Paul during February called, ‘Til Death: A Marriage Musical.  You can check it out!

It was a good 3 days at the 3CA, but I am glad to be home with our children.  My heart is full and still processing, but I definitely want to share what I learned after it sinks in…and I catch up on hugging my kids.

What Happens When Women Pray

What happens when women pray photo

Every year or so, there is a theme that God chooses to teach me.  One year it was Biblical Womanhood, another it was Gratitude, yet another was Being Established.  The past 2 years have been on the topic of Prayer.

Have you ever shopped for books written about prayer??  Oh, my goodness, there are SO MANY!!  I have not actually gone looking, but when God picks a topic, it pops up everywhere.  Before I know it, I’ve accumulated a shelf full of resources without even trying.  I’ve read a little in this one and a little in that, however, my all time favorites are

1) simply reading what God says about prayer and the examples we’re given in God’s Word, and

2) Evelyn Christenson’s book, “What Happens When Women Pray”.  I found this little book at a garage sale, full of notes (so it must be good, right?).  I’ve read it 4 times, and I learn something new every time.

The Christian Missionary Alliance Church also chooses a theme every year, and their women’s ministry piggybacks on that.  This year the Alliance Women’s theme is “MORE”.

In my home church, our own Alliance Women are specifically studying how we can experience “MORE” power in prayer.  I’m so blessed to be able to do this study with my own church family, and I am over the moon to see how God is going to use these women and their prayers in the life of our church.

Prayer Is:

*A privilege*  ~My husband’s grandpa taught me that.  He called me monthly, until the day he died, to catch up and find out how he could be praying for us.  I was so blessed by this man who was not a blood relative, but who loved me so strongly in word and in deed.

*A responsibility*  ~Did you know that it is designed by God as part of our relationship with Him, and the health of our prayer life is an indication of the health of our Spiritual lives?

*A gift*  ~Imagine if we could not go to God.  Or imagine if we still, like the Israelites of old, had to go through a priest as a mediator, offering sacrifices, in order to maintain our relationship with God?  When Jesus died for us, and conquered sin and death by rising again, HE became our mediator and now we can go directly to God in Jesus’ name.

What a precious gift, and yet, it is one of the most neglected privileges and responsibilities within the Church Body today.  The truth is that too often we do not give enough thought to how and when we talk to God.  What’s more, many of us are not aware of the stumbling blocks that prevent God from inclining His ear to answer.

As my Jesus Sisters and I go through this study together, I’ll be sharing what God is teaching me in a series of posts entitled, “More Power in Prayer.”

I hope you’ll join me!

The next posts in this series are:

More Power in Prayer; Prerequisite #1 for Effective Prayer

More Power in Prayer, Prerequisite #2 for Effective Prayer

More Power in Prayer, Prerequisite #3 for Effective Prayer