Tag Archives: Beginning

The Firsts: I Thessalonians 1 – Following the Footnotes

Grace to you and peace.
V3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and [perseverance]steadfastness of hope [of]in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, 4 knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; 
V5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we [became]proved to be among you for your sake. 
V9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a [entrance]reception we had [to]with you, and how you turned to God from [the]idols to serve [the]a living and true God, 
V10 and to wait for His Son from [the heavens]heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

Footnotes are used to by translators to give more definition to a translated word or phrase.  There are eight footnotes listed in this short chapter of 10 verses. That was an emphasis that interested me so I read them substituting the dictionary definitions of the translators [footnotes].  They did just what the translators had hoped.

MY THOUGHTS: 
V3 Look at how our persistence to find hope is changed by that small change of the preposition from in to [of].  It’s Jesus’ own hope for us and his presence with God that makes our persistence and hope real and of value.
V5 ends with the footnote explanation of the reality that even the great Apostle Paul was a work in process.  Everywhere he went was still another beginning to be the person God had created him to be among the people God has placed him with.  Isn’t that the reality of what God expects of us: to “become” together? 
V9 We might believe circumstance is just a random force that life throws at us but in reality circumstance is the new access God provides to reveal to us the reality of the difference between the true God and the idols that constantly distract us.
V10 God knows about access!  He speaks with a power only he possesses from his own center of sovereignty to resurrect us from an ordinary life to new access..

There’s a theme here you may have picked up on; the movement of life and circumstance.  It could go either way.  It can be the very opportunity of new growth or it can be the dismal sense that change is just all about loss.  I’m late in posting this Wednesday because we’ve just moved.  You talk about a change in circumstance.  Everything about moving is like putting your faith in what you can’t possibly know but you’re filled with hope.  That’s followed by arriving at the new plaoce and discovering chaos has followed you and all your efforts at control and organization are overcome by the reality of all that “new.”  New chaos is just as exhausting as old chaos but now you’re in a place where you are reminded that God really has resurrected you from what you thought was a normal life to the access of new…again.

The Relief of Grace

Promises from Chapter 6: “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.” …I will welcome you and be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.” [NIV]

II Corinthians 7:1 Having such great promises as these, dear friends, let us turn away from everything wrong, whether of body or spirit, and purify ourselves, living in the wholesome fear of God, giving ourselves to him alone. [TLB]

There was a day when we understood those promises of God, turned away from our sin and believed his words: “I will welcome you and be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters.”  That first “turning away” brought us the life-changing relief of grace.  It was a spectacular beginning but that’s exactly what it was…the first day of the rest of our life.  

The relief of grace is God’s gift of courage to look at the challenges of the rest of our life and be willing to confess we still need courage  to “turn away from everything wrong, whether of body or spirit, and purify ourselves… giving ourselves to him alone.”

Practice…Authority and injury

I don’t know what I had in mind at the end of January when I wrote my list of word combinations to explore. I’ve spent hours thinking and reading many resources only to find myself back at the very beginning of time in Genesis when disobeying Authority first resulted in injury. That seems appropriate to remember on this first day of Lent.

Authority: the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
Genesis 2:16-17 But the Lord God gave the man this warning: “You may eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the Tree of Conscience—for its fruit will open your eyes to make you aware of right and wrong, good and bad. If you eat its fruit, you will be doomed to die.” TLB

injury: hurt, damage, or loss sustained
Genesis 3:16 Then God said to the woman, “You shall bear children in intense pain and suffering; yet even so, you shall welcome your husband’s affections, and he shall be your master.”
17 And to Adam, God said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit when I told you not to, I have placed a curse upon the soil. All your life you will struggle to extract a living from it. 18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you shall eat its grasses. 19 All your life you will sweat to master it, until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from the ground, and to the ground you will return.” TLB

God’s Response: Genesis 3:21 and the Lord God clothed Adam and his wife with garments made from skins of animals. TLB

The ultimate Authority  faced with the disobedience of his creation and the required consequences, chose to respond by providing garments to temporarily protect their lives because they would be separated from him.  His response was their heritage and ours…UNTIL… Galatians 3:25-27.

“But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor [the Law]. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”