“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:3-6
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints – the faith and love that spring up from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about the word of truth, the gospel, that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all it’s truth.” Colossians 1:3-6
“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remember you in my prayers” Ephesians 1:15-16
I wish we were sitting and enjoying a nice tea or coffee or cocoa together. Because then I could share my smile, my heart and probably a big hug with you. I wish you could see into my eyes and that I could speak these words straight from me to you.
I have been reading through Paul’s letters. How timely is it that I hear the resounding gratitude flowing through Paul’s words right before the holiday of Thanksgiving? God is so good. I continue to be wowed by His goodness.
I am so thankful for your faith. I praise God that our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ would unite us. I appreciate you to the point that it causes me to well up with tears of joy. Every word of mine that you read, uplifts my heart and my spirit. It brings me relief just to think that I am not alone in this world. In what may seem like a small way, you are making such a huge difference in my life.
Your faith in Christ is making a difference in this world. Look at all of the things that Paul talks about faith doing.
“Your work produced by faith.” Think of the work that you are doing. Maybe you get paid for it, gainful employment. Maybe you do not get paid, it’s volunteer work or service to your family or community. Picture with me the hours, the time, the talent, the resources, the effort, the force, the thought, the sweat, the tears and the sacrifice. What fuels that? What keeps you going? What causes you to go above and beyond that minimum to get by?
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion.” Faith keeps us going. It keeps us moving forward. We can be confident in what happens today because we know that God is bigger than today. We know that this is not how the story ends. We do not have to be kept in limbo. We know that God is good. We know that He began a good work in each of us. We know that God will faithfully bring each of the good He started in us to a beautiful completion.
“Faith and love that spring up from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven.” There is hope for each of us. Think about Heaven. Place your mind upon that beautiful eternity. Imagine basking in the glory of the LORD; so bright that the sun and moon will not be needed. Imagine being in the light of ultimate holiness and love. That is the final destination of our lives. The journey will end there. Just the seeds of hope in our final destination brings forth a bouquet of beautiful faith, fragrant with love.
“Faith in the Lord Jesus.” Our faith is in Jesus. It’s not in the economy. It’s not in our employment. It’s not in the weather. It’s not in the stock market. It’s not in our houses. It’s not in our possessions. It’s not in our family members. It’s not in our friends. It’s not in the inspiring messages we heard and read. It’s in Jesus. He is the ONE. The Way, the Truth and the Life.
I can’t tell you enough with my meager words how greatly I am encouraged by your faith. I am so thankful and so appreciative that I can share this love for Jesus with you. My life is touched, my life is changed and my life is challenged because of you.
Perhaps at this point doubt is creeping in. Do you hear that question in your mind, what faith? Or are you thinking that your faith is weak, is rusty or is cracked and about to shatter? Perhaps you are thinking of all the times that you have fallen short. Maybe there was something horrible said to you that you can’t get our of your heart. Perhaps you feel covered in labels the world has place upon you, maybe you were able to peel them off but they leave behind such a sticky, yucky mess.
I am with you on all accounts. I battle doubt all the time. It’s an ongoing struggle for me. I have felt that any little faith I had disappeared into thin air and blew away. I’ve fallen to pieces, feeling lost in the midst of my broken mess.
I understand how it feels to receive hurtful words. I’ve been called manipulative and conniving. I’ve been called fake and empty. I’ve been despised for being who I am. I’ve been told that I need to conform to the comfortable tradition; I should stop rocking the boat lest I be thrown out of it. All of that doesn’t even take into consideration all of the times I have been told to work harder and think smarter.
I have labels. Lots of them. I’ve worn labels that said “failure”, “worthless”, “unwanted” and “dumb”. Sometimes I feel like I’ve got more warnings stuck to me than the newest pharmaceutical drug. It seems as if the world can come up with the silliest labels for us. I once had a tag placed upon me that read “Warning: chipper & smiley early morning person. Be cautious of interacting with before consuming at least two cups of coffee. Upbeat attitude at this time of day may be highly irritating.”
I know that our paths, our circumstances and our situations are not the same, but our experiences may be similar. What’s more important is that our faith in Jesus and our love for Christ unifies us and brings us together. No matter how different we may be, if we passionately love Jesus, we will always have sometime in common. I am so thankful for that.
I’m thankful for God’s golden thread of grace that weaves our lives together in this great tapestry of His design. Thank you so much for reading my words. Even more so, thankful just for being who you are. You are a gift and a treasure!
Dearest and Beloved LORD,
Oh how I praise You! I greatly love You! You are so awesome and awe-inspiring!
Thank You so much today for each reader that I have. Lord, the puzzle of my life would be so much less without each of their beautiful pieces placed exactly where You want them. Thank You for their faith!
Please strengthen their relationships with You. Grow their trust and confidence in who You are. Give them hope and love in great abundance today.
Thank You, LORD for the gift of faith! In Jesus’ name, amen.