July 18, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Rejoicing over You Today

“For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account,”

1 Thessalonians 3:9

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Eternal Life

      What makes you happy?  Many people spend time each day thinking about their own happiness, or lack of it.  Sometimes, people sink so low they cannot even imagine being happy.  You know those people.  No joy, no smiles, no fun, no love.  At the other end of the spectrum, you the see the incurably happy.  Nothing will distract them from thoughts of nothing is wrong, nothing can go wrong, and everything is perfect.  Those folks will not be confused by facts to the contrary, because they never want to anything but positive news.  Paul and the ministry team dealt with real people, living real lives, every day, and found great joy in helping people grow up in Christ by imparting their lives to them.  Do you remember Jesus saying: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:24).  Paul lost his life one day at a time, by imparting it to the Thessalonians, and found his life of joy in Christ by doing so.

       The ministry team found joy in the lives and faith of the Thessalonian believers.  The ministry team did not know how to render adequate thanks to God for them.  God had blessed the ministry team with so much joy over the Thessalonians that the team just had no way of returning thanks equal to the blessing of God.  We can see several great lessons about joy right here.  As you read 1 Thessalonians 3:9, think about these seven things (perhaps you would create your list from the verse):

        1.  Joy flows from thankful hearts.

        2.  Joy comes from God pouring His love through our lives into the lives of other people, particularly believers.

        3.  Joy deserves expression in our prayer lives by the measure God has made us rejoice.

        4.  Joy energizes our lives by the grace of God working within us.

        5.  Joy returns to us from our imparting our lives to other believers.

        6.  Joy should cover our prayer lives before God and He should hear it in our silent voices before Him.

        7.  Joy in our hearts should be shared with our spiritual friends who put it there.

      So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we rejoice over the faith of our friends in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we let God and our friends know how much joy they bring into our lives.

     ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we no longer rejoice over the faith of our friends, or let God know how much we rejoice over His loving actions in our lives that produce so much joy.   

Application for Today

        Today, I will be praying with joy in my heart in return for all the joy that my friends in Christ bring to my life.  What will you be rejoicing about today?

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