Life can be hard. We have problems come at us from all angles. How we deal with these and move forward defines life as we know it. I was greatly encouraged through my personal study and preparation of 1 Thess. 4:9-18 in how I look at life’s problems.
It is my prayer that this passage would encourage you as well as we allow a biblical perspective to be our guide in light of the problems of life.
- The Problem of Yesterday: Just Keep Loving. We all get hurt, we all have disappointments, we all deal with this. But Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to keep loving one another. God had taught them how to love (verse 9) but Paul still reminds then that it never can just be put on cruise control and forgotten. “But, we urge you brothers, to do this more and more.” (verse 10). No mater what life has dealt you, love one another more and more.
- The Problem of Today: Just Keep Working. One day Jesus will return, but until that day we have to live this life in a productive way. We should not live dependent of others but work hard day in and day out. (verse 11) As we do this we will maintain the respect of our community, and maybe more importantly, maintain respect for ourself. (verse 12) It is a great temptation to slack off or give up when things get hard. Hang in there. Keep working hard and it will pay off.
- The Problem of Tomorrow: Just Keep Hoping. Last week I attended the funeral of a dear church member. In a year cancer racked her body and claimed her life while she was in her prime. But her funeral was a celebration of hope. It was a living example of Paul’s words that we “do not grieve as other do who have no hope.” (verse 13) While the unknowns of tomorrow can be painful, we are not without hope. The object of our hope is Jesus Christ and his victory over sin and death. “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again…” (verse 14). When we hope in Jesus we will never be put to shame. Whatever tomorrow holds, we hold onto hope in Jesus. “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (verse 18)
1 Thess. 4:9-18
9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Yesterday at 9:53am another blessing entered into my life. Silas Abram Lickey was born healthy and loved. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, my blogging has been somewhat slim lately. That is because family is way ahead of blogging on the priorities list.
I have sat here in the hospital the past 24 hours and thanked the Lord for another wonderful son. Many people have been freaked out by the thought of four children, 6 years old and under. I look at our bustling family and cannot see beyond the lavishing of grace God has given to me and my beautiful wife to live with such blessings. Sure it’s hard at times, but the love and joy totally outweigh the sacrifice.
While little Silas is totally unaware, he is loved. Yet many children go without such unconditional, immediate love. Holding this little life in my hands I think about the many lives lost each day in the United States due to abortions.
Here is an infographic about the young adult perception of abortion. Since I work with teenagers all the time I thought this was particularly a good question. “What do young people think about abortion vs the standard cultural position?” It is equally telling what the “don’t know” as it is what they do know.
All I know, confirmed with Silas snoozing here next to me, all life is precious.
This powerful fictional letter written by David Murray, of HeadHeartHand.org and PRT Seminary, is one of the best examples of love communicated to a homosexual son I have seen. Unfortunately, the fictional letter was preceded by an actual letter of father disowning his son. Read all the way to the end and see the differences.
The best line, worthy of being quoted: “I hope you will not call this message hate. This is how love sounds.”
Check out the original article here.
Five years ago, Redditor RegBarc ”came out” to his father. Shortly afterwards, his dad disowned him in a handwritten letter which RegBarc shared with the world on Tuesday, adding the comment: “This is how hate sounds.”
This is a difficult but necessary letter to write.
I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past.
Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all.
I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.
You’ve made your choice, though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.
If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.
Have a good birthday and good life.
No present exchanges will be accepted.
Good bye, Dad
As I find it hard to believe that a true Christian would ever write such a letter, I’ve drafted a letter that I hope a Christian father would write (although I’m sure we all hope we’ll never have to write it).
My dear James,
I’d rather say this man-to-man and face-to face, and I hope I will have a chance to do so soon. However, to avoid misunderstanding, and to ensure that you have something in black and white you can keep and refer to, I want to make sure you know one thing: I love you, and I always will. I do not hate you, and I never will.
Our relationship will probably change a bit as a result of your chosen lifestyle, but my love for you will never change. I will continue to seek your very best, as I have always done. In fact, I will probably, by prayer and other practical means, seek your good as I’ve never done before.
Maybe you’ve been afraid that I will reject you and throw you out of my life. I want you to know that you will always be welcome in our family home. Text, email, phone regularly. I certainly will. We’d especially love you to come home for birthdays and for other special occasions. I hope we can continue to go fishing together and to share other areas of our lives.
Your male friend may also visit our home with you, but we will need to discuss certain boundaries. For example, I can’t allow you to share a room or a bed together when you are here, and I will not allow open displays of affection for one another, especially in front of the other children. If you stay with us, you will attend family devotions, and if you are with us on a Sunday, you will come to church with us to hear the Gospel.
Perhaps these boundaries are not going to be easy for you to accept, but please try to understand that I have a duty to God to lead my home in a God-glorifying manner. Psalm 101 commands me to prevent sinful behavior in my home. While extremely anxious to preserve a relationship with you, I am especially concerned that your siblings are not influenced into thinking your lifestyle is fine with God or us.
I know that you don’t like me calling your lifestyle and sexual practices a sin. However, remember I’ve always told you that I myself am a great sinner, but I have an even greater Savior. I hope the day will come when you will seek that great Savior for yourself. He can wash us snow-white clean. He is also able to deliver us from the bondage of our lusts and from everlasting damnation.
I will not bring up your sin and the Gospel every time we meet, but I do want you to know where I stand right up front, and also that I’m willing to speak with you about the Gospel of Christ anytime you wish.
I hope you will not call this message hate. This is how love sounds.
I will always be your Dad. And you will always be my son.
As I will never stop loving you, I will never stop praying for you.
With all my love,
Dad (Ps. 103:13).
2. The key to glorifying Christ more than you want to have sex with each other is that it is a decision to be made over and over again.
3. Persons in a dating or courting relationship are on their best behavior. So however they are now, you can expect, over time, for them to get “worse.” As familiarity grows, people let their guards down. Marriage does not fix bad behavior; it often gives it freer reign. Ladies, this means if your boyfriend is controlling, suspicious, verbally condescending or manipulative, he will get worse, not better the longer your relationship goes on. Whatever you are making excuses for or overlooking now, will get harder to ignore and more prominent the longer your relationship goes on. You can’t fix him, and marriage won’t straighten him out.
4. Nearly every Christian I know who is married to an unbeliever loves their spouse and does not necessarily regret marrying them, but has experienced deep pain and discontent in their marriage because of this unequal yoking and would now never advise a believer to marry an unbeliever.
5. Assuming you’re special and you’re different and their experiences won’t reflect yours is shortsighted, unwise, and arrogant. The people who love you and are warning/advising you against your relationship might be ignorant fools. Those sorts of people do exist. But odds are better that your parents, your pastor, your older married friends are wiser than you think.
7. Premarital sex de-incentivizes a young man to grow up, take responsibility, and lead his home and family.
8. Pre-marital sex wounds a young woman’s heart, perhaps imperceptibly at first but undeniably over time, as she trades in covenant benefits without covenant security. This is not the way God designed sex to fulfill us. Never give your body to a man who has not pledged to God his faithfulness to you in covenant marriage, which presupposes an accountability to a local church. In short, don’t give your heart to a man who is not accountable to anybody who provides godly discipline.
9. All of your relationships, including your romantic relationship, is meant to make Jesus look big more than it is meant to provide you personal fulfillment. When we make personal fulfillment our ultimate priority in our relationships, ironically enough, we find ourselves frustratingly unfulfilled.
10. You are loved by God with abundant grace in Christ’s atoning work, and an embrace of this love by faith in Jesus provides Holy Spiritual power and satisfaction to pursue relationships that honor God and thereby maximize your joy.
This awesome article was written by Jarred Wilson and published through The Gospel Coalition at This Link. I pray it help you think biblically about your dating relationships leading to a godly marriage.
Your fellow worker in the field, Adam