Daily Notes for the month beginning Sunday 4th August
We have given a great deal of time recently to readings from the Old Testament as we studied the life and times of King David. Now however we return to New Testament times – some 1,000 years on from David. At this point the Roman Empire dominates the whole Mediterranean region, and Jews have been scattered to every significant area in the western Mediterranean. Jerusalem itself was finally besieged and virtually destroyed during the lifetime of many of the early disciples, around 70 AD.
During the Autumn we shall spend time reflecting on Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Thessalonica, where there was a substantial Jewish community. This was written around 51 AD. So for this short Summer Series we shall be looking briefly at Paul’s links with that Church and something of its history as recorded in the Book of Acts.
It is one of the many cities Paul visited that is thriving today as a modern city in the north of Greece. It is the second largest city in Greece and has a major airport and seaport.
If you are online you will find a good description and history of it on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thessaloniki
The daily readings are brief. They are not online daily, so you will be free to use whichever translation of the Bible you prefer, but I hope you will give time to reflect on them.
REMEMBER: Refurbishing work goes on at The Hub this month, and there are changes to the way we can use the premises. Watch out for notices!
Monday 5th August Read Acts 17:1-4
V 3. He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.”
Paul kept Jesus at the centre of what he preached. Philosophical arguments had no place in announcing the Good News of Jesus.
Tuesday 6th August Read Acts 17:5-9
V 7. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”
Profession of Jesus as Lord can have uncomfortable outcomes when it comes into conflict with the expectations of society – even today!
Pray today for Christians who suffer prejudice as an outcome of faith.
V 11. And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.
These Bereans were thoughtful: they listened eagerly, and checked the reliability of the messages they heard. Good characteristics of those who are searching to know the truth about God.
V 4. Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.
Allegiance to the Gospel by the Thessalonians also brought about allegiance to Paul – the Gospel messenger.
Friday 9th August Read Philippians 4:14-20
V 4. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once.
Those who preach the Gospel need the encouragement and practical support of other believers. How might you encourage and support a Christian worker in the future?
Week beginning Sunday 11th August.
Monday 12th August Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Vv 8-9. And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.
Following Jesus had transformed the lives of those in Thessalonica in a way that many people recognised and then talked about. Has faith done that in your life, leading others to talk about what they see in you?
Tuesday 13th August Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
V 8. We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.
Sharing the Good News of Jesus involves sharing ourselves in our community, which brings real benefits to many.
Wednesday 14th August Read 1 Thessalonians 2:9-16
V 13. Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
The Gospel of Jesus is no mere human invention – it is eternal truth finding its origin with God himself.
Thursday 15th August Read 1 Thessalonians 2;17 – 3:5
V 2. and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-workerin proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faithand to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through.
Here is a fine description of church leaders – their ministry is to strengthen the lives of believers, encourage faith, and keep them from giving up during difficult times.
Friday 16th August Read 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13
V 12. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.
When you are uncertain as to how you should pray for others, here is a model; ‘Make their love grow and overflow to society around.’
Week beginning Sunday 18th August.
Monday 19th August Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
V 11. Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
What are your goals and ambitions in life? Do they include these matters Paul writes about?
Tuesday 20th August Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
V 13. And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
Isn’t it sad to attend a funeral when folk grieve and have no hope for the future and eternity! What will be said about you at your funeral?
Wednesday 21st August Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
V 10. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.
Here is the Christian’s future hope, and it transforms a funeral into a celebration of a glorious eternity.
Thursday 22nd August Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
V 18. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
This does not mean being thankful FOR all circumstances, but rather learning to celebrate God’s wonderful care IN all circumstances.
Friday 23rd August Read 1 Thessalonians 5:22-28
V 23. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
Holiness is not talked about a great deal these days. It is however a beautiful aspect of a person’s character, and part of God’s will for us all.
Week beginning Sunday 25th August.
Monday 26th August Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
V 11. So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.
What will your faith prompt you to do today? Pray for the power to accomplish today what God has put on your heart.
Tuesday 27th August Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
V 1. Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him.
How clear, and convinced, are you about being gathered up with all believers to meet Christ when he returns? That is God’s plan for you!
Wednesday 28th August Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
V 15. With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter.
How sad it is to see apparently strong believers let go of faith. If you know of any folk like that, pray for them today.
Thursday 29th August Read 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
V 5. May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.
Christian love is no mere ‘happy feeling’. Experiencing it can grow deeper, and patiently expressing it can become ever more practical. This is my prayer for those of you reading these notes today.
Friday 30th August Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18
V 16. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.
So whatever you face today may the experience of God’s peace and the reality of his gracious presence be your conscious delight throughout the day.
The regular pattern for Daily Notes begins again for the week beginning Sunday 1st September.