Can’t God Just Wrap Us All Up In “Bubble Wrap”?

Scripture:  2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

When was the last time someone prayed a prayer over you? What kind of things do you like to hear prayed for you? Blessing? Prosperity? Good health?

Sometimes I find myself praying for my kids and grandkids and asking God to keep them safe and healthy and happy in the Lord. I definitely want those things for them, but they aren’t the greatest needs in their lives. Some needs can only be met by going through those “hard times.” It’s through struggles in life we learn to TRUST God and develop the unshakable faith that the Bible speaks about.

You Can’t Go Through Life in “Bubble Wrap”!

 

So, instead of praying that God would just wrap us all up in bubble wrap so that we never feel any pain or have any problems, it might help for us to look at the PRAYERS that are prayed in the Bible. When I’ve been asked to pray for certain people and don’t specifically know how to pray for them, I often open my Bible and pray Scripture that pertains to their needs and requests. After all, it’s God’s WILL, His words that I’m praying for and not my own.

 

So as we look together at these 2 verses, 11-12, Paul writes, “With this in mind…”

 

What is Keeping this in “MIND”, mean? (Vv. 1-10)

 

The fact that your faith is growing, your love is increasing, you are hanging in there during the hard times, justice and judgment is coming to those who reject God and abuse and mistreat you, and final and ultimate salvation is coming for those of you who trust in Jesus!

 

“With this in mind,” Paul says, “WE ARE CONSTANTLY PRAYING FOR YOU”

What does Paul pray, and what can we learn from it?

“That God would consider you WORTHY of His calling.” 

What does that mean?  How can we be considered WORTHY of God’s calling?  Is this then like being a paying customer, not just taking up space and using up oxygen in the room?  Does it mean to make yourself useful?

“GOD’S CALLING” –

Here, it’s likely a reference to the ultimate and final salvation of God’s people.

In another of Paul’s letters to the churches (Philippians), he talks about the upward call of God.  To be considered WORTHY of His call and to be with Him forever means they will keep trusting God to the very end. 

His CALLING ISN’T TO JUDGMENT, but to life and joy with Him forever!

There are some requirements needed, according to Paul in his letter:

In the context of both letters to the church in Thessalonia, and in this chapter, ENDURANCE and KEEPING THE FAITH are necessary for one to be considered WORTHY of God’s calling into His awesome presence, especially in the face of persecution.

WORTHY doesn’t mean that we can earn our way into heaven.  Eternal life with God is the FREE GIFT of God.  We can’t earn it or do we deserve it!

That God would fulfill every good purpose (“all the good things”) of yours (by His POWER).

God does have a PURPOSE for our lives!

There may be a number of purposes for your life; God’s, Satan’s, yours, and other people’s.  This is all about bringing your purposes or intentions, your views, into alignment with God’s!  It has to do with moral conduct.

I know, good moral conduct can’t SAVE us and make us right with God, BUT…it’s part of God’s purpose for us!

“For this is the WILL of God, your sanctification (separated and set apart for pure and holy living)” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3 AMP.

So the Thessalonian believers had shown perseverance (a never give up mentality) in the face of their persecution for their faith having demonstrated their faith, love and Godly living in the midst of it.  What Paul seems to be praying here is that God would help them followthrough with these things of being faithful to Him to that very day! 

WHAT “DAY”?

2 Thessalonians 2:3  “…for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first”

NOTE: Apostasy comes from the Greek word, Apostasia – The falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come.

That God would fulfill every faith-prompted act (by His POWER).

“…and [His] every gracious purpose of goodness, and with power may complete in [your] every particular work of faith (a faith which is that leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness).”  (Amplified Bible)

I really like this phrase.  You’ve no doubt heard of acts of random kindness.  Well, these Christians had begun doing continual acts of faith!

Faith-prompted actions are things we do because of our trust in God. 

We learn to be generous with those in need because God is like that, and we want to be like Him!

Acts of obedience are considered faith-prompted acts.  We obey God because we love, honor, and trust Him in His promises! 

But it wasn’t enough!

These Christ-followers didn’t simply begin these faith acts and then let them taper off.  No.  Paul knew they would need God’s help to keep them obeying Him, in loving others, being generous, and serving those around them.

QUESTION:  HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR LOVE AND FAITH HAVE COOLED OFF?

When it becomes more about you and less about those around you.  We need God’s help in carrying out our good intentions and obey and please Him fully.

So Paul’s words here in his letter required them to realize that they aren’t alone!  God is at work in their lives, and when He works in us, it’s powerful!

That the NAME OF JESUS Be Glorified In You – (2 Thessalonians 1:12)

The RESULT of following through with our good intentions to remain FAITHFUL to God–even in the midst of persecution–is that people will see Jesus in us!  Instead of doing good things so we can receive attention and praise from others, we must live so that others will notice Jesus at work in us!

People need to see Jesus being GLORIFIED or spotlighted in your life–in your words, and your actions.

Matthew 5:16 (AMP)

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”

That you would be glorified in Christ Jesus.

Finally, Paul shows that Jesus also helps accomplish OUR GLORIFICATION (present/future).  It all begins when we call on the Lord and the Holy Spirit that it all begins to work in our lives.

2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us,

 

Our glorification comes to fruition when Jesus comes back for us, as He promised!

He will give us new bodies, transforming us into His likeness!

 

God has called us to a higher place.  Are you trusting and growing in Him?  Is Jesus being glorified in your intentions and your actions?

PRAY FOR YOUR CHURCH AS PAUL PRAYED FOR THE CHURCHES.

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CREDITS:

Images/Photos:  Google image search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); New Living Testament (NLT); Interlinear Bible.

Dictionary:  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old And New Testament Words.

“Poor Johnny One-Note”

Singing Church

SINGING has been a part of my make-up since I was a young boy in elementary school choirs, back in the early *#’s (never mind).  I’ve been involved in music, of some sort, ever since: Church Praise Teams, Adult Choirs, Musical Ensembles, a men’s gospel trio, etc.  However today, I find myself SINGING–but in a different way.  Not as an “up-fronter”,  but accepting my role by raising my voice as a congregational singer on Sunday mornings.

But has congregational singing become just a “filler” until the pastor begins his message?  Or is there more to it than that?

“But I can’t sing!”

Most reading this blog probably never heard the song, “Poor Johnny One Note”.  Originally, it was a 1937 show tune from 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical, Babe in Arms.  You can listen to the tune by several different artists on YouTube–everyone from Carol Burnett to Barbra Streisand.  The most notable recordings were by Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland.  The lyrics went something like this:

Johnny could only sing one note

And the note he sang was this:

Ah!

Poor Johnny one-note sang out with “gusto”

And just overloaded the place.

A few years ago, I was attending a small church in a nearby community.  Every Sunday morning, during Praise and Worship singing, a young man (I’ll just call him “Johnny”), sang out with “gusto”, and it was but one note–and believe me, it wasn’t “Ah!”  

Now maybe you are reading this and thinking, I can identify with Johnny.  I sing terribly, and you’re not going to get me to sing.”

So, why do we sing at all, especially in a group atmosphere at church?  “What if I can’t carry a tune in a wet paper sack and sing like “Poor Johnny one-note”?”

Did you know that SINGING isn’t an option in the Bible?  It’S A COMMAND!

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God’s people are more than just invited to SING–we are commanded to sing. And when we SING, we’re doing what God asks.

One of my hobbies, is GARDENING.  Every year, as I prepare the garden beds for planting, the deeper I dig in the soil, the deeper the plant’s roots will grow and flourish.

When we SING, the same efforts apply as you dig deep roots in the Word.

Colossians 3:16 (MSG):

Let the WORD of Christ–the Message–have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God.

The Apostle Paul lays out this encouragement; to let God’s WORD dwell in us richly, and then he tells us to live out that command.

The FIRST of course, is TEACHING. But the SECOND, is SINGING.

SINGING is one of the ways that the Word of God, richly living on the inside of us, can be released.

God’s command for us to sing comes with a PROMISE–we are promised that the Word of Christ will dwell inside of us–which is what we should crave as believers.

C. J. Mahoney calls church singing “Take Home Theology,” because the best songs we sing together end up serving you with a 3 minute, easily memorable, deeply biblical summary of important truths found in Scripture.  At least they should be!

Here’s what I’m getting at in example:

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There, in a memorable form, you’ve got a thorough theology of the Cross of Jesus with clear and practical applications that you can use for your life this week.

And when we SING, we build up others around us.

Ephesians 5:19 (NIV):

[19]  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs…

In obedience to SING out, doing what the Bible says about singing together as a church family, we are hearing confessions of FAITH all around us.  We are hearing hundreds joining in with song, saying “In Christ alone, my HOPE is found…”

Also, try to remember as you SING, you are helping unbelievers.  In Psalm 105:1-2, the Lord is calling the Israelites to be a LIGHT to the nations, and to do this He tells them (us too!)…

[1]  O GIVE thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His doings among the peoples!

[2]  SING to Him, sing praises to Him; meditate on and talk of all His marvelous deeds and devoutly praise them.

I once attended a church where the senior pastor would stand up on the platform with the Praise Team, and begin singing the words to a Psalm.  The singers and instruments would follow his lead and God’s Spirit was felt among all the attendees.  Maybe today’s Worship and Song leaders need to try this on Sunday mornings in lieu of the favorite spiritual songs of Praise Radio–“Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs…”

Think of the impact on someone who doesn’t know Jesus, hearing hundreds giving testimony with confessions of FAITH while singing together.

When you SING, you are SPIRITUALLY STRENGTHENED for trials.

I love singing a favorite recording on the car’s CD player on the way to church every week.  For one, it clears the ‘cobwebs’ from my throat, strengthening my voice, and at the same time, it gives me an attitude of JOY!

Often times, we think only of singing when we’re happy and when times are good. But SINGING bringing strength for trials we’re going through, comes really out in the bible in the Book of Acts.

Paul and Silas are unjustly beaten and imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel.  I don’t know about you, but if I was in their sandals, I would be moaning, complaining about how unfair and mistreated I was.  Look at what they did.

Acts 16:25 (AMP):

[25]  But about midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and SINGING hymns of praise to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them.

SINGING strengthens you and helps you persevere when facing trials.

When you SING, a God-designed path of JOY opens up before you.

Here are but a few examples I found in the Psalms concerning our SINGING.

  • PSALMS 5:11:  “Let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.”
  • PSALM 9:2:  “I will rejoice in You and be in high spirits; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High!”
  • PSALM 51:14:  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness and death, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.”
  • PSALM 59:16:  “But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving kindness in the morning; for You have been to me a defense and a refuge in the day of my distress.”

I love Donnie McClurkin’s song and lyrics to I Will Sing.  It’s been in our car CD player of late as we drive to church on Sunday mornings.  It really fits with Psalm 59:16.

Sing His praises in the morning

Brand new mercy every dawning

Melody, harmony

I WILL SING!

If you are still not convinced about your singing on Sunday mornings, or anywhere else, for that matter, here’s a Scriptural clincher:

“If anyone among you afflicted (ill-treated, suffering evil)? He should pray.  Is anyone glad at heart?  He should SING PRAISE to God”  (James 5:13 AMP).

While studying Scripture on this point, I noticed that sometimes JOY (“glad at heart”) gives birth to SINGING.

But persistently in the Bible, JOY & SINGING are bound together.  You can’t study one of those two biblical themes without running into the other.

When you SING, you glorify God.

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, defines “GLORIFY”,  “to magnify, extol, praise; ascribing honor to Him, acknowledging Him as to Him being, attributes and acts.”

Each believer’s chief goal and chief purpose in life, should be to GLORIFY GOD! No pretending in this folks.  No excuses!  In our obedience, deep roots in the Word, building up others, making war against Satan and sin, persevering, ALL OF THESE THINGS in bring GLORY to His name.

In Revelation 7:9-10, the Apostle John describes a glimpse of eternity with a great multitude of people from every tribe, peoples, and languages SINGING before the Lamb.

“Our salvation is due to our God Who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Eternity waits.

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Will you on that day be one of the great multitude singing the song of the Lamb and singing His praises?

SINGING matters.  Even for “Johnny one-notes”.  And it matters that we do it together.

 


 CREDITS and BLOG SOURCES:

Credit to: unlockingthebible.org. – Seven Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters.

Bible translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

 Photo Credits:  Google Image search.