ODJ: In Jesus’ Love

April 26, 2016 

READ: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 

We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through (vv.2—3).

In Jesus’ Love. He closed his email message with those words. And as I read them, I realized how poignant they were. For this young man—who I had seen come to a saving faith in Jesus, who I’d baptized, whose faith was maturing—was back home for a stay in his birth country, a place not known for kindness toward believers in Jesus. He mentioned receiving “strange looks” from nationals as he prayed before his meal in a restaurant, the coolness his friend showed toward his faith, and that he was lonely. So I strived to encourage him by writing, “I’m so proud of you. God is using you to spread His presence in your city!”

Due to persecution, Paul couldn’t go personally to encourage the fledgling church at Thessalonica. So he sent Timothy on a stealth mission (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Paul wrote to the church that he sent Timothy “to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles [you’re] going through” (vv.2—3).

To the apostle’s delight, Timothy returned with encouraging news after his mission of joy and hope. With a grateful heart, Paul penned, “We have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles” (v.7). He was pleased that the Thessalonian believers had “remained strong in [their] faith” even while facing persecution.

At the close of this portion of his letter, Paul dished out some encouraging words: Keep loving one another just as our love overflows for you; may Jesus make your faith strong and your lives holy; and know that He will one day return for you! (vv.11—13).

Do you know a believer in Jesus who needs your encouragement today? Give that person a call or send them an email or text and let them know that you stand with them in Jesus’ love.

—Tom Felten

365-day-plan: 2 Kings 11:1-21

Read and meditate on Romans 15:13 and then think of a believer in Jesus you could share these words with as a means of encouragement! 
Why is it such an important thing to share encouragement with other believers? What Scripture verses have been most encouraging to you? Who will you share them with?