1 & 2 Thessalonians: Day 4

Stand Firm in the Lord

by

Today's Text: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 8:16-21

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 8:16-21

I enjoy being alone. If I’m honest, I should go ahead and admit that it’s actually one of my favorite things to do. After a busy weekend or a house full of activity, I long for a quiet space, large window, soft blanket, and a cup of hot goodness. This is my happy place, and I could stay there for what seems like forever. I am especially prone to long for my alone time when my outward circumstances weigh heavily on my brain and my heart longs for an escape. 

 I often joke that I just want to sleep it—whatever “it” may be—off. In my ideal world, when things are not going my way, when suffering comes and danger knocks on my door, I simply want to retreat, disappear, and not return until all is well again. And I’d prefer to do this alone.

Though being alone provides a much-needed space to quiet the noise and refocus my thoughts, something dangerous can happen when I retreat to my happy place in order to avoid the discomforts of my reality.  I create an open space for fear to grow, an inviting environment for lies to build and pain to settle in. It becomes easy to lose sight of truth, and I inevitably pull further and further away from Christ. 

I know that it is during these times especially that I need to pray and intentionally focus my attention on God’s Word. But can I be honest? In the midst of suffering, this becomes harder and harder to do alone. 

It is during these exact times that I am grateful for my community—friends who will not sit back and watch me sink, but instead will selflessly show up at my door and sit with me. Sometimes they come carrying a load of their own, and our prayers for each become what we both need in order to stand. Whether I want to admit it or not, it is the presence and prayers of others that help keep me secure.

There is danger in suffering alone. But Christ knew this about us; therefore, He has called us to care for, love, and support those around us regardless of our own personal discomforts. He uses our pain, our circumstances, and stories to grow us in both love for Him and for His kingdom. Paul said it this way to the Thessalonians:

So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith.”
- 1 Thessalonians 3:7

Clearly, Paul does not avoid the topic of suffering. He knows it all too well. However, he also knows that his ability to love, encourage, and pray for the people around him is directly connected to his dependence on Christ.

When relying on our personal strength to stand, we will surely fall. However, Christ calls us to trust in Him in all circumstances. It is only the outpouring of His love that strengthens us to stand, and encourage those around us. Thanks be to God who knows us better than we know ourselves, and gave us the gift of community. “And may the Lord cause [us] to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

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Wynter Pitts is the founder of For Girls Like You, a resource ministry for both tween girls and their parents. The mother of four girls herself, Wynter’s mission is to empower and equip women of all ages in becoming who God created them to be, and to support parents in raising strong Christ followers. She is the author of several books, including You’re God’s Girl Devotional and She Is Yours: Trusting God As You Raise the Girl He Gave You.  Wynter, her husband Jonathan, and their daughters (ages 7-13) live in Dallas, Texas. Follow her on Instagram @forgirlslikeyou.

  • Taylor Conant

    As a self-proclaimed “outgoing introvert”, I definitely find my happy place in a similar setting, book and coffee in hand. What a great reminder that we are called to community. Being alone and being alone with God fills us up so that we may pour out to others. Too often I let my cup be filled and keep it all to myself. Thanks for this good word!

  • Emma Brown

    …full-time job! Having the faith/trust that is needed to do what God has called you to do, to be His servant…IT IS ALL A FULL-TIME JOB!! It’s a 24/7 Full-time job!!! There’s never a break, never is there a pause-button. (This finishes my previous post)

  • Emma Brown

    We are God’s coworkers! (Verse 2 -ESV) I’ve really never thought it about ‘coworker’ being another name for servant. We serve Him and go where He leads us. As we are His servants, we are His coworkers. As we follow God’s plan for our lives, we are working for/with God. As He has called us to different things, given us certain passions, has a certain plan for each of our lives, we are working for/with Him!! We are following that call He has placed on our hearts, to be His disciples. We are “shouting from the mountain tops” about His mercy, His grace, His never ending love, His goodness, His faithfulness, I could keep going!!!! Through all of that, we are working for God…working to bring others to Jesus, that they would know of the Loving Father, and they would have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
    Being God’s servant/coworker, it’s a full-time job. We can’t just say one day, “I don’t think I’m going to be God’s servant today, somebody else has it.” Um yeah no…hate to burst your bubble, but that just can’t happen. God calls us everyday to be His servant!! Being His servant, brings faith and trust. That also means, that that faith/trust that is needed on the daily, it’s a…

  • Lindsey Bailey

    My husband comes from a large family where they sit around at the table long after the last bite has been taken. They lay on quilts in the yard or sit on rocking chairs on the porch and just enjoy talking with one another. They show up at the funeral no matter how distant the relationship. They visit and sit with the older members of the family. He was actually late to our very first date because he was visiting his great grandparents. They take time for relationships. They have an incredibly strong family bond and very large friend circle. I remember when my husband’s grandfather died. The children and grandchildren sang hymns around his bedside until he drew his last breath. When the man from the funeral home came to take the body, we formed a circle, held hands and prayed as a family. The undertaker was moved to tears. Although he was surely no stranger to death and sadness, his heart was moved by the bond this family shares. Over the years, I have seen how the priority this family places on community and relationships has communicated God’s love in ways simple words could never do. When tragedies and difficulties take place, it is our opportunity as Christ followers to share a piece of God’s love.

  • Jennica Barnes

    I am so glad I read this first thing this morning, rather than filling my head with trash from social media. Bad habit. This gave me clarity this morning. Especially in light of recwnt news headlines.

  • Hannah Nunn

    These past 2 days have been so good. I’m actually going through a trial of intense anxiety right now, and honestly have been trying to walk through it alone. 1 Thessalonians is making me realize I cannot do that! We have to be open about our struggles with the people who are doing life with us, because God will use them and speak through them. There are times when I feel like I can’t hear from the Lord because my anxiety can get so bad, but he uses the people around to speak for him, and 1 Thessalonians is really teaching me to keep close to my community during this time.

    • K.B.

      Hannah,
      I was exactly where you are a year ago!!! I can totally relate! Anxiety is a battle that can feel uniquely taxing…I tried so hard to explain it to my loved ones but no one understood. I remember a friend of mine (my prayer partner) called to check on me and I quickly told her that I was fine and hung up. No one wants to hear about me and my anxiety issues, right? Late that night, I got up to pray and kept feeling the need to tell someone how afraid I was and how challenging this point of my life felt and how prayed that my faith not waiver. I sent a long text message that night to my friend telling her I lied, and sharing EVERYTHING with her. Early the next morning she shared how my honesty blessed her and how her faith was being tested too! I encourage you to be honest with someone who will support you…you’ll not only find love and support where you didn’t expect to, but you may bless someone else with your honesty and testimony! I will be praying for you as well, that the Lord sends you someone to confide in and that He gives you peace during this time.

    • Jennifer Marvin

      May I recommend not only friends and family as support but also a counselor. I ended up going back after many years. He put me back on the right path and prescribed a light box. The light box helped a myriad of problems, including a viscous sleep disorder. Sending you much love.

    • Jessica L.

      I am also going through this very thing, and just last night I told my husband that it helps me get through each “episode” when I reach out and talk about it with him or someone else instead of roughing it alone. It’s very hard to put what I’m going through into words, which is why I tend to struggle alone. But God gives us those who can help bear the burden, and we have to take advantage of that! I needed this encouragement to “stand firm” when I desperately want to give up.

  • Robin NHendrich

    Oh Crystal, I am the very same way! Making adult female friends is so difficult. I notice myself retreating from new female acquaintances when I should probably lean in to them more. It’s so scary! But it is something I have to give God daily and remind myself He wants me to have a community!

  • Robin NHendrich

    Wow, what an incredibly timed devotion for me today.

    Our life group has couple who had to deliver there baby at 28 weeks. They before this had been closed off and had not really opened up to our life even after a year of attending. Through this season for them, I e been so amazed by how open they have become to our community! Their little man is getting strong and big, they are happy to share the good and bad with us all, and are even asking for specific prayers. We are seeing how a community is sharpening their faith in this trying season, praise Jesus!

  • Elizabeth

    My favorite verse in today’s reading: Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.” AMEN!

  • My boyfriend of nine months and I have been going to a lifegroup through our church for a couple weeks now, and it has been absolutely incredible thus far. Community and fellowship is such a blessing, and we’ve gotten to connect with the leaders of the lifegroup, who are engaged. On a personal note, it is much easier to get up and go to church if you know you will be missed if you don’t! My friends all moved to different colleges after our first year, so apart from my boyfriend, I was alone. I’ve always enjoyed being alone, but I did miss having close friends to go shopping with or talk to. I was studying with a classmate during , who invited me to lifegroup, and said, “You’re about to have 10 new best friends!” He was absolutely right, and I’ve never felt so loved and cared for. Hearing people’s stories of how Jesus has touched their life is such a strong testimony, and is such a strengthener of my faith.
    On another note, my boyfriend and I did the Matthew study last month on HRT/SRT, and at the end of it, he said he was ready to become a Christian! I last posted in June about us having a four hour theological debate and leaving it at that, but ever since then, I’ve been praying and believing that he would come to Jesus. God is SO GOOD!!!

    • Rebecca Gilroy

      My husband came to church for the first time and was baptised when we were dating too. He is now my husband of 11 years and leads me in a stronger and deeper faith. He teaches at church and leads singing and he shows our daughters why God is important.
      Stay strong to your faith and pray for him and one day he may lead you to a stronger faith too.

  • Lizzieb85

    As I sat down to do this devo, I could not concentrate. I could barely read a couple verses before I felt pulled to reach out to a sister in Christ to encourage her not to retreat & isolate herself, but to press into Jesus & her fellow sisters. We often think of ourselves in these devos, but we can be that person God uses to pull someone out of isolation. I’m thankful God reminded me of this today.

  • Courtney Cates

    I have those moments myself.

  • Jorie Jenkins

    Shana, I relate to you post so much! Thank you for sharing and letting me know that I’m not alone! I’m so thankful for all who share on this page and for this app. It really helps to feel as though your not alone even when no one is around you! Thank you God for the She Reads Truth community!

  • Oh, how I so relate to you however I recently moved to a new state & so I don’t have the community-friends to come pull me out of “it” and that makes it so much harder. I am joining a Bible Study in a few weeks to hopefully help with that. It is through faith alone that keeps me going! So thankful for this online study and encouragement.

    • Crystal

      I had to move from my community of friends-a community that I struggled to build-3 1/2 years ago. I don’t have a strong community here. And it keeps appearing in odd themes lately-apparently God is trying to get through to me. Making adult female friends that are deeper than acquaintances isn’t easy or comfortable for me. I tend to retreat into my best and shut people out. But i know my heart longs for sisters in faith.

  • Carol Statella

    Love all of this. Relate so much. Thank you!

  • I needed to hear this today. Thank you.

  • You have expressed so well how I feel sometimes, but you are so right about hanging in there with our community. Sometimes I want to drop out of the circles I’m in, but realize the importance of sticking with my sisters for the encouragement and love I need and for the encouragement and love they need from me as well.

  • This is such a confirmation of what my husband and I have felt God saying to us for a little while now. Having been going through infertility for 3+ years, and having been an introvert all my life (that cozy day/week with coffee on the couch sounds AMAZING) we have sunk back from communion with the body, allowing our downcast, jealous, wounded hearts to keep us from church on many Sundays, and completely apart from any kind of midweek study. It is so difficult to feel like you “fit”, when you are the only married couple without babies. You try to start friendships, but because that common thread is missing, your efforts seem to fall flat. There are a lot of awkward moments…and even now, everything in me says “AVOID!” lol. But this has encouraged me to try…because we can’t be strong without the rest of the body.

    • Melinda

      Your honest confession about your struggle to”fit in” touched me. Prayers for courage and for a nurturing community for you and your husband.

  • Shana Williams

    We’ve moved a lot and the past few months have been difficult. Making friends is hard! I understand how you feel. Praying that God puts people in place for you (and me) to connect with.

  • Kim Pullman

    What struck me after reflecting on this devotion was the importance of being with each other and building each other up, as suffering is to be expected, although temporary in God’s grand plan, and is almost universal among us. All my sisters in Christ, know that I suffer with you, and I am glad that you were here with me, I am comforted by you and knowing that we suffer as God has planned so that we can become closer to him and live forever with him!

  • I am alone a lot being single and without children – it doesn’t seem like it will change – and this is something which I may have to reconcile. Oh how I love God and my family and church family and friends. Yet still I have a lot of time alone which is not always good. If you can pray for me. Thank you.

    • Churchmouse

      Lou, how wonderful that you see the blessings that are your church family and friends. I’m praying that your heart and your mind are content in the fulness of our Father who loves on you lavishly. May He surprise you as only He can.

  • Jo Gistand

    “When we rely on our own strength, we will surely fail”. Absolutely! Praying that I run to rest on Jesus instead of myself when I am wearing. And I’m thankful for the trials that bring me to my knees and closer to my Savior.

  • lili aleman

    I am in the midst of a seperation from my spouse of almost 12 years. He cheated on me for 1 year and 3 months and believes that because he said “sorry” I should get over it. I have 2 kids with him and 8 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. I work a very stressful job in Research Oncology and find comfort in being alone. However, alone does mean I can retract from God and sink it what is the cruel reality of my life now. Im trying to hold it together but everyday is a challenge. Please pray for my mental health and for my husband to find Jesus.

    • Pam

      Hi Lili, I will pray for you and your family.

    • Mamajonk

      Praying for you Lili, that God would be glorified in your life and marriage.

    • GramsieSue

      Praying for you Lili. Let God heal your hurts and seek Godly friends. You are a treasure to Him ❤️

    • Rhonda Johnson

      I pray for you, how heartbreaking and cruel. I have been there as well, moved cities to marry, had a 1 and half year old, when he told me he didn’t love me, (after finding some texting to a female on his phone). My whole world suddenly crumbled. Thankfully I had a great friend that I called daily for months to just be an ear for me. It was my valley that brought me to my knees, yet where my true relationship blossomed with the Lord. I gave up my sorrow to HIM nightly…daily, constantly. I used a journal for the first time, and a friend invited me to her church. I had never been so heartbroken and out of control of my life. Now for the last 10 years I am so happy and blessed coming up 8 years in a new marriage. Everything I prayed for in my journal is exactly everything I have now. It may not look like what you want at the time, there were many ups and downs in the alone years, but you make it through with Christ on your side! Prayers for wisdom in this hard time for you, and that you have people that come in to your life through God, and to be open to hear. Stay strong, you will look back and see how it shaped you.

    • Churchmouse

      Lili, I’m sorry that this happened to you. I’m certainly praying for peace in the midst of your storm and for daily wisdom. I’m praying a hedge around you and your children. And I’m praying that the Lord hound your husband to a saving relationship in Him.

  • Always moving means always having to meet new people. It means easing into new friendships and new churches, new communities. It means having a lot of unintended”alone” time. I have found that there have been seasons when my immediate, local “circle” was small, with few believers by my actual side and so I’ve had to orient myself to my greater community of long distance friends through phone calls, emails, texts and especially prayer and I don’t feel so alone. Some of these folks I’ve know for many years, my dearest friend among them. We have both found that as we have aged, well into our forties, that we find time for each other more necessary than ever and so we set aside time, despite the 3 hour time difference, each week for a phone call. And oh, does it do me good. Thing is, there have been moments that the enemy has used my lack of having roots as a way to hurt my heart, to diminish my life for Christ, my relationships, my purpose. He is a wily one and there are times I forget letters like these in Thessalonians; their relationships weren’t diminished by distance, Paul’s work was profound and his moving from place to place only glorified the work he was doing for Christ. And so I must remember this, especially as we get ready to move again in 4 months. Staying connected over the phone and in letter form is hard, but so important and so worth it. Community doesn’t just mean face to face, it means places like SRT, where you can find yourself surrounded by virtual hugs and real prayer, it means friendships who *know* you … the deep down, would hop a plane to be by your side in a heart beat friendships, the flower sending, crying in coffee shops to their phones kind of friendships, the ones you think of all the time despite distance. So I will continue to pray that God brings immediate and close community wherever we live, that He calms my heart as I prepare for another new “alone” time for me, for my husband, for the two of my three children moving with us, but I will also be prayerful that God gives me the strength and persistence to grow and nurture my long distance community and the friendships I so adore.

    • Gina Glennon

      Your posts always clarify, encourage, and beautifully teach. God must move you around often so others can get to know you and all the gifts He has filled you with to share. God bless your new venture!

      • ~ B ~

        Thank you for your really kind words, Gina! I will think to them as I prepare myself for this new change.

    • Heather N (MNmomma)

      So much love, so many prayers for you and your precious family! <3

    • Tina

      B. Praying for peace from the stress that will surely come from moving, but I know, as we have journeyed together for a while now, that God has got this… He will be in the preparations, the packing, the organising, everything… because we know Him to be good and faithful to those who reach out to Him..
      Amen.
      B. Next to God I would like to be the next number on your speed dial…lol( but truth).
      Every blessing, Grace peace love and prayers dear friend…

      • ~ B ~

        Tina, I would love to have you on speed-dial. Your faith and testimony have been among those I think to often and you’re naturally inspiring way is so refreshing. I will take your prayers as I’m more apprehensive with this move than I’ve ever been, just not ready to leave a place I’ve loved and a daughter behind. Wrapping my brain around the new “normal” and knowing that God’s got us all. Can’t begin to imagine mustering it all without that profound knowledge. Love to you dear friend! If you ever find yourself in TN, or wherever we are at any given time, we’ll have a room for you!

  • Kelly Chataine

    I am alone a lot, lately. Even when I am with my husband, I still feel lonely. He suffered a traumatic brain injury on October 10, 2017. Almost six weeks in the ICU (85 minutes from home), followed by six weeks in rehab (2 hours from home) and now home and recovering. I spent many hours driving, alone. Days, no weeks, sitting by his bed singing to him, reading scripture and the Packer news. Nights, whether home or in a motel room, alone. I praise God that he is home and doing so well. However, he doesn’t converse with me. He will request his socks or tell me what he would like for breakfast, but we don’t have those lovely conversations that I am accustomed. After church and Bible class, we always had the best discussions about the scripture, discussions and declaring what God is doing.
    I am so lonely. I read the word, watch Bible teachings online, listen to the Bible via earbuds . . . . So, there is a blessing, I am spending time with our Lord! Pray for me because I am a people person and a verbal person.
    We drive 40 minutes to the church we attend, so I don’t have the presence of my church family, either.
    Pray for me!

    • Cindy

      Lord, please continue Your restoration work in this dear injured husband. Though he has made remarkable progress we humbly ask You for more. More more more. Recreate pathways in his brain and psyche so that conversation and deep thoughts do not exhaust him but contribute to his ongoing healing. Let this couple’s times of intimate conversation grow. Let wisdom once again flow back and forth between them. You have created us to be relational and I pray that what this sister is seeing now would not be his final condition bit that baby step by baby step and then larger steps would occur just as one exercises the physical body so that this area of their lives would not be passed over by You but also healed. Amen.

    • Cindy

      Praying for your comfort

    • Laura

      Praying that God will sustain you, give you peace, and provide friendships for you during this season of your life.

    • Gina Glennon

      Oh Kelly, may our Lord strengthen you in your daily walk as you lovingly care for your husband’s needs. May this desert time have springs of refreshment in God’s provision. My heart so understands. Sending you a big sisterly hug!

    • Churchmouse

      I’m grateful you keep us posted on your husband’s progress and I’m grateful for your honesty regarding the challenges of this ‘new normal’ for you both. Your faithfulness in leaning heavy on our Lord is awesome but I sense what you are missing is Jesus with skin on – someone who is able to physically provide the shoulder to cry on, the arms to embrace you in sisterly concern, the ears to listen beyond your words and the eyes that look deep into yours to reassure you that you can do this. I’m praying that God sends you someone who will be that person. And I pray that if you sense that someone in your church could be that one, that you would speak up and let them know of your need. Let the Holy Spirit nudge. Perhaps it will be only a weekly or biweekly meeting but it may be a wonderful support. I’m praying for an outside- the – box answer to prayer. Kelly, you’ve been on my prayer list and you will remain.

      • Kelly Chataine

        You are very intuitive. Thank you for your words and your prayers! I do need, as you called it, Jesus with skin. I really do! Lonely yet, hopeful and maturing in our gracious Lord!

    • Sara Freeman

      Praying that the Lord provides you comfort that envelopes you and relieves you of the aching in your heart Kelly! Jesus knows your every longing and He is with you in this and every season.

    • Julie Whitacre

      Praying for you, Kelly. My email address is [email protected], if you want to connect.

  • I feel as though you have described me, in the first couple of paragraphs. My favorite place is my “alone time” to do whatever I want with no interruptions. Yet I find my mind takes over and my alone time with no interruptions, has become just that, a HUGE interruption that causes me more stress, worry, frustration, etc. I have tried in this new year of 2018, as my Word for the year is J O Y, to pray every time all of these interruptions creep into my mind, yet I do still struggle with sharing my struggles as to not burden others. Funny thing is I am leading a Bible Study at my church where I am encouraging just that out of the other ladies, yet find it so difficult myself. Just want to have surface talk and not too intimate for the fear of them seeing the “real me”. I am slowly trying to break down these walls with a few trusted ladies and it has been comforting to my soul that one in particular share some of the same sufferings. God is good in bringing friendships into our lives if only we trust.

    • Kelly Chataine

      Wish you were nearby me, Susan. I crave those intimate conversations and relationships. Ask God to bring you that and in the meantime, try to be that for others.

  • When relying on our personal strength to stand, we will surely fall. However, Christ calls us to trust in Him in all circumstances.

    I pray I will remember this each and every day. I will trust Him because he is all that I need.

  • Kristen Boyd

    I too tend to retreat into myself when going through a difficult situation. It’s hard for me to “burden others” with my hard times! But it’s truly in community and friendship that I find encouragement and comfort.

  • Sandy Forsythe

    Paul prayed night and day for those he loved…perhaps that is part of the key to keep us from suffering alone.
    Sandy in MA

  • Courtney Osborne

    Amen to that Audrey! ❤️

  • Audrey Gonzalez

    “When relying on our personal strength to stand, we will surely fall” —- this! But when I’m faced with trials, this is exactly what I try to do. I need him and his word. I can be strong when I rely on him.

    • Kristen

      I also do the First 5 app from Proverbs 31 Ministry, and the devotional today says that God deserves to be front and center in everything. A great reminder to seek Him even in the daily things we think we can handle. I know on my own, I am weak and will mess up for sure. Once, we seek Him, then we can help and encourage others.

  • Churchmouse

    I too like to be alone. I have not discovered a danger there. I know it is because I seek to be alone… with the Lord. However, that is not where I stay. It is not my permanent residence. It is a way station, a retreat to recharge, to refocus, to make a course correction. I reload my heart and my mind with His Word so that I am strengthened to go out to live for Him in an ever increasingly hostile world. I am in the world but not of the world. I empty myself of me so that I can be refilled with Him. There is a need for community as support but first I need that quiet personal intimate time with the Lord. I lay me down with all my faults, ask for forgiveness and listen for His instruction. I take up my cross, step out and follow Him. I leave the way station, knowing I will return as need be. Beyond its doors I will run into others who are doing the same. There will be that knowing glance… and the Lord’s army moves out. Rearmed. Ready. “Go away, Satan. For it is written…”

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