1 & 2 Thessalonians: Day 8

Build Each Other Up

by

Today's Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Joel 2:31-32, 1 Corinthians 15:42-49

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Joel 2:31-32, 1 Corinthians 15:42-49

God keeps His promises.

It’s an indisputable fact that no one can keep promises better than God. I will not be persuaded otherwise, and neither should you. After repeatedly attempting to achieve lifelong happiness by setting my hope on the promises of friends, boyfriends, or family members, and then finding myself picking up the pieces of my broken heart after the carpet got yanked out from under me each time, I finally can speak this truth: There ain’t nobody NOWHERE that can keep a promise like God can!

Allow me to elaborate.

In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul encourages believers not to grieve hopelessly when fellow Christians die.  Grieving like there is no hope is what the world does, not what Christians do. Paul isn’t trying to be callous here—of course there is room to grieve when a loved one dies. He’s using that example as a way to illuminate a substantial promise from God: Life in this world is only the beginning.

Here’s the thing: the same power (God’s power) that raised Christ from the dead is taking up active residence in every believer. God’s power transforms us from those who were once walking in darkness into children of glorious light. This illuminating power enables us to lead lives of godliness and holiness— teaching, correcting, convicting, guiding, and comforting us. And it is that very same power that gives God’s people strength and peace in their dying hour.

But God’s power doesn’t stop working there. Today’s reading promises that His power is working even after death, resurrecting believers into life eternal. This is the great hope: when this life has been lived, we get to spend eternity in paradise! Paul urges his audience to build up fellow weary believers with the truth of this promise.

In today’s decidedly postmodern, secularist world, the idea of spending an eternity in paradise seems pretty far-fetched. We’re taught to trust what we can see and can be proven with tangible evidence. But as citizens of the kingdom of God, we’re instructed to trust One that we can’t see or touch. How do we do that? Well, it takes faith. But not blind faith—informed faith. We need faith that relies on what we already know to be true about God and His promises. Here’s a small pool of evidence:

God promises Abraham that He would make him a great nation… Check!

God promises to deliver the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt… Done!

God promises to send a Messiah… Yep!

God promises to send the Holy Spirit… Again, check!

Even with just a few examples, it’s plain for us to see that God promises big, but He always delivers. Even if no one else in our world can keep a promise, God can. But listen, don’t keep this good word to yourself!  “Encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). Let another sister know that when we’re tossed around by the broken promises of others, or when it seems that we’re just spinning our wheels in this life of faith, we’ve got to remember this promise from God: This life is only the beginning.

And you can take that to the bank.

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Erin Rose lives and works in vibrant Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as Worship & Teaching Pastor at East End Fellowship.  She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Erin is a member of Urban Doxology, a ministry that is writing the soundtrack of reconciliation for the church. Her greatest joy lies in leading God’s people in authentic worship, and teaching them the truth found in God’s Word. She also enjoys eating delicious food, spending time with loved ones, and indulging in the occasional Netflix binge.

  • Robin NHendrich

    Our sermon this weekend spoke about How our God keeps his promises even when humans can’t. Love hearing this devotion on the same topic. God is pointing me to this at this moment for me to sink in and absorb. So good!

  • Meagan Basham

    I needed this today. My heart hurts for those who do not believe or have doubts about God. He always follows through with His promises and it takes faith to follow Him devoutly. This natural life is only the beginning… we all have so much more to come. Blessings ❤️

  • Sydney Belcher

    This live is only the beginning!! Wow

  • Gloria Hamilton

    Praise God for his promises I am so glad he lives & because he lives we can live eternally

  • Rie Hamby

    Life has been tough lately. His Word and your words bring beautiful, life giving promises that are true. Glory to God and thank you for your words of encouragement!
    My heart is full ❤️

  • Tina Bryant

    I love what they said about people in this world may not be able to keep promises, but God always delivers! And it’s true! What a great reminder

  • Caralee Lilly

    What a great God we serve. Yes, those checked off promises mentioned in the reading today have been delivered and I am so grateful. But God did not stop there….everyday in my present journey I am learning that the promises He made to help us through our day to day life in Christ continue to be fulfilled. He is so good. I love Him so much.

  • God delivers his promises – what an encouragement in the time of discouragement and negativity….

  • Willard Rose

    A wonderful exposition of the passage. I liked the thought “ God makes big promises but, He is always able to deliver.” Amen!

  • This is just how I needed to start my morning! What refreshing and candid reminder of God’s great promises and perfect track record for keeping them!

  • It was 20 years ago today that my husband was killed while fighting a basement fire with the local volunteer fire department. There is not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. He was the best, most wonderful husband a girl could ever ask for.

    • Heather N (MNmomma)

      Pam, you are in my thoughts and prayers….may the Father’s comforting arms wrap around you and surround you with a peace that surpasses understanding. xo

    • ~ B ~

      Pam, I am so sorry that you lost your husband. 20 years must seem so long and yet like it was yesterday at the same time. Prayerful that God continues to cover you and that your warm memories and the fondness of your husband carry you until you meet again.

  • Meredith McMahan

    The checked-off list of such powerful promises is amazing and encouraging. Beautiful. Thank you.

  • This…yes!

  • It is so easy to get caught up in this world, whether that is in life itself or the empty promises we are told. What an encouragement today that God’s promises never fail us and that even the best of this temporary world are nothing compared to eternal life with Him in Heaven! What a wonderful thing to ponder on. “So it is written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). What amazing grace we have been given, and are called to be awake and self-controlled as we wait for Christs’ second coming. Lord Jesus, come.

  • Audrey Gonzalez

    Reminding myself of God’s promises is so vital. It’s easy for me to get distracted by my circumstances and let that become my truth. Looking back and remembering how God has always been faithful, has always provided, always been there, always kept his promises…in the Bible AND in my own past….that is what gives me the truth I need.

  • Emma Mitchell

    This passage and devotional has spoken so much life into my heart. For two years I’ve felt a desire to search out and learn more of God’s promises, but have never known where to start. Today reminded me of how his promises are woven through his word, and by reading his Word I can be assured of them!

  • Concepción Jenkins

    The hope that we have in Jesus is unexplainable!
    “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
    Hallelujah!

  • Hi everyone! This may seem silly, but this passage brought me to ponder the difference between our immediate resurrection and joining with Jesus in heaven after we die in tandem with the second coming of Christ. I have a few thoughts about exactly what that means and what that may look like, but I’m feeling a little mind bent by it. Does anyone have some thoughts on this subject that might help clear up this issue?

    • Lizzieb85

      I studied Revelations a couple years ago & learned a lot about this! Now, my memory may not be exact, but I can tell you what I remember.

      When our bodies die, our spirit goes to be with God/Jesus in heaven (there is no physical, bodily resurrection until Jesus comes back). When Jesus comes back, ALL Christians will be resurrected bodily. There will be the final judgement and Christians will get brand new resurrected bodies! Which will live in a brand new earth.

      I think of it like this: until Jesus comes back, there is a spiritual “realm” in which we will reside once our current physical bodies die. When Jesus comes back, the new heaven & new earth will be a brand new physical “realm” where we will live for eternity with brand new physical bodies.

    • Deborah Craytor

      This is how I understand things:
      1. When a believer dies, his body “goes to sleep,” but his soul immediately joins Jesus in heaven.
      2. When Christ returns in the sky, he will bring the souls of the previously deceased believers with Him, raise their bodies to meet Him, and unite the body and soul into one being who will share His glory forever. The best analogy I have read is that the physical body which dies is a “seed,” which blossoms into the “plant” of the combination of soul and glorified body.
      3. Christ then catches up the living believers (the Rapture). These believers also receive their new glorified bodies.
      4. Christ gives rewards to believers (the Judgment Seat of Christ).
      5. The Tribulation begins on earth for nonbelievers, including the nation of Israel. This is when the signs from Revelation occur; no sign will precede Christ’s return in the sky.
      6. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ returns to earth and reigns here for 1,000 years (the Day of the Lord).
      7. God judges all remaining nonbelievers (the White Throne Judgment, Rev. 20:11-15).
      8. God creates a new heaven and earth where we will all live in our glorified bodies forever.

  • Bonnie Maw

    Such a great reminder of the promises of God that we have already seen lived out. Our hope in Him is secure!

  • Morgan Hunka

    Hey if I could throw a prayer request out there to the SRT community, it’s a simple one. I’ve been job hunting for a few months now and it has been unsuccessful. I daily remind myself that God is faithful (some days are easier than others), but since I’ve been apart of this community for a few years now I thought asking for prayer would be great too:)Thankyou.

    • Breanne Randall

      Praying for your, Morgan! I know some days it’s so easy to fall into God’s faithfulness and believe that everything is happening and will absolutely work out, and other days it feels totally hopeless and like you want to give up. Praying for a job, your spirit, timing, and all of it! xo

    • Krystle

      Hi Morgan! I’m praying that the Lord will send you a job that is the perfect fit, and that He’ll give you peace and provision in the meantime! ❤️

    • Gema Muniz

      Praying for you Morgan.

    • Seirena

      Prayers for you! That God would open up the door for you to be where He can use you for His glory!!

  • Lois Wilson

    As a daughter who was raised by a Dad who was less than perfect and left me with emotional and sexual damage but who I have forgiven based on Christ’s forgiveness extended to me… I am loving 1 Corinthians 15:43 “Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.” Dad’s weakness and brokenness are left in the grave. Thank you Jesus!

    • Jeanna S

      Lois, I am so proud to call you a sister in Christ. From what was a broken place, through no fault of your own, you put on the breastplate of faith and love. You proudly wear your helmet, your crown, of salvation! May His hand continue to guide you, heal you, and support you all the days of your life, and then into eternity.

    • Ashley

      Wonderfully said sister. May God continue to bless and heal you!

  • As a young single mom who gave her life to Christ and is dating a Christian man, I am tempted to put my faith in him instead of God. This was the reminder I needed today—I feel so strengthened and comforted. No matter what happens in this relationship, God has a beautiful future for me, in this life but most gloriously in the next.

  • “Here’s the thing: the same power (God’s power) that raised Christ from the dead is taking up active residence in every believer”. What a powerful reminder that I am NEW in Christ. I pray that God will transform my heart, continue to do His workings within me, so that God’s love and beauty will always pour out of me. That I will be new in God’s creation, the “second man from heaven.” Priase God for keeping His promises! Praise God for the cross! Praise God for being seen as holy in the mist of my sin , that I am white as snow! Praise be to you God

  • Pam Karlberg

    We spent Christmas Day at the beside of my Mother in Law, waiting for her to go to be with the Lord. It was at times sad, but overall we had such a hope and confidence in where she was going. Her hospital room felt like a “holy place” as we waited. I knew full well that she would soon be at peace with the One she loved and served over most of her 86 years. What a hope and promise we have for that day!

    • Sarah-Jane Beaudry

      This is beautiful, Pam! I am a Palliative Care nurse and your words “her hospital room felt like a holy place” rings so true. There is something incredible about the moment a believer goes to be with their Lord! Even in the grief and sadness He is there! The spirit is moving!

      • Thanks Sarah Jane. We had a wonderful nurse who was very sensitive and really cared for us. It was one of those days as a believer that is hard to put into words. I have been telling people that we didn’t have a traditional Christmas Day, but we really had Christmas. Christ was there to take her home. Blessings to you in your work.

  • Love the readings for today, but I was under the impression that many Jewish people now feel the period of captivity in Egypt was a metaphor and there isn’t actually evidence for this. As a metaphor it is stil a wonderful one that fills us with hope though.

    • Des

      I am not sure in regards to evidence, but it really boils down to who do you believe? God and His infallible Word, or Jews…who, by the way, rejected their Messiah? They are mere humans and definitely not people Christians should look to for scriptural advice, being that they reject the full word of God, and as Jesus said, could not even discern the signs of the times. I would go with God, regardless of what any supposed “evidenece” shows (think of all the evolution “evidence”).

  • Hope Toliver

    So good

  • Barbara Thompson

    This I know is true, after seventy seven years. Only God is faithful.He alone gives perfect peace. We as humans are imperfect.God has given us love for one another while He is perfecting us for His Glory.
    Thank you for this wonderful post.

  • Sandy Forsythe

    Encouraging our family and friends now- to love and know Jesus- is the kindest thing we can do… they won’t have the chance after that glorious Trumpet sounds.

  • Jo Gistand

    This is such a comforting passage, and a great reminder to stay eternally minded. Our hope is not on earth, but in heaven, and that makes the trials and waves a little less intimidating.

  • This has always given me a profound peace, to know that I will see loved ones in Christ again. It has allowed me to bury both of my parents early and have comfort. I was able to calmly plan and execute two funerals in two separate states for the very man who ushered me to Christ in my darkest days, my Dad, because I knew he was with God and that a life without him was only temporary, however many years would pass. And I was able to say goodbye and pray that God relieve my Mom of her pain and heartache and send my Dad to dance her out of this world and into the next on the very day she died because I knew I’d see her again and I knew that the afterlife would be such much better than this one. I miss them, terribly, every single day but I am so grateful for a God that doesn’t tease us with all the good things that life offers us only to end it all into nothing. I’m so grateful that the loving and the knowing doesn’t lead to nothing but instead to a life eternal in the presence of those who’ve gone before us AND our heavenly Father. How good is God that His promises are true, that His Word is real and that we can share that with others. That we can usher others to Christ because WE know Him. That we can have eternal life because of the Son. That DEATH isn’t final or permanent, that those we’ve loved LIVE, that they don’t worry or fret or suffer or miss, that they actively LIVE with God as He prepares a place for US. I love this life; my husband, my kiddos, my friends and experiences but I can vehemently say that the day I die, however early or late, will be a good one and because I KNOW Christ my loved ones can find peace in knowing I rejoice and rest.

  • Gina Glennon

    “Informed faith”! Love that and why we study God’s Word every day!

  • Lori Hamilton

    Needed this this morning thank you. Amen!!!

  • “Encourage one another”…such simple words yet not always easily put into practice. Though I personally treasure sincere words of encouragement, I am certain I do not offer them as often as I should. As a believer I have SO much to be encouraged about–This life is only the beginning and we have an eternity with our Savior to look forward to! Praise God from whom all blessings flow…

  • Annie Croft

    1 Thes. 5:4-I have never noticed this sentence before. I have always focused on the Lord returning “like a thief in the night”. I wonder if this means it won’t surprise us because we are living for God and we are ready at anytime- or if it means that we will kind of have this internal feeling that the return is near because of our relationship with Jesus? Or maybe both…
    I don’t stress about end times too much anyway, I just want to live in the here and now, loving and encouraging. It’s just interesting to come across things in the Bible that you never noticed before.

    • Jo Gistand

      I think that’s exactly what it means. Those living as unbelievers do not have the perspective that Jesus will come again, and so it will be a shock. People also think they have “time” to believe, and we don’t know when he’s coming back, So it’s best to believe now.

  • This year I feel like God has given me the command to speak words of life. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many talented and gifted people. I’m learning how important it is to lift these people up and thank them for the way they use their talents and gifts to bless the world.

  • Kelly Chataine

    God wants us to encourage each other with His words, the knowledge of His return and that we will be with him always! Woohoo!
    According to the dictionary, the definition of encourage is to give support, confidence or hope to someone. Here are some synonyms for encourage: hearten, cheer, uplift, inspire, motivate, spur on, stir, stir up, fire up, stimulate, invigorate, vitalize, revitalize, embolden, fortify, and rally!
    We have a job to do, so let’s go out and get it done!
    May you each be uplifted by today’s readings!
    May God’s words motivate you to fortify those in which you will interact.
    May you allow God to invigorate and inspire you to live in obedience to His word.

  • Ali Chyba

    Amen.

  • Melissa Williamson

    Faith is confidence that if God makes a promise, He will keep it. His track record is perfect so far, which is why I believe that Jesus will return to take us home.

  • My prayer for my husband and I is to become more generous. We’ve been taking baby steps in giving, but I also know that the more we give and get in the habit of giving, the less we will be anxious about money and the less it will have a hold on our hearts. Pray for us to give generously, with wisdom.

    • Kelly Chataine

      Awesome, Abby! You and your husband are being like God for He is the most generous giver. You are also showing obedience by giving and trust that God is in charge and will provide! Keep it up! God loves a cheerful giver!

  • Lindsey Olinda

    God promises big and He always delivers! Hallelujah!!

  • Tochi Heredia

    “We need faith that relies on what we already know to be true about God and His promises.”
    I may not be able to see God face-to-face but I can feel Him, hear Him, and see Him reflected on others. Last week ended for me like a shipwreck in a sea of anxiety, yet all throughout the weekend (and today’s reading) the Lord has encouraged me and reassured me of His promises through His Word, sermons, books, and prayers and conversations with dear sisters.
    My faith is not only informed by the extensive accounts of His goodness in the Bible, but also by the unmerited grace He had shown me. I have followed Him across an ocean and He has blessed that decision in more ways than I can count (housing, friends, church), now I just need to trust that He will continue to provide for me. Father, forgive me for being so forgetful and doubting. I’m so happy and thankful that it’s not about what I can offer —it’s always been about You.

    Sisters, I appreciate if you can pray for God to manifest the job He has in store for me. I have been in London for 4 months and I’m still unemployed, which would be fine if I wasn’t running out money (literally). Please pray for peace and wisdom.

    • Diane

      Prayer said. God’s blessings are upon you just by your faith.

    • Brandi

      Dear sweet faithful sister, praying for our Faithful Father to show you His awesome peace and provision! He is Able and He is willing and He is oh so faithful! Really excited to see what He has in store for you today!

    • Alexis

      God, please provide a job for Tochi. Her trust in you is beautiful. I thank you for taking care of her. Amen.

    • Tina

      Joining you Tochi in faith that our Father in heaven will provide all you need… He promises that if the birds of the sir are taken care of…How much more you…He is faithful… Amen..
      Sending you love and hugs …. Tochi..xx

    • Mari

      Tina, you serve Jehovah Jireh your Provider.

  • Tracy Sims

    Awesome!

  • Churchmouse

    We do not grieve as those who have no hope.
    We will always be with the Lord.
    We are children of light and children of the day.
    We obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Whether we are awake or asleep, we live together with Him.
    We who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
    This. Is. Us.

    • Tochi Heredia

      Yes!!!! So much powerful truth in today’s verses <3

    • Kelly Chataine

      Thanks, Churchmouse. I have read these passages, heard them read to me, countless times, and I never noticed the “and so we will always be with the Lord.” part. I knew it but reading it set my heart to lighten, and I was indeed encouraged.

  • I so love this!

    As one who has witnessed first hand what God van and continues to do, I say Amen absolutely to this.

    I lost my daughter some years ago and I can tell you the place I was in was total darkness a real bottom of the bottom of the pit with what seemed like no way out. To be honest I was not looking for a way out, there seemed to be any reason to stay here on this earth….

    But God. ..
    God through my ranting and raving, accusing and all sorts, still wrapped His loving arms around me and lovingly showed me where girl was…she was happily running through a meadow shouting she was okay and happy… tears roll down my face as I remember her sweet face so so happy.
    Before she died, my daughter was led to the Lord by brother. .she happily prayed the prayer… and within days she was gone… but today and for a long time since I have been joy filled to know that I WILL see her again in paradise, because God has shown and told me in His Word…
    God keeps His promises.. If this had been the only promise (which it isnt) that God had left, I would still be happy…
    But God..
    He continues to keep His promises, because He loves me wholeheartedly, no matter the journey a twists and turns.. He promises never to leave me… He’s still beside me. He promises that He will provide as he dies the birds ..He does. He promises that He has a plan for my life, I am not see it now… but He will see it to through..
    My journey from an early age is long… but looking back.. God has always always been there. ..
    He will never leave me nor forsake me… This i know of promise keeper..
    Thank you Lord God, that you have been there from the beginning, thank you that with no uncertainty I know you are a God of your word, I so sometimes act like a silly Billy, but truth be known you are an awesome, amazing truthful, and faithful life giving promise keeper. . Thank you Lord God… Thank you..
    With a thankful heart i pray in the name of Jesus. ..Amen.

    Happy Monday ladies..sending love all around…xxxx

    • Madalyn McArthur

      God bless you!

    • ~ B ~

      I have always loved that your beautiful daughter’s life brought you round to Christ. And I think what a gift it is to US from our loved ones when they know Christ, it gives us an unimaginable peace in unimaginable circumstances, even when we don’t know it yet. T, if she was remotely like you, she was a remarkable woman. Happy day on this Monday morning!

    • Pam

      I love this story Tina. God is so good to allow you to see her! Thank you for sharing it – always love hearing from you! God Bless You!

    • Cecilia

      Oh, much love to you Tina. Your encouragement always brightens my heart.

  • So good! Thank you!!

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