Pray Without Ceasing

 

Every day of his life, brother Gus Nichols made it a practice to begin his day with prayer, and not to say Amen until the day was over. This was his practice because he always had a prayerful attitude, and was never truly done with his conversation to God until he laid his head in sleep. This attitude is that after which we as Christians ought to pattern our lives, as it was advocated by an inspired apostle, who told the brethren at Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Such a statement cannot be taken lightly, as it is not advice, nor a suggestion, but an inspired command. However, the command is such that when it is put into practice, it can only yield both physical and spiritual blessings. As Christians, we ought to pray without ceasing not simply because it is a command, but because we realize the source of all blessings, because we have daily needs and concerns, and because we know the power of prayer.

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Quench Not The Spirit

 

Paul was a man who knew firsthand the pain that could be afflicted by the hands of his fellow man; his sufferings, recorded in part in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, were among the greatest endured by any soldier of the cross. Knowing what man could do to his fellow man gave Paul an insight that few had. Paul not only knew of the danger of the oppressor, but of the true danger facing the oppressed to lose faith and cease to follow Christ. He experienced this all too often, as those he held dear both left him and left the faith (2 Timothy 1:15; 4:10). Even Timothy, Paul’s favored son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2) was at one time in the danger of being “ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:8). With this knowledge, it was with great earnest that Paul penned the inspired words, “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

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Hold Fast That Which Is Good

 The command to “hold fast that which is good” is brief in terms of our modern day language; in the original text it is even shorter (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The command that the Thessalonians originally read was only two words long. The first word in the original language (from which we get the phrase “hold fast”) literally means “to have down,” and could also be translated “to keep,” “to possess,” or “to seize on.” The second (from which we get “that which is good”) is a word that describes things that are good in of themselves; things that are inherently valuable and virtuous. The message was profound, though the lettering was brief – after having proved a thing, if it was found to be good it needed to be held on to no matter what. Those two words were a crucial command to the Thessalonians; and the corresponding six are just as important to us, as we will see.

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Despise Not Prophesyings

 

People living in first world nations today find themselves in a unique situation: an “information overload.” This is no new situation – for years information and learning have abounded in these developed and educated societies. However, with the advent of such media inlets as the internet, television, newspapers, and other printed media, the amount of information available to the average person has infinitely increased. A person could sit for the rest of his life watching television, or looking at websites on the internet, or reading books or newspapers, and never take in all the information that was to be had by any of these resources.

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Rejoice Evermore

 

As Paul closed his first epistle to the Thessalonians, he wrote several short but poignant instructions to the church at Thessalonica, and to Christians everywhere. The first of these is quite simply “rejoice evermore” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Such a command is not lightly carried out – in this day and age, with trials and tribulations, it can become difficult to find a way to “rejoice evermore.” However, Christians ought never to find themselves in any situation in which they cannot find something about which to rejoice. By turning to the very epistle in which this command is found, one can find the reasons to rejoice evermore, and find that no matter what evil may face the church and her members, there is always cause for rejoicing.

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