Tuesday, November 18, 2008

11 18 08 Pray Continuously…Test Everything

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient toward all. See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not extinguish the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt. But examine all things; hold fast to what is good. Stay away from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 NET)

What happens when we are duped; slowly tricked into believing a lie? Think back to November 18, 1978?

The People’s Temple, a religious community led by James Warren (“Jim”) Jones (1931–78) came to international attention after some 900 of its members died at their compound, Jonestown, in Guyana, in a massive act of murder-suicide on November 18, 1978. Jones began the Peoples Temple informally in the 1950s as an independent congregation in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was inspired by the ideal of a just society that could overcome the evils of racism and poverty. In 1960 the Peoples Temple affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and four years later Jones was ordained. In 1965 members became active in both Protestant ecumenical circles and state politics. An agricultural settlement, Jonestown, was founded in 1974. Following the tragedy at Jonestown, the Peoples Temple was identified as a cult, and Jones was depicted by the media as the epitome of an evil cult leader. (Peoples Temple. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 18 Nov. 2008 ).

Paul writes from Corinth to the capital city of Macedonia, a Roman province in A.D. 51. Paul had visited Thessalonica on his 2nd missionary journey and sent Timothy and Silas back to the area reassure the new believers. This letter is in response to Timothy’s good report. Paul’s desire was to encourage the believers in the face of moral temptation and to instruct them to remain steadfast in faith and conduct.

Verse 14 relates so well to our role as parents and teachers within the home and how we are to not only teach sound doctrine but to be a strong symbol of hope and strength to our children and to one another. We not only see our children a bit undisciplined, discouraged, and weak at times, but we as parents can be a bit frazzled too at times! And think of the teachers: they have multiple challenges each and every day! We have to be careful to be positive, encouraging, and on one accord. This requires us to PRAY CONTINUOUSLY!

We face many challenges today. Paul is not saying in verse 16 to be happy that we are struggling, but to rejoice in the fact that God is present with us and if we are truly in fellowship, we have each other as well. When faced with decisions, economic struggles, and the lies our children face, as a Body, we can challenge one another to be steadfast and TEST EVERYTHING against the Word of Truth! It is so important to be on the same page as believers and as a school family as well. We have been lent these precious children to train in the fear (discipline) and admonition (instruction) of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Our children are gifts from God and like arrows in a warrior’s hand, prepared to pierce this dark world in future generations. (Psalm 127)

Together, we (families, school, and church), must covenant to be united in the raising of our children to better impact the world for Christ!

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