Cathy Hurtado

"For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.  You know how we lived among you for your sake.  You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.  And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.  The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, your faith in God has become known everywhere.  Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,  for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us.  They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath."  I Thessalonians 1:4-10

Paul opens his book to the Thessalonians with encouraging words to the church.  He told them:

·  Their salvation was evident in their lives with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction.

·  They had become imitators of their spiritual leaders and the Lord.  It was demonstrated by their joy in the midst of severe suffering.

·  They had become a model to all believers.  The Lord’s message went out from them and others reported of their changed lives.

Take a few minutes and examine your walk with God.

1.  Do you just say you are saved or does your life bear fruit consistent with the transforming power of the Spirit and deep conviction?

2.  Who are you following?  Who is showing you how to walk with God, serve in ministry, endure hardship, and love people to Jesus?

3.  Can others look to you as a model for all believers?

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t answer ‘yes’ to all the questions.  See it as an opportunity to make changes and grow.  Start by solidifying your salvation.  Five-step Follow-up and Discovery 1 are great places to start.  Look for a mentor, someone whose life demonstrates these qualities.  Start walking alongside of them, imitating them, learning from them.  Nine-week discipleship is a great place to start.  Recognize that if you call yourself a believer, you are modeling something.  Choose to be a model for all believers as you follow Christ.

Father, thank you that Your Spirit transforms lives.  I confess that too often my life doesn’t demonstrate Your power or Your ways.  Help me to learn to be a disciple, a learner, and a follower of Your Son so that that I can be someone who others look to to learn how to walk with You and serve people.   Amen.

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