Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Ever feel like there are so many things to be done, so many tasks to accomplish, that you'll never actually finish a project?

Tammi and I feel that way sometimes when we look at our house. Or our yard. Or our garage.

I feel that way sometimes when I read passages of scripture and look at my life.

Proverbs makes me feel that way. Every verse is a whole new insight, principle, or goal to apply.

Paul's first letter to the church in Thessalonica is like that in 5:13-22. Among other things, he writes:

- LIVE IN PEACE with each other
- WARN those who are idle
- ENCOURAGE the timid
- HELP the weak
- Be PATIENT with everyone

That would be enough, but he's just getting started:

- Be JOYFUL always
- PRAY continually
- GIVE THANKS in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus

And then he finishes the list with a flourish:

- Do not put out the Spirit's fire
- Do not treat prophecies with contempt
- TEST everything
- HOLD ON to the good
- AVOID every kind of evil


After all that, I'm trying to catch my breath. As I compare my life with what I read, I feel like I've just walked into a tornado-flattened area, been handed a broom and a garbage bag, and given the assignment of cleaning up everything myself.

Can be kind of defeating, can't it?

Ever feel that way about your life? Your marriage? Your finances? Your family? Your job? Your country? Your school?

Oh, but hang on.

Paul doesn't stop there. And the next verses give an overwhelming sense of POWER and peace.

May God himself,
the God of peace,
sanctify you through and through.

"Sanctify" means to make holy, to purify, "to make suitable for their ritual purpose". Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has just prayed that YOU will be made suitable through and through.

May your whole spirit,
and body
be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And now the Spirit has prompted Paul to pray, not only that you'd be sanctified once, initially, but that you'd be kept blameless. That what God did won't be undone. Just the opposite, that the work would keep going, and going, and going...

The one who calls you is faithful and HE will do it.

The whole prayer, while requiring our cooperation, depends upon HIS faithfulness, HIS action, and HIS power.

Go back and look at verses13-22 again.

But this time, ask Him,

"Where do YOU want to get started? Where are you at work in me today?"

Then simply obey as He speaks, points, and leads.


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