Ray of Hope Shining on the Face of a Child
Daily Devotions

Thessalonians: Hope for a Hopeless World

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

Paul teaches the new Christians in Thessalonica they had reason for living, they had purpose, and they had hope in the midst of the hopelessness around them because God is in control and knows what He’s doing.

  1:  Thankful For What? 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3
  2:  Loved By God 1 Thessalonians 1:4-8
  3:  Rescued From the Coming Wrath 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
  4:  Courage 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6
  5:  The Gentleness of Love 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9
  6:  A Faithful Life 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12
  7:  The Word that Works 1 Thessalonians 2:13
  8:  Why the Gospel Offends 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
  9:  Satan Blocked Our Way 1 Thessalonians 2:17-19
10: How To Pray 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
11: How To Please God 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2
12: The Beauty of Holiness 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6
13: Body Control 1 Thessalonians 4:4-8
14: Keep Loving and Keep Working 1 Thessalonians 4:9-18
15: The Times and Dates 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5
16: Awake and Sober 1 Thessalonians 5:6-11
17: Those Who Labor Among You 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
18: How to Help 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15
19: How to Behave Toward God 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
20: The Spirit and the Scriptures 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
21: Relief 2 Thessalonians 1:1-7
22: The Reckoning 2 Thessalonians 1:8-12
23: The Man Who Claims to be God 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
24: The Restraining One 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12
25: Thumbnail Theology 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
26: Stand Firm and Hold Fast 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17
27: Prayer and Protection 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
28: Work Matters 2 Thessalonians 3:6
29: Follow My Example 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9
30: Busybodies 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15
31: The Lord of Peace 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18

A devotion introduction for March

The Thessalonian letters of the Apostle Paul were written to a young church situated in an extremely dangerous world. Within twenty years of their writing, the whole of the ancient East was convulsed in warfare and rebellion. In 70 A.D., the armies of Titus surrounded the city of Jerusalem. Following a bloody siege, the city was overrun, the temple destroyed, and the Jews taken captive. The movements that culminated in these events had already begun when these letters were written. Thus it is clear that the Thessalonian Christians were facing extremely perilous times.

We too are living in dangerous times. Many years ago, Dr. E. M. Blaiklock, who was then Professor of Classics at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, declared: "Of all the centuries, the twentieth is most like the first." We can, therefore, feel very close to this young church in Thessalonica. Many today sense an approaching world crisis. A nervous, jittery stock market; a growing sense of cynicism and distrust of the political process; an increase in drug and alcohol dependency, with the resultant physical and mental toll in human lives; scientists tinkering with our genetic make-up; all portend a frightening crisis looming on the horizon of our times. Add to this the spread of famine in many countries, and the ever-present threat of nuclear warfare, and it is clear that something terrible is about to happen. We are living in a world in crisis.

This simply says that if we cannot discover how to change people, there is no hope for saving the world from ultimate collapse. In the immortal words of Pogo, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Right here is the glory of the gospel, for the gospel changes men and women. Paul's letters to the young church at Thessalonica were written because people there had found, in the good news about Jesus, a way to be changed. The focus of their lives had been drastically altered and redone. That is what these letters reflect.

Paul himself had founded this church in Thessaloniki (as it is now called). It is today a bustling center of northern Greece, and it is one of the few New Testament cities that is still flourishing. It spanned the Egnatian Way, the Roman road which ran from the Adriatic to the Bosphorus. After Paul and his friends had been treated shamefully in Philippi, they journeyed on some fifty miles west to Thessalonica. Paul was able to minister in the synagogue for only three Sabbaths. The Jews of the city became so enraged by his teaching about Jesus that they created a riot and took Paul's host, Jason, captive, holding him responsible for the apostle's behavior. Paul left the city, traveling south to Berea, and there began to preach again. The Jews from Thessalonica followed him, creating another uprising in Berea. Finally, Paul was sent on alone to Athens. He remained but a short time there, and then went on to Corinth. It was from that city, in the year 50 or 51 A.D., that he addressed this letter to the new believers in Thessalonica.