Ray of Hope Shining on the Face of a Child

A daily devotion for March 2nd

Loved By God

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.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5a

This is how people are changed: idols are cast aside, and a new life begins! It begins with God's love. The world at large conceives of God as perpetually angry with them. But God does not look at our lost race that way. God sees us as victims, deluded and deceived. Alluring philosophies have throttled our love and captivated and gripped our minds. Almost in total ignorance, we pursue things that destroy us. Although we never intended to do so, most of us have already seriously messed up our lives. But then we learn the incredible truth that God loves us, that he gave his only Son for us. It is in the cross that we see the love of God displayed. Paul so states in Romans: But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

It is also in the Scripture that we learn that he has chosen us. How do you know that God chose you? The answer is, you begin to be drawn toward God, to sense a desire for him. The calling of God by means of the Spirit awakens a hunger within. If you are longing to be different, if you want to be more than you are now, if you have tried to change and you cannot, if you find the words of the gospel attractive, you are being drawn by the Spirit! Jesus said, No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him (John 6:44). When the good news came to Thessalonica, people began to feel a desire to have this Jesus who would make such a tremendous change in their lives. They responded to love and thus revealed they were chosen of God.

Paul goes on to detail the steps necessary to God's call. First, our gospel came to you not simply with words. The Scriptures were preached and the truth was declared. It is through the Word of God that men and women are awakened and moved toward God. The second factor in God's call is the power of God; the gospel came in power. It is real, compelling, gripping. The gospel has the ability to compel because it is not mere legend or myth. Jesus did live. He did move among men. He died a felon's death upon a cross. He was raised from the dead. All of this marks the power of the gospel. When the Thessalonians believed, they sensed the power of it in their hearts. They were actually changed. They were different. Also, the gospel came by the Holy Spirit. Behind the power was the reality of God himself. His Spirit could touch the human spirit. He could minister to the deepest needs in human lives. The Spirit of God fills the human spirit. He begins to minister to our minds and our hearts from within, opening them up to understand these events. Finally, the gospel came with full conviction. It moved the wills of the Thessalonians. They acted, they did something about it: They yielded their lives to God.

Father, thank you for drawing me to yourself, making me weary of what this world has to offer, and giving me a taste for that which truly satisfies.

Life Application

Reflect on that time when you were mysteriously drawn to God, sensing a desire to know Him more, and experiencing his love. Share that love with someone today.

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Changed Lives

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