How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence.

How cool would it be if people said this about us? Who knows, maybe they do. I want to be a person who gives others great joy.

Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.

How amazing it would be to know that someone is earnestly praying for us day and night. This life of faith is impossible to live without the prayers of others and the hand of God. I also love that the Thessalonians had mentors in their lives who loved them how they were, but knew there were gaps in their faith that had to be filled. As I grow older I am concerned that we have separated the older and younger in many of our churches. The younger need those who have gone before them to give them wisdom and insight as they embark on the journey of faith. Those who are older in the faith often need to be around youthful passion and desire to keep them fresh.

May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.

This reminds me of Jesus’ command to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor. Christian maturity is not measured in knowledge, but in love that is growing and overflowing. I have been following God through Christ, empowered by the Spirit for 20 years now. But I have to continually ask the question, do I love God and people more today that I did 20 years ago?

May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.

Love is foundational to our faithful. It is also foundational to holiness. Love much be rooted in our desire to be more like God, who is love. At the same time, holiness is rooted in love. I can not be holy without being loving. The two are dependent on each other. I may say, “Yes, I love more today than I did 20 years ago.” But, is that love rooted in holiness? Do I love what God loves? Answering these questions are harder than it may appear. That is why the Psalminst cried out to God,

Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24).

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (New Living Translation)