We always thank God for you and pray for you constantly. we never forget your loving deeds as we talk to our God and Father about you, and your strong faith and steady looking forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We know that God has chosen you, dear brothers, much beloved of God. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not just meaningless chatter to you; no, you listened with great interest. What we told you produced a powerful effect upon you, for the Holy Spirit gave you great and full assurance that what we said was true. And you know how our very lives were further proof to you of the truth of our message. So you became our followers and the Lord's; for you received our message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the trials and sorrows it brought you.
Then you yourselves became an example to all the other Christians in Greece. And now the Word of the Lord has spread out from you to others everywhere, far beyond your boundaries, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your remarkable faith in God. 1 Thessalonians 1: 2-8 (TLB)
Carol J. Giesey lives in Pennsylvania. Their pastor announced that he would be leaving them in a few months to take a position at another church. Carol was saddened by this news; his departure will be a great loss. His sustaining message of "we love because God first loved us" has helped their congregation to become more welcoming. While he has only been with them for a few years, they have attracted a significant number of new members, and he makes everyone feel worthy of his time and attention.
Although Carol has expressed her appreciation to him a number of times, she wishes she had done more. It is easy to take for granted the love people show us and to assume they will always be there for us. It can also be tempting to criticize others rather than to appreciate the good that they do. But scripture teaches us to show our gratitude for others. This could be with a few words, a note, or an action.
In the next few months of transition, Carol intends to show their pastor the appreciation he deserves. She hopes to do the same for her family and friends as well as kind strangers she may encounter. Expressing gratitude is a way to lift up ourselves and others, and it pleases God.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the people who love us and show kindness to us. Inspire us to show our gratitude to them that we may encourage them in their good works, in Jesus' name. Amen.
My heart is grateful that Pastor Jacob will be with us for another year!