Hi friend! Welcome to episode 26 and a new season of the Tending Your Soul Podcast! I’m Mariel and I’m so glad to have you join me in the garden today. God is here ready to tend our soul like a gardener tends a garden.
Spring is warming the earth in my part of the world, and the hope of a summer garden is twinkling on the horizon! But even more so is the hope we have in Jesus as Easter draws near and we prepare our hearts to celebrate again the gift of the sacrificial lamb and His resurrection as atonement for our sins.
In this season I am currently tending through the book of 1 Thessalonians. I invite you to join me in considering these God-breathed words, penned by Paul, as one of his earliest letters. He wrote to the church in Thessalonica where he had visited and started a church and then was removed bc of the great persecution that broke out there. He so grieved not being w them and was later encouraged by their faithfulness and steadfastness that he gets word of, even despite the persecution and hardships.
The culture is dark and far from God yet these people remained steadfast. In his letter, Paul writes prayers of gratitude, encouragement and hope for them. He celebrates their faith in God and encourages them to keep growing in their walk with Jesus.
As I began using the tend method of bible study as I go through this letter, I spent a few minutes reading it in its entirety. Then I began to daily soak my soul in its words using my TEND method.
Today let’s begin with the first 3 verses of the letter.
The TEND method begins with T, for take time to pray. Let’s begin by asking God to speak to us through His life-giving word, as only the Holy Spirit of God can do.
Lord, I thank you for your word. Would you speak now through it? Give me the understanding I need as you open my eyes to the wonderful things in it. Amen
Once we have taken time to pray, we examine the scripture. In doing so, I like to write out the words of the verses I’m tending through. The act of writing slows me down and helps me pay closer attention to the tenses of the verbs, the scene described and the details I might otherwise miss.
But for our sake let’s examine the scripture by reading it. 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3.
Right out of the gate, we see this letter is a “we” letter to be addressed from Paul, Silvanus (AKA Silas), and Timothy. Paul is taking the lead here. And, we see he opens with such gratitude.
So as we move to N in TEND it guides us to Notice the lesson.
So we want to pay attention to what is happening and how might the first audience (the Thessalonians) be receiving these words. What is being taught here? What do we see about God? The bible is God revealing Himself to us, so we can always seek to see what it is teaching about God’s character.
It helps me to ask a few questions of the text to lead me to a lesson.
For example: Is there a sin? A promise? An action? A command? An example?
In these few verses I do see an example that stands out to me. Paul and his companions greet those they are serving with gratitude and prayer. They offer us the example of thanking God for those we are praying for. They also build these people up as we see in v3 “remembering before our God your work in the faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is not a hint of competition in Paul’s words.
This is an example for us to follow. We are to pray for others with gratitude and remember them before God not in competition but in love celebrating their work, labor and faith.
Once I have noticed the lesson, then I will turn the lesson into a question I can respond to.
The last step in TEND is Do what it says. We are to be doers of the word not hearers only filling our head only with knowledge. We are also to live out a response to God’s Word.
So let’s turn this lesson of we are to pray for others with gratitude and remember them before God not in competition to us but celebrating their work and faith, into a question.
We could ask: whom might I need to be praying for?
Maybe even who do I pray for that I need to give thanks for too?
And who am I needing to remember before God, not in a competitive spirit, but celebrating, encouraging them in their work and their faith?
I find for me I can often pray over and over for a loved one who is in trials but I forget to give thanks to God for them and for small movements of God that I see in their life.
I can also let competition creep in when I forget to hold others in prayer. Remembering a co laborer before God can really shift that perspective. So today I am going to pray thanking God for what I see Him doing in my sons lives before I lift up their concerns to Him. Then I am going to make a list of those co laborers who I have not been remembering in prayer. I will repent of a competitive spirit and remember them by name before Him.
What about for you, friend? How will you respond today to this lesson?
Is there someone you have been praying for so much that you have forgotten to give thanks for God’s action in their life?
Is there someone you have felt competition towards rather than remembering their work and faith before God? Let’s ask God to guide us towards Christlike responses as we seek to walk in this example.
Lord we thank you for the truth of your word and the remember for us to remember to carry others to you in prayer and the gift of gratitude that invites us into a right perspective. Bring to mind for each of us who we ought to be praying for and what we can give thanks for in the lives of those we love. Amen.
Be encouraged, my friend. Our God is leaned in and listening to our prayers. Let’s carry one another continually to Him.
If you need guidance for tending your soul by the Word I encourage you to get my free downloadable guide at marieldavenport.com/start. And start cultivating the rhythm of time in the Word so we might be people that bear much fruit to the father’s glory.
Until next time, keep tending your soul by the Word.