Good News Youth Devotional

By Ella Attelus (Church Secretary and Youth Leader at Miami Haitian Church of the Brethren(FL))

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 “…give thanks in all circumstances…”

“Wow, Is the virus really that serious? Do we really have to shut down?”
“We have to stay home for 30 more days! No youth group, No graduation, virtual school, no senior activities.”
“Is the mall really closed? I am so upset!”
“How many people in my community tested positive? How many people is out of work?
“This is getting scary! This cannot be life, God we need you!”

Who else’s mind is going a thousand miles a minute? Mine sure was. The world is at a stand still and no one knows what to do. No one knows what decisions to make. No one knows what is next. All that is going on around us makes it so easy for all the faith we have, to vanish. It makes it easy for our hearts to be troubled and gratitude now being out of our hearts. For some of us its easy to pray for some of us it is hard to pray. As believers in Christ sometimes we need a reminder of what God’s word says and what God’s will is.

In 1 Thessalonians the Thessalonians struggled with many afflictions, but they also had faith. Timothy, on behalf of them, expressed to Paul how grateful and thankful they were for him and still had faith amid what was going around them (1 Thessalonians 3:4-10). Paul also expressed his gratitude to the people and at the same time giving them comfort and reminding them of the coming of Christ. Reminding them who they are in Christ, “…children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” He also tells them to encourage one another, “build each other up….to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5,11 &12). In his final Instruction to the Thessalonians Paul gives them comfort by telling them to rejoice always, stay in prayer and “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)

The scripture parallels to what we are going through right now. Paul reminds me of our pastors, deacons, ministers, youth leaders, etc. who are always trying to find new ways to keep us connected spiritually. They are constantly calling us, sending texts, praying with us making sure our spirits are quenched. Just like Paul reminded the Thessalonians to encourage one another we must also do the same for the leaders who are in the position to seek the discernment of God on our behalf. Paul also reminds us to acknowledge those who work hard among us, the essential workers. Those in the Front lines, the scientist, nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, police officers, fast food workers, etc.

Good news: We must thank God that these people are here making sure we have all the essential things that we need. We must stay focused, not lose faith, praise God, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for us.

Go one step further:

Prayer Activity: Daily Thanksgiving
Materials: Small Basket or Bowl, Paper, pencil/pen
-Think about all the people you want to thank God for. The essential works, your pastor, a church leader, family member, etc.
-Take a few sheets of paper cut it in big or small pieces (depends on the amount of people)
-Write a name on each paper, fold each paper into a few folds, place them in a bowl or basket
-Shake the bowl/basket Place bowl/basket on nightstand or near door
-Every night or every morning as you pray and in worship with God. Pick 1 name out of the bunch and pray for them, thank God for them.

Good News Youth Devotional

By Joy Murray (Coordinator of Children, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Virlina District)

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 “…let us be alert and self-controlled.”

1 Thessalonians was written to encourage a rather new congregation (possible around 2 years old). The “day of the Lord” that Paul talks about is Jesus’ second coming that He told them about in John 14:3. Since Jesus ascended into Heaven, people have been anxiously (in a good way), expecting His return and trying to predict when He will come again. Paul is reminding them that this coming will happen unexpectedly. All too well, we understand how our plans for what will happen in the days ahead, may change! God’s ways and timing are not the same as ours (see Isaiah 55:8-9, Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8). Paul did not want them (or us) to be caught off guard. When all seems to be going well, it will happen somewhat unexpectedly – as unexpectedly as coming home one night to find a thief at your house (you know it could happen, but you don’t really expect it). Paul warns us to be alert. Be aware of your surroundings and ready to quickly respond. Again, this is something we are becoming accustomed to doing anyway, these days. He urges us to have self-control. Don’t do what you want to do, just because you want to. Have control over your impulses, desires and emotions. We are reminded to trust God and seek His will, and He will lead us. (Proverbs 3:5-6). Choosing to do God’s will instead of your own is self-control. Oftentimes, when someone is going to do something they know is wrong, or shady, they will choose the darkness of night to try to do it, thinking they have less chance of being caught. That is the opposite of how we, as Christians should be acting. We are protected by God’s armor of faith and love and we have as our hope, the helmet of salvation. Jesus died so we can spend eternity with Him. Let’s share this Good News with everyone! Let’s have a strong relationship with God! Let’s encourage and build one another up!

Good News: Jesus wants us to spend eternity with Him, so be ready, alert and self-controlled!

Discussion Question: Think about how you feel when you are preparing for someone special to come and visit. What do you be sure you do or don’t do? How do you prepare for them? Who do you call to let them know about your special visitor? Have you told that person about Jesus? Are you ready for Jesus?

Go one step further: