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May 12, 2010

In 1 Thessalonians 1, Paul is writing a letter the the church in Thessalonica.  Paul starts off by saying he, Silas and Timothy “always thank God for all of you (the church) and pray for you constantly.”  He goes on in verse 6 to say “So you received the message with joy from the holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you….v. 7, as a result you have become an example to all the believers in Greece, throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.”

This church had a huge impact on their community.  I Google mapped it – from Thessalonica to Achaia is 527 kilometers.  From Thessalonica to Macedonia is 304 kilometers.  Paul says “people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia…tell us about your faith in God.”

Because of this church’s endurance through “severe suffering” with JOY, people hundreds of miles away are talking about them.  The church is made up of a lot of individuals….so because of each individual persevering through severe suffering with JOY, the message they are passionate about is being spread.

If Paul were to come to you or  your church, how far away would he say you are impacting.  Who are you impacting right at this moment with your example of how you handle severe suffering?  Are you being an example of JOY?

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