• Prayer is climbing up into the heart of God.—Martin Luther

  • Hope in God. An anchor for the soul.

  • Seeking first His kingdom.

  • Any good that I can do, let me do it now.

  • Pray without ceasing. Give thanks always.


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  • Total Surrender


    Audio length: 10:49
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    Moody had no more than a 5th or 6th grade education, and he did poorly even at that. When he attended his first Sunday school class, he thumbed through Genesis looking for John. When applying to join Mt. Vernon Congregational Church, he was rejected because of his utter ignorance of Christian teaching. His friends thought that seldom was anyone more unlikely to fill any sphere of public or extended usefulness. But God can take what seems a small and insignificant life and use it greatly, if it is surrendered to Him.

    At the age of 17, Dwight L. Moody left his poor widowed mother’s farm to set out on his own in the big city of Boston, where he began working in his uncle’s shoe store as a clerk. The year was 1854. Then one day, the most significant event of his life took place.

    Edward Kimball, a dedicated Christian who had met young Dwight when he first came to the city, felt compelled to witness to him and tell him about Jesus and God’s plan of salvation. Kimball went to the store where Moody worked, and finding him in the back room wrapping shoes, told him how he could receive Jesus as his personal Savior. Moody listened attentively and prayed with him to receive Jesus.

    Shortly afterwards, Moody heard evangelist Henry Varley say, “The world has yet to see what God can do through a man who is totally yielded to Him.” Moody was captivated by these words and resolved, “By the grace of God, I will be that man!”1 And he was! A short while later he moved to Chicago, where he began preaching the gospel and witnessing to others, and was so thrilled to be able to lead other folks to Jesus that he quit the shoe business and began serving the Lord full-time. He went on to become one of the world’s greatest evangelists, with literally tens of thousands of eternal souls led to God’s kingdom as a result.

    But if Moody had not determined to yield his life to the Lord, what a sad loss it would have been—not only to himself, but to literally millions who heard the gospel through his ministry! The same principle holds true for each of us. If we are not willing to carry out God’s will for our lives and to do whatever He may ask of us, we may never become all that God wants us to be or do what He wants us to do—which could be a great loss, not only for us personally, but also for those whom the Lord wants us to somehow help or reach with His love and eternal salvation.

    You may feel like, “I could never do anything great for the Lord like Moody did! I’m no great evangelist or soul winner.” Neither was Moody to begin with. He was just a poor farm boy and a below-average student who became bored with life on the farm and moved to the big city. After several weeks in the city, he set a new goal for himself—to become a wealthy businessman. Giving his life to God’s service was the last thing on his agenda. But when he received Jesus as his Savior and he knew how much the Lord had given for him, then he determined to give his life to the Lord.

    “How do I give my life to Jesus?” you may ask. The first step is to believe in Jesus and to receive Him in your heart as your Savior. Then, as the Bible says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Every man or woman of God whom He has ever used drew close to the Lord and relied upon Him and His power and His Word for guidance, strength, and inspiration.

    God’s Word tells us, “Present your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, for this is your reasonable service. And do not conform yourself to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will know what is the good and pleasing and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1–2). When we surrender our lives to the Lord and yield ourselves to Him for His service, then we’ll know His will for our lives.

    Despite our faults, weaknesses, and inabilities, if we will turn our lives completely over to Him, and if we are willing to let Him make us what He wants us to be, He will work in and through us to perform His will. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Of course, because we each have our own free will, we can choose to yield to Him and “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33), or we can seek first our own desires and plans and ways. The choice is ours whether or not to give Him first place in our lives.

    When the Bible speaks about seeking first the kingdom of God, it’s not merely talking about the “religious” part of our lives. The Lord is talking about our entire life, our future, our plans, and the choices we make. It is not simply about spending a certain amount of time every day reading God’s Word and praying. To turn our lives over to the Lord—to present ourselves as living sacrifices upon His altar—means that we place our will, our plans, our future, our desires, and our ambitions in the Lord’s hands.

    We know that His kingdom is made of souls, and that He wants us to “preach the gospel to every creature” in order to bring as many people as possible into His kingdom (Mark 16:15). So to be yielded to His will is to be willing to do whatever we can to reach others with His Word and His love. This is our “reasonable service” considering what He has done for our redemption and the gift of eternal life that He died for on the cross (Romans 12:1).

    A good question to ask ourselves is: Are you willing, not to present your program to God for His signature or even to be presented with God’s program for your signature, but to sign a blank sheet of paper and let God fill it in without your even knowing in advance what His program is going to be? Are you willing to turn your life over to Him and then to fulfill whatever role He has for you? If so, you can trust that God has wonderful plans for your life! (See Jeremiah 29:11.)

    You can be sure that when you yield your life to the Lord, He will bless and use you in whatever ways He chooses and make your life a blessing to others. Of course, not everybody is called to be a D. L. Moody or an Apostle Paul. But God has a special calling and place in His kingdom for each of us. A thorough reading of the Gospels makes it clear that He calls different people in different ways.

    Jesus had only 12 to 70 full-time disciples who were with Him and followed Him around almost continuously. But He also had many thousands of other followers who received His words and believed and spread them to others. Whether you feel called to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” in a foreign land or right where He has planted you, or you feel called to make it possible for others to do so, as you “seek first the kingdom of God,” the Lord will bless and reward your efforts!


    Who Is Edward Kimball?

    One of my favorite “minor characters” in American history is a man named Edward Kimball. There aren’t many people who could tell you the historical significance of Edward Kimball. After all, he is so un-famous that he doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page. But through his simple service to God, he has had a worldwide impact.

    In 1854, Kimball was a Sunday school teacher in Detroit, and one day he went to visit a 17-year-old boy who was in his Sunday school class who had little interest in God or religion. During his visit with this young man at his job in a shoe shop, he led the boy into a relationship with Christ. That young man was D. L. Moody, who went on to become one of the greatest evangelists in the world, sharing the gospel with 100 million people, as well as founding Moody Bible Institute and the Moody Church in Chicago.

    But the story doesn’t end there. Through his ministry, Moody was responsible for a London pastor named F. B. Meyer coming to faith. Meyer was responsible for J. Wilbur Chapman coming to faith, and Chapman influenced Billy Sunday, another prominent evangelist of the 20th century. Billy Sunday was integral in a man named Mordecai Ham coming to faith. And Mordecai Ham was the preacher responsible for leading a young man named Billy Graham to Christ. …

    Edward Kimball’s story reminds us to never underestimate the influence you can have on the world by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with just one life… [M]ay the story of Edward Kimball encourage you to continue to pray and to look for opportunities to share about the salvation found in Jesus Christ.—Eric Stillman2

    From an article in Treasures, published by the Family International in 1987. Adapted and republished June 2023. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.

  • Jun 1 An Excellent Gift
  • May 29 Faith for Financial Supply
  • May 26 How to Keep Praying
  • May 22 Passing from Death to Life
  • May 19 We’ve Got the Power
  • May 17 God’s Faithfulness
  • May 16 What We Have to Look Forward To
  • May 11 The Lord’s Prayer—Part 3
  • May 10 The God from Podunk

Directors’ Corner

News, writings and thoughts from TFI Directors

  • 2 Thessalonians: Chapter 3 (Part 1)

    This third chapter of 2 Thessalonians is the final chapter of Paul’s epistles to the Thessalonian believers.

    Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.1

    Paul begins with the word finally, which indicates that he is moving on to a new section of the letter, and in this case, coming to the end of the letter. As he did in his first letter to the Thessalonians, he asks the believers to pray for him and his partners.2 His request for their prayers follows his prayer for the Thessalonians in the previous two verses:

    Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.3

    His first prayer request was that God’s Word would spread rapidly. The word of the Lord refers to the gospel which Paul and his companions proclaimed.4 This request for the word to spread echoes Psalm 147:15, He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. Paul used running the race as a metaphor for the mission of spreading the message of Christ.

    Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.5

    The second request is that the word of the Lord may be honored, as happened among you. Paul likely had in mind the recent acceptance and honor of the gospel in various cities of the Roman Empire. The book of Acts tells us that the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.6 The combination of “run” and be honored points to Paul’s seeing God’s Word as a runner participating in a race and winning the prize and thus receiving honor.

    Paul goes on to ask the Thessalonians to pray for the security of his team, that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men.7 At other times, he asked the believers to pray that he would be delivered from those who opposed him.8 Paul and his companions knew that God was their only hope, considering the strong opposition to their message. The people they needed God's protection from were said to be wicked and evil. Wicked is the opposite of “good” or “kind,” and means that they are morally evil. The second description, evil, is almost synonymous with wicked. These two words indicated a high degree of aggression from these people. Paul and his partners experienced antagonism from both their Jewish opponents and the Gentile persecutors.

    The opposition that Paul and his companions experienced was due to the rejection of the gospel: For not all have faith. Here, faith likely refers to the positive response to the message of the gospel; and those who reject the message had earlier been described by Paul as the ones who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.9

    But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.10

    Having asked the Thessalonian church to pray for him and his companions, Paul once again focused on the Thessalonian believers. They were suffering persecution at the hands of unbelievers. Paul reminded them that the Lord is faithful. God’s faithfulness is connected to the protection of the Thessalonians in their suffering. In this verse, the Lord is seen as a protector/patron in His faithfulness to the believers who are suffering persecution. As another translation of this verse says, the Lord will strengthen and protect you (NIV). God would establish them in the midst of their trials.

    The verb guard means to “watch over,” which expresses that God protects His people. While the Thessalonian church had no social power, the Lord was with them, so they were not without defense, and the evil one was unable to triumph over them.

    We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command.11

    Having shown confidence that God would establish the Thessalonians in the midst of their persecution (v. 3), Paul trusted in the Lord that the Thessalonian believers would continue to be obedient to the moral instruction he had given them. Despite the problems the church faced—the hostility and persecution,12 and some believers’ rejection of Paul’s teaching about work (covered in the next few verses)—the believers continued to live the Christian way of life.

    May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.13

    Paul now presents the second prayer, in the form of a wish, before moving on to his teaching about work. The prayer asks Jesus to direct their hearts. As seen earlier in 2 Thessalonians 2:17 and 1 Thessalonians 3:13, the heart is the center of the believers’ lives: The Lord guides their hearts, resulting in His purposes being accomplished through them.

    Paul’s request is that the Lord will direct the Thessalonian believers in a way that will show love and perseverance, imitating the virtues of God the Father, who loves them, and Jesus, who suffered for them. The call is to “act as God acts.”

    Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.14

    This verse signals a change of topic when Paul uses the word “brothers” at the beginning of this text. At this point, Paul’s instruction is not a suggestion which the church could choose to follow or not, but rather a command. He repeats this style of command two more times in this chapter.15 The authority behind the command is not Paul’s own, but is rooted in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul didn’t need to emphasize that he had the Lord’s backing in what he was teaching; however, now he considered it important to make that point. What he was telling them was authoritative, and he expected the Thessalonian community to obey.

    Paul instructed the church in how to respond to the disorderly, those believers who walked in idleness. In his first letter to the church, he had also addressed the idle believers: we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle.16 The word idle here doesn’t mean “lazy,” but rather identifies people who were disorderly because they didn’t follow the rule of the community. The rule they ignored had to do with work. Paul pointed out that those walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition were disobedient. They had received Paul’s instruction regarding work, and had seen that Paul and his companions worked, but they paid no attention to it.

    Paul instructed the church to keep away from those who refused to work. Later in this chapter, he instructs the believers not to treat the person as an enemy or somehow outside the church, but says that they should “warn him as a brother.”17 They could continue to be members of the church, but they were subject to the correction and discipline of the community. They had heard Paul’s teaching more than once, and had chosen to be disobedient, which called for stronger measures to be taken.

    Social separation was the way the early church corrected members who didn’t keep the moral teaching of the faith. For example, in Romans, Paul wrote: I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.18

    For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you.19

    In these verses, Paul reminds the Thessalonian church of the example he and his team gave them regarding the believers’ responsibility to work. Earlier, Paul spoke about the Thessalonian church becoming imitators of the Lord, of the churches in Judea, and of the apostles. Now he states that the church should imitate his and his team’s conduct regarding work. They worked with their own hands, and they didn’t become clients of any benefactors, which set an example to these new believers.

    He went on to explain that he and his companions were not a burden on the Thessalonian believers and paid for their own food (bread). Paul and his team supported themselves through their own work and with offerings sent to them from the Philippian church.

    You Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.20

    In 1 Corinthians, Paul taught that receiving financial support for Christian service was an acceptable practice, though he didn’t make use of that privilege.

    Do we not have the right to eat and drink?21

    Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?22

    If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.23

    Elsewhere he wrote:

    One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.24

    Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”25

    Having explained how they took care of themselves without becoming clients of the Thessalonians, Paul commented on the fact that they had the right to be given support from the church, but that they didn’t make use of that right.

    It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.26

    Paul stated that he and his team refrained from having patrons in order to be an example for others to follow. He and his team set the example for the members of the church who were disorderly and who refused to work.

    (To be continued.)


    Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

    1 2 Thessalonians 3:1–2.

    2 1 Thessalonians 5:25.

    3 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17.

    4 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 4:15.

    5 1 Corinthians 9:24–26. See also Galatians 2:2, Philippians 2:16.

    6 Acts 13:49.

    7 2 Thessalonians 3:2.

    8 Romans 15:31.

    9 2 Thessalonians 2:12.

    10 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

    11 2 Thessalonians 3:4.

    12 2 Thessalonians 1:4–7.

    13 2 Thessalonians 3:5.

    14 2 Thessalonians 3:6.

    15 2 Thessalonians 3:10, 12.

    16 1 Thessalonians 5:14.

    17 2 Thessalonians 3:15.

    18 Romans 16:17.

    19 2 Thessalonians 3:7–8.

    20 Philippians 4:15–16.

    21 1 Corinthians 9:4.

    22 1 Corinthians 9:6.

    23 1 Corinthians 9:12.

    24 Galatians 6:6.

    25 1 Timothy 5:17–18.

    26 2 Thessalonians 3:9.


  • May 23 2 Thessalonians: Chapter 2 (Part 2)
  • May 9 2 Thessalonians: Chapter 2 (Part 1)
  • Apr 25 2 Thessalonians: Chapter 1
  • Apr 11 1 Thessalonians: Chapter 5 (Part 2)
  • Apr 4 What Is Faith?
  • Mar 28 1 Thessalonians: Chapter 5 (Part 1)
  • Mar 21 Growing in Perseverance
  • Mar 14 1 Thessalonians: Chapter 4 (Part 2)
  • Feb 28 1 Thessalonians: Chapter 4 (Part 1)


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  • The primary goal of the Family International is to improve the quality of life of others by sharing the life-giving message of love, hope, and salvation found in God’s Word. We believe that God's love—applied on a practical level to our daily lives—is the key to resolving many of society's problems, even in the complex and fast-paced world of today. Through imparting the hope and guidance found in the Bible’s teachings, we believe that we can work toward building a better world—changing the world, one heart at a time.


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