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

  • God so loved the world. Every person.

  • The future is as bright as God’s promises.

  • Seeking first His kingdom.

  • Sharing the Good News. In season and out of season.


User-friendly devotionals with audio

  • Do You Feel Lucky?

    By Nina Kole

    I watched an interesting documentary by a mentalist and illusionist magician, Derren Brown, called “The Secret of Luck.” He selected a small town that had a random dog statue in a park, and started a rumor that it was lucky to rub the dog’s head. They sent in a film crew to follow a few chosen members of the community—a butcher, a toy store owner, a pub owner, and so on—to see how far this rumor would go by having them all pat the dog’s head. The crew would then return and interview them after a week to see if anything good happened to them.

    He set up several “lucky” things to happen to these selected few, such as a lady stopping them to ask simple “survey” questions and giving them an instant cash prize for their help. He also sent each individual a scratch card, where no matter which box they scratched, they would win a big prize.

    He even set up a famous stand-up comedian with a flat tire; if the owners of the two local pubs offered to help change his tire, he would do a free show in their pub guaranteed to draw a big crowd and boost their business. One said he was too busy and told him to go to the garage for help. The other jumped in and helped right away and reaped the benefits!

    Now the thing I found interesting about this was that at the beginning of this documentary, a few of the people they were focusing on had said that they were not lucky. One man in particular said that nothing good ever happened to him. Because of his attitude toward life, he didn’t bother to stop and answer the lady’s survey questions, he never scratched the card, and when they even put money on the road right where he walked, he didn’t see it. His negativity made him miss good things even when they were right in front of him.

    Some of the others the film crew interviewed had said that a lot of good things had started to happen to them. This was even before they encountered some of these “lucky” setups. Because these individuals were positive by nature, they looked for opportunities where there was good, and they found them!

    As Christians, we can take this a step further than simply striving to have a positive attitude, because we can be confident that the Lord is with us and cares for us and surrounds us with His goodness and mercy even during the tough times we face in life.  

    Of course, it’s not easy to always be positive and have faith. We may be tempted to doubt during times when our faith is tested, like Peter did when Jesus called him to walk on the water. He did so for a while, but when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:29–31).

    Being positive gives you the faith to step out and do something that might seem crazy or adventurous, while having a negative attitude can cause you to see all the reasons why something isn’t possible, might not work, or how you might fail. Sometimes, it may even keep you from trying.

    When you add faith to the positive mix, it will help you to not give up when things don’t seem to be working out. In the documentary mentioned earlier, Derren Brown concluded, “The difference between lucky and unlucky people is simply to what extent they respond and embrace opportunities in life.”

    One person who I find a great example of embracing opportunities in life is Benjamin Franklin. He was always keen on finding ways to fix problems or make things work better. Here are a couple of examples:

    Benjamin had poor vision and needed glasses to read. He got tired of constantly taking them off and putting them back on, so he decided to figure out a way to make his glasses so they would let him see both near and far. He had two pairs of spectacles—one pair for seeing at a distance and one pair for reading. He cut the lenses in half, then he put half of each lens in a single glasses frame. Today, we call such glasses bifocals.

    Benjamin’s friends’ and neighbors’ houses often got struck by lightning during storms. The houses would also catch fire due to having unsafe fireplaces. Rather than writing it off as terrible or unlucky, or just despairing about it, he discovered ways to make things safer. Eventually he invented the lightning rod and a safer way of heating homes called the Franklin stove. He also started the first fire insurance company.

    Back to the documentary. It also got me thinking about Joshua and Caleb in the Bible. They were part of a group of spies Moses sent to check out Canaan, the land God had promised to His people (Numbers 13:6, 8, 16).

    Fact number one: It was a land “flowing with milk and honey,” which was a cool way of saying there were a lot of seriously plus-sized fruits and vegetables there. The spies cut a branch off a vine and it actually took two guys to carry ONE cluster of grapes back to show everyone (Numbers 13:23).

    Fact number two: The cities were fortified and very large, and the people who lived there—the sons of Anak—were giants. Now these were not just basketball-player-sized tall people; the spies said they felt like grasshoppers next to them (Numbers 13:28, 33).

    So most of the children of Israel cried themselves to sleep that night and said, “I’d rather have died in Egypt or here in the wilderness!” (Numbers 14:1–3).

    Caleb, however, silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30). Now that’s a seriously positive, full-of-faith attitude! Most of the people must have felt pretty unlucky that the land God promised them was already occupied by giants, but Caleb looked at the prize—what they stood to gain if they conquered it—and God’s promises and focused only on that.

    Joshua joined in by saying, in so many words, “The land we passed through and explored is totally legendary! If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land—a land flowing with milk and honey, mind you—and will give it to us. Only don’t rebel against the Lord. And don’t be afraid of the people of the land, because the Lord is with us.” (See Numbers 14:7–9).

    Then the Israelites talked about stoning them and getting themselves a new leader to lead them back to Egypt (Numbers 14:4). The Lord was really not happy with their attitude and told them that because of it, not a single one of the older generation would get to see the Promised Land after all, except for the two spies who had faith in God and His promises: Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 14:21–24).

    They were the only ones of their generation who were allowed to live in the Promised Land! And just in case you didn’t know, the word lucky is said to have originally come from an old Dutch word meaning “happiness and good fortune.” Having faith in God definitely brought Joshua and Caleb a good amount of happiness and good fortune in that situation.

    Any difficult or trying situation gives us an opportunity to place our faith in God and His promises and trust in Him to work all things together for our good. (See Romans 8:28.)

    John the Beloved said, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

    To me, what is often attributed to “luck” is really a combination of a few things:

    • Responding positively to opportunities when they come along; not turning down open doors due to thinking negatively or being afraid to fail
    • Having faith in God to cause all things to work together for good, and therefore, not blaming circumstances or others when facing challenges
    • Hard work and focus
    • Not giving up

    The more opportunities we pursue as God leads us, the better chances we have of succeeding. The more positively we look at a situation, the better our reaction will be.

    The more trust we have in the Lord, the more open we are to His leading and guiding us to do things that might seem difficult or impossible.

    Adapted from a Just1Thing podcast, a Christian character-building resource for young people.

  • Jun 5 Total Surrender
  • 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

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)


  • The Family International (TFI) is an international online Christian community committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe. We believe that everyone can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, which affords happiness and peace of mind, as well as the motivation to help others and to share the good news of His love.


  • 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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    We believe that our faith is meant to be lived in community and camaraderie with others. We seek to cultivate a spirit of unity, love, and brotherhood. Together we can do more.

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1 and 2 Thessalonians
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Living Christianity
Applying the teachings of the Bible to our daily lives and decisions.

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