Message: 1 Thessalonians was a letter written to the church of Thessalonica after Paul started this church but was forced to leave abruptly because of persecution. This letter has a much different tone than the previous letters. It begins with the typical greeting and thanksgiving we have previously seen from Paul, but in this letter he commended this particular church for their faithfulness to the gospel in spite of severe persecution. This was a city that was known for idolatry and the believers here had not only heard the gospel and received it with joy, but Paul mentioned they heard more than the words. They received those words with power from the Holy Spirit. Paul doesn’t go into any further explanation about this but he marvels at the fact that these believers turned from their idolatry and became so devoted to imitating Christ that their reputation was known all over. This had me thinking about the difference between people who hear the gospel and make a logical choice to follow Jesus, and those who have a legitimate touch from the Holy Spirit and the transformation is drastically evident. In my opinion, those who make a logical choice seem to struggle more with surrender because even though they have chosen to follow Jesus, they feel a sense of morality, but still also feel very much in charge of their own lives. Those I have observed who have a touch from the Holy Spirit are often people who had a troubled past and when they receive Jesus they are so grateful to be accepted and they eagerly turn their whole lives over to him in surrender. Obviously this is all just speculation and opinion, but the important thing I took away from this was the power of the Holy Spirit. We can speak to people and even reason our own way through human logic to make right choices, but when the Holy Spirit gets involved he does things in a heart that no man can reason with words. This has changed the way I pray for myself and for others. Holy Spirit, come in and do what only you can do!