Message: In 1 Thessalonians 2 Paul was defending his character in the way he and Timothy had brought in the gospel without motives and without burdening the church financially. They were all under persecution and we have seen in other letters that accusations had come against Paul about his authenticity as an apostle after some false apostles came in and established themselves while manipulating the gospel message and the people. Paul was once again commending the church of Thessalonica for the way they received the gospel. Some thing that grabbed my attention immediately was in verse 13 when he said they had welcomed the message of the gospel not as a human message, but “as it truly is- As God’s message.” As I thought about what that meant I realized that we take “human” messages and we pick out what we identify with and we eliminate the things we disagree with. That’s a healthy way to take a human message because we are imperfect beings. Paul was commending the church because they didn’t treat the gospel that way. They took it for what it was and Paul said they became “imitators of the church” even to the point of suffering like Christ. This challenged me to pay attention to how I am treating the gospel. Am I accepting it all for what it is, or am I eliminating parts of it for the sake of my own comfort. Am I willing to be persecuted for it or am I being a people pleaser? I definitely see areas where my silence of certain hot topics is a way of avoiding the persecution. Lord, please help me identify the areas where I am avoiding parts of the gospel message in order to avoid the disapproval of people, but help me to also seek your wisdom as to how and when to approach difficult topics. Help me to stop trying to “safeguard” people from being exposed to parts of the gospel they may find offensive. Help me to be wise as a serpent ad harmless as a dove in the way that I share and relate with people.