I Thessalonians 1:4-7
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
The apostle, Paul, writes to the Thessalonian church with the hope of encouraging them to continue to receive the message brought by the Holy Spirit. A message of joy and power enveloped the church and the people continued to move forward despite difficulties and suffering.
During the months of May and June many folks celebrate graduation ceremonies. Seniors graduate from high school, undergrads from college, some schools even host Kindergarten and eighth grade graduations. One thing all of the graduates have in common is their call to move in to the next phase of life. I know when I graduated from high school I wanted to race into the world and pursue my dreams. In my exuberance to conquer the world I stumbled and suffered along the way. But, the beauty in the suffering is that with each heartache and mistake, I drew closer to God because I welcomed his joy and power through the Holy Spirit. By seeking Him, I grew with the Spirit's guidance and rejoiced in my Savior Jesus Christ.