One feature of Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians that I find shocking is that it reads like a typical letter. I do not intend to call the seven Pauline epistles we have already read something besides letters. However, beside the greetings and salutations in those books. they don’t read like many letters I have read outside the Bible. But Paul’s ongoing talk to the Thessalonians about shared friends, “pleasant memories” (1 Thessalonians 3:6) and wondering how he can “thank God enough for you”, shows a different level of cordiality than what we have read together from Paul previously. I do not imply that Paul didn’t care for the Galatians or Corinthians when he was rebuking them. No, my point is simply that part of how we can teach fellow believers, as I have tried to show in the last two devotionals is with friendliness, gentleness, and even appropriate familiarity. For these responses can be just as helpful as rebuke, challenge or exhortation in many situations. Paul’s tone is commensurate with his message of encouragement to these Christians to labor on in the obedience they have already demonstrated. Why does this matter? I believe a great number of Christians need encouragement today. We are those that read the scriptures, pray often, serve Christ’s bride and show much mercy, yet attended by suffering and hardship. So today, I want you all to know as my brothers and sisters that I have love and appreciation for you all. You have served faithfully, so let’s continue on in this direction, for Christ is at work even in the hard places of our lives.