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Showing posts from May, 2018

Day 149~ 1 Tim 5-6~ Conspicuous or not, everything will be seen!

I was in a conversation once talking about God’s righteous judgement.  The other person, not believing in God, confessed that he had a hard time understanding how a God would commit a person to eternal hell.  It didn’t make sense, so he didn’t believe.  “I know people”, this person said, “who are really good people.  They are loving, kind, benevolent…..better than a lot of people I know who call themselves Christian!”
I wish I could have pulled up this verse, in today’s reading, to rebuttal his point: “The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgement, but the sins of others appear later.  So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.” (5:24)
Someone can look really good or really bad on the surface at the time we know them.  But God knows their whole life and what they do in secret.  Everything will be laid bare in the end.   😳 That reminds me of what Jesus said written in both Luke 8 and Matthew 10.
“For nothing is hidden that…

Day 148~ 1 Tim 3-4~ You can be an elder!

Paul was a great leader!  He did not feel the need to do all the work- he delegated work to others! Big time work!  Serious work that had consequences!  What a great example for those who are in leadership to remember~ God will get his work done.  Don’t feel like you have to do it all! Just do what he is asking YOU to do. He will get others to do the rest.  
I say this because I am noticing how much responsibility Paul gave Timothy when he left him in Ephesus.  Paul did the same thing when he left Titus in Crete. (We will read about that in a couple of days.) He gave both these men the same responsibility, set up the churches and appoint the leaders.  Paul must have written to Tim and Titus around the same time because the lists of qualifications he wanted them to use for the “elders” are almost identical.
Elders (and deacons) were to be “above reproach”.  He goes on to describe what that means for elders; husband of one wife (which means faithful to the one), sober-minded, self-controll…

Day 147~ 1 Tim. 1-2- Hear, hear!!

I was touched at how Paul showed, in our reading today, how thankful he was to what God had done in his life.  In the middle of “charging” Timothy with instructions on how to correct certain people from teaching a “different doctrine”, he breaks into praise for our merciful Jesus.  Did you notice that?  It seemed he got carried away with gratitude while reflecting back on his former life. 
He starts reflecting back on his own sinfulness (1:13), why Jesus uses him (vs. 16) and then seems to almost break out in song reflecting on the reality if what God has done for him.  
“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1:17
It’s good to reflect back and see how far Jesus has brought you!  
Paul’s break out praise reminds me of how we raise our glasses in a cheer.  🥂
I’m thinking we Christians should forget about saying “cheers”, “to health”, “Skol”, or “bottom’s up” and instead adopt what Paul said!  

“To the King of the ages, immor…

Day 146~ 2 Thess. ~ the whole letter!

Three chapters today=the whole letter!

OK, was anyone else kind’a surprised reading about the judgement that will occur at Christ’s coming? (1:5-12) 😳 I have read this letter before but this time, maybe because I’m reading a different version, it really stood out to me. I wasn’t totally surprised...it just seemed...very definite! “This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God....indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who affect you...” (1:5-7). “...they will suffer eternal destruction, ....when he comes on that day.” (vs.9).
That really drives home the point I made two days ago about the reality of hell. People really need to understand that concept in order to see a need for someone to save them from it. 
Paul states the solution to staying out of hell in a simple way.  “...love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thess. 2:10) I wish everybody could see how easy that can be~ just love the truth!


Day 145~1 Thess. 4-5-God will sanctify, unless...

This is a short thought, but it really got me thinking......

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification...”(4:2)
God wants us to be sanctified (made holy).  He will make it happen!  We don’t need to worry about being perfect...He’s going to take care of that........unless......you disregard him. 
“For God has not called us for impurity but holiness.  Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” (4:7-8)
Hummm....
My footnote said something interesting about that.   “God promised that he would establish aa new covenant in which the Holy Spirit would write the law on people’s hearts and cause them to obey.  To reject the giver of the Holy Spirit (by continuing in sexual sin- vs 3), is to cut oneself off from the sanctifying power that enables the Christian to be “blameless in holiness” at the second coming.” (See 1 Thess 3:1)
Wow!  Doesn’t that sound like you can reject what the Holy Spirit started in you....
😳

Day 144~ 1 Thess. 1-3~ They got it!

Notice it’s three chapters today!
Boy, those Thessalonians really “got it”! 1.) They became imitators of Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Lord (1:6). 2.) The word of the Lord “sounded forth”.   That means they were spreading to others what they had learned and believed. ( vs. 8) 3.) Their faith was an example to others. (vs.8) 4.) They turned from their former life. (vs.9) 5.) They eagerly waited for Jesus to return. (vs.10)
And why did they do all this?  Because they fully believed what they heard from Paul; there was a wrath to come, (vs.10) and they wanted to be delivered from that!
That wrath thing.....that’s a key element to the gospel.  Yet, I think it’s lost on people today.  Preachers are afraid of sounding like “fire and brimstone”.  It’s just not in vogue to talk about hell.  We are taught about God’s love and we can receive his free gift of love...and that’s that.   So, one who is being evangelized can quite simply say, “No thank you to that love.  I don’t need it.  I am loved by my …

Day 143~ Col. 3-4 = Practical advice

“...seek the things that are above where Christ is...” (3:1) “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. “ (3:1)
Did you notice Paul repeats himself?  It must be important if he is doing that!  But how do I set my mind on things above?  All I know is what is here on earth.  I know about parenting, family, friends, career, planning vacations, decorating, entertaining and being entertained.  Those are the earthly things I which I set my mind.  So, how do I shift my focus from those things to heavenly things? Well, Paul gives some very practical advise in 4:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
I love getting practical advise!
1.) Stay in the Word.  What better way is there to get an idea of what heavenly things are than reading the Bible!! 2.) Teach others.  What’s the saying?...If you can’t explain it, you don’t u…

Day 142~ Col 1-2-Hold fast to Christ!

“Let no one disqualify you...not holding fast to the Head.” (2:18)  I love that verse!  Hold fast to Christ (the Head)!! If any teaching does not focus on Christ’s sufficient act, the teaching is basically from Satan!  Why do I say that?  Take a look at 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy  and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elementary spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
Did you catch that?  Elementary spirits of this world,.. that would be Satan. I know a guy who grew up in a Christian home, went off to college became a sociology major and gave up on everything he was taught as a child.  He bought into the religion of philosophy that is taught by our academic institutions and gave up on the existence of God entirely.
The verse also says, any teaching, which can also imply teaching in Christianity.  Paul points out those who worship angels.  That sounds religious doesn’t it? But, remember, if any teaching takes away from C…

Day 141~ Phil 3-4

I’m speaking for everyone when I say, we like when Paul admits he’s not perfect, don’t we? “Not that I have already obtained this (resurrection from the dead) or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (3:12)
Whew!  Paul isn’t perfect! We don’t have to feel so bad about our imperfections!  Yet,....even though he isn’t perfect, he still tells others to imitate him and others who “walk according to the example you have in us.” (3:17). He tells the Corinthians and Thessalonians to do the same.  (1 Cor. 11:1 & 2 Thes 3:10)
Can you imagine being that confident in your Christian walk that you told new Christians to follow your example?
I would imagine, like me, you would be saying, “No, I’m not that confident.”  But here’s a question, why not?  Why am I not as confident as Paul?  Am I as sold out?  Am I as confident in my belief as he was?  Why am I not living in such a way that people can imitate me?
I think the problem is, (and I am …

Day 140~ Phil. 1-2

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (2:2)
I think that is one of the hardest things to do!  It is my natural tendency to put myself first!  I like how Paul clarified that we are allowed to look after our own interests, but also look out for others (vs. 3).  So, how do we put others first when we are looking out for ourselves too?
When you know who you are and what you already have, you are less likely to keep striving for more, don’t you think?  In others words, if you know you are a son or daughter of a king, you aren’t striving to become the son or daughter of the king.  If you know you already have the riches of the kingdom, you don’t have to strive for those riches.
Having knowledge that those things are already yours gives you the ability to turn and look at others to help them. That was the position Christ held.  Paul explained that “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to …

Delay in posting~ sorry

I am out of town with spotty Wi-Fi.  So, if you wondering what happened to the daily email, that’s the reason. 😜

Day 139~ Eph.5-6- 🎶 sing!

“..be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and
 hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the
 Lord with your heart...”
 Remember in the book of Luke, Elisabeth and Mary both broke
 out in song? Remember all the songs David wrote? God knows
 how he created our brains...songs stick and so do the emotions
 that are felt while singing!
 Research shows that listening to music that is considered
 pleasurable increases the release of dopamine, which results in
 remembering the “pleasurable” better. In contrast, a deficiency
 of dopamine promotes remembering “the negative”. Isn’t that
 interesting?!!
 Even if you aren’t musical the verse applies to all of us. Paul
 didn’t single out the musicians here. He tells us to address one
 another. It reminds me how my two girls talk together.
 When one says something that reminds the other of a song, they
 both break out singing the song together! Can you imagine if we
 all talked to each other that way? “Oh, Hi Ji…

Day 138~ Eph.3-4~ Progression is the key!

I have a relative, who as a baby, regressed in her development.She was at the age where she was able to pull herself up on the side of her crib and she started to crawl.Then...she stopped. She no longer crawled or pulled herself up.Needless to say, her parents responded quickly to the regression and took her to the doctor.I remember my mom saying, “Progression, that is what you look for.If it is slow progression, that’s OK.As long as there is progression. No progression or regression is not good!”
I thought of my moms words when I read, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets.,...to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of knowledge of the sin of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro about by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.…

Day 137~ Eph. 1-2

You know how you can talk with a fellow believer so much easier than one who is struggling in their faith or who has no faith at all? With like minded friends you can easily talk like, “Isn’t God great?! He did this for me..” The other person nods in agreement and knows exactly what you are talking about.
Well, I had to smile while reading the introduction to the letter addressed to the Ephesians. Paul just seems happy doesn’t he? He is talking to like minded friends. After reading Corinthians and Galatians where he is writing to correct their behavior, he seems almost giddy here! “...because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you...” (1:5)
The whole first chapter is filled with blessings and thanksgiving. Through this spilling forth of joy, he also reiterates spiritual truths I’m sure the readers were aware of already. I’m sure they were encouraged to hear it again just as I was. “In him we have redemp…

Day 136~ Gal 5-6 Bear other's burdens and your own

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“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (6:2) Well,…… that’s a little confusing when it is followed by, “For each will have to bear his own load.” (6:5) Which is it? Bear one another’s burdens or your own load?
I bet you can figure out the jest of what Paul is saying, but here is how one commentary clarified it.
“In verse 2 the Christian is bidden to “bear the burdens” of others in the sense of sympathizing with them in their troubles.  In verse 5, the Christian is told that he must answer directly to God for his own actions.  His responsibility cannot be shifted onto others.  It will make him no better that there are others worse than himself.”
That’s so true, no one can fully take on another's trial or tribulation, except Jesus.  But we can follow His example by bearing with them, not abandoning them when they feel they are at their lowest. (Paul also tells people this in Romans 15:1, Ephsians 4:2 and Colossians 3:13)  But we can't save that person.  Again, …

Day 135~ Gal 3-4

It was a good reminder for me to read, “The law, which came 430 years afterward, (after the promise God made with Abraham) does not annual a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.” (3:17)
430 years!!  That’s a long time between Abraham and Moses!  Paul points out that the “off spring” was Jesus, which was about 1500 years after Moses!  That brings a new understanding to, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Boy, if you think about it, the 2000 years since Christ was resurrected seems right in line to when God does something big!! 😃
Humm…..

Day 134~ Gal. 1-2~ Keep reading the Bible!

Boy, we just get finished with a letter directed to one church going wayward by false teachers, and now we are reading of another church being deceived by false teachers as well (1:6)! It goes to show you that Satan will go hard after people who are learning about Jesus!  Paul alluded to the spiritual warfare in 2 Cor. when he said, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Cor. 10:4)  He also talks about spiritual warfare in his letter to the Ephesians (6:12). 
Notice Satan’s tactic, “a different gospel”, one that “distorts the gospel of Christ.” (1:7) That means it sounds super similar- it sounds like the gospel- but…a little off…a little distorted….. Bottom line, if it takes away from the grace of Christ- it’s wrong.  What do you need grace for? To be saved from hell- to put it simply.   Have you ever heard of a teaching that sounds really good, all about love~and then…you hear the preacher reject the idea of hell?  “God is s…

Day 133~ 2 Cor. 13~ Widen your heart

Paul’s advise to “examine yourself” or “test yourselves” is interesting, don’t you think?  It’s not a done deal that Jesus Christ is “in you”, just because you claim to be a Christ follower. 
Well….how do you test yourself?  According to Paul, “Do what is right” (13:6).  He states he has not failed the test, “For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” (13:8)
I love how Paul did not give up on the “rebellious minority” (see day 131), who seemed to only understand half of what he was preaching when he was with them.
It seems like some of those Corinthians had a lot of excuses not to live right; blaming Paul was a big one! “Paul may not be that great of a leader!  Why should we follow what he says?  He is not an eloquent speaker, his credentials are questionable, we don’t support him financially, and he changes his plans!  He’s not reliable! (11:6-22) They were reaching to try to find excuses not to trust or believe Paul, thus not fully believe the gospel.  
He defe…

Day 132~ 2 Co. 11-12- I'll wait for my personal encounter!

Have you ever thought, “I would love to have a personal encounter with God, then trusting him would be so easy!" Well, after today’s reading, I can honestly say, no thank you to that!  I am perfectly content waiting for my personal encounter with God to be on the day I die here on earth.
Paul got that personal encounter (12:2) and maybe the memory of that encounter sustained him during all his physical trails,…..but for Pete’s sake, he went through a lot!!! (11:23-28)
It gives a whole new meaning to the verse, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” (Luke 12:48)
So, yea, I’m good Lord….I’ll wait…😁

I’m stick’en with the verse, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

Day 131~ 2 Cor. 9-10~ To the Rebellious Minority and the Faithful

Today’s reading got me thinking that those Corinthian people didn’t seem to know Paul very well.  So, to jog my memory, I went back to Acts to see how he got to know the people and establish the Corinthian church . Acts 18 says Paul started to preach in the synagogue in Corinth.  You may remember that it didn’t go well, so he went next door to the house of Titius Justus, preaching to the people from there.  He ended up staying in Corinth 1 1/2 years!!  That’s plenty of time to get to know someone!  Although, I don’t think it was an easy year with the Jews right next door…Paul ended up leaving Corinth after an unsavory attack by a Jew named Gallio (Acts 18:12). Shortly after Paul left, Apollos, arrived in Corinth.  With his fervent spirit he “powerfully refuted the Jews” (Acts 18:28) which helped the believers immensely!  In addition, Paul sent Timothy and Erastus to check up on the Corinthians before he visited them again.  Yet, when Paul came back for a second visit, staying three month…

Day 130~ 2 Cor. 7-8-Joy and giving

Wow!   You gotta admire those Christians in Macedonia!  
“…for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.  For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints…” (2 Cor. 8:2-4)
Did you catch that?   They were afflicted (with who knows what, but it doesn’t really matter)!  They were in extreme poverty. They begged to take part in helping others.
Can you imagine if poor people and sick people looked beyond themselves and helped others?  That is very hard to imagine in our society that seems to feel “entitled” these days.   Now turning that to me, who is not afflicted or poor at this time……am I filled with extreme joy, so much so that I am begging to take part in the relief of saints and give beyond my means (vs.3)?
Paul’s admonishment to me hit home!  “But as you excel in eve…

Day 129~ 2 Cor. 5-6~ Do we listen to Paul at all?

The unequally yoked section of the reading really made me ponder today.  I usually always put “being yoked” in the category of marriage or business partner.  However, when Paul wrote, “or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” (6:15), it made me think of relationships in general.  
Just as I was reading this, my high school daughter came into the kitchen, where I was, for breakfast.  I talked with her about what I had just read, about not yoking yourself with unbelievers.  In essence she has been yoked with a good friend who is an unbeliever.  I told her that farmers may put well trained ox with untrained ox so that the stronger leads the weaker.  I cautioned her to evaluate who was doing the leading in this unequally yoked friendship.  
If Paul had been in the kitchen with us, I can imagine him shooting daggers with his eye at me! “That is not what I wrote in my letter! Didn’t you see that I quoted God when he said, ‘Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate f…

Day 128~ 2 Cor. 3-4~ Hard minds, veiled hearts.

Have you ever known someone who is stubbornly against God?  You think, “Man!  He is so hard-hearted! Well, today’s reading can explain where that expression comes from. 
If you are familiar with how Moses gave the law to the people you may remember that he was in the glorious presence of God, came down with the law on tablets and had such a radiant face the people were scared. (Exodus 34:33-35)  Moses would give the words of God to the people and then cover his face until the next time he went up to talk with God again.  Then he would repeat that cycle. The glowing face, I’m sure was evidence to the people that he had really been in the presence of the Lord and the words he spoke were from God himself.  But, here is the odd thing, they didn’t want to keep being reminded of the glory of God.  They didn’t want to see Moses’ shinny face.  They couldn’t stand the glory, it scared them. 
If you think about it, if one’s mind was open to the love of God, would that person really say to Moses, “…

Day 127- 2 Cor. 1-2~ God might give you more than you can handle!

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”…..weeelllll……that is not exactly what the verse says in the Bible….😬 People have that verse in other context than to what Paul was referring.  The verse actually reads, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted behind your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure under it.” (1 Cor. 10:13) That verse implies that there is always a morally right solution to morally confusing situations.  
Why am I even talking about this?  Because 1:8-9 stood out to me today.  Paul felt God was giving him more than he could bare! “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia.  For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” 😳 “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.”
I love Paul’s explanation of why God would have him and his companions go through such…