Thursday, April 18, 2019

1 John 4-5~ Day 108~ Are Mormons right?

So, I was talking with a new friend the other day.  When I asked her what her plans were for Easter, she responded, "I'm Mormon".  So, being the inquisitive person I am, I proceeded to ask, "Oh, do you not celebrate Easter then?".  "Of course we do!" she replied, "We are Christian after all!"

Well, instead of plying her with more questions, I decided to go home and figure out how they differ from Protestant denominations.  The one glaringly different doctrine they hold to is that they do not believe in the Holy Trinity.  They believe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separate entities.  Protestant denominations believe that the three persons make up one God.

Well, I got thinking about that as I was doing our reading today.  John speaks a lot about Jesus being the Son of God.  "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well." (5:1)  To be honest, reading that does sound like they are separate entities, not 3 in 1.

Well, this is when one must use scripture to interpret scripture!  If you were to base your whole theology on this one letter- you very well can go the Mormon route.  However, that would be discounting other scripture, including all the references John himself made, in his gospel account, to Jesus being God. (John 1:1, 1:18, 5:18, 8:58, 10:30, 10:33 & 17:21)

By the way, there is another key difference between Mormons and Protestants, Mormons don't believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. (There own website claims that: https://www.lds.org/topics/bible-inerrancy-of)

As for all Protestant denominations, they believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and therefore use all scripture to help interpret scripture.  So some key verses (but not all) that are used to demonstrate that Jesus is God are: obviously all those in John, 1 Cor. 8:6, Phil 2:5-6, Col. 2:9-10, Heb. 1:8 & Titus 2:13.

All that being said, I'm not going to go back to my friend  and say..."You're wrong!"  But, I can pray for her!  I pray that the Holy Spirit will grow her into a mature follower of Christ.  Also, I can ask her to read with me starting May 1st!!
"For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword..." (Heb. 4:12)
I don't have to do the work of educating her in truth, the Bible will do the work!
I just need to ask her if she wants to read with me!🤓

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

1 John 3~ Day 107~ Keep it simple

What did you get out of this chapter?
I would say that this chapter could be summed up as ~ Live What You Believe!

John is quite clear!  The command is this, "believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." (3:23)   John uses this whole chapter to explain how "believe in" Jesus is demonstrated:
1. One doesn't keep sinning (3:6)
2. And love towards others in shown with action not words. (3:18)

It's obvious to see who are true believers when those two traits are displayed (3:19)  This isn't rocket science.  It's pretty simple to become a child of God. (3:1)  Yet, the world complicates it because they just don't get it! (3:2)
Keep it simple, sweetie!!💋K.I.S.S.




Tuesday, April 16, 2019

1 John 1-2~ Day 106~Notes from Son of Thunder

I have been accused of being black and white (as if it's a bad thing) but, I ain't got nothin' on John!!  My word he is laying it down in a black and white way, don't you think?!

  • "If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth." (1:6)
  • "Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." (2:6)
  • "Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them." (2:15)
I always thought that John was the lovey-dovey disciple.  He is the one that scholars think was the "one whom Jesus loved" ( John 13:23) and he talks about love a lot!  In fact, in his three letters he references love  25 times!  I think my mistake is that I picture one who is all about love, being gentle, mild and subdued.


But John is far from that! I have to remind myself that Jesus nicknamed him "Son of Thunder." (Mark 3:17)  Thunder is not gentle, mild or subdued!  It's powerful and loud!  So, I shouldn't be surprised that John is firm in his speech, black & white.  In fact, who says that firm, and black & white isn't loving?  On the contrary, it is very loving if one is using those traits to warn others and exhort them to "remain in him."( 2:27) "to continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming." (2:28)  That's true love for a fellow neighbor!



On a funny note, I thought of someone else who is black and white and very loving! heehee



Monday, April 15, 2019

2 Peter 2-3~ Day 105~ Keep sharpening your discerning skills!

Did anyone else get creeped out about the first line of chapter 2?

"But there were also false prophets among the people just as there will be false teachers among you." (2:1)

False teachers among us?!  That means that the church you or I go to can like a person, their charisma, their funny jokes and their "knowledge" of the Bible enough to put them in a teaching position....yet when they get going on the teaching, it will be false doctrine!
"They will secretly introduce destructive heresies" (vs.2)

How can this happen among us?!
I'll tell you:

  1.  People aren't reading the Bible themselves in order to decipher "fact" from "fiction". 
  2. I think 'secretly' means the teaching is sooooo close to the truth, yet it's off.  So, it slides in unknowingly and becomes truth in the congregations mind.

Peter was so spot on correct in his prediction!  It does happen and is happening in churches today!
And the result?  "It brings the way of truth into disrepute." (2:2)

I am so glad to be doing this reading plan!  When I am out and about and hear someone teach something that sounds super close to the truth, but off, I get an unsettled feeling.  "Wait, that sounds good, but not totally.  It doesn't match up to what I know of the Bible.  That can't be right!"

I hope you have experienced something similar as well, so that you feel confirmation that staying in the word daily is the best way to sharpen your discerning skills!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

2 Peter 1~ Day 104~ Keep reading!

What an easy day of reading, only one chapter!

So, I have been praying lately, as we are approaching the end of this reading plan, "Lord, do I do it again?  Do I start over and read the New Testament straight through, again? Or, do I stop the blog and get into something else, like a semester long Bible study on one book of the Bible?"

I've been waiting for an answer from Him and I think Peter spelled it out for me in today's reading.
"For if you possess these qualities (goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love), in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in you knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1:8)

I want to be effective and productive in my knowledge of my Lord!

Then I read, "So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have." (1:12)

I felt like God was speaking directly to me!  "I want to keep reminding you of my words.  So keep reading.  Yes, you are firmly established in truth...but I have more for you to learn- and I want you to remind others as well!"

OK, God, I will keep going with the blog!  So....I will be starting again May 1st!

As for you, dear friends that are still reading with me, good job on getting through the 4 month reading plan!!  I hope you tell others about the reading and encourage them to join me next month!   

Saturday, April 13, 2019

1 Peter 4-5~ Day 103~ Jesus is coming!!

I love reading these letters, thinking about who was writing them.  We have been reading so many letters from Paul, so it's different, for me, reading a letter from Peter's view of the Good News.  I love his perspective!!

Peter was personally with Jesus for three years and watched Jesus ascend into heaven.  So, I love reading how often Peter refers to Jesus coming back!  Did you notice that?  This fact was the hope he lived by!! It should be our hope as well; what we live for!!

I found five different places in his letter where Peter referred to Jesus coming back.  Let me know if you saw one I missed:  1 Peter 1:5, 1:13, 4:7, 4:13 and 5:1-4.

However, I don't think Peter was looking to the sky thinking Jesus would return any moment so, "there is no need to get anything done".  On the contrary,  he was encouraging all the exiles scattered throughout the 5 provinces (listed in 1:1) to put their noses to the grindstone, so to speak!
  • Set your hope on the grace (1:13)
  • Be obedient to Jesus (1:2 & 22)
  • Grow up in your salvation (2:2)
  • Live a peaceful life while waiting (2:12)
  • Be prepared to give the reason for the hope that you have (3:15)
  • Use your gifts to serve others (4:10)
  • Endure hardship (4:12)
  • Continue to do good (4:19)
Those are not the words of someone who is "so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good".  Yet, Peter was heavenly minded and had a great balance that Christians should emulate.  Live like Jesus will come any minute and set your hope on that fact!!

Friday, April 12, 2019

1 Peter 1-3~ Day 102~ Drown out fear

Being honest here, I got a glazed look in my eyes as I skimmed past, "Wives in the same way (the same way Christ submitted to "him who judges justly" 2:23) submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." (3:1)
Oh, whew!  That doesn't apply to me!  My husband is a believer so, I don't need to worry about winning him over!
  😝Umm...no...that's not the right attitude!  Well, anyway, I kept skimming along in the reading (maybe with a slight glaze remaining) until I got to, "You are her (Sarah's) daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." (3:6)......Wait.....What?? Why did Peter bring up fear?  He hadn't mentioned it at all in the previous verses!  He says it so subtly, one could miss it!  But, I caught it and pondered.  It's actually quite profound!

Peter was married.  He was around his wife who, I'm sure was around other women.  Peter saw something in women that I have seen too.  Women have a lot of fears! I think it's in our genes.  That's what makes us such good mothers.  Our fears help us see potential accidents.  Because we are experts at seeing potential danger and avoiding it, we are able to (on the most part) keep our children alive until they reach adulthood.  HOWEVER, our "fear gene" has a way of getting the best of us.  We carry our fears into other areas of our lives.  We fear rejection, lack of love, lose of security.  I bet you can fill in the blank easily!  "I have a fear of______".

Peter nailed it when he said "do not give way to fear", but.....that is easier said than done!  Did he give us any idea how to do that?  I think he did....
Peter started off with saying, be "pure" (3:2) ~ oh yeah, the part I skimmed over....😁
The only way I can be pure is to accept what Jesus did on the cross, as having been done for me personally. Now here is the tricky part for a lot of women.  We believe that with our head, "God forgave me", but we don't believe it in our heart.  We carry around past guilts like a big purse we can't set down.  I have heard so many women still claim to be sinners, even after being saved!!  What? Why?  You have turned from that life, you have been born again!  LET IT GO!  If God has purified you....you are pure!! (Psalm 51:10, Matt 5:8, Acts 15:9, 1 Tim 1:5, Heb. 10:22, James 4:8, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 John 3:3)

With a pure heart, we are filled with God.  Guess what?...God is love.  "Perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18) Ahh,... When your heart is filled with God there is no room for fear.  Peter knew it was that simple!  That is why he simply said, "You are daughters of Sarah if you do what is right (be pure; be filled with God) and do not give way to fear."

How do you like my doddle I did while reading today? 😛




Thursday, April 11, 2019

James 3-5~ Day 101~ Swearing....😬

The other day I met a gal who has been a Christian for nearly her whole life!  She studies and teaches the Bible intently.  She lives above reproach and raised her kids well.  I was enjoying our conversation.  And then it happened!  .I was taken by surprise when she threw out a little, "I swear I didn't....blah, blah, blah."  😕 Wait...What?....It  seemed so out of character for who I thought I was getting to know!

Now,... she didn't swear to God...or to anything outside herself for that matter...so...I justified, "It's no big deal...Almost everyone in our culture, Christians included, talk like that!"
I had this thought this week and then today I read, "Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear- not by heaven or by earth or by anything else.  All you need to say is a simple "Yes" or "No".  Otherwise you will be condemned." (5:12)
Hmmmm 🤔
I can't help but compare the concept of letting your "yes" and "no" mean something, to a parenting technique  I learned early on, with my first baby.  I was taught as a parent, to not count to 10 when expecting a response from my child.  I was told, "Kids are smart!  They will know when you really mean what you say."  If you start counting, they will know you won't demand a response until you get to 10.  Until then, they may or may not respond. But when you get to 10, they will jump because that is when you get really serious!  Instead, avoid the count all together and let your child know you are serious the first time you ask.

That made sense to me!  Well, the same goes for adults.  Hasn't our culture taught us all that one is not really serious until he/she says, "No, really! I promise" or "I swear it's true!".
However, if you know someone who does not ever swear, just making their statement with the assumption that you trust their word....you do trust them don't you?  The swearing is not necessary because you have learned to trust their word.  It's like the saying, "Say what you mean and mean what you say."
To be honest, when I heard this new friend say, "I swear..." I got the impression, therefore, that she doesn't really mean what she says until she backs it up or emphasizes her statement with the "No really! I mean it!"

I think that is why James made a big deal about this issue ("Above all"). A Christian's reputation should be one of truth at all times...not just when they really mean it.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

James 1-2~ Day 100~ Quick to listen 👂🏻😄

I use all sorts of reasons to celebrate any given day!  So, here's my excuse to celebrate today:

We are on our 100th day of reading through the New Testament!!  That's something to celebrate!!

So, on to our reading.....

James is filled with a lot of practical teaching.  I am wondering what stood out to you?  I would love to hear!!....I am being "quick to listen" (1:19) 😉

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Hebrews 11-13~ Day 99~ Who's the mystery writer?

Since the writer of Hebrews isn't identified, Bible scholars are left guessing who the author was.  Speculation has listed the options as Paul, Luke, Barnabas, Apollos, Silas or Philip.  I had never really given it much thought before.  But, I read a verse today and thought, "Boy!  That sounds like my buddy Paul!"  Yes, I'm getting to know Paul's voice pretty well since I have been reading his letters over and over again!  I get why scholars aren't sure who the writer is, but the person was either Paul or taught by Paul directly or indirectly.  I'm sure all those early pioneers were "singing the same tune".

The first part of Hebrews is definitely written by one who knows Jewish writings well......like a Pharisee (Paul was one of those!).  Clearly, the writer is addressing an audience who grew up with a knowledge of all the Old Testament stories.  But then, today's reading, could be written to anyone (Jew or gentile), just as Paul wrote his letters to the gentiles.  The final chapter especially sounded like Paul's teachings!

For example, "Keep on loving one another, brothers and sisters.  Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some have shown hospitality to angels with out knowing it.” (Heb. 13:1).  I perked up when I read that because it reminded me of the theme verse of this blog.  Paul wrote to the Romans, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.....Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." (12:10-13)

Here are the other points I noticed that sounded a lot like Paul.
  • "remember those in prison" (13:3) Paul was in prison... a lot..he asked the Colossians to pray for them in prison. (Col. 4:3)
  • "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings" (13:9)  We just read about Paul's comments to that in 2 Tim. 4:3-4 and Titus 1:6-16.
  • "It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods. (13:9)   Paul takes about that in 1 Cor. 6:12 & 10:23-24.
  • "Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority" (13:17).  Paul addressed that in Titus 3:1. 
  • "Equip yourself for every good work."(13:21)  He wrote that to the Ephesians in 4:12. 
The teaching in Hebrews is so similar to Paul's!  What is cool about Hebrews, to me, is to see how the teaching of Christian living is the same for everybody! Ones background, Jew or gentile, doesn't matter. God expects the same thing from all his children.
Like the writer says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (13:7)  and his teachings are the same for all!!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Hebrews 9-10~ Day 98~Safe in his lap!

Picture a child around 5 years old.  We'll call him Junior. He's getting ready for bed.  Taking a warm bath, splashing around, he gets enamored by the rainbow of colors found in each bubble floating on the water.  After awhile, he gets out of the tube, dries off and dons his cozy jammies.  It's time to say good-night to Daddy!  He bolts out of the bathroom, runs down the hall, skids around the corner and and flings open the wide double doors that mark the entrance to the large, grand room where his daddy's cozy chair sits.  It is Junior's favorite place to find his dad.

He sees his daddy in his favorite chair, skips across the room and scrambles up into his daddy's lap.  His daddy lets out a little chuckle as he sees his son snuggle into his lap and look out to see what his daddy had been doing.  The little boy feels completely welcome, cozy and safe in his daddy's lap.  Junior is surprised to see a room full of people, with equally surprised faces, looking back at him!  The people marvel at the comfort and innocents the child possesses.

You see, Junior is the son of the King! Therefore, he has no fear or trepidation when he enters the throne room.  This is the scene I picture when I read what Jesus says in Matthew 18:3, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

I also pictured the same scene when I read today, "Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus....let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings; having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us form a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:19-22)

A little child has no guilt running into the arms and lap of his father!  This is how God wants us to feel toward him!!  This is why he has us "take a bath" with the blood of Jesus.  Personally, this is how I feel now when I attend worship at church on Sunday mornings.  I enter his throne room with such a happy heart!!  But....I can't wait for the day when I can physically run into his throne room and scamper up into his lap!  I'm going to be as excited as a five year old!!😊

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Hebrews 7-8~ Day 97~ Done deal!

So....as I have been reading through the New Testament again and again, I have been exposed to different schools of thought because of the different commentaries I read that help shed light on confusing scripture.

I have found all the different schools of thought fascinating!!  Fortunately, all the perspectives have the same elementary teaching that makes us all "Christians".
  • We all believe that the Bible is infallible.
  • We all believe salvations is only thorough God's grace by what Christ did for us on the cross.
  • We all believe Christ will return.
Yet, I find it surprising that there are so many different schools of thought within our evangelical Christian family.  These are some of the terms I have heard and been learning about the last couple of years while I keep reading the New Testament everyday.  Mind you, I never gave these topics much attention at all, in the past!
  • Dispensational
  • Amillennial 
  • Reformed theology/ Covenant theology
  • Monergism vs synergism 
  • Calvinism vs. Arminianism
Oh my!  There's no point in arguing over the different perspectives, but lively discussion can be fun;  if they are just that! 
Anyway, all that being said, I can't help but think of one of those perspectives and see how Hebrews counters one of the arguments held by one of those views.  (Yes, I am being vague because I don't want to start deep discussions on a short blog.😜

"Now there have been many of those priest, since death prevented them form continuing in office, but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. "( 7:24) and "Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day,...He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself." (7:27)

So, I was thinking about those who hold to the school of thought that someday in the future, an earthly temple will be rebuilt and a sacrifice system reinstated (referring to Ezekiel 40)....to me...that would contradict what we read today in Hebrews 7.  I like how one commentary put it, "That would be like putting scaffolding back up on a finished house."
As you have heard me say before, scripture doesn't contradict itself......so.....perhaps this can be an area of lively discussion!😉

Well, that's what stood out to me today!  hee-hee!😆 What stood out to you?

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Hebrews 5-6~ Day 96~ Have I matured?

I know when my body matured; I went through puberty.  I know when my knowledge in health matured;  I graduated from school and passed the State Boards.  But....how does one know they have matured spiritually?  Well, the writer of Hebrews laid it out in today's reading.  Like puberty, there are obvious signs!
Let's start with the first he listed,
  • Have you graduated to teaching the gospel or are you still sitting in the pew, struggling with the basics?   
Ouch!  That can be convicting....isn't that a gift that only certain Christians have, the gift of teaching (Rom. 12:7)?  Couldn't I use that as a cop out to not teach?  According to the writer of Hebrews, the answer is, no.  Teaching is not exclusive to those with the "gift".  He is addressing all the Hebrews hearing this letter.  "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again." (5:12). I do like how he clarified what type of teacher we can all be.  Every Christian should be able to teach the elementary truths!!  No special gift required!  Similarly, all Christians are expected to have faith and hospitality (Rom 12:13).  Yes, there are some that have "the gift", who excel in certain areas due to the Holy Spirit using them to edify the body.  But, that doesn't let the rest of us off the hook for ever displaying those traits.
Case in point, the writer of Hebrews tells us it's a sign of maturity that we teach and move away from struggling with basic Christian principles!
Here's a thought, if you need practice teaching the basics, maybe you want to volunteer in teaching Sunday school at your church!😉

So, what else did the writer list?
  • Are you constantly learning more Biblical truths (5:14) so distinguishing good from evil comes naturally?  (I think you are doing that, since you are reading along with this reading plan everyday!) 
  • Do you help God's people or have you become lazy in your faith? (6:10)
Soooo,  those are the "tell-tale" signs of spiritual maturity! We may not go through a graduation ceremony, or have physical changes that others can see when we become "mature " in our faith, but there are clear indicators.
The question is for me, and all Christians, do I see those traits in my life,....have I matured?🤔

Friday, April 5, 2019

Hebrews 3-4! Day 95~ If, indeed!

We have only 25 days left of the reading!  Time is flying!  We will be done at the end of this month!!

So, as far as the reading today......I read, "But Christ is faithful as the Son over God's house.  And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory." (Heb. 3:6) To be honest, I just skimmed over it, because the wording confuses the heck out of me!  I didn't want to deal with it, so I moved on....
Then,  I come to this, "We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end." (Heb. 3:14)  Arg!!!  Why is the author repeating himself??
I can't ignore it if he repeats it!!

Well, that launched me in to reading a LOT of commentaries on the sentences that seem to hold a conditional clause.  One commentary said, "Perseverance in faith is the best evidence of the sincerity of our faith".   That sounds good.....but it still left me feeling some pressure.  "You better hold on! If you don't, you were never a Christian in the first place!" 😨 Um...I think I am...but what if I'm not?.... This reminded me of a poster I had on my wall when I was a young teen.



Then, I came to a commentary that made a clear statement (at least clear in my mind), "The question is not one of the retention of salvation based upon a persistence of faith, but of the possession of salvation as evidenced by a continuation of faith." (based on Heb. 10:36 and 11:6, as well)

I like that!  There is no desperate "hanging on to your faith" in that statement.  So, in reality,  these sentences with the "if" in them, are not conditional clause sentences, but descriptions of one who holds the belief in Jesus(as opposed to those described in 3:19).
In other words the writer could have said, "And we are his house, if indeed we are true Christians (one's who hold to their confidence in Jesus)." (my paraphrase of 3:6b)

I'm not confused by the wording now.  But I made notes in my Bible in the margin of those verses to remind myself to read the "if" sentences in the proper way!  I might forget the next time reading through the N.T. 😜

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hebrews 1-2~ Day 94~ What great hope!

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." (1:3)

"Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." (1:13)

I love these verses!  Jesus provided purification for me and all my enemies (those evil spiritual forces-Eph. 6:12) will become his footstool! Ha!  It's so triumphal!!  It's this hope that the Christians of Paul's time needed to be reminded and encouraged.  The return of Jesus wasn't happening as fast as some were expecting and the Jews were fighting hard against this new "sect".  These encouraging words helped remind the believers that Jesus will come back and he will be victorious.

 What a great reminder for us as well in this post-Christian culture we find ourselves in today!  I bet I am as encouraged by these words as the Christians back then! Jesus will come back and he will be victorious!!

What stood out to you in the reading?  What has been your favorite letter so far!

Philemon 1~ Day 93~ I want "to be of use"!

As I started to read about Onesimus, the slave, I thought the name sounded super familiar.  So, I went back in our reading to 2 Timothy where I thought I had read the same name.  Timothy was the leader of the church of Ephesus and Paul sent his greeting to the household of Onesiphorus through Timothy's letter.

Ok, not the same guy.  However, they both start with Onesi-.  Well, that got me to wonder what the first part of the name meant.  I found out that the first part of the name is from the word Oninemi, which means, "to be of use or to profit."  Isn't that interesting?!

The one Paul referred to in 2 Timothy 1:16, "often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain."  Onesiphorus was "of use" to Paul!  Then, Paul uses similar words when he refers to Philemon's slave Onesimus.  "Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me." (1:11)  I thought that was interesting!

Some scholars feel the the use of a real name would put the "household of Onesiphorus" in danger, considering the persecution of the church under Nero.  Intersection of the letter would have identified a whole new target for the tyrant.  So, Paul could have been using a code name(s).  Who knows?!

What I get out of it is, that it is good to be "useful" to fellow Christians!  I want to be known as a Onesi-, one who is helpful, like the slave was to Paul (Phil 1:13) and like the other who helped Paul, both when he was in Ephesus and in prison in Rome (2 Tim 1:16-18).  What a great character trait to have; one who is helpful (of use or profit)!!
Lord, help me to recognize when people around me need a "Onesi-" in their life!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Titus 1-3~ Day 92~Rebuke them sharply? 😳

So, in his letter to the Galatians, Paul tells them, "Brothers if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently." (6:1)

To the Ephesians he says, "Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him.." (4:15)

To the Thessalonians he says "Brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with them all." (5:14)

Paul sounds so gentle, loving and patient in how he deals with people!!  So, it really stood out in stark contrast to me when I read that the rebellious people, "must be silenced because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach.....therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith." (1:11 & 13)

Doesn't that seem out of character for Paul?  That doesn't sound too gentle!! The more I think about it though, the more I think, yes, that is exactly what Paul would say! Especially in light of 1 & 2 Timothy, where he repeated several times the importance of having "sound doctrine".

It's like Paul is saying, "When dealing with peoples faults or failings in their own life, have compassion, extend mercy and exercise charity.  But, don't mess with the words of Jesus!!  No way!! No charity there!  Do not beat around the bush or tip toe around their feelings! Correct them immediately before they influence others."
Paul is right in line here with what he told the Galatians and the Corinthians.  "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough" (Gal. 5:9 & 1 Cor. 5:6)  Get rid of it!!

I think some churches today need to take a fresh look at Paul's words.  Don't be timid with false teaching! Stop dancing around it! Stand up to it! Rebuttal it!  Get rid of it!!  

Monday, April 1, 2019

2 Timothy 3-4~ Day 91~ "Last Days" are Now!

"But mark this:  There will be terrible times in the last days." (3:1)

I have often read this one sentence thinking that Paul jumps to a time, sometime in the future, because he says, "There will be".  So, the "last days" must refer to that tribulation period that "pre-millinial" Christians refer to.
But, if that were the case, why would Paul tell Timothy, "As for you continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of.." (3:14)?  Paul wouldn't bounce around in his train of thought from some future time to present.  No, he is saying that the "last days" are now.

One commentary I read said, " 'in the last days' refers to the apostolic age and onward to the end of the world: the Jews generally understood by this phrase, when used in the Old Testament, the days of the Messiah, and which are the last days of the world, in comparison of the times before the law, from Adam to Moses, and under the law, from thence to Christ, and even in the times of the apostles."

Also, remember back in 1 Timothy Paul referred to the same "later times", "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." (4:1)  This is how my Bible footnote explains that verse, "later times began with Christ's resurrection and will continue until his return when he will set up his kingdom and judge humanity."

So, why am I analyzing this?  Because all the things Paul is warning Timothy to be aware of...applies to us!!  This is not some future event that we may or may not be a part of.  We are in the last days now, and these warnings are for us, so be on guard, heed Paul's words!!!😳