Archive for : October, 2019

10/16/19: 1 Timothy 1:1-20; Psalm 86:1-17; Proverbs 25:17

There are times that we have seen churches divided by what I consider to be very minor human opinions on scripture.  And when these occur I have often referred to Paul’s directions to Timothy for my instruction:

1 Timothy 1: As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith

10/15/19: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18; Psalm 85:1-13; Proverbs 25:16

Have you ever heard the term “codependency?”   Per Wikepedia “Codependency” is a behavioral condition in a relationship where one person enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

And in 2 Thessalonians 3 we see Paul address the desire that some of us may have that will make people “codependent.”  — He states that each of us are responsible for our own behaviors and while we certainly need to be available to help one another we must allow each believer to “work-through” their some of their own issues & weaknesses.

2 Thessalonians 3: In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.

 

 

 

 

10/14/19: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17, Psalm 84:1-12; Proverbs 25:15

So, how much do you really desire to be in the presence of the Lord?

Is it as much as the Psalmist describes in the following — one day versus a thousand elsewhere? — being a servant versus living in luxury?   These comparisons humble me …

Psalm 84: 

1Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.

 

10/13/19: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12; Psalm 83:1-18; Proverbs 25:11-14

2 Thessalonians 1:  God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

We are some times perplexed and angry when we see the persecution of the church and other believers.  And I find myself impatient as to when God will “even the score.”

The above verses help me realize that when I am impatient I  am trying to put God on “my timetable.”  I desire immediate justice!

Because the word “will” used multiple times in the above passage is a future-tense word.  The Lord is just and He will judge and reward based on our service — & based on His timetable.

10/12/19: 1 Thessalonians 5:4-28; Psalm 82:1-8; Proverbs 25:9-10

1 Thessalonians 5:   16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

In the above verses we see the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to pen several facets of Christian living.  Three are rejoicing, praying and giving thanks.  Then, as we have seen before, Paul instructs the Thessalonian church to not be “lazy,” but to hear the preachings and then to “test them all.” 

And the only way to test is to know the standard that will be used to “test.”  And the only way to know the standard is to read and meditate on God’s inspired Word.

 

 

10/11/19: 1 Thessalonians 4:1 – 5:3; Psalm 81:1-16; Proverbs 25:6-8

Another of the Biblical concepts I teach during management training classes is the importance of maintaining humility even when you are in “charge.”  And I use the following examples from scripture:

Proverbs 25:  Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,
    and do not claim a place among his great men;
it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”
    than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.

Do these verses sound familiar — how about the words of our Lord from Luke 14?

Luke 14: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 

 

10/10/19: 1 Thessalonians 2:9-3:13; Psalm 80:1-19; Proverbs 25:1-5

In a lesson Artie taught in August he highlighted that one of the greatest tools Satan uses to draw people away from the Lord is Christian “laziness.”   In other words believers who simply accept what is taught or heard without reading and studying on their own to ensure that the teacher is faithful to God’s Word and God’eternal plan of salvation.   Today we see Paul commend the Thessalonians for evaluating the source.

1 Thessalonians 2: 13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.  

10/9/19: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8; Psalm 79:1-13; Proverbs 24:30-34

Can you think of any better way to be remembered either personally or as a church than the way Paul addresses the Thessalonians?  Praised for your “work,” your “faith” and your “endurance.”    These are, truly, goals worth seeking.

1 Thessalonians 1:  We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

10/8/19: Colossians 3:18-4:18; Psalm 78:56-72; Proverbs 24:28-29

There are at times in any church when the brethren may be called upon to “serve.”  This service may be physical – mowing the grass or spiritual – visiting the sick or those in need, teaching a class, praying, etc.  As we have read, we are all gifted and can serve using our talents.

If you are asked always, no matter who the “requester” may be keep in mind the person you are truly serving:

Colossians 3:  23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 

 

 

10/7/19: Colossians 3:1-17; Psalm 78:32-55; Proverbs 24:27

I am sure that as you have been reading Psalm 78 you realize that we have been reading the history of the Nation of Israel.  And in today’s reading we see the Psalmist recognize the grace that is bestowed upon all of us — God’s patience and forgiveness:

Psalm 78Whenever God slew them, they would seek him;
    they eagerly turned to him again.
35 They remembered that God was their Rock,
    that God Most High was their Redeemer.
36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths,
    lying to him with their tongues;
37 their hearts were not loyal to him,
    they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he was merciful;
    he forgave their iniquities
    and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger
    and did not stir up his full wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
    a passing breeze that does not return.

10/6/19: Colossians 2:8-23; Psalm 78:1-31; Proverbs 24:26

We recently completed a study of “Genesis Genealogies” where we looked at the first 20 generations from Adam to Abraham. And one of the reasons we did so is explained very well in today’s reading from Psalms:

Psalm 78:

I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known,
things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.

10/5/19: Colossians 1:18 – 2:7; Psalm 77:1-20; Proverbs 24:23-25

In today’s reading an action verb caught my focus.

1 Colossians 121 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of  your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

Scripture leaves no doubt in the reality that it is God who redeems us, His creation. And that redemption is offered due to the sacrifice of His on and only Son.

The words that come to my mind are lyrics from a song, “You Are My King” by Chris Tomlin.

Amazing love, how can it be?
That you, my king. would die for me
Amazing love, I know it’s true
Its my joy to honor you
Amazing love how can it be?
That my king would die for me

 

 

 

10/4/19: Colossians 1:1-17; Psalm 76:1-12; Proverbs 24:21-22

In science class you probably learned that atoms are made of neutrons and protons (located in the nucleus) with electrons circling around this nucleus.  For decades scientist theorized that the neutron and proton were the “smallest particles.”

Well, advances in sub-atomic physics have demonstrated that neutrons and protons are composed of even smaller particles called “quarks.”   And that quarks are “held together” by other particles named (believe it or not) gluons.   So, it is “gluon” that holds the atoms and ultimately all material together.

Why this particle physics lesson?  While “gluon” is theorized to hold physical material together today’s reading explains that there is an eternal and even stronger source of this force — the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

 

 

10/3/19: Philippians 4:1-23; Psalm 75:1-10; Proverbs 24:17-20

Today’s reading contains two sets of verses that are mine (and maybe your) favorites.  Thees are vv. 6-7 and vv. 8-9.  Today another passage blessed me:

Philippians 411 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I return to a point we discussed several weeks ago.  Paul is not instructing us to never seek to change our circumstances.  He is, simply, letting us know that there is no situation, no circumstance that prevent us from being blessed.

10/2/19: Philippians 3:4-21; Psalm 74:1-23; Proverbs 24:15-16

I remember reading a story once of a young man who in a fit of anger drove nails into a piece of wood valued by his grandfather.   In the story he quickly realized the sorrow he brought to his grandfather and asked for forgiveness.  His grandfather forgave him and then together one-by-one they removed the nails.  When finished the grandfather looked at the boy who returned his gaze and then suddenly burst into tears.  “Grandfather,” he said “the nails are gone but the holes are still there.”

The author of the episode then explained — it is not the nails, it is the “holes” – representing our guilt that Satan can use to handicap our walk with the Lord.

 

Philippians 313 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Coffman writes:  Just how did Paul forget the past? “ Boice thought Paul’s forgetting was “ceasing to let the things which occurred in the past overshadow the present. He let the past, both good and bad, be past, constantly looking forward to the work God had for him to do.” All Christians need the grace to do the same thing.

10/1/19: Philippians 2:19-3:3; Psalm 73:1-28; Proverbs 24:13-14

As I read through Philippians today I was reminded of just how personal & concerned for his co-workers that Paul could be.  First, we see him praise and acknowledge the value of  Timothy.  And then, touchingly, we see his personal concern for Epaphroditus & his health.

Philippians 2: 25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 

This reminds me that our mission to spread the Word of the Lord is our priority.  However, we are never to forget those who work with us — their contributions and their needs.