Archive for : October, 2019

10/31/19: Hebrews 2:1-18; Psalm 103:1-22; Proverbs 26:23

Gracing most families is a special bond that keeps them caring for one another regardless of the miles they are apart, regardless of the time that passes and regardless of their individual changing priorities.  Being a member of a family helps make all members “special” to one another.

The author of Hebrews describes how this special bond is raised to quite another level when he describes the relationship between members of the Body and the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 2:  11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.  12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”[  13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

 

10/30/19: Hebrews 1:1-14; Psalm 102:1-28; Proverbs 26:21-22

In my Bible the heading to Psalm 102 states that this is a “prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament to God.”  And we see in Psalm 102 the ultimate realization of the writer — that even though they may be  weakened and “afflicted” they shall always have the eternal strength of the Lord as a promise:

Psalm 102:  So I said: “Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
    your years go on through all generations.
25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
    and they will be discarded.
27 But you remain the same,
    and your years will never end.
28 The children of your servants will live in your presence;
    their descendants will be established before you.”

And, like me, maybe you found it interesting that the writer of Hebrews quoted this passage when explaining the superiority of His Son.

Hebrews 1:  10 He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,  and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.  12 You will roll them up like a robe;  like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same,  and your years will never end.”

 

10/29/19: Philemon 1:1-25; Psalm 101:1-8; Proverbs 26:20

Unfortunately how many times have you witnessed a very minor disagreement or misunderstanding spread into a full-blown destruction of a relationship?  And quite often the growth of the disagreement may not initially even involve the participants — another person or persons may be the catalyst.  Relationships among believers  are precious and the destruction of one harms the entire Body.

This is one of the reasons I think scripture is so clear in the delivering the inspired message to avoid gossip and those who gossip.

Proverbs 26:20  20 Without wood a fire goes out;  without a gossip a quarrel dies down.

10/28/19: Titus 3:1-15; Psalm 100:1-5; Proverbs 26:18-19

Psalm 100: 

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

 

When I read Psalm 100 the first thing that came to my mind is “what an attitude to have when we enter each Lord’s day into our time of worship!

 

10/27/19: Titus 2:1-15; Psalm 99:1-9; Proverbs 26:17

In today’s reading Paul continues to give Titus strong advice.   Today’s instruction it is centered around what Titus should teach the body of believers — including older men, older women, young men, and slaves.

The fundamental tenant in teaching these categories is very simply stated for Titus and for today’s church leadership as follows:

Titus 2: 1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.

 

10/26/19: Titus 1:1-16; Psalm 97:1 – 98:9; Proverbs 26:13-16

During a Thursday night Bible study that Bill was teaching the question of  “when did God put his plan of salvation & eternal life into place” was raised.  Among other scriptures the answer is given by Paul in our reading today — “before the beginning of time:”

Titus 1: Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,

10/25/19: 2 Timothy 4:1-22; Psalm 95:1-96:13; Proverbs 26:9-12

Scholars concur that this is the last chapter Paul wrote before his execution by Nero.  Indeed, Coffman refers to chapter 4 as “the last will and testament of the great apostle to the Gentiles.”  As such this is a very personal chapter and as you read I hope you could feel the emotion Paul expressed.

Lord willing, we will be able to echo these impassioned final words of Paul in our own lives & never forget the promise he recognizes:

2 Timothy 4I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

 

 

10/24/19: 2 Timothy 2:22 – 3:17; Psalm 94:1-23; Proverbs 26:6-8

When I was pretty young up I remember my grandmother Hiatt taking me to some fundamentalist Pentecostal church meetings.   I also remember being “yelled at” by preachers who spoke incessantly and almost without taking a breath.  It was not uncommon for them to leave the pulpit and shout into the face of attendees, particularly if they were not members of what they referred to as “my” church.   There was certainly no mention of God’s love and grace, only the condemnation of sinners and the threat of eternal damnation and burning in hell.  It was the memory of their technique, not the message in scripture I still remember.

It was years later when, lead by Liz’s example, I began to study on my own and was taught by Godly men that I came to know Christ.  And in today’s reading we see Paul instructing Timothy on how to evangelize.  It is a pattern we all need to follow:

2 Timothy 2:  23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

 

 

 

When traveling I often search for a Christian radio station (usually located on the “low numbers” of FM stations.)  I have occasionally tuned into a “fire and brimstone” preacher who is speaking loudly almost without taking a breath and thumbing the table or pulpit he is behind.   He is often

10/23/19: 2 Timothy 2:1-21; Psalm 92:1-93:5; Proverbs 26:3-5

Scripture is embedded with practical wisdom for our daily lives, which should not be surprising since it is the inspired word of God.

The tenant  “Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference” is often attributed to Mark Twain. 

But did you notice in today’s reading the same practical advice conveyed thousands of years beforehand?

Proverbs 26:Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

 

 

 

 

10/22/19: 2 Timothy 1:1-18; Psalm 90:1-91:16; Proverbs 26:1-2

As I started today’s readings I wondered why the developer of our reading plan combined Psalm 90 and Psalm 91 into one reading.  And then I read them and felt blessed that they did.  One speaks of the eternal nature and power of God and the other of the eternal rest we can have in His presence.  Can you read them and not be uplifted?

Psalm 90:

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

 

Psalm 91:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

 

10/21/19: 1 Timothy 6:1-21; Psalm 89:38-52; Proverbs 25:28

1 Timothy 611 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

If you have ever thought about just “sitting back and taking it easy” as a Christian believer take a look at the instruction Paul provides Timothy.  Can you think of any more active verb commands than “flee,” “pursue,” “fight,” and “take hold.”

There is no room in the kingdom for a “lazy” Christian!

 

10/20/19: 1 Timothy 5:1-25; Psalm 89:14-37; Proverbs 25:25-27

Of course in Timothy Paul is giving inspired advice and instruction to a younger church leader.  In doing so Paul provides guidance for the entire body that is critical for the inner-workings of the church family.  These tenants still apply today.  So ask yourself – am I putting them into action?

1 Timothy 5: Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

 

10/19/19: 1 Timothy 4:1-16; Psalm 89:1-13; Proverbs 25:23-24

Since Liz and I returned from DC I have joined a gym and started a bit of an exercise regime.  What is the most difficult part for me?  It is not the physical part of exercising but actually motivating myself to leave the house and go to the gym.  And I can rationalize some good reasons to stay home (water the flowers, watch the news, read the paper, take a nap …)  Once I overcome these “temptations” and arrive at the gym I will actually exercise.

1 Timothy 4Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

I thought of this effort as I read today’s passages from 1 Timothy.   Exercise is good for the body & getting started is challenging.  On a spiritual level Paul writes – we are to “train ourselves to be Godly.”  Like starting to physically exercise we are often challenged with just picking the Bible, the inspired Word of God, from a bookshelf and starting to read.   But once you start the benefit is exponential as you learn more and more about God’s will and His plan for your life.

So — Let’s not hesitate, let’s not rationalize, let’s get started!

10/18/19: 1 Timothy 3:1-16; Psalm 88:1-18; Proverbs 25:20-22

Proverbs 252If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his headand the Lord will reward you.

We see nearly the same passage repeated in Romans 12.  And what does this “heaping burning coals”  mean?  Surely sounds like a harsh punishment –– not something to be praised for doing.

The Enduring Word Commentary and Coffman concur that most likely this is a reference a burning conviction that our kindness places on our enemy. Or, some think it refers to the practice of lending coals from a fire to help a neighbor start his or her own – an appreciated act of kindness. Either way, we can destroy our enemy by making him our friend, and the LORD will reward you.

 

 

10/17/19: 1 Timothy 2:1-15; Psalm 87:1-7; Proverbs 25:18-19

In our Bible study series on “Fearless” one of the fears we reviewed was that God could become so tired of our sins that
he would just forget all about us. Of course that is not true and we see this reflected in the very beginning of Paul’s
letter to Timothy.

Paul had imprisoned members of the early church and his persecution even lead to the death of many believers. Yet, we see that he
knows that even those heinous crimes are covered by God’s grace.

1 Timothy 1: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing
me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown
mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along
with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

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.