Sunday, August 31, 2014

Psalm 34: Taste and See

This Psalm has a great back story.  While on the run from King Saul, David stopped by Israel's enemy, King Achish of Gath in I Samuel 21.  To avoid being killed as a threat, David pretended to be insane.  Achish let him go.  In response to the Lord's favor and deliverance from a time of trouble, David composed this psalm.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I Thessalonians 1: The Power of an Example

As Paul begins his first letter to the Thessalonians, he warmly compliments them for the example that their faith has set for the rest of the churches in their area (1:7).  Their faith in God is well-known, as well as the hospitality they extended to Paul and his friends when they evangelized among them (as recounted in Acts 17), and how they turned from idols to God.

The Thessalonians are an example to us, too, that we should let our faith shine!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Colossians 4: Echo of Ephesians?

You may have noticed while reading Colossians that some parts sound very familiar.  There are a number of similarities between Colossians and Ephesians.  Both were written by Paul, probably around the same time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Colossians 3: Get Dressed!

Every Christian needs a change of clothes.  In Colossians 3, Paul writes of the "old self" being stripped off for the new wardrobe of righteousness that awaits.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Colossians 2: Spiritual Transactions

Maybe it is good that Paul never preached to the Colossians!  He seems determined to convey to them the core message of his gospel, which we benefit from by reading this epistle.  Just as Paul's explanation of the identity of Christ in chapter 1 is a theologically rich and informative resource for the Church, so, too, is his description of the cross and what transpired there, as well as how it impacts us when we come to faith in Jesus.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Colossians 1: Who is Christ?

Paul's letter to the Colossians - a church he had never met firsthand - contains one of the clearest theological expositions on the nature of Christ.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Psalm 33: What Makes the Difference?

The psalmist realizes he has an important mission: encourage the people to praise God!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Philippians 4: Paul's Greatest Hits

Philippians 4 is a gold mine of Christian sound bites, bullet points and bumper stickers.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Philippians 3: Flesh or Faith?

Where do you put your trust and confidence?  In the things of the flesh, or the faith?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Philippians 2: Name Above All Names

Philippians 2:6-11 is a poetic meditation on the pathway of Christ in vs. 6-11.  (In seminary, we learned that its literary structure is chiastic - meaning it descends and then ascends.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Philippians 1: Coming or Going?

As you read through Philippians, be on the lookout for words of "joy" and "rejoicing."  There's a reason this book is called "Paul's Epistle of Joy!"

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ephesians 6: The Stand

There is much to comment upon in Ephesians 6, but one noteworthy observation is Paul's emphasis on the stand of the Christian.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Psalm 32: Good For The Soul?

Although the expression, "Confession is good for the soul," is not found explicitly in the Bible, Psalm 32 does indeed make the case that the confession of our sins to the Lord is, indeed, good for our souls.

Ephesians 5: Light vs. Darkness

In vs. 8, Paul says of the Ephesians: "You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."  This chapter, taken together with Ephesians 4, is a vivid description of the contrast between the darkness of the lost and the light of Christ.

Ephesians 4: Christian Ethics

How should Christians live?  Paul's letter to the Ephesians contains solid teaching on living as a disciple of Jesus in a fallen world.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ephesians 3: Paul's Prayer

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (vs. 17-19)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ephesians 2: Cause and Effects

Ephesians 2 is one of my favorite chapters of Paul's writings!  It encapsulates a breathtaking sweep of what God has done in the lives of His people - and how.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ephesians 1: Glorious Grace!

Ephesians opens with a majestic outpouring of praise toward God and His glorious grace!  Paul quickly recounts all the spiritual blessings that the Ephesians (and all Christians) have in Christ:

Psalm 31: A Mighty Fortress

David's experience in Psalm 31 could be described as "trouble in the world, trusting in the Lord."

Friday, August 8, 2014

II Corinthians 13: Paul Is Coming to Town

"You better watch out, you better not lie, you better not pout, I'm telling you why - Apostle Paul is coming to town!"

Thursday, August 7, 2014

II Corinthians 12: Strength in Weakness

"Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong."

Sunday, August 3, 2014

II Corinthians 11: Authentic vs. Counterfeit

In II Corinthians 11, Paul seems very sensitive to a whispered charge in Corinth that he is not a real apostle - or, at least, not as good as the "super-apostles" making their way around the first-century world.  In response, he unloads a barrage of criticism against them, as well as a strong defense of his own ministry.

II Corinthians 10: Paul in Real Life

What do you think Paul was like in person?  If we were to judge only from his letters, we might envision him as a loud, abrasive, perhaps even pushy preacher.  And maybe he was.  But in this chapter of II Corinthians, Paul gives us a peek behind the veil of his letters to see what may be a different reality.

II Corinthians 9: What Goes Around...

There are several excellent expressions about giving in II Corinthians 9:

Psalm 30: Back from the Brink

In Psalm 30, David tells of a brush with death that he experienced - pleading with the Lord to pull him through.  Like many other psalms, it includes thanks to God for His faithfulness, and a promise to praise Him for His deliverance.  My favorite parts of this psalm include the glimpses of God's grace and majesty seen through the eyes of desperation: "His anger is but for a moment, his favor is for a lifetime.  Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning," and "You have turned my mourning in to dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy."  We have a good God!!