Monday, May 29, 2017

Romans 4: Father Abraham

In Romans 4, Paul is still wrestling with those who want to make righteousness with God a matter of works (i.e. circumcision) rather than a matter of faith.  To buttress his argument, Paul goes all the way back to the patriarch Abraham to explore just what it was about Abraham that justified him.

Romans 3: Bad News/Good News

Are you the kind of person who wants to hear the good news first, or the bad news first?

Psalm 21: A Study In Contrasts

Psalm 21 gives us two cases: that of the Lord's friend (the king), and that of His enemies.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Romans 2: Hypocrisy

"In passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Romans 1: Not Ashamed

It is very intimidating to take on the task of blogging through such a book as Romans!  Many regard it is as Paul's masterpiece of theological reasoning.  There is a power contained within it that has changed lives, birthed churches, and launched spiritual movements and reformations.  Yet it is precisely because Romans is such a critically important work that we must give it all the time and attention that we can.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Acts 28: Journey's End?

As we reach the conclusion of the book of Acts, we realize how God's fingerprints were all over the life of the early church and apostles, bringing to a fulfillment what was prophesied much earlier.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Acts 27: Stormy Weather

In this chapter, the Apostle Paul, who had narrowly escaped many attempts on his life by fellow humans, now must endure a crisis from an "Act of God" - a violent storm at sea.

Acts 26: Paul: Liar, Lunatic, Or Legitimate Apostle?

"I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking sober truth." (vs. 25)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Psalm 20: In Whom Do We Trust?

Verse 7 is probably the most famous part of this psalm: "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."  It is fitting that this is so, for this line encapsulates the message of the Psalm - trusting in God for His deliverance.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Acts 25: Appeal To Caesar!

With a new governor in town, Paul's "cold case" is re-activated after a two year hiatus.  Festus goes first to Jerusalem where the Jews plead for Paul to be returned to them.  (They are once again hoping to ambush him on the way.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Acts 24: What Will You Do With The Resurrection?

On trial (again), Paul continues to assert that he is in trouble because he believes in the resurrection (vs. 21).  He insists that his faith is not something novel, but that he "worships the God of our ancestors, believing everything laid down according to the law or written in the prophets" (vs. 14).

Acts 23: The Midnight Ride Of Paul Of Tarsus

Acts 23 is a great chapter, bursting with behind-the-scenes action, courtroom drama, and a thrilling flight to safety.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Acts 22: The Power Of Words

Words can incite violence or save your neck.  In Paul's case in Acts 22, they do both.

Acts 21: Full Boil

The tensions that have been rising between Paul and the Jews reach a full boil in Acts 21 as his appearance in Jerusalem causes a literal riot!

Psalm 19: From Creation To The Law

In my Bible, Psalm 19 has a subtitle, "God's Glory in Creation and the Law," which about sums it up! 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Acts 20: The Long Good-bye

Frankly, after reading Acts 20, I never want to hear anyone complain about the length of preachers' sermons again!

Acts 19: Paul In Ephesus

According to Acts 19, Paul stayed in Ephesus for well over two years.  This chapter recounts some of the memorable events that happened during his tenure there.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Acts 18: The Team Expands

While Paul may have been the primary mover-and-shaker at this stage of the Church's development, especially considering the letters of the New Testament he wrote, it would be wrong to conclude that he was a Lone Ranger.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Acts 17: TBA

The next leg of Paul and Silas' missionary journey (this is considered Paul's second trip, by the way) takes them to three Greek cities: Thessalonica, Berea, andAthens.  In each location, the apostles contend for the faith and present the claims of Christ in previously unreached areas.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Acts 16: A Church On The Move

Acts 16 is a turning point for a number of reasons.  From now on, Acts will mostly tell the story of Paul and his companions.  We see the Church expand its reach into a new continent (Europe), and new characters are introduced, including Timothy and - apparently - Luke himself.

Psalm 18: Praise For An Answered Prayer

There are many famous phrases in this psalm that have echoed as allusions and references in other works down through the ages.  (Especially songs and hymns!)  The imagery is one of deliverance - even more than that, vindication.  David goes from a near-death experience at the hands of his enemies to reigning and ruling as a God-favored monarch.  While that may not be our own individual story, as Christians we have a God who delights to hear and answer the prayers of His servants!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Acts 15: The First Council...And The First Division

How Jewish do you have to be in order to be a Christian?  While that may not be much of a live issue these days, it was a front-burner topic in the first-century Church!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Acts 14: All Over The Map!

Here's a question to ponder: What determines a person's response to the Gospel?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Acts 13: Turning To The Gentiles

The missionary impulse was strong in Antioch.  After fasting and praying, the leaders commissioned Saul and Barnabas for a special work: taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to new lands. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Acts 12: Things That Make You Go, "Hmmm..."

Reading between the lines in Acts 12 provides some interesting observations.

Acts 11: The First "Christians"

Interestingly enough, it is when the Gentiles begin streaming into the Church that the followers of Christ pick up their most widely-used name: "Christians."  The disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians in Antioch.  The Bible uses the word "Christians" three times: in Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and I Peter 4:16.  Each time, the context suggests that it was simply a label applied to believers - and quite possibly a negative one, used as an insult!