Sunday, July 30, 2017

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!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Galatians 2: What's At Stake

You may notice that Paul is coming across as very passionate in Galatians - and very upset!  Why?  What has motivated him to write this letter and what has moved him to a posture of righteous indignation?

Galatians 1: Paul's Gospel

The New Testament is made up primarily of letters written by the leaders of the early church.  Some of these letters, also called epistles, were to individuals, such as to Timothy or Titus.  Others were written to specific churches, or to the Church in general.  Sometimes a letter is called by its author's name (James, I John, Jude, etc.) while at other times the title comes from the party being addressed (Romans, II Corinthians, Ephesians, etc.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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!"

Monday, July 24, 2017

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."

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.

Psalm 29: The Voice Of The Lord

In the ancient world, perhaps nothing symbolized the supernatural might of the Lord more than a natural storm.  The people would witness flashing lightning bolts, shattering thunder, and destructive winds.  Although the science of meteorology was beyond them, they knew that an awesome storm represented just a smattering of God's power.  In Psalm 29, David reflects on the majesty of the Lord revealed through such a storm, how His "voice" unleashed amazing devastation.  Today we may better understand the natural forces behind such events, but the created order still reveals a supreme God who stands powerfully above and apart from creation.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

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:

Saturday, July 15, 2017

II Corinthians 8: Comrade Paul?

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."  That's a statement popularized by the Father of Communism himself, Karl Marx - but it could just as easily be a summary of Paul's writing in II Corinthians 8!

II Corinthians 7: Good Grief!

Did you know that there are different kinds of grief?  In II Corinthians 7, Paul discusses both "godly grief" and "worldly grief."

II Corinthians 6: Church Vs. World

The Church exists in the World.  But how should it relate to the World?

Psalm 28: Justice And Mercy

David the psalmist is searching for two things in Psalm 28: Justice and Mercy.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

II Corinthians 5: Christ's Ambassadors

Christians really hold an incredible privilege in this world: We represent Christ to the world, serving as His holy ambassadors!

II Corinthians 4: Outer Decay, Inner Life

In II Corinthians 4, Paul presents the Christian life as a study in contrasts.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

II Corinthians 2: The Smell Of Death...And The Fragrance Of Life!

"To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life" (vs. 15)

II Corinthians 1: "Yes" In Christ

"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ" (vs. 20).

Psalm 27: Confidence In The Lord

Confidence is defined as "the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust."  The roots of the word confidence (con + fidere) mean "with faith" or "with trust."  This accurately describes David's position toward God in Psalm 27.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

I Corinthians 16: Parting Thoughts

As Paul wraps up his first letter to the Corinthians, he turns his attention to practical matters regarding his schedule, his compatriots, and his final imperatives.

I Corinthians 15: Everything You Wanted To Know About The Resurrection, But Were Afraid To Ask

Each of the four Gospels ends with an account of the Risen Christ.  But where do you go with your questions about the Resurrection?  Paul has you covered.  Check out I Corinthians 15.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I Corinthians 14: Spiritual Gifts (Part Three)

What do you think about speaking in tongues?  Opinions are all over the map, and some Christians can be quite contentious about their viewpoints.

I Corinthians 13: Spiritual Gifts (Part Two)

Sandwiched between chapters on spiritual gifts, I Corinthians 13 gleams like a jewel.  Its words on love have inspired and encouraged many.  Its verses have appeared on numerous plaques and been read at countless weddings.  Yet perhaps one of the best ways to understand the Bible's "love chapter" is to consider it in context - as a part of Paul's teaching on spiritual gifts.

Monday, July 3, 2017

I Corinthians 12: Spiritual Gifts (Part One)

What a difference between Christianity and paganism!  Paul begins this chapter by reminding the Corinthians that they used to follow mute, ineffective and impotent idols.  But now these false gods are contrasted with the living, moving, breathing Holy Spirit who works in the lives of believers by gifting them with special abilities for the good of the body.