Thursday, August 31, 2017

II Thessalonians 2: All About The Antichrist

The Thessalonian church was very interested in the end-times.  They wanted to know what to expect - and when.  In fact, some were concerned that they had already missed the return of Jesus!  Paul sets their mind at ease by explaining a few details that they (and all of us) should know about The End.

II Thessalonians 1: Made Worthy

As Paul begins his second letter to the Thessalonian church, he acknowledges their afflictions and persecutions.  But he also highlights the reason they are undergoing such troubles.  It is for their benefit, so that they may be made worthy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I Thessalonians 5: Finding God's Will

After sharing some powerful thoughts about the Return of Christ, Paul brings his letter to the Thessalonians to a close.  Along the way, he shares three short but powerful verses that encapsulate God's will for His children.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I Thessalonians 4: The Shape Of The Christian Life

I Thessalonians 4 contains some very practical teaching on how Christians should live.  Paul includes several instructions about what a life pleasing to God looks like.

Monday, August 28, 2017

I Thessalonians 3: What Hath Persecution Wrought?

In I Thessalonians 3, Paul reveals that he was concerned about the Thessalonians.  He feared that - because he had been rushed out of town during a time of persecution - the Thessalonians' faith would waver and diminish.  Paul wondered, "How would this young church fare after its planters had suffered persecution and fled?"

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. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

I Thessalonians 2: Models Of Ministry

In I Thessalonians 2, Paul spends a great deal of time reminiscing about his ministry.  He recalls the time when he first came to Thessalonica after being expelled from Philippi.  He reminds the Thessalonians of how he conducted himself among them, for he was always proclaiming the gospel to them - even when he was not preaching.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Thessalonians 1: The Power Of 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!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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 letters were written by Paul, probably around the same time.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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.

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 also 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.

Psalm 33: What Makes The Difference?

The author of Psalm 33 realizes he has an important mission: to encourage the people to praise God!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

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:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Philippians 4: Paul's Greatest Hits

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

Philippians 3: Flesh Or Faith?

Where do you place your trust?  Do you put your confidence in the things of the flesh - or the faith?

Monday, August 14, 2017

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.) 

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!"

Friday, August 11, 2017

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!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

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.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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.

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)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ephesians 2: Cause And Effect

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 5, 2017

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 4, 2017

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:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Galatians 6: Final Thoughts

How do you handle the biblical "contradiction" in Galatians 6?  Verse 2 instructs us to "bear one another's burdens," while verse 5 teaches "all must carry their own loads."

Galatians 5: True Freedom

Everyone wants to be free, right?  The problem is that we often mistake slavery for freedom!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Galatians 4: Of Children And Slaves

Paul goes on in Galatians 4 to argue that the position of Christians in the world is that of children coming into their own, rather than slaves who will never inherit the promise.

Galatians 3: Faith Vs. Law

Paul's concern in writing to the Galatians is the sufficiency of faith in Christ for our salvation.  After he had preached his gospel of grace in Galatia, Judaizers (those attempting to force Gentile Christians to obey Jewish customs), had come through teaching the Galatians that their faith in Christ was not really enough.  Instead, these new Gentile Christians would also have to follow all the Old Testament covenant laws (circumcision, kosher, ritual washing, temple sacrifice, etc.)