Last week, we talked about our identity in Christ, grounded and rooted in him and made new in his grace and mercy. Today, we have one last look at this identity, and I think it’s important to read Ephesians 5 and 6. In response to this new identity, we are called to a new and better way.
First, husbands and wives are called to love and to submit to one another in reverence for Christ. (5:21-33) Children are called to honor their father and mother. (6:1-3) Fathers are called to train and instruct their children. (6:4) Relationships between slaves and masters were expressed to show a better way to treat common social relationships in that day, and that Christ makes slave and master equal. (6:5-9) Praise God that as we have expanded on the promises of Scripture, slavery has been eradicated in the US and is fought against around the world.
BUT, what I really want us to look at is how we are called to dress. I really enjoy renaissance fairs. It’s great; enjoying nature, seeing people dressed in amazing costumes, laughing at jokes and enjoying fair food! Who doesn’t love gnawing on a GIANT turkey leg or getting ye olde bratwurst? But my favorite part is the jousting tournaments. Knights dressed in armor, charming on horseback. In most jousts, the joust is real : they don’t plan who will hit the other, who will unseat the other, and who will win. How cool is that?!
I know Paul was thinking about Roman armor, but when I think about the armor of God, I imagine a medieval knight. A shining breastplate, a broad and defensive shield, a powerful sword! But is God really calling us to dress with armor, Roman or medieval? He is using the armor as a metaphor. We are in a war, but we protect our heart with righteousness and our head with salvation. We run in peace and wrap ourselves up with truth. When it finally comes time to battle, we pull out the sword of the spirit, the word of God. This means both Scripture and the gospel message, the written and living word of God!
God is calling you to live in response to your identity in Christ. In how you treat your family and friends, in how you fight your battles, your identity in Christ should define everything about you.
May you allow your identity in Christ to better your relationships.
May you fight your battles against Satan, evil, and sin in the power and grace of God.
May you be more like Jesus, this day and every day.
How many times does it take for a false statement to be repeated before it becomes true? Can you make a myth true if a lot of people believe it long enough?
What would happen if we read the Bible with no prior bias. What if we could vacuum out of our brain all knowledge and impact of the Apostles’ Creed which would be written hundreds of years after Jesus walked on earth? What if we could read John for what John wanted to say, instead of what the emperor and church leaders over 200 years later decided they wanted it to say?
John, the beloved disciple. He loved Jesus and Jesus loved him. Perhaps he knew Jesus better than anyone. He was there very near the start of Jesus’ ministry – the fisherman who with his brother James left their fishing nets to follow and learn more about Jesus. He heard Jesus’ teachings and was with him when he calmed the storm and healed the sick. His feet had been washed by his master, Jesus. That horrific day at the foot of the cross, Jesus entrusted to John the care of Mary, his mother. John ran to the empty tomb and saw with his own eyes the resurrected Jesus and spent 40 more days listening to and learning from his risen Lord and Savior. And, then Jesus was taken into heaven in the clouds and John and the others were told Jesus would return in the same way – but until then they were to be his witnesses. John had a job to do, to tell the world of Jesus. And so, before his death he carefully writes it down for all the future generations – and we have the New Testament book called the Gospel (good news) of John.
John specifically states near the end of his gospel what his purpose in writing has been. He says Jesus did much much more than could be recorded, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Chosen King), the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31 NIV – parenthetical definition of “Christ” added). Obviously, it becomes very important for John to clearly represent Jesus if life and salvation come from believing in Jesus. We wouldn’t want to get that wrong, would we? And, we can expect that since this is John’s purpose statement nothing we read in the book of John will contradict what his mission is – to show us who the Christ, the SON of GOD is. Remember, we already cleaned out of our brain any future manipulation, twisting or reversal of this term that will develop centuries later. John, and the other New Testament writers (and Old Testament for that matter) never used the term “God the Son”. If it didn’t come from the Bible, where did it come from? It seems we should be concentrating on who and what John meant by the Christ, the Son of God, rather than trying to use this book to explain God the Son.
John would have been very familiar with Old Testament scripture which exalts and reveres the word of God – the words, plans, thoughts, intent, desire, ideas, as well as the actual spoken word of the Almighty God. The terms word of God and God’s word have also been used to refer to His written word, the Scriptures, in part or whole. Can we worship God, without knowing or trying to understand (to the best of our human ability) what His words, His thoughts, His desires are? It’s almost like voting for a president without having a clue what he stands for, what he has said in speeches, written in papers, what he thinks, believes and intends to do. It sounds dangerous to try to separate a candidate or a God from His words. We should view them as one – God and what He says/plans/intends/thinks/desires are the same.
It is also helpful to know that in Greek all words are assigned a male or female pronoun (similar to Spanish and many other languages in which every noun is known either as a she or a he) and the word “word”, in Greek “logos”, is assigned a male pronoun. It is interesting to note that 8 Bible translations written before the first King James version of 1611 did not use the Greek male pronouns (he and his) when referring to the word in John 1, but used “it” the gender neutral English pronoun given for all the other Greek nouns that were not people (he or she) but objects or ideas (its). Also, in the Greek language they did not use capitalization, so when John wrote “word” he did not write “Word”.
John also would have known of the use of personification in Scripture. For example, in Proverbs wisdom is often personified as a female who is calling in the streets or building her house. In a whole chapter devoted to ‘Lady Wisdom’ we read, “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth…then I was the craftsman at his side…” (Proverbs 8:22-24a, 30a). It is goes on. And, yet, no one has convinced too many people that God has two parts and one of them is a lady named Wisdom who existed before the world began and who created the world with Him. This theory would be called foolishness because of course we all know Solomon was using personification speaking of wisdom which comes from God.
So, now let’s read John with a brain cleared of all preconceived human ideas. We just want God’s inspired word. While we read, let’s try to think like John, the one who was at Jesus’ side for 3 years, knowing that logos – the word – of God does not have to be a person any more than the wisdom of God is a person. And, yet both the wisdom and the word of God can not be separated from God – they are God’s, or, you could even say, they are God.
So reading John 1, with simply removing capitalization and eliminating male pronouns (which was done in most or all other uses of the word logos) we now have something like this: In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The word was with God in the beginning. Through it all things were made; without it nothing was made that has been made. In it was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5 NIV but removing capitalization for “word” and replacing neuter pronouns for masculine).
Remember creation – God spoke His word and it came to be. This makes sense. God and His word. They are powerful. They are inseparable. They get the job done. They light up the world. “Let there be light.” That was God and His word! But, some will not understand – made me think of some biology professors who certainly don’t understand the power of God and His word.
Next, we see in verse 6 that God sent a man. “There came a man who was sent from God: his name was John.” (John 1:6 NIV) Yet, no one argues that John the Baptist pre-existed his birth. To be sent from God or come from God does not require pre-existence or to be part of God.
In verse 14 we have the plan of God, His design, His purpose, His word becoming flesh. Here we indeed have another man, in the flesh. This time it’s not John the Baptist. This time it is Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One, the Chosen King, the One and Only Begotten (comes from), in flesh, Son of God. There would have been LOTS of ways John could have said that Jesus was God, if that is what he wanted to say. But, he didn’t say it because he knew Jesus as the SON of God, just as he said.
Not only did John not say it – but no other place in Scripture says God became a man. It is not in Scripture, but it is very common in mythology (which we are warned several times in the Bible to avoid). How did this idea get into so many Christmas songs, hymns, worship songs, and sermons if it did not come straight from the Bible? Could it be the false teachers that God’s word warns would sneak into the church to twist the apostles’ words and the God they served? This is something we don’t want to be wrong about. We need to be sure we are correctly handling the word of truth – God’s word – and not just what others hundreds of years later would teach about it.
We all like to be right (some of us more than others) so when we are approached with a “new” idea that would mean we have been wrong before it is easy to immediately discard it. But, this one is pretty important and could in fact mean life or death. If you have read this far, congratulations. I encourage you to do more seeking and searching. I recently listened to a podcast of a woman who was shocked to learn her grown son no longer considered himself a trinitarian. In the podcast she does an excellent job describing her thoughts and feelings as well as her search in the Scriptures for truth and what she found. If you would like to hear what this journey looked like for her, you can listen to her story here – Hildy Chandler (She tells her story to Mark Cain in 3 parts, I thought the second was the best but I linked the first hoping you can make time for all three valuable parts.) I love her heart for truth and her devotion to the Scripture.
I know I am not the best one to explain John 1, or probably any other passage in Scripture. But, as we continue with our reading of the Gospel of John, I pray we will all see more and more clearly the Jesus that John walked with on earth. The Jesus that died on the cross and that God rose from the dead. The Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Chosen King, the Son of God, the Jesus who showed us His father. God bless our journey reading and loving God, His word, and His Son.
Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here –Joshua 19-20 and John 1
We’ve had some really heavy topics, and we are not quite out of the woods yet. We are coming to the point in the reading where there is just joy and happiness and peace, but we are not there yet. It takes someone showing up on the scene to make that happen. We have the coming of a rider on a white horse. The images that John uses only highlights that he is speaking about Jesus.
I love Christmas; the songs, the snow, the presents, the expectations. I even love the time leading up to it. In the wider Christian tradition, this time is called Advent, which is Latin for “to come”. We recognize in Advent the first coming of Jesus. And in Revelation 19, we are shown a picture of the second coming of Jesus. Those two images could not be more different.
Jesus came as a peaceful prince riding on a donkey. Jesus will come as a conquering rider on a white horse.
When he came, many called him a liar and a demoniac. He will come and be known as “Faithful and True.”
He came to bring salvation. He will come to bring judgment.
He came with eyes full of tenderness and sorrow. He will come with eyes of fiery flame.
He came and bore a crown of thorns. He will come crowned with many crowns.
He came and was wrapped in tattered cloths. He will come in a blood stained robe.
He came and was known as Jesus. He will come and be known as Word of God.
He came and refused the help of the legions of angels. He will come and be accompanied by the armies of heaven.
He came preaching words of truth. He will come and his words will be a sword coming from his mouth.
He came and only a small number knew who we was.
He will come, and his name, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will be emblazoned on his thigh.
This is the Messiah we serve. He is not weak; he is not a push over; he is not a doting parent or Santa Claus.
He is the conquering king, coming to claim the world that is rightfully his, to avenge his servants who have been oppressed, and to drive out those who did not honor him.
Let this image of Jesus wash over you, and praise God that the King is coming.
I love to look deeper into these verses in Colossians to fully understand what Paul was writing and why. Paul was poetic in his language and using wording that the Israelites used to describe the personification of wisdom. If you look through the Old Testament it is not likely that you will find the phrase “Holy Spirit”. You will however find the term “Spirit of God” which we discover is the same thing, God’s power within us. Likewise “word of God” is not seen in the Old Testament. Once there is a reference to the “word of the LORD” but the majority of the references toward the Word of God are seen describing this personification of wisdom. A different way of saying the same thing. Jesus is the living embodiment of the Word of God.
“He is the image of the invisible God” – Jesus is called the image of God in these verses and in 2 Corinthians 4:4. In Hebrews 1:3 he is described as “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being”. Two truths are revealed through the first half of this verse: God has remained unseen “no one has ever seen God” John 4:18 and second, Jesus reveals the nature and character of God for he is the image of God in which humanity was originally created in Genesis 1:26. It is the image that we as the faithful will be transformed into upon Jesus’ return.
“The firstborn over all creation” – Paul borrowed from his Jewish upbringing; firstborn was a Hebrew way of saying someone was especially honored. The nation of Israel was called firstborn (Exodus 4:22), as was David (Psalm 89:27). The word, in these instances, did not refer to their physical birth but to their place of honor before God. So here Paul is saying that Jesus has a place of honor over all creation.
“By him all things were created” seven times in these verses Paul mentions “all creation”, “all things”, and “everything” stressing that the Christ is supreme over all through the power God granted him. The tense at the end of this verse was not translated correctly in the NIV, it says “all things were” however the original language was not past-tense “were” rather present “are”.
“Before all things” like with firstborn this does not speak of time but importance. The Christ is before all things in importance for it is only through him that all things will be restored.
“All things hold together” he will usher in a new age in which sinful man will be redeemed and united with our holy God.
This passage speaks of the importance of the Christ, the place of honor over all things that he holds. Additionally it points to both Jesus’ place of honor over the church and those who will be resurrected to eternal life as well as a chronological order. Jesus was the beginning of the church as we know it. And he was the first, and only one to this point, which God raised to new life. We the faithful will follow suit once Jesus returns.
“All (his) fullness dwell” (his) was added to many translations which adds to the confusion and skepticism that people may have concerning these verses. Before moving forward think about what happens to those who come to God through Jesus. We are filled with God’s spirit, His power and character, at least to a point. But Jesus was filled with the fullness of God, all power and authority were given to him. He also displayed the nature, character, and attributes of God. Paul also had another reason for his choice of words, “fullness” was a popular term among the Gnostics who used it to refer to the combination of all supernatural influences. So Paul used their own word to elevate the Christ above all other religious ideas and systems.
“To reconcile to himself all things” Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection set the stage for not only the faithful to be made new but also all of creation. Unfortunately it does not mean that everyone will be saved from sin and ultimately death. We have free will and we make our own choices. But God does not give up on us. I believe that even those He has already seen reject Him are given daily opportunities for redemption.
It is important that we have a clear understanding of who Jesus is and the reason that we need a Christ, Messiah.
To be continued… (by someone else)
(Editor’s Note – Thank you Jeff for finishing off the book of Proverbs with us this week, and giving us two free theme days to think on! Tomorrow we will begin looking at the book of Revelation – one chapter a day through the month of November. And in December we will finish off the New Testament with the book of Luke. So many precious things in God’s Word! Keep taking it in.)
More than we would like to admit, we struggle with temptation. No matter how great our will or sense of purpose in our life, it always seems to find a way to slither into our lives and rear its ugly head. Ironically, we are caught most off guard and unaware, not when we are in the midst of a struggle with sin or a desperate time, but when things are at their best. One minute we are walking close to God, doing his will, connected to His Spirit, loving His word, sharing his Gospel, and the next we are faced with an idea (James 1:13-14). An awful idea. A wonderfully awful idea that will feed our selfishness, our human condition.
In Matthew 4, today’s reading, Jesus is led by the Spirit to the desert. God, being the great storyteller he is, takes Jesus to the ultimate contrast of Eden, where the groans of nature longing for restoration can be most heard (Rom 8:22). A setting that is far away from paradise, an allegory of the state of mankind, filled with the different, yet same challenge – temptation. Now, there are theological hairs you can split as you read this message today. Don’t do that. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
Jesus’s triumph begs the question, “How did He overcome temptation?” Well, He was the Son of God, right? This is true, but an error in our thinking if we think this is the sole reason that Jesus wins the days. He is the Son of God, but he faced temptation, “just as we are”, and did not sin (Heb 4:15). You might say, “He obviously had a special ability to resist.” You are right. It is the same special ability we have access to: The Holy Spirit. God may take us to the desert to see what our faith is made of, but He will not give us something we can’t handle, and will actually empower us if we seek Him in that moment (1 Cor 10:13).
But careful. Careful we must be because when we are in the desert it is easy to see what is coming. We might feel as though we have plunged a dagger into the heart of temptation, but we have not put it to rest. We must remember, we are human. No matter how willing our spirit is to continue on day after day in the will of God, our flesh is weak (Matt 26:40-43). We crave food. We seek power. We want to be known. Our eyes, the lamp into our soul (Matt 6:22-24), see a way we can instantly fulfill the desires that will be made complete by God and chases after them in selfish, fleeting moments. Unfortunately, this often comes on the day we leave our armor at home, catching us off guard, not ready to do spiritual battle.
Looking to Jesus, how can we be ready to do battle with temptation? First, he knew the word of God. It is how He responds not only to the temptation, but even when the word of God is seemingly being used against Him. How can you know the will of God? It is as ironically simple as losing weight: diet and exercise. Consume the right thing, His word, and practice it daily, so you will be spiritual healthy. Next, do God’s business. Know that temptation can come at any moment, but comes easier when we are idle (Prov 16:27-29). Keep your eyes on God and your hands and feet busy to his work. Like the old adage, “if you’re going through hell, just keep going,” Jesus faced the temptation, but immediately moves onto His ministry. Temptation IS NOT sin. No guilt required; pick up and move on. Finally, be on guard. Relapse can setback or even kill your spiritual life. Removing unnecessary temptation from our lives is a must. Even if we are in the word every day, engaging in spiritual disciplines, or deeply involved in a ministry, at the very height of our endeavors, it only takes a moment to go back to sin and fall harder and faster than we ever did (the very nature of relapse). If you can’t hang out with your friends without getting drunk, then don’t hang out with them. If you can’t be on the internet without looking at inappropriate sites, then don’t get on it. If you can’t use social media without bridling your tongue and speaking in love, then stop. Jesus uses hyperbole to illustrate the practical advice when he states, “it is better to cut your hand off” or “pluck your eye out” (Matt 5:29, 30) than to be lost to sin, and ultimately the kingdom of God.
It is imperative you know there is a way to overcome temptation, no matter how great. We have access to the Father, power through His Holy Spirit, and our eyes on Jesus Christ not only as our example, but our mediator when we fall short. He speaks to the Father because Jesus knows what it is like, and encourages us to not give in or give up. Study. Do. Guard. Repeat. Temptation may come, but sin will no longer find a foothold in you.
When Paul writes II Timothy he is in Rome. In Prison. Piecing together his life from Acts and his letters, it is believed that during his first trip to Rome he was under house arrest – and then released and able to take his final missionary journey. But, back to Rome he goes, and this time he ends up in prison. Real prison. In chains. And, he is now writing about having “fought the good fight and finished the race.” (4:7). The end is in sight. And Paul has no regrets. In fact, he still has hope for the future – “a crown of righteousness” (4:8).
I was blessed by the opportunity to go to Rome with Jason several years ago while he was on a business trip. While he worked, I walked. It was incredible to walk through the ruins and roads where Paul very well may have walked before his chains. Courthouses, palaces, the temples of foreign gods, and in their midst, the Mamertine prison which according to tradition housed the apostle Paul, as well as Peter, before they each died for their faith. Perhaps it was a different prison, hard to be certain. But I do know that there was a real prison with real chains. Real places. Real people. And a very real God who was at work then (and long before) and is still at work now – and for all eternity.
A God worthy of serving with our life and if necessary our death. A God who does not give a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) – and I sure need that! A God who breathed out the Scriptures for us so we would have his wisdom and words – so useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16) Without them we can not be thoroughly equipped for the work he has for us to do. (2 Timothy 3:17).
A few years ago our theme at Family Camp was Apprentice. How to pass along a craft – an art – from one master artisan to the next generation. Paul said, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:2) How are you contributing to the cycle?
Paul has many powerful words to Timothy about his duties as a young preacher, and what he is to pass on to others. And they become even more powerful when you pause to remember that they are being written by Paul, the mighty apostle and missionary, now chained and in prison, near the end of his life. According to tradition, soon to be beheaded for his faith. He writes, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Are you doing your best? What can you do to improve how you present yourself to God? Is it evident you are a workman for God? Any areas of shame that need to be addressed? How are you handling the word of truth?
I think it would be fascinating to see documented how the Word of God was passed down from Jesus to Paul, and on to Timothy and then to Timothy’s church, etc …. Through the ages … across the oceans … from generation to generation . . . to you. Your spiritual genealogy. What will you do with it? How will you pass it on? “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved.”
The Old Testament has 17 books of prophecy (5 Major Prophets and 12 Minor Prophets). It is here that God’s messengers gave many warnings of what troubles and destruction would come to those who didn’t repent and live a life pleasing to God. Many (though not all) of the prophecies recorded in these books have already taken place: destruction of ancient Israel and Judah, restoration for a remnant and the coming of the Messiah.
Similarly, the New Testament ends with one book of New Testament prophecy – the book of Revelation. And in it we read many warnings to those who don’t repent, accept Jesus and live a life pleasing to God. Most of the prophecies recorded in this book have yet to come: destruction of the ungodly, the 2nd Coming of the Messiah, and restoration for the godly in the Coming Kingdom.
God sends this series of revelations to John (by way of Jesus and an angel). He writes of what must soon take place and says, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (1:3).
In chapters 2 & 3 the seven churches in Asia are individually commended for what they were doing right (hard work, perseverance, not tolerating wicked men, etc…). And, they were then challenged to work on other issues which required repentance and renewed commitment to truth and purity (not allowing false teachers and immorality, etc…). These words are very applicable to us today. We would be wise to consider what we as a church are doing well, as well as what we need to repent of and change. Each church is challenged to listen well to what the Spirit has to say to the church, and promised that overcomers would be rewarded.
Then the vision turns to the throne room of God where a lamb, looking “as it had been slain” (5:6) breaks 7 seals from a scroll unleashing war, famine, and other disasters on the earth. A dragon and two beasts, allied against God, arise to demand the worship of earth’s people who have not been killed in the earlier catastrophes. Seven bowls of the wrath of God (reminiscent of the plagues on Egypt) bring disasters such as darkness, the most severe earthquake ever and huge hailstones. The upheaval destroys Babylon the Great. Next, the heavens open and the Savior, Messiah, King Jesus, also called the Word of God, appears on a white horse ready to lead heaven’s armies in destroying evil. For 1000 years Christ reigns on earth while Satan, “that old serpent” (20:2) is bound and kept from deceiving more. At the end of the 1000 years, Satan is released briefly to instigate a worldwide war, but never fear – it says as they surround the camp of God’s people fire from heaven will devour the enemy and Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire. God unveils a new heaven and a new earth. The new Jerusalem comes down from heaven, and God will dwell with men. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (21:4). There are so many more beautiful descriptions of the coming Kingdom on earth found in the last 2 chapters of Revelation. It is truly something you don’t want to miss. But, we know that many will, because of the decisions they are making today.
Just as Moses laid out for the people blessings and curses depending on what the people did, so too, John’s Revelation includes good news and bad news. What will you do today to prepare for a Coming Kingdom?
This week we are looking into the importance of God’s Word as well as some of the goodies we are rewarded with when we open the book. First, we had an overview of the 5 books of Law. Yesterday we considered the 12 books of History, so today we are up to the 5 books of Poetry.
When I was a school kid eating up my history classes, I was yawning during my poetry course. And, I still haven’t matured enough to really enjoy a ‘good book of poetry’ whatever that means. However, I truly love opening up my Bible to these inspired books of poetry. So many times when I reach for my Bible – it is to the books of Poetry that I go, and I am not disappointed.
Often when reading the books of law and history you get the facts of the events. And from there you can piece together the likely thoughts or emotions of the characters and what their relationship with God was like at the time. But, in many of the books of poetry you get the poet’s raw emotion: disappointment, anger, depression, elation, thankfulness, etc… And, through it all – God is there. Along with the poet’s emotion, you get to read of his personal testimony of God’s faithfulness. Psalm 13 is one short example – it starts out with quite a bit of pain and anguish and questions for God – but it ends with a beautiful statement of God’s unfailing love and goodness.
I really appreciated Andrew Cheatwood’s devotions two weeks ago when he wrote candidly about his struggle with spiritual depression and the help he found in the Psalms. I applaud his wisdom in looking to God’s Word.
Here’s a brief overview of the 5 books of Poetry
JOB – Suffering, But Still Trusting
Satan attacks Job. He loses everything except his trust in God – and that is enough. He prospers again, even more than before.
PSALMS – Jewish Songbook
Songs, prayers and praises to God in poetry. The longest book of the Bible, mostly written by David. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible – all about the greatness of the Word of God
PROVERBS – Wisdom!
Wise King Solomon shares his wisdom on many matters: work, money, temptation, discipline, etc…These 31 chapters can be read one chapter a day every month and you will find yourself a wiser person.
ECCLESIASTES – Search for the Meaning of Life
Solomon found pleasures, riches, and fame don’t satisfy. Instead, revere God, follow Him and let God be God
SONG OF SOLOMON – Love Songs
Poems by Solomon celebrating the beauty of married love, also called Song of Songs
Which is your favorite book of Poetry? Go ahead – read some God-inspired poetry today!
For some of you, dropping everything and going on an adventure like Abram is not possible. You may already be settled in your life, married, with kids. Maybe you’ve got a steady job that you can’t leave. Many of you may feel stuck trapped by your responsibilities. It’s when we get stuck in this rut that we start to believe the lie that we’re useless to God.
Today, we are looking at two important women of the New Testament: Lois and Eunice. We don’t know much about their everyday lives, but what we do know is that they were responsible for introducing Timothy to the word of God. Timothy, the author of 1 and 2 Timothy, is Paul’s young apprentice. From the time Paul met Timothy, he took a special interest in cultivating the church leadership skills within the young man. Paul eventually came to think of Timothy as a son. But, there would be no Timothy if there was no Eunice, and there would be no Eunice if there was no Lois.
Lois first taught the scriptures to her daughter, Eunice. Eunice in turn taught the scriptures to her son, Timothy. Timothy, with Paul’s mentoring, brought many people to Christ and eventually wrote two books of the Bible. Those two books of the Bible have encouraged generations of people in their faith. It’s a domino effect, but it would not have started were it not for Lois and Eunice.
Maybe you can’t move to Africa to be a missionary. Maybe you aren’t called to lead a church. Lois and Eunice may have also been missionaries or great leaders, but that is not why they are remembered. What was important in their story was that they took the time to share their faith with the children in their lives. That is something that you can do today.
Listen, you are not stuck. Wherever you are in life, God wants to use you. Let him.
P.S. Go listen to the song “Dream Small” by Josh Wilson while you get ready for the rest of your day today!
This chapter talks about the coming of the Lord Jesus. It tells us not to be alarmed by others saying that the day of the Lord has already come. We are not to be deceived. This chapter mentions several things that need to happen before Jesus returns.
The man of lawlessness will be revealed; he will set himself up in God’s temple and proclaim he is God.
When the lawless one is revealed, the Lord Jesus will overthrow him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him. Satan will display counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders to try to deceive us all. We need to be ready. We need to anchor ourselves in the word of God, watching for these things. Stand strong in your faith and do not be deceived. I am going to end this devotional with verses 16-17:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.