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Showing posts from October 31, 2016

Zebulun and Naphtali

Zebulun and NaphtaliIsaiah 9:2 Excerpt With typical Hebrew parallelism the prophet described the effect of the Messiah on this northern part of Israel.The people were in darkness (cf. 8:22) and in the shadow of death. Then they saw a great light and light...dawned on them. Matthew applied this passage to Jesus, who began His preaching and healing ministry in that region (Matt. 4:15-16).  Martin, John A. “Isaiah.”The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 1052. Print.

The Old Self

The Old SelfEphesians 4:22 Excerpt Paul refers to the sin nature which is set on a course of corruption. Don’t try to reform. You won’t succeed. Any person’s only hope is a new self “created” by God. As Eph. 2:1–10 reminds us, this new creation takes place when we believe in Jesus. Now it is up to us to decide whether we will follow the pull of old, sinful desires or respond to the new self’s pull toward righteousness. God won’t force you to be godly. But if you choose righteousness, He will enable you. More Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

Be Ready for Action

Be Ready for Action1 Peter 1:13 Excerpt Have your minds ready for action is literally “gird up the loins of your mind.” To “gird the loin” was an appropriate metaphor for people in the Middle East at that time. These people normally wore long gowns, and when someone prepared for any strenuous activity, he “girded” his robe, that is, he tied his robe securely (by using a belt, for example), to make sure that his robe would not be in the way. The metaphor, therefore, came to mean “be ready for action.” The area of readiness in this verse is the mind, and the full meaning of the metaphor is, therefore, to prepare oneself mentally... More Arichea, Daniel C., and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the First Letter from Peter. New York: United Bible Societies, 1980. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Responsible to God for the Work

Responsible to God for the Work Excerpt In this section, the builders were being warned about the quality of their work. The foundation of the church is a Person, not a doctrine (3:11). The true building of the church involves a person’s participation in the very life of Christ. This cuts against the “I am of Paul” mentality. For the final evaluation (3:12–15), see Amos 4:11 andZechariah 3:2 regarding being saved through fire. Paul shifted from God’s building (the church) to his dwelling (the individual Christian) (3:16–17). Paul reminded the Corinthians that their work would be evaluated at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10). Paul did not explain the nature of the reward (1 Cor. 3:14) but elsewhere referred to “crowns” as representative of the believers’ reward (1 Thess. 2:19; 2 Tim. 4:8;cf. also James 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:4).  Hughes, Robert B., and J. Carl Laney. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001. Print. The Tyndale Reference …

The Message of the Chronicles

The Message of the Chronicles Excerpt ‎Chronicles is a book of ‘roots’. It is compiled and written for the Israelites who have returned from exile, to remind them who they are. It may seem that Israel is a poor, small, weak nation on the fringes of the Persian empire. However, the reality is that God is still their king and he has a continuing calling and mission for his people. ‎The message of the Chronicles is that God is with Israel, just as much as he was in the days of David and the ark of the covenant, or Solomon and the temple. The royal and priestly lines continue to the present day, and so does God’s promise to bless his people if they are faithful to him. … Knowles, Andrew. The Bible Guide. 1st Augsburg books ed. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001. Print.

Be Hospitable

Be Hospitable Excerpt Hospitality (philazenos, “love of strangers”) is a telltale virtue of the people of God. Paul told the Roman church to “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13). “Practice” means “pursue” or “chase” and sometimes means “strenuous pursuit.” Christians and especially leaders are not simply to wait for opportunities for hospitality but are to pursue them. They are to do it “without grumbling,” as Peter says (1 Peter 4:9). Today’s elder must be a joyous host. He must invite people to his table. His home must be open. Hospitality is all over the New Testament. And the writer of Hebrews offers an enchanting motivation: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (13:2). These are God’s thoughts on hospitality! More Hughes, R. Kent, and Bryan Chapell. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2000. Print. Preaching the Word.

Salvation by Faith, Not by the Law

Salvation by Faith, Not by the Law Excerpt The first part ofDeuteronomy 30:12 is Who will ascend into heaven? Paul interprets this as to bring Christ down(= “that is, the incarnation”). Paul’s use of that is is similar to Qumran’s pesher interpretation (so Cranfield 1979; Wilckens 1980; Fitzmyer 1993b), in which the Old Testament text is made to fit a contemporary situation. Paul’s is somewhat different in that he does not view this as the actual meaning of the Old Testament text (as Qumran did) but is applying the Deuteronomy quote to Christ and to the issue of justification by faith (so Moo 1996). Ascending into heaven is an impossible quest. Moses meant that one did not have to climb up to heaven or cross the sea to obey the law. Paul is saying that one does not have to go to heaven to bring Christ down to earth so he can provide salvation to humankind. God has already done that for them. The incarnation is God’s grace gift; it can never be the product of human achievement. In the…

God as Father

God as FatherJohn 14:1–14 Excerpt From early in Israel’s history, God was regarded as a father (cf. personal names such as Eliab, Joab “God is [my] father”; Abijah, Abiel “my father is God”). Yahweh was recognized as the father of Israel (e.g., Isa. 63:16; Jer. 3:4; Mal. 1:6), both as suzerain in the covenant relationship (e.g., Deut. 7:14) and as creator of the world (e.g., 32:6Mal. 2:10). Just as the human father, God possesses ultimate authority (Mal. 1:6; Matt. 7:21–23). Similarly, he demonstrates his love and care for his children (Exod. 4:22–23; Deut. 1:31; Jer. 31:9, 20; Matt. 6:26–34; 18:14). The Gospels frequently distinguish between the relationship of God to his son Jesus (“my father”) and to the disciples (“your father”; cf.John 20:17). Because of Jesus’ particular nature as God’s “only begotten son” (1:1418) and thus the authority (8:28–38;14:10) and intimacy (e.g., 1:1810:38) they share, mankind has access to the Father only through the Son (14:6). Nevertheless, J…

The Revelation of Mystery

The Revelation of MysteryEphesians 1:9 Excerpt ‘Mystery’, which appears twenty-one times in Paul’s letters (out of a total of twenty-seven New Testament occurrences), is used in a variety of ways, though the apostle normally employs the term with reference to the revelation of what was previously hidden but has now been disclosed by God (Rom. 16:25–261 Cor. 2:10; Col. 1:26–27; Eph. 3:3, 5). The ‘mystery of God’ (1 Cor. 2:1v.l.; cf. v. 7) focusses on salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ. It cannot be understood through human wisdom but comes to be known as God reveals it by his Spirit to those who love him (v. 10). The plural ‘mysteries’ can draw attention to the essential elements of the one mystery (1 Cor. 4:1), or anything that transcends of human power of comprehending (13:2; cf. 14:2). In Romans 16:25 there is a correlation between the disclosure of the mystery and Paul’s preaching of Jesus Christ. The connection between the mystery and the salvation of Gentiles is a feat…


WisdomEphesians 5:15 Excerpt By and large NT wisdom (sophia) has the same intensely practical nature as in the OT. Seldom neutral (although cf. ‘the wisdom of the Egyptians’Acts 7:22), it is either God-given or God-opposing. If divorced from God’s revelation it is impoverished and unproductive at best (1 Cor. 1:172:42 Cor. 1:12) and foolish or even devilish at worst (1 Cor. 1:19ff.; Jas. 3:15ff.). Worldly wisdom is based on intuition and experience without revelation and thus has severe limitations. The failure to recognize these limitations brings biblical condemnation on all (especially the Greeks) who haughtily attempt to cope with spiritual issues by human wisdom. More Hubbard, D. A. “Wisdom.” Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary 1996 : 1244. Print.
A Samaritan Gives Thanks Excerpt Only one of the ten men was grateful enough to come first to Jesus and thank Him for His merciful gift of healing. (SeePs. 107:8, 1521, and 31.) But the astounding thing is that this man was a Samaritan! Imagine a Samaritan giving thanks to a Jew! But because he did, this man received an even greater gift: he was saved from his sins. “Your faith has made you well” can be translated, “Your faith has saved you” (see7:50, NKJV). Physical healing is a great blessing, but it ends at death; while the blessing of eternal life lasts forever. More Wiersbe, Warren W. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

October 31

  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened
Eph. 1:17, 18
We were coming down a mountain in Switzerland one evening when a black thunderstorm blotted out the day, and all things were suddenly plunged into darkness. We could only dimly see the narrow, dusty footpaths, and the gloomy sides that were swallowed up in deeper gloom. What, then, of the majesty all about us, heights, and depths, and wonders? All was darkness. Then came the lightning—not flashes, but the blazing of the whole sky, incessant, and on every side. What recesses of glory we gazed into! What marvels of splendor shone out of the darkness!
Think how with us, in us, is One who comes to make the common, dusty ways of life resplendent, illuminating our dull thoughts by the light of the glory of God; clearing the vision of the soul, and then revealing the greatness of t…

Connect the Testaments

October 31: Speaking the Truth
Daniel 11:1–12:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:1–18; Job 42:10–17

“And now I will reveal the truth to you” (Dan 11:2). How much better would our world be if more of us were willing to take this kind of stand—to make these kinds of statements?
The truth Daniel refers to are the prophecies foretelling what will happen in the Persian Empire. Great power and wealth are coming, and with them comes the fear of how that power and wealth may be used. If we read between the lines of the prophet’s statements in Dan 11, we can feel the trepidation. He is concerned that wickedness will once again sweep over the land.
Such was the case for Paul: “Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may progress and be honored … and that we may be delivered from evil and wicked people, for not all have the faith” (2 Thess 3:1–2). Paul was aware that unbelievers would seek his life. He wasn’t sure what the future would look like. We can imagine the fear that he must have felt, wondering, “Wha…

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, October 31      Go To Evening Reading
“Renew a right spirit within me.”          —Psalm 51:10
A backslider, if there be a spark of life left in him will groan after restoration. In this renewal, the same exercise of grace is required as at our conversion. We needed repentance then; we certainly need it now. We wanted a faith that we might come to Christ at first; only the like grace can bring us to Jesus now. We wanted a word from the Most High, a word from the lip of the loving One, to end our fears then; we shall soon discover, when under a sense of present sin, that we need it now. No man can be renewed without as real and true a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s energy as he felt at first, because the work is as great, and flesh and blood are as much in the way now as ever they were. Let thy personal weakness, O Christian, be an argument to make thee pray earnestly to thy God for help. Remember, David when he felt, was powerless, did not fold his arms or close his lips, b…

My Utmost for His Highest

October 31st
Discernment of faith

Faith as a grain of mustard seed.… Matthew 17:20

We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, it may be so in the initial stages; but we do not earn anything by faith. Faith brings us into right relationship with God and gives God His opportunity. God has frequently to knock the bottom board out of your experience if you are a saint in order to get you into contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of sentimental enjoyment of His blessings. Your earlier life of faith was narrow and intense, settled around a little sun-spot of experience that had as much of sense as of faith in it, full of light and sweetness; then God withdrew His conscious blessings in order to teach you to walk by faith. You are worth far more to Him now than you were in your days of conscious delight and thrilling testimony.
Faith by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to …