From: October 29, 2018
Scripture for today: Lamentations 1:1-2:22; Philemon 1:1-25; Psalm 101:1-8; Proverbs 26:20
From: October 29, 2017
Paul wrote a personal letter to Philemon on behalf of his runaway slave, Onesimus, who may have also stolen from his master (v.18). Under Roman law, a slave was property and could be executed for such. Yet, Paul, who wrote from a Roman prison, had led Onesimus to faith in Christ and now called him a “son.” He sent the letter to let Philemon know of this and also that he was sending Onesimus home to him. Paul pled with Philemon, who he had also led to faith (v.19), to accept Onesimus back, not as a slave, but as a “beloved brother” (v.16). This is the new way of Christ on exhibit, that master and slave would become as brothers. This is the grace of Christ that brings forgiveness and reconciliation to every relationship. Surely, Onesimus would have been fearful of returning to Philemon, but Paul knew it was the only way that he could be truly free.
From: October 29, 2016
The fiery strife of gossip and intrigue quickly goes out when the wicked “whisperer” is removed. Contentious talebearers must be treated as incendiaries. We must refuse to listen to their gossip, correcting them for such talk. And if they refuse to stop such inflammatory backbiting, we must break fellowship with them. Strife soon ceases and peace follows when those who fuel quarreling with their words are silent.
From: October 29, 2015
Lamentations was written to “lament” (to grieve and mourn) the destruction of Jerusalem by the prophet Jeremiah. It calls the remnant of Judah to “cry out” to the Lord in their distress. Like the book of Job, it puzzles over the results of evil and suffering in the world. But unlike Job, which dealt with apparently undeserved evil, Jeremiah lamented a suffering that was of the people’s own making. It is a difficult book to read. Yet, it reminds us of our need to genuinely repent of sin and the suffering that inevitably follows. It calls us to lament over sin’s consequence and to beg God’s forgiveness, mercy and restoration. Only those who have hit life’s bottom seem to understand this lament of Jeremiah. Only those who are ready to “cry out in the night” find that these words give expression to the state of their hearts.
From: October 29, 2014
David understood something about God’s “love and justice.” He had learned both the loving mercy and the holy righteousness of God. Some today would view God with an “either/or” perspective. They “either” focus too much on God’s love, making Him a saccharine sweet, permissive push-over grandparent with a white beard (like Santa). “Or” they see an angry judge who is to blame for every war, disease, terrorist attack and natural disaster that befalls us. However, the Lord’s character is not simply “either/or,” but “both/and.” He is “both” full of love “and” holiness. The two traits are fully and equally His. Certainly the greatest revelation of God’s love and justice is seen in the cross of Christ. It was God’s great love that sent His Son and God’s great holiness that was satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice. At the cross we see God’s love and justice intersect.
From: October 29, 2013
There is a connection between sharing our faith with others and our own spiritual understanding. Answering the questions of faith for a seeker or new believer reminds us of what we believe. Often they ask a question we can’t answer and so we search more diligently than we would even for ourselves in order to help them. Sharing your faith causes it to increase in you!
From: October 29, 2012
The first century church met in public places and house to house. Only a few years after Christ’s resurrection, house churches could be found in nearly every Roman city and town. This is how the Church began. Would you want the church to meet at your house?
From: October 29, 2011
Growing to maturity and faith sharing are connected. Too many Christians sit and soak. They think their learning equals maturity. It doesn’t. It only puffs up. Start making disciples and watch your faith grow in maturity.