Solomon's examination of the apparent anomalies and contradictions that confront our lives every day continues in Ecclesiastes 4. Walter Kaiser describes the progression of thought from chapter 3 to chapter 4 as follows:
We long to see people we love. Christians love Jesus Christ because of all He has done for us, and we can't wait to see Him. Our anticipation of Christ motivates us to live in a way that pleases Him.
The longer you walk with the Lord as your Savior, the more you long to see Him face to face. This was true of both Simeon and Anna in Luke 2.
Psalm 12 expresses how David felt when he had been abandoned by godly friends. In Psalm 13, David is so alone, he feels he has been abandoned by God Himself. This feeling is prompted by the length of his suffering. Perseverance in a long time of difficulty is perhaps the most trying to our minds and hearts.
David's struggle will feel familiar to many people of God. In a marathon of trust, we often ask similar questions. Is God one who abandons? Through David's wrestling, we will learn that God's character and work confessed in prayer sustains us during long, drawn-out periods of suffering.
As we finish Paul's list of greetings for those who are "in Christ," consider which description you identify with. What is your role in the pursuit of Gospel progress?
Mothers are unique in their ability to influence each generation. In 2 Timothy 1:1-7, Paul memorializes a single critical trait that believing moms must prioritize. A mother's sincere faith is a powerful inducement for her children to to persevere.
Prayer is essential for physical protection and spiritual safety (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). Our safety is not to be taken for granted. We have been investigating layers of spiritual protection from Romans 8 for those who are in Christ. Verses 33-34 ask two more questions without an immediate answer.
The next portion of Romans 8 compares temporary suffering to eternal glory. All Christians experience suffering in varying degrees: Some faithfully serve despite chronic illness; others grieve over a straying child, unsaved spouse or parent; some persevere after losing a faithful spouse; and many are waiting to see friends they love come to Christ.
Aspen, Colorado, has 6000 permanent residents, and 50 of them are billionaires. To some, living in Aspen is the height of material prosperity. However, people of spiritual virtue have different values. Godly moms in particular desire a spiritual home through which they may leave a faith that will remain through generations of their families to come.
At the end of his letter to the Romans, Paul names many individuals who were an encouragement to him in the Lord. Paul had not been to visit the churches in Rome, but he knew many believers who had evidently moved there. The list begins with a woman named Phoebe who likely delivered Paul's letter about AD 57 (Romans 16:1-2). Her inclusion, along with Priscilla and her husband Aquila in the next few verses, reminds us that women are very important to the essential ministry of disciple-making in the church.
The whole person includes a spirit, soul, and body. Our summer study seeks to understand each part and apply biblical principles to how we grow in each aspect. This will give us confidence that we are doing what we can to please the Lord.
The spirit is the image of God in a person (Genesis 2:7). It is what makes us an individual. This includes our moral ability, our rationality, our spirituality, and our personality. All of these can be pleasing to God. Jesus said we must worship with our spirit (John 4:23-24), and Paul personally worshiped God in his spirit (Romans 1:9). The development of our spirit is a necessity (Malachi 2:15).
Our theme this year is "A Zeal for the Church." We at Grace Church want to have an all-consuming desire for this local body to succeed spiritually. Anyone God has saved, He has a plan to use in the church. Our heart, soul, mind, and strength are to be utilized in living for His purposes. Paul calls this being sanctified "entirely" or completely.
Paul gives Timothy eight imperatives for living at the end of 1 Timothy 4. These instructions to a pastor are useful for every believer to live a well-disciplined life that shows progress in Christ-likeness step by step.
Timothy’s life is instructive as we learn to live worship-filled lives in 2015. He certainly demonstrates a worship-filled life even though we have not yet seen him in a formal worship setting!
The book of Genesis begins and ends with family. The failure of the first family, Adam and Eve, brought sin into the world. But God’s grace can reverse the effects of sin in the family.
In Genesis 48, Jacob legally adopted Joseph’s sons and gave them a blessing. In this chapter, he tells his sons what will happen in their futures. His words do come true. Some of Jacob’s sons’ families were permanently troubled or blessed; some were temporarily, individually troubled but later restored. All had the opportunity to respond to the grace of God.
At the start of Genesis 39, Joseph’s resume isn’t likely to earn him an audience with anyone in power. He was the least popular child in his home, constantly bullied, but lived for truth and was not known as a liar. His resume would tell the story of being a victim of child trafficking, purchased as a slave but maintaining his responsibility before the Lord, before having everything taken away because he resisted temptation to be immoral. Joseph was viewed as a commodity by everyone around him, but hand of the Lord was with him wherever he went.
You’ve probably of someone “cramming 4 years of college into 10.” In Genesis 29, Jacob spends 20 years in the school of spiritual hard knocks. The first events are glorious, but they are soon followed by tragedy and consequences.
Genesis 23 shows Abraham going through the most extreme trial of an aged Christian’s life. He loses his wife Sarah, whom he had been married to for 100 years or more! How Abraham endures this agony is a great lesson to us.
There are no more happy people on earth than those who know and do the will of God! God’s will is found as we study His Word. We are responsible to what we know of the Scriptures.
When you look at a painted portrait of a woman, you often wonder what she was really like. We wonder the same thing with Bible characters. A few verses in Hebrews 11 show us how to interpret Sarah’s story. She was known as a woman of faith.
Sarah is involved differently in all 3 sections of Genesis 18. God’s promises to Sarah and Abraham show what he can do with faithful obedience in simple, singular things.
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