If anyone owns the word "new," the church does. Those who have been transformed by the Gospel and have been given a new nature know the true meaning of the word. In a new year when much is uncertain, we know the Lord is still on the throne, and we are qualified and equipped for whatever may come our way.
We’ve all delighted in new things—new things that ultimately God has gifted to us. But our delight in new things quickly fades. New becomes old. The universal, unescapable truth is that nothing stays new—not things, people, or relationships. Psalm 49 addresses this readily apparent yet rarely apprehended truth.
The psalmbook of Israel was divided into 5 sections. Book 5 contains many anonymous psalms and some by David. A common theme of these authors is deriving hope from the guaranteed future for the nation of Israel. Their eschatological message is, "it's going to be okay."
2 Corinthians finds its author, Paul, defending his mission against threats to Gospel progress. His goal with the Corinthian believers to whom he was writing was to remain ministry partners even through relational difficulty while enjoying mutual comfort from God. Their unity in Christ was greater than anything that would divide them.
God places us in each of our specific contexts for an eternal purpose (1 Corinthians 12:18, Matthew 28:19-20).
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.
The Gospel will advance from a healthy church. There is nothing sensational or extraordinary about it. It is actually abnormal for a church not to realize Gospel advancement according to Acts 1:8. Rome was not the largest church in the first century, but they enjoyed Gospel influence because they were healthy and unified.
Romans 8:26 is another often-quoted verse from this chapter. Remember that its truth must be understood in the context of the spiritual security and assurance of the believer.
God is a God of second chances for those who have been redeemed. Though they fall, believers are always welcome back to fellowship with God and ministry service. Psalm 146 rehearses many truths to make sure we walk with God faithfully.
The classic passage on the "blessed hope" of Christians is Titus 2:11-15. Paul is instructing Titus as his apostolic delegate in Crete and Corinth. He trusts and depends on Titus to teach sound doctrine and the importance of adorning it with one's pattern of life.
Paul refers to two phases of future history in verse 13. The "blessed hope" is the rapture of believers to meet Christ in the air. The "glorious appearing" is when Christ comes again to establish His millennial kingdom.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 forms the conclusion to Paul's letter to the churches in the prosperous city of Ephesus. These verses can be divided in three sections: disposition, anticipation, and participation. Our disposition must be a humble one that does not try to out-think God's plan for our lives or the mission of the church. Our hope is not in the American dream that could disappear overnight. We place our hope in God's unchanging promises and blessings.
From $426 billion spent annually on beauty products to the prevalence of child beauty pageants, Americans are infatuated with what makes a beautiful appearance. Many people have varying opinions on what makes a person beautiful. If "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," whose gaze should we concern ourselves with? God is the final judge of whether or not a person is beautiful.
The church in Ephesus had been unsettled by the false teaching of unbelievers in their midst. Even young pastor Timothy was anxious. Paul knew the flock at Ephesus well from teaching in their houses for over three years. His heart was that no soul would be left behind, and he wrote to settle the Ephesian believers. They needed to be encouraged and settled, so they could then learn proper structure and function in the church, then go on to make spiritual progress. Paul was an example to Timothy in discipleship and pastoral ministry.
Many hymns tell how the truth of the resurrection affects our life today. "I serve a risen Savior," wrote Alfred Ackley in "He Lives!" Charles Wesley underscored the reality that because Christ has risen, we will also rise, in his hymn "Come, Let Us With Our Lord Arise." Those who know Christ live because of Him, and our glory is His.
By contrast, those who choose to live without God often describe the fleeting nature of human life. English poet Thomas Gray wrote the line, "The paths of glory lead but to the grave." Our glory is short-lived without Christ. God's glory is eternal, and He has wonderfully planned to share it through Jesus Christ.
Genesis 50 is the conclusion to chapters 47-49. It’s a chapter of two funerals for two men of faith. A life lived with simple integrity most influences the lives of those who follow. Jacob and Joseph left a legacy of faith for their family in three simple ways:
In Luke 24, our risen Lord shows mercy and patience to two unbelieving yet religious persons. Many in our day also do not understand the full story of Jesus. Religion always either takes away from Jesus or adds to Him. True Christianity believes that Jesus as revealed in the Bible is enough.
Cleopas and his friend had been taught by religion that Jesus would be an earthly king. He will rule on earth in the future, but his first coming was to be our Savior. Their understanding of the Scriptures was incomplete.
Given only part of the story of who Jesus was, these sincere men were left to rely on human reasoning. When Jesus was crucified, they lost hope.
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