Today’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 3.
This letter to the Thessalonians begins with a thanksgiving that their faith and love are both increasing and abounding. So much so that Paul was able to boast about them in all the other congregations he visited. It ends with a caution. Don’t let that flag. Don’t grow weary in it. It is especially wearisome to do good when even brothers and sisters around you are growing weary. We, however, can and must continue. Relying on God, let us continue to shine God’s good light by doing our work, doing it well, and pointing to Him. Some days that won’t come naturally. But put your hand in God’s and walk with Him anyway. You’ll be amazed at the outcome God produces through you and for you.
Monday’s reading is Matthew 1.
Continue reading “Don’t Grow Weary”
Today’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 1.
One of the biggest hindrances I face to disciple making is my defeatist attitude. I can come up with a thousand reasons why whoever I want to talk to won’t want to listen before I ever start talking. To be sure, not everyone will listen. But in Thessalonica, there were a bunch of idolaters who did. Imagine that. Idolaters who were essentially following gods they had made up which essentially allowed them to do whatever they wanted. But when they heard the gospel, they left those false gods for the one true and living God whom they could meet through Jesus Christ. Wow! People really will respond, repent, and find life in Jesus. We just have to keep talking. Who will you talk to today?
Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 2.
Continue reading “People Will Respond”
Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 13.
We get so caught up in the kiss part of 2 Corinthians 13:12, that we miss the context that led to it. Paul has just told the Corinthians, despite all the sin and struggle that had been going on in the congregation that they needed to aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace. At the end of this, he teaches them to greet with a holy kiss. The emphasis is not that the Christian greeting is to be with a kiss, that was actually just the common greeting. What distinguished it among Christians was the holiness. The greeting kiss was not to be a sham, covering up hate, irritation, frustration, disunity, disharmony, it was to be holy. That is, it was to be sincere, loving, comforting, harmonious, filled with peace. Whether you actually greet someone with a kiss or not, the greeting is to be holy. Make sure to keep it that way.
Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 1.
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Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 12.
We overlook some of our greatest blessings because they don’t seem like blessings. Paul said he would boast in his weaknesses. Why? Because only when he was weak could he be strong. Only when he knew how weak he was would he cast himself on God and allow God’s strength to flow through him. Today, as you count your blessings, count your weaknesses. Not so you can live in them, but so based on them you will realize how much you need God and you will turn to Him. Then be amazed at the strength He provides as you rely on Him. Praise the Lord!
Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Corinthians 13.
Continue reading “Count Your Many Weaknesses”
Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 9.
We all seek blessing from God. We long to be blessed. Some even proclaim how blessed they are at every turn. “How are you doing today?” “Too blessed to be stressed!” Or just, “I’m blessed.” But why has God blessed us? Is it simply to let us know He likes us? No. God has blessed us to be a blessing to others. Whether resources or opportunities or relationships, God showers us with blessing so those blessings may overflow to others. Sometimes it works the other way, He blesses others that they may overflow to us. But when we all see ourselves as channels of God’s blessing, allowing the overflow to flow freely, we fulfill God’s plan for us. I pray that you may be blessed, but even more so that you may be a blessing.
Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Corinthians 10.
Continue reading “Blessed to Bless”
Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 6.
“…as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger…”
Okay, I admit it. I’m writing from frustration today. I don’t know how often I hear from Christians today about how hard we have it. How the world is against us. How awful society is getting. How much we are suffering. How people are against us. How tough it is to be a Christian in this modern post-Christian climate. How so many of our religious freedoms are being taken away all over the place. Sometimes I start to believe it and chime in. Then I go back and read 2 Corinthians 6:4-5. I compare it to my life and have to say, “Edwin, quit your whining.” Maybe it will go back to being like what our brothers and sisters in the first century had to deal with. I probably shouldn’t whine then either, but rather just buck up and serve the Lord like Paul did.
Monday’s reading is 2 Corinthians 7.
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Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 16.
Paul wanted to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost. Why would he not? An open door for effective work had been opened to him. Yet, there were many adversaries. This is really powerful to me. First, even though there were many adversaries, Paul wanted to stay. Perhaps because there were many adversaries. He wouldn’t run as so many in the face of enemies. Second, even though there were adversaries, he called it an open door for effective work. When there are adversaries, I have a tendency to claim that is not an open door for effective work, but rather a hassle to be avoided. Not Paul. He was a disciple maker’s disciple maker. We must not assume the door is closed just because there are adversaries. That may well be where the door opens. Let’s take it.
Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Corinthians 1.
Continue reading “An Open Door to Adversaries”