Thursday, January 31, 2008
So the two bunnies that I got from Fred (the black girls) had their kits born yesterday. They had a whole whack of them. Not sure if both kitted out or just one, but there's a fair number of them in there. I moved them just in time so they had a nesting box ready for them. :) Yeah for me doing that in the nick of time. :)
And lop hop's sister (brown girl) had ONE baby born this morning. I put two of the black girl babies in with it as when I touched it, it was fairly cold but still kicking. I warmed it up until it was moving fairly well and then added the two others. I don't know if brown girl will accept them, but three babies will keep each other warm, whereas one baby can't. And I want to give brown girl a chance to raise a baby (or three) successfully. Hopefully it will work and then at Easter they can find new homes to live in.
Here's one I really liked. For the men....
Then there's a few others that were just thought-provoking in one way or the other...
The best gift to receive but the worst to give. Grace, easier to receive than to give?
Are you reading the white space. how to stay on track doing bible study.
Trust in the Lord. What heart decision are you making?
What is Love?
Are we talking about the same God? I found the post interesting, the discussion seemed ah...not sure what to say about the discussion...
A picture of the biblical narrative. I just thought this was cool. Who knows..you might too. :)
Called to Love and faithfulness. Sometimes we just have to stop and think about what we are really called to. :)
Fruit. How to pray for your children.
2For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.So the Thessalonican church has been reminded to more and more want to live for Jesus the way they have been taught.
In verse 2 Paul reminds them that their "how-to's" come from Christ himself. So what does that mean in some practicalities?
- abstain from sexual immorality (v 3)
- control your own bodies in holiness and honour (v 4)
- not getting carried away but the lusts of your body (v 5)
- not transgressing or wronging a brother in that regard (v 5)
So let's go through these more slowly.
First ... sanctification: Clarke (in e-sword) says :
God has called you to holiness; he requires that you should be holy; for without holiness none can see the Lord.This is the general calling, but in it many particulars are included. Some of these he proceeds to mention; and it is very likely that these had been points on which he gave them particular instructions while among them.I like how Matthew Henry puts it
All that is contrary to chastity in heart, speech, and behaviour, is contrary to the command of God in the decalogue, and contrary to that holiness which the gospel requires."abstain from sexual immorality" - In the KJV this is translated as abstain from fornication. I thought I would look up exactly what fornication means, OneLook dictionary tells me that fornication is sexual relations between persons not married to each other, and that in some cases it means deliberate sexual relations that deliberately and willfully interfere with marital relations. That last part surprised me, puts a different spin on it doesn't it? Really shows the seriousness and nastiness of what being sexually immoral is all about.
One thing many commentators pointed out was that fornication was not considered as a sin among the heathen. So new Christians would need to be reminded of this. That even if the gods of the people around didn't require sexual purity... the God of the bible did.
"Control your own bodies in holiness and honour"
Wow...now that surprised me. The bodies of the ESV in the KJV is vessels. And that word vessels is taken to mean different things by the commentators. Some think is means body as in one's own body. Others take it to mean the body one marries. Wow...that was a shocker. Gill explains the confusion:
By which may be meant, either a man's wife, or his body, and it is not very easy to determine which, for the Jews call both by this name.To read Gill's whole explanation go here. Either way, the exhortation is still the same. Treat the body in a holy and honourable way, whether it's your own, or the one you married.
"not getting carried away but the lusts of your body"
Okay...here is where things go a bit astray depending on how one translates that word "vessel". If one translates it meaning the one you married, then this passage refers primarily to how they "come together", to not getting carried away with one's own passions when you do so, and having to be respectful of the person you are with.
But if one translates this meaning one's own body...then it gains a broader perspective. How does one live your life as a Christian. Do you give way to the things that you lust after or do you hold yourself to a higher standard? It goes beyond the marriage bed.
I have to admit...I don't know which perspective is correct. Can they both be? Or is Paul just being very specific with this church ...helping them see how God calls us to purity and holiness in all aspects of sexuality both in and out of marriage?
I'll have to think on this some more, and that said, I'll finish this up tomorrow. I feel somewhat dissatisfied not knowing "just" the right answer for this.
What do you think?
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
1Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.We'll start with verse one:
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.Paul is giving a final exhortation to his Christian family in Thessalonica. He asks them to, in communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, to remember what they have been taught about how to walk and please God, and to live it out in their lives. And as they live it out, to do it more and more and more.
I live my life as a Christian best...well...actually only if I do it through him. I can't really do any of it on my own. All that I do is infected by the sin in my life. So only through God, through communion with Christ, and through the working of the Holy Spirit in my life, can I live a life that pleases God.
I need to learn the words of God, the will of God, by knowing what he says...that means studying the bible and trying to live by it. This is how I walk and please God. :)
What verse one entreats me to do is walk and please God, just as I am doing and as I have learned, but also to continue to do so, and to strive to do so more and more.
I really like how Clarke (as found in e-sword) explains the more and more in this verse.
God sets no bounds to the communications of his grace and Spirit to them that are faithful. And as there are no bounds to the graces, so there should be none to the exercise of those graces. No man can ever feel that he loves God too much, or that he loves man too much for God’s sake.There are no bounds to how much I can love God. There is never too much. Just like God's grace is extended to me in ways that I can't even imagine...and so therefore can be seen as endless, so my love can be endless too. :) I like that. :)
I have to admit, I do like the word "abound" that the KJV uses. It seems to me to signify more depth. And if I look up the word abound I find it means "be abundant or plentiful; exist in large quantities". So not only do we as believers have this call to please God more and more, we are called to do it a way that is plentiful. See...more depth to it.
And I'll need to finish up soon as I have a wakey-wakey boy asking me if I'm done my "botions". :) Makes me smile that boy child. Well...I have to go, my boy child is wanting to colour, and one can't effectively study God's word while colouring "franks". :)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Check out CJ Mahaney here. :)
I hope CJ that you enjoy having your thoughts out for the blogging world to see.
I look forward to hearing your passion for Christ and him crucified. :)
Prayer request in my family.
- a cousin in the Netherlands, 33 yr old woman, married with two young daughters. Diagnosed with breast cancer. Prognosis is not considered good. Going in for surgery ASAP, with chemo immediately following.
- My Dad has something wrong with his veins. He says it's getting worse. He'll learn more on Friday, but right now it's called something like chronic vein disease, it's a degenerative condition.
- My uncle is in hospital, chronic care ward. Family is hoping to get him into a long term care facility close to home. Doctors say it is just a matter of time before he passes.
Barnes, a commentator in E-sword, tells us:
This chapter, properly, comprises two parts: First, various practical exhortations, 1Th_4:1-12; and secondly, suggestions designed to console those who have been bereaved; 1Th_4:13-18The other commentators went into greater detail, but I figure I'll catch up with all that when I actually start studying the chapter in detail.
It sounds, from initial reading it will be filled with practical ways to live out one's faith. That this chapter will be a help to learn how one "ought to walk and to please God". The importance of walking in holiness.
Monday, January 28, 2008
6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?Timothy has returned to Paul. He brought with him good news. The Thessalonican church was doing really well. :) He brought them good news of their faith, of their love, and mentioned how they as leaders are thought of fondly. We learn how they both long to see each other again. I read those words and I see "family" written all over it. The joy in knowing that family is doing well, the desire to be with each other once again. But that is what we are called to be as believers...a family. God's children. Caring, loving, being concerned for --- family.
11Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Knowing how well they are doing is a huge comfort to Paul. I like how Matthew Henry puts it (as found in the e-sword software):
The apostle thought this good news of them was sufficient to balance all the troubles he met with. It was easy to him to bear affliction, or persecution, or fightings from without, when he found the good success of his ministry and the constancy of the converts he had made to Christianity; and his distress of mind on account of his fears within, lest he had laboured in vain, was now in a good measure over, when he understood their faith and the perseverance of it. This put new life and spirit into the apostle and made him vigorous and active in the work of the Lord. Thus he was not only comforted, but greatly rejoiced also: Now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord, 1Th_3:8.Paul was so happy and thankful for the belief of his young Christian brothers. He hardly knew where to begin in his thanksgiving to God for them and their faith. Gill tells us:
They had given thanks to God for them before, for their faith, love, and patience; see 1Th_1:2 and now having received a further account of them, they looked upon themselves bound to give fresh thanks to God for them, for the increase of their faith and love, and for their perseverance, as they did; see 2Th_1:3 since these are gifts of God's grace; but they knew not where to begin, what to render, and when to end.All Paul can do is pray earnestly for them day and night. He can express his gratitude for God to them, he can pray that God continue to direct their paths, he can pray that God will help them to increase in love, and to abound in love to each other, and that God will establish their hearts in holiness before him when Christ comes again.
Hmm..... I read those words and I think, now that's something I can pray about for my hubbie. I have to admit sometimes I scarce know how to pray for him. He is such a solid man of God that sometimes I wonder. But I read these words and think now this...this I can pray for. But not only for him, but other Christians that I know who are solid in their faith. That God help them love more, that God help them become more holy, and that God continues to direct their paths. I like it. :)
Sunday, January 27, 2008
From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s Name be sung,
Through every land, by every tongue.
Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends Thy Word.
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns rise and set no more.
Your lofty themes, ye mortals, bring,
In songs of praise divinely sing;
The great salvation loud proclaim,
And shout for joy the Savior’s Name.
In every land begin the song;
To every land the strains belong;
In cheerful sounds all voices raise,
And fill the world with loudest praise.
Isaac Watts, 1674-1748:
Pastor, author, and hymn-writer.
Watts’ father was Nonconformist imprisoned twice for his religious views. Isaac learned Greek, Latin, and Hebrew under Mr. Pinhorn, Rector of All Saints, and headmaster of the Grammar School in Southampton. Isaac’s taste for verse showed itself in early childhood, and his promise caused a local doctor and other friends to offer him a university education, assuming he would be ordained in the Church of England. However, Isaac declined and instead entered a Nonconformist Academy at Stoke Newington in 1690, under the care of Thomas Rowe, pastor of the Independent congregation at Girdlers’ Hall; Isaac joined this congregation in 1693.
Watts left the Academy at age 20 and spent two years at home; it was during this period that he wrote the bulk of his Hymns and Spiritual Songs. They were sung from manuscripts in the Southampton Chapel, and published 1707-1709.
The next six years of his life were again spent at Stoke Newington, working as tutor to the son of eminent Puritan John Hartopp. The intense study of these years is reflected in the theological and philosophical material he subsequently published.
Watts preached his first sermon at age 24. In the next three years, he preached frequently, and in 1702 was ordained as pastor of the Independent congregation in Mark Lane. At that time he moved into the house of a Mr. Hollis in the Minories. His health began to fail the next year, and Samuel Price was appointed as his assistant in the ministry. In 1712, a fever shattered his constitution, and Price became co-pastor of the congregation, which had moved to a new chapel in Bury Street. It was at this time that Isaac became the guest of Sir Thomas Abney. He lived with Abney (and later Abney’s widow) the rest of his life, mainly at Theobalds in Hertfordshire, then for 13 years at Stoke Newington.
In 1728, the University of Edinburgh awarded Watts a Doctor of Divinity degree.
Friday, January 25, 2008
1Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.In 1Th 3:1 Where I read "Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone", I learned through the commentaries at e-sword, that what the ESV translates as "bear it no longer" the KJV translates as forbear And I learned this from the Jamieson, Fawcett and Brown Commentary
forbear — “endure” the suspense. The Greek is literally applied to a watertight vessel. When we could no longer contain ourselves in our yearning desire for you.Paul could hardly contain himself. His concern for the Thessalonican people was so great that he just had to send Timothy to find out what was going on. His need to know of them was greater than his need to have his companion stay with him. So he sent Timothy off to Thessalonica to find out what was going on. Timothy's job was simple enough :) He was to "establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions".
Timothy was to help build up the Thessalonican church. To help it resist the effects of persecution so that no-one be torn away by what they were going through. He would help make the church stronger (established) and he would exhort them (teach them, encourage them) in their faith.
Paul reminded the Thessalonican's that they knew persecution would happen. He had told them
For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.So they knew, but none the less, Paul found it best in his heart to send them encouragement, so he sent Timothy to them. This would ease his heart about what may have happened to them when they faced temptation. Did they stand firm or had the tempter succeeded in tempting them you and therefore making their labor among them in vain?
I read these words and I think....this is kinda what we do when people are in struggle isn't it?
- We let them know we care.
- We encourage them to keep on keeping on in the faith.
- AND if it is necessary we exhort them....we remind them what they believe in and hold them to it. We build them up in the Lord as it were.
I should do likewise.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
So anyways, go check it out. It's a neat little tool. Free to use much of it, but one can pay for stuff on it too if you so desire.
Today we start the next chapter in 1 Thessalonians. Chapter three:
1Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.
6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
11Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Paul says, Folks YOU ARE LOVED! See, even when I was forced to leave you I couldn't bear not knowing how you were doing so I sent Timothy to you. Upon his return he eased our minds in regards to you telling us how things were going. I am comforted! Thanksgiving I return to God for this. And then he prays for them.Isn't that a neat little chapter?
It does make me think that perhaps the Thessalonican people were starting to think that Paul didn't care about them since he was gone for so long. But Paul hurries to remind them that
- he does care
- he was forced away from them
- he had told them previously that this might happen because trials and afflictions come to all
- he sent Timothy to them because he couldn't bear not knowing what was going on with them
- he was comforted when he heard the news of them
- he prayed for them
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
17But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20For you are our glory and joy.Once again, Paul shows his heart for the Thessalonican people.
He had to leave then, in fact was torn away from them, and he wants to be back with them but is being hindered.
That section "torn away from you" I learned from Adam Clarke the following: Paul feels toward these people as if they were his very own children. He takes such joy and pride in them. He can boast about them to God himself. :)
He reminds them that they are his glory and joy.
So what do I learn from this? have to say, I'm really not to sure. Part of me thinks of jusy how this translates for me and I query.
- Does my pastor have this same kind of pride in me, in a spiritual sense? Would he be able to boast before God about the joy he finds in how I live my Christian life? Have any of my pastors been able to do that?
- If not....why? Have I not been open about my faith? Have I become to be cautious in how I express my belief and joy in God? Is there anything in my faith walk that would cause another person to boast to God about me?
- Should pastors have this same attitude toward their congregations?
- If they don't, why not? Is it hardened hearts of the people they are to serve? Is it Satan at work in them (the congregation) hindering the work of the Pastor? Is it the pastor not having the right attitude toward "the flock"?
I hope so. :)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
13And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 14For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!Hmmm....can you imagine the gratitude Paul would have felt to the Thessalonians for how they reacted to the word of God preached to them? They listened, they understood, they turned to God. They didn't react by wanting to beat him, imprison him or any other harsh negative reaction. Their's was a reaction of acceptance. They KNEW that Paul spoke God's words.
And therefore they became imitators of other Christian believers. They suffered for their faith just as the Jewish believers did...but at the hands of their very own countrymen.
So Paul gives thanks to them. Not just once, but constantly. And he doesn't just thank them, he thanks God for them. To me it's like he's saying..."wow God, these people, these imitators of you, that have have allowed me to witness to ...they love you God! Thank you so much for letting me a be a part of this. See how they witness of who you are God? thanks!" And doing that over and over and over again.
My praise of God should be the same...particularly for how people witness of who God is. :)
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Based on Gal. 3:10-14
10For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." 11Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"— 14so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.Do you see it in verse 10? For all who RELY on works of the law are under a curse.
It's the word reliance that made my little old brain click.
See.....faith is what our salvation is based on. Faith in Christ alone. That's it. BUT we are commanded of God to also work out our salvation. James tells us that faith without works is dead. So works and how we live out our faith is VERY important. it's part of being a Christian.
So I OFTEN feel like a complete failure as a Christian as I so often just see all the things that I don't do good enough, or I have false motives, or..... you know how it goes.
So then my questioning my faith is reinforced so to speak. I know that I love God. I know that he's an integral part of my life, but so often I feel like I'm possibly missing something somewhere along the line and I'm in a way just deluding myself....hence I want to "do more or at least DO better." Nasty cycle.
Anyways....Jim this morning in his sermon made a point of reinforcing this concept. that it's the reliance on obeying the law, it's the reliance of works which is the curse. We MUST not rely on the law. All that really matters is that we have faith in Christ. The rest is just window-dressing so to speak (MY words, not his). Every single part of us is infected with sin, so our works are as well....so when it really comes down to it. all that ever really ever matters is whether we have faith in the saving work of Christ.
CLICK CLICK CLICK went my little old brain. :) My faith is enough. :)
Thursday, January 17, 2008
9For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11For you know how, like a father with his children, 12we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.Love, gentleness, care and concern was the attitude that Paul and his companions had toward the Thessalonian people. They were driven by a desire to please God himself.
When I remember that....these verses make lots of sense to me.
Because God was first and foremost in their brains the rest didn't really matter to them.
I DO know that Scripture says that worker is worth his toil and that those in leadership positions should be cared for. See for instance 1 Corinthians 9:
3This is my defense to those who would examine me. 4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
8Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?
BUT Paul knowing this, nevertheless, works for his own living. He doesn't allow any reason to be disparaged. He did not want to be a burden to them.
I do find this a hard one to think about though, because I know that some churches do not care for their leadership as well as they might....where the demands are high but the financial care is low...and sometimes even the care and respect for the leader himself is very low. THIS SHOULD NOT BE! and congregations who expect too much and pay too little should be disciplined for such attitude.
And yet I also find, because I can see it in my own life, that even when pastors and their families are comfortable...perhaps not well-off, but able to make well-enough do, that it's easy to want people (the congregation) to help a wee bit more or to do things in a manner that appeals to them (the pastor and family) more. This attitude is not correct either.
A proper balance must be found.
We need as pastors to have the concern and desire from God first and the trust that God will provide, and the members of the congregation need to remember that their leader is given to them by God and should treat him in accordance to that.
Paul treated the folks like a father treats his own children, with the kind of concern that leads to better behaviour and thought patterns. He and his companions
exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory
From Dictionary.com I learn give you the meaning of these words:
–verb (used with object)Encourage:
–verb (used without object)
1. to urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently.
2. to give urgent advice, recommendations, or warnings.
–verb (used with object), -aged, -ag·ing.Charge: (has oodles of meanings, I chose the most relevant) :)
1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence: His coach encouraged him throughout the marathon race to keep on running.
2. to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.: One of the chief duties of a teacher is to encourage students.
3. to promote, advance, or foster: Poverty often encourages crime.
Paul's strongest desire for these folks was that they walk in a manner worthy of God. That's the calling of a pastor, of the leaders in a church....how can they help their "followers" to walk in a manner worthy of God? How can we hold them to a higher standard?
7. to impute; ascribe the responsibility for: He charged the accident to his own carelessness.
8. to instruct authoritatively, as a judge does a jury.
32.a duty or responsibility laid upon or entrusted to one.
9. to lay a command or injunction upon: He charged his secretary with the management of his correspondence.
36.a command or injunction; exhortation.
Oh that I be held to this higher standard as well. :)
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I forgot to tell you.
I have a new computer!
See that tower? That's a lot like what my new tower looks like.
yes, my old one was slow and rather encumbered by age.
I would occasionally get this grey screen where NOTHING could happen other than shutting down the computer manually.
So Jim got me this second-hand dell (refurbished from a company).
I can shut my computer off. Turn it on again and it's all loaded and ready to go with one minute! One minute folks!!!! How cool is that!?!?!?!?!
AND>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I get no grey screen of death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We got it for a good price as well.
We still have my old monitor which does wonky things sometimes, but Jim says we should have a different monitor in the basement, and if not, we can try to get one off of freecycle or fullcircles. I have a bed skirt to post there anyways, so we'll see what we can do. :)
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. (Proverbs 12:4)This seems to fit in well with what I am learning and thinking about for the past while.
This is the theme of our Tuesday morning ladies' bible study. This is our goal: to be excellent wives. Not just so we will feel good about ourselves; not so we can be well-spoken of. But rather, our motivation is to please God through being excellent wives. Feminists would hate our study because we try very hard to focus not on how to change our husbands or make things more "equal," but how to sacrificially love our husbands. It's a tall order. We try to set our standards high because setting them high keeps us diligent.
How do I serve God in how I relate to my family.
Jim and I will have been married for 6 years this coming June. Yeah...6 years.
They've been good years. I have to say that. I love him more now than when we married, though sometimes I find it difficult.
Jim comes from a single-parent family. His mom is a house-cleaner extraordinare.
I am not. :)
When Jim is tired, or ill, or in pain, or just stressed from the busyness of life he does not find it restful to come home to a house that is not in order.
Like me, he is not a house-keeper extraordinare.
When he comments to me that he'd like thus and such done in thus and such manner...my first reaction is to say... well then...do it yourself then!
That is NOT what I am called to do.
God has been, over the past while, been convicting me that I need an attitude change a bit. That this attitude of well...then just do it...is not the appropriate attitude for me as a Christian woman married to a godly man (or just any man) should bear. My attitude should be one of submission and service not anger and self-righteousness.
My hubbie is good to me. He recognizes that I am a highly distractable beast. :) He is getting better at noting the progress I make. And I am making progress though I must say at times it seems that I'm making none at all. And listening when I need to talk through how I can to make it easier or more possible for me to stay on top of things. (I really like him listening even if his response is sometimes "I have no clue hun!"). :) And I am learning that if I want to get the house in better shape overall ---- for better maintenance down the road --- that I have to do it while the snow flies because once the nice weather comes I'm out of doors doing... gardening, playing with the boy, walking the dog, saying hun...let's go fishing. :) That doesn't leave so much time for the rest does it? :)
So I need to set a higher standard.
So I need to check my attitude at the door once in a while.
So I need to be a better example of what a Christian wife looks like. :)
Ahh.....so much learning yet to do...... :)
5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.Gentleness and Love, that is what hollers out to me from this passage.
These men did not come with flattery or pretext for greed or glory from man.
They came, like a momma comes to her baby, gently wanting to care for these people. They wanted so much to share God with these people that they shared their own selves as well. The Thessalonican people became most dear to them.
That paints such a picture in my head now that I'm a momma. Because I know how I was with my boyo Justin when he was just a wee lad (well....except when he BIT ME!) That gentleness and care that just seeped out of me toward that wee lad even when I was ever so tired and so forth. I just loved and cared for that wee boyo the best I could.
I remember those feelings, and that's what arises within me when I read how much these men cared for the Thessalonican people. They loved them. They sacrificed themselves for these people. And they came because it was, as we learned yesterday, a way to please God.
Funny how pleasing God can bring out the love in a person. :)
What other reasons could they had for coming?
1. greed....to build up their financial profile
2. flattery.... to be built up with praise
3. Glory seeking .... to make themselves look good
But these reasons are not why they came. They didn't need these things.
All they needed was to be approved of by God. (see Beckham)
All their needs were met in God already.
All they needed to do then was to focus on the Thessalonicans.
Oh my..... what a good reminder for me this day.
So often I want to make myself look good. I get something done and I say look... see what I did.
I aught not do that. I should just quietly go about fulfilling my master's duty and let the rest be. I should like I was with wee Justin....just quietly going about caring for him and that's it.
Good life lesson I think...
Monday, January 14, 2008
1For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.I'm feeling a bit distracted as I approach the word of God this morning. I've had a busy little boy up with me and I got up a bit late this morning so between walking Sassy, caring for the bunnies and having a busy boy up I haven't had a chance to do my devotions before now. So....we'll see how this goes. :) Hopefully having the tube on will help a busy boy leave his mommy alone for 20 minutes or so (don't think I'll have much longer than that).
Hmmm....I read these first words of Paul in this section and I just have to smile..... His coming was not in vain. I don't know about you....but when I go some place with for a reason...not just going to visit or stopping by for whatever...but for an actual reason, and I get there and my reason for being there is not utilized...I end up feeling frustrated and out of place, kinda like I went there in vain. So Paul's presence in Thessalonica was not in vain. The people there knew it and so did Paul. His ministry was of purpose.
So....despite the ill treatment he had received earlier, he was able to be bold in his presentation of the gospel. BUT did you see it..I almost missed it...his boldness was not in the fact that he had a purpose, but his boldness was IN OUR GOD! Not in himself, not in those he was preaching/ministering too, but in our God.
That boldness in God was why Paul and his companions were able to declare the gospel of God to them....even in the midst of conflict.
Hmmm....Makes me think of how often I fail to remember God. IF I remember that God is God and chose me to be his own, and that he sent his son to die for me...than my concerns with this world aren't so great. It gives me more surety in being able to stand for Christ despite my own fears about things. Remembering God gives me boldness in him.
So why does Paul appeal to the them? To please God. For that reason alone.
so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.Not to make themselves look good. Not because they want to deceive anyone. Not because they want to promote error. Not because of anything else. They have been approved of by God. They have been entrusted with the gospel. So therefore they speak to please God. God who is the one who sees the heart of a person ever so clearly.
If I remember God, and therefore have the boldness in God alive in me, then why I speak out the gospel of Christ must be done to please God.
Not to make myself look like a good evangelist example in Church....
Not to make points with my neighbours or my hubbie or......
Not to avoid feel shame because of all those other people out there who are such good witnesses and evangelists for God and somehow what I do isn't good enough ....
BUT merely and only to PLEASE GOD. He is the one who truly sees my heart.
Everything else is just window trappings, and therefore isn't important.
God sees my heart. So therefore in his boldness I can speak out the gospel that I know to those around me. I like that. :)
Friday, January 11, 2008
I got the idea from Jen.
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When I read over this chapter what struck me was the attitude of these church leaders.
- we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.
- so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
- But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children
- we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you
- we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you
- we also thank God constantly
- For you are our glory and joy
I have to admit, it seems so pastor oriented that I wonder what it really means to me. It's so easy to just say...well this is how my pastor should be. (though I have to be careful with that because my pastor is also my hubbie!) :) And I know how hard he does work, but I read this list and it seems so much more.
Definitely calls me though to seeing more of what my HEART attitude should be.
To please God not man.
To put God first, and treat my fellow believers, other humans with gentleness and boldness.
Paul's heart toward the Thessalonican people was that of love. This should also be my heart attitude....love.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.Being someone who is imitated.
I have to admit, since becoming a parent I am more aware of what it means to be imitated. I have a boy child who likes to be involved in the things that his mommy is involved in. I see him copying my actions and talking about what he is doing. Makes me nervous sometimes because I have some faults about me that I don't particularly want this lad copying.
Makes me wonder what kind of woman I am proving to be.
But Paul, he was imitated by these Thessalonian people. And the report was good. People talked about them as examples to others as well. How their faith in God influenced their actions. Turning from false gods to the one true God. AND how they await the return of Jesus Christ. I like how Beckham wrote it:
Paul, in this verse, is praising the Thessalonian Christians BECAUSE they became "imitators" of Paul, of his companions, and especially - of "the Lord." And like the Lord had done, Paul and the others "emptied" themselves of their own wants and desires (Philippians 2:5-8). The "Word" of God had become everything to them. When they imitated Paul, they were looking to the Lord in him. The "tribulation" of this verse involved the unbelieving Jews who persecuted Paul and his companions, ultimately causing them to leave Thessalonica altogether (Acts 17:4-10). .......So the good example that Paul, Timothy and Silas were to the Thessalonican people spread. Now that is neat. It's kinda like the movie Pass It On, where one good deed becomes another and so forth. It just kept spreading.
Note that the Thessalonian Christians had become an "example to all the (other) believers" in Greece. People everywhere pretend that they do not notice others, looking away so that we don't think they see, but all are noticed far more than we know. Bad behavior is seen and copied by others, but so is the good. The Thessalonian Christians exhibited faith, hope and love in abundance (Verse 3), and even though communication was more difficult at that time than it is now, the news about their faith had spread all over the Greek world.
That's how the gospel should be spread. This good news of God from one person, and then to another and then on and on and on.
So this then is something to consider further.
Who am I imitating?
And am I living in such a way to be a person who is imitated for my Christian living?
Justin's beloved TAGU has been missing.
We lost him Tuesday night.
We had a bereft little boy.
He thought mommy was mad at him and had taken his TAGU on him. Not sure where he got that idea, but he'd say .... Mommy happy? And when I'd say yes, Mommy is happy, he then ask, Where happy tagu? If I would then say....Where did Justin put Tagu because Mommy doesn't know where he is. His response would be downstairs? Mommy TAGU downstairs? Justin want Happy Tagu? Where my kitty?
We had him sleep with Sparks ..... a black stuffed kitty with a similar long stringey tail. But Sparks is NOT TAGU. And he very much wanted Tagu he did.
We had searched the house many a time for Justin's beloved tagu...to no avail. NO tiger cat to be found anywhere. We knew Tagu had to be in the house somewhere because we hadn't gone anywhere on Tuesday or Wednesday. Tuesday Justin didn't leave the house even to walk the dog with me. ARGH!!! heartbreaking to have a sad little boy who wants his tagu so badly. .....but we couldn't find the stuffed tiger cat anywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But then....... Jim found him. Oh my darling man found TAGU. He was hiding in the lazy boy. Oh!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have him!!! We have him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ah......I'll be able to make a little boy smile this morning. :) AH!!! Praise God..total answer to prayer. :)
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.Continuing my study on 1 Thessalonians, Paul addresses his fellow believers. He calls them brothers loved by God.
I have to admit, I find it bothersome that in today's feminist culture that some women are bothered by the masculine language of the bible, and therefore feel compelled to change it rather than seeing the language as it was meant to be seen...inclusive of all. When Paul writes here to brothers loved by God he is being inclusive of meaning all brothers and sisters.
This was an affectionate term which highlighted their new spiritual relationship as members of the family of God, as those who had been born into the family of God by the Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ (Keathley)He reminds them that they were CHOSEN by God. Hmmmm...you know what that means to me? It means that God saw me, and that he wanted me. :) Imagine that...a holy God, seeing me and knowing me, and he chose me. Doesn't that just exalt God?
When I read those words I think of how God chose the Israelites, and how the Israelites would turn away from and then turn back to God. How within the Israelite nation there were people who SO loved God back that they are examples to us today. How within that same Israelite nation there were people who just turned from and rejected God, and God would punish them and correct them and at times destroy them so that HIS glory could be shown.
God chose me. And his method of choosing me was brought about by his gospel being brought to me. Just as Paul, Timothy and Silas preached the word to the Thessalonican people, so God's word was preached to me. Just as Paul and the others lived a life of of example, so was I given examples to live by that showed God to me. Through these things, and the power of the Holy Spirit at work, I was enabled to choose God back! :)
Pretty cool eh?
Monday, January 07, 2008
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.Paul, as the main author of this book, includes Silas and Timothy as he writes it. We see here in Verse 2 that "WE" give thanks. These three men are all thankful to God for the Thessalonican church. They constantly remember them in their prayers. And as they pray, they remember the Thessalonians for their faith, love and hope, that hope which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Darby, reminded me that Paul had written the Corinthians about faith, hope and love being pivotal parts of the Christian's life.
13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
And this is the first thing that Paul mentions about the Thessalonican church....is the evidence of these pivots of the Christian's life. Read what Darby says:
When I was browsing the web looking for commentaries on this chapter I came again to Beckham's commentary. Who pointed my way to seeing the links in verse three.
Here it is the life itself of the Christian in its first fresh impressions, in its intrinsic qualities, as it developed itself by the energy of the Holy Ghost on earth, the life of God here below in them, which he remembers in his prayers with so much satisfaction and joy. Three great principles, he tells the Corinthians (l Cor.13) form the basis, and ever abide as the foundation of this life-faith, hope, and love. Now these three were the powerful and divine motives of the life of the Thessalonians. This life was not merely a habit; it flowed, in its outward activities, from immediate communion with its source. These activities were quickened and maintained by divine life, and by keeping the eye constantly fixed upon the object of faith. There was work, and labour, and endurance. .....But here it was a work of faith, labour undertaken by love, endurance fed by hope. Faith, hope, and love are, we have seen, the springs of Christianity in this world.
- Work of Faith
- Labour of Love
- Steadfastness of Hope
Love is also something we do....it's definitive action. I often have running in my head this little ditty "love is not a feeling it's an act of your will". It reminds me to show love, to not just think it, but to do it. It's a positive action. Have you ever noticed that if you deliberately care for something physically, that you start to care for it emotionally? That's how one loves truly.
And hope...well that is something we hold onto. It's hope or it's not. If one hopes, they hope with this steadiness about it. It's not something to easily let go of. How often has it been said, that when hope is gone, the people are lost. Once you restore hope, people can go on against what might seem to be insurmountable odds.
I have to admit, I found it a bit odd how this one commentary turned it around. It was like he looked at it backwards to me, Guzik said:
i. “Here for the first time, chronologically, in Paul’s writings we have this famous triad: faith, love, hope. But Paul’s stress is not on these virtues alone, but rather upon what they produce.” (Hiebert)I don't agree with the turning it around seeing work, labour and steadfastness/patience as being the most important things to look at. it somehow seems off to turn it around and yet... I have to agree with him, it's the action that shows off these pivots of living as a Christian best. And I do suppose that one feeds off the other. as one works out their faith, their faith is increased. And one cares for those around them, their love deepens, and as one keeps on hoping, their hope increases. that all makes sense to me.
· Therefore, their faith produced work – as is the nature of true faith.
· Their love produced labor. There are two different ancient Greek words for work: ergon and kopos. Ergon “may be pleasant and stimulating,” but kopos “implies toil that is strenuous and sweat-producing.” (Hiebert) · Their hope produced patience, which is the long-suffering endurance needed to not only survive hard times, but to triumph through them.
Also found this rather intensive study by a Baptist named Utley. Comes up as PDF so doing a copy and paste is not an easy task (I actually couldn't make it work). Does lots of side studies which sometime I think I might want to go through. But not right now. :) Anyways, this caught my eye in his commentary:
Each of these three phrases is in a grammatical construction that asserts that work is produced by faith, that labour is produced by love, that steadfastness is produced by hope. The focus is on active, faithful believers. Faith is always a response of God's initiating activity.Through all of this, what do I learn?
First...without God, none of this is even possible. Not even one iota. it all starts with God.
Second...that my life as a Christian is not passive. it is something that I must work at. Not just something that I claim to be. if I love Christ...I must show it in what I do.
- My faith must be active and participatory. Can people around me tell that my faith makes a difference in my life?
- My love must be shown in what I do. How do I show that I love those around me? Do my actions betray what I care about? How do I show that God is the love of my life?
- My hope in Christ must be sure and steady. How do I nurture that hope? How do I help that hope that I have endure through the "stuff" of life? How do I keep alive the hope that Christ will come back?
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Today I put away the last of the Christmas stuff (well, except the cards, they will be up for at least another week or so). NO, wasn't working on Sunday, was just carrying stuff to the basement as I went to get food for supper. :) So I thought about my village and how much I liked it this year.
Anyways, I LOVE my village. Just love it. :) No, not all the pieces match perspective-wise, but I just love it. the houses, the people, the whole thing. And this year I did a good job of setting it up. I really tried anyways, and I managed for the most part to keep the boy child away from it.
see!I even have Christmas trees with lights! No, not the glowing ones, but nights none-the-less. :) and children skating, and getting their pictures taken, and mommies buying their children treats, and daddies bringing a Christmas tree home to decorate. :) Even carollers!
I even have a pond.
Do you see that horse in the front? yes I know, terribly out of perspective with the rest, but I LIKE IT! My hubbie got that for me this year!!!! :) Good taste eh? The boy child loved it. :)
And this year I put in a "mountain"
You can't see them here, but I even had skiers going down the slope. :)
And my mom-in-law gave me this, this year! It has a TRAIN in it!!!!!!!!!!!!
Took a while to get the train going, but it did. Then we had to take it away because a certain boy child thought the train should run over his finger repeatedly. AH!!! Then when we set it up to retake pictures (first blurry due to boy child finger prints on lens) it squeaked! Not good. Hoping the squeak goes away while sitting in village box over this next year.
Next year, I need a bigger table. Probably a whip to keep the boy child off it (no, not really). But a bigger table for sure (I used my scrapbooking table this year) and I'll need to figure out where to set it up. Hmmmm...I have a whole year to downsize the living room. :) Here's to finding a good table cheap somewhere. Doesn't have to be pretty, just functional.
An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
The tailgating woman hit the roof--and the horn--screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she was still in mid-rant,she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched,finger printed, photographed and placed in a holding cell.
After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker,the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."
Friday, January 04, 2008
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.I read these words:
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.And I have to ask myself, do I do this? and in all honesty I have to answer....not as well as I might. Yes, I pray for people, but I tend to pray for specific things: health, children, struggles they are going through and so forth. I rarely thank God for them and their faith in him and how it is demonstrated. And do I do so constantly? NO! And yet God continually reminds us in scripture to pray continually, to pray constantly, to pray without ceasing..... And I am SUCH a huge failure in this area. I have to focus and think and remember to pray. And when I do, I do pray. But it is rarely continually. I do have to say though, that as I continue to mature as a believer I am getting quicker at saying, let's us NOW lift that up to God in prayer (instead of just saying I'll pray for you).
And then I go on to read
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.and I think hmm....all those struggles and differences within the church... do we remember, actively remember, that God loves our fellow believer, just as he loves us? Even if we struggle with our fellow believer we need to remember, they have been reached by the gospel as well. They are LOVED by God. God chose them just as he chose you or me or any other believer. I wonder if we remembered that more that we would fight less amongst ourselves.
I have to admit, I like this next section, particularly after studying it the first time through and really being convicted of the importance of imitation, and being one to be imitated.
You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.Am I a person who has proven herself to be the "right kind" of woman? Paul and his brothers (Silas and Timothy) were solid men of the gospel. They were so solid that new believers could imitate them, and by doing so, became examples to other believers. So much so that they were talked about the whole world over (well...their whole world over).
Wouldn't that be amazing if the people in my community would see how well we follow Christ in our church, that they in turn would want to follow that example? To me, I have to admit, that would be shocking! To think that someone might want to imitate me!! Like what on earth for? I see my struggles in the Christian faith sometimes only too clearly and I think, why would someone want to imitate me? But I read this passage and I think...I am called to higher standard. I am called to be a person that others may imitate to further the cause of Christ.
Now to do so.....
| Friday |
| Friday |
| Friday |
| Friday |
|Wind||SW 25km/h||SW 20km/h||SW 20km/h||SW 15km/h|
We don't expect any precipitation from Friday Morning to Friday Overnight.
Well.....it's cold but it's livable.
- I'll need to add a sweatshirt to my layering to stay warm on our dog walks.
- It means that Sassy (our dog) will be full of beans wanting to chase frozen blocks of snow or ice-balls.
- It means that the water in the bunny dishes will be partially frozen this morning.
- It means that the water in the mouse house will be completely frozen and the mice will be all curled up in mouse bundles.
- We had no snow so no having to shovel out the driveway this morning! YEAH!
Thursday, January 03, 2008
1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,Ron Beckham tells me this:
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
At the time this letter was written, Thessalonica was the principal seaport of the Roman province of Macedonia. Thessalonica, named after the half-sister of Alexander the Great, was within sight of Mount Olympus and it was a very prosperous city. The Romans had conquered Macedonia in 168 BC, and Thessalonica, its capital, had a population of about 200,000. It still exists today and is now called Salonika. Many Jews lived in Thessalonica and a large number of Gentiles there had converted to Judaism. Many of those converts to Judaism (called "God-fearers") had come to Jesus Christ because of Paul's preaching when he visited them (Acts 17:10 & context). It is thought he was in Corinth at the time he wrote this letter, and it was likely written and sent in 51 AD.So Thessalonica was a busy town! Lots of strangers, businesses, not just people of one faith, but a whole mix of people. And it had a church in it. I would expect that a church in this town would have a mix of Jews and Gentiles in it.
I know from my study at Eis Ton Logos that Paul wrote the book of 1 Thessalonians, but that Timothy and Silas (also known as Silvanus) were there with him. That they probably didn't actually help him write the book, but were his companions.
A fellow studier pointed me to these words from Matthew Henry:
The inscription, where we have, 1. The persons from whom this epistle came, or by whom it was written. Paul was the inspired apostle and writer of this epistle, though he makes no mention of his apostleship, which was not doubted of by the Thessalonians, nor opposed by any false apostle among them. He joins Silvanus (or Silas) and Timotheus with himself (who had now come to him with an account of the prosperity of the churches in Macedonia), which shows this great apostle’s humility, and how desirous he was to put honour upon the ministers of Christ who were of an inferior rank and standing. A good example this is to such ministers as are of greater abilities and reputation in the church than some others.So Paul extends greetings to the Thesslonican church. Grace to you and peace.
Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.
My guess is that a church of diversity would need to have peace extended to it. I know how hard it can be for people of the same background to get along, but multi-cultural groups? That can just be nuts. :) And the need to remember God's grace would be paramount alongside of that.
This book should be interesting to read, no? :)
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
For the last two years I have followed a bible reading plan. And though I have found it helpful in getting me to read through the bible over the course of a year, I have found that I can't just focus on something without breaking away from the plan, and then of course I get off track with reading.
To combat that a bit, last year I had started a private bible study with a couple of ladies, but that ended up not working out too well due to a variety of reasons. So when I was pondering what to do, I thought hmmm...why don't I restart that bible study, but do it here. I do so love in-depth bible study. I love doing one-on-one bible studies, but have, as of yet, not found someone in my local area to do one with.
You all our there in blog reader land are MORE than welcome to join in. Who knows, you might pick up something that I completely miss. I'm going to start in 1 Thessalonians and just read through to the end of the bible. The prospect of Revelations I find daunting, but ah well, Jim says he has a study that will make Revelations works for me so I will tackle that when I get there. I do most of my reading from the ESV translation of the bible but may occasionally look at other translations.
So please....join me as we do some deeper study into God's Word.
1 Thessalonians, an overview.
Paul wrote this book to the Thessalonian church.
It is one of the first books written by Paul. Probably written around a.d. 53.
BW Johnson tells me this:
Written only a short time after the church at Thessalonica was founded, and called forth by the trials and needs of a young congregation which he felt it in his heart to visit again, but was prevented, they illustrate the apostolic instruction given to a newly organized church, composed of Gentiles, suffering under the persecution of both Jewish and heathen adversaries. They are fresh in allusion to the experiences of Paul while among them, and reveal his deep solicitude when forced away.And Wikible tells us:
Paul has many pleasant memories of the days he spent with the infant Thessalonian church. Their faith, hope, love, and perserverance in the face of persecution are exemplary. Paul's labors as a spiritual parent to the fledgling church have been richly rewarded, and his affection is visible in every line of his letter.So as I read this book, I expect to be encourage to keep on keeping on in my faith despite the stuff that happens around me. To care for my fellow believers. And to remember to be thankful in all that I do and have been given. Also to be reminded to keep looking forward to the return of Christ. :)
Paul encourages them to excel in their newfound faith, to increase in their love for one another, and to rejoice, pray, and give thanks always. He closes his letter with instruction regarding the return of the Lord, whose advent signifies hope and comfort for believers both living and dead.