Archive for April, 2008

From Prison, With Love

April 21, 2008 Leave a comment

One of the most important background details relating to Philippians is Paul’s imprisonment.

In 1:12-14, (cf. Acts 28:11-31), we learn that Paul is writing to the church at Philippi while under house arrest.

This is significant context as we continue our study of this prison epistle (see Gene Taylor’s excellent study guide, pp. 20-28).

Categories: bible

Outline of Philippians

April 19, 2008 Leave a comment

I. Paul’s Greeting and Prayer
II. Paul’s Example from Prison
III. Be As Humble As Christ
IV. Stay Focused Upon the Ultimate Goal, Serving Christ

Categories: bible

Where I’ve Been…Where I’m Headed

April 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Seven weeks ago, when I started my study of 1 John, I didn’t know any Greek.

Now I’m on the road to learning how to read the New Testament in its original language. My mom generously donated her college primer and Greek NT to the cause. Thanks, Mom!

This worked out particularly well because John writes in the simplest language of all the NT writers.

By next April 10, I would like to be able to read the entire NT in Greek.

What is your Bible study goal for the next year, dear Reader?

Categories: bible

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

April 17, 2008 Leave a comment

The word “lie” appears exactly twice in 1 John (NIV).

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth (1 John 1:6).

I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth (1 John 2:21).

What I appreciate about this image is that it is not immediately obvious that the word “liar” is written in script.

I’ve experienced this in my own life. Even in the midst of telling a lie, I’ve convinced myself that it isn’t really a lie or that it’s for the other person’s good.

But in reality, when I lie it’s for selfish motivations. I just try to put a good face on it.

Categories: bible

Why Love?

April 16, 2008 Leave a comment

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God” (1 John 4:7a, NIV).

That’s why!

Categories: bible


April 15, 2008 Leave a comment

“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you” (1 John 2:27a, NIV).

Try doing a google or flikr search for “anoint” and reflect upon this verse.

Categories: bible

Light v. Dark

April 14, 2008 Leave a comment

John uses very simple, clear imagery when describing the Christian life.

Everyone understands children’s fear of the dark. But as we get older, we come to believe that this fear is foolish.

In a sense, kids are wiser than adults in this matter. It genuinely is more dangerous to be outside alone after the sun sets than during the middle of the day.

Spiritually, the same thing happens. As we age, we become more complacent and less afraid of the dark.

This is unhealthy and foolish.

Categories: bible

John’s Audience

April 13, 2008 Leave a comment

“My dear children”

“Dear friends”

I briefly scrolled through 1 John again, specifically to identify his primary audience.

John’s tone is so laid back and familiar, I feel like he’s writing directly to me.

Categories: bible

"Acting Normal" is an Oxymoron

April 12, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve enjoyed reading and studying 1 John for the past 6 weeks, but I’m left wondering how to apply what I’ve learned.

This morning, my son and I had an early trip to Dunkin’ Donuts for some breakfast. On the way out, we chatted with a kid who grew up in western New York and asked about our license plates. Then we went to Stop & Shop and ran a couple of errands. Again, on the way out, we stuck up a chat with an employee.

How do these casual, passing interactions relate to eternity?

My first response is to say, “Who cares? Not everything needs to be about your faith.” But then I reread this letter, and the last verse stood out to me: “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (NIV).

The key is not to be obnoxious, or even to talk about God with everyone I meet. But “fitting in” and “acting normal” (even this phrase is an oxymoron) cannot take precedence over being obedient to Christ. Sometimes I make these things idols.

So don’t worry. If you bump into me, I won’t beat you with a Bible. But I pray that I’ll be obedient to the Lord if he prompts me to share a tidbit of faith.

Categories: bible

In Memoriam

April 11, 2008 Leave a comment

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, NIV).

My dad and I just had a weepy moment remembering my younger brother. He passed away a few months ago.

Without the hope described in the Bible, there would be no place to go with our sorrow.

Some people use this Truth as a reason to discount Christian faith. They say that it’s just wishful thinking.

But these are the same people who call hell unimaginable. They insist that hell can’t exist because it’s too harsh and unfair.

Which is it, wishful thinking or inhumane?

Eternal life is neither. It simply ups the ante and makes our decisions here on earth more important.

I say that people who discount eternal life simply want to avoid accountability. And what do they get in return? No comfort in loss. No security in a loving God.

That’s too high a price for me to pay to ignore the truth.

Categories: bible
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