chronological day 344 :)

Please read Philemon Philemon 1, Philippians 1 and Phillippins 2:1-11. The plea for Onesimus is interesting to me. This letter is addressed to a person, not a city (like Paul’s other letters). Philemon is a leader in the church at Colossae. The purpose of the letter was to encourage Philemon to receive Onesimus as a beloved brother.  What did you learn as you read today?

“confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6

I relate 1:6 to Psalm 138:8 and Isaiah 43:22-25. God always finishes what He begins.

I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me. I am sending him back” Phili 1:10-12

Onesimus was a slave. He ran away, he received the Gospel, he becomes a son, and came to be a great blessing. We can relate to this, can’t we? Sounds similar to our own stories!

I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ” Philippans 1:12-13

Paul agains warns the believers not to be offended because of his trials. Its good advice for us as well: don’t adopt an offense. Pauls also reiterates the fact that there will be suffering (1:29-30), but mercifully, we have the victory!

chronological day 343 :)

Please read Colossians 1:24-29, Colossians chapters 2, 3, and 4.  So much here, I can’t get all my thoughts into a little blog post!  What are you thinking about as you read today?

Paul is always praying that people would have understanding, but also he shows them practical ways to do it.

“I rejoice in my sufferings” Colossians 1:24

Paul is rejoicing in his trials!  The Colossians need not be offended at the Word. Please take Paul’s advice in your own life today – do not take upon offense that isn’t yours.  Live at peace.

The mystery has now been revealed (1:26) and now we are complete in Him (2:10). Doesn’t it follow that we are incomplete without Him?

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17 NKJV

We can put on love, because it is a choice.

I have always loved Colossians 3:23-24.  Work heartily as unto the Lord, not unto men.  The best advice!

Colossians 4:5 is worth a peek into the NIV translation! 🙂

chronological day 342 :)

Please read Ephesians 5:15-33, Ephesians 6, and Colossians 1:1-23. Lots of things stand out to me today – what’s your highlight?  Read, take it in, and let’s share!

 

Let’s do some bullets today:

Ephesians 5:18 – “be filled”, the filling is continual, not a one time deal.  I wish I had time to stay on the word “be”.  I think “being” is more important to God than “doing“.  What a gift to be able to slow down and be in His presence.

Ephesians 6 is familiar, the whole armor of God. Paul emphasizes the shield of faith: put on the shield of faith “above all” because its so important.  If the devil can shake your faith, he can shake you.

I notice that with the armor of God, everything is covered except our back.  Where is our rear guard?  I am remembering back to Isaiah 58:8, “the glory of God shall be your rear guard”. I think its not described in the full armor of God because the glory (the presence) of God is not something we can “put on”, its a gift to be received: we don’t put it on, we put Him in.

“He is the image of the invisible God” Colossians 1:15 – because we can see Jesus, we can see God.  Jesus is the very image of God!

Colossians 1:21-23 – because we are reconciled with God, we must also reconcile with others. Restoration and reconciliation is a priority to the Lord.  What is important to Him ought to be important to us!

chronological day 341 :)

Today, let’s read Ephesians 3, 4 and 5:1-14.  There’s so much here!  Grab your highlighter and pencil, draw some circles and stars…. read it slowly, take it in.  Let’s visit!

“Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesian 3:13-19 NKJV

Paul encourages the Ephesians not to lose heart at his tribulations.  He tells them not to take up offense against God or anyone else because there was a purpose. Paul knew the purpose, but he also knew that people might misinterpret and adopt an offense on his behalf.  Paul was imprisoned, but he didn’t want the Ephesians to be disheartened – the mission was being accomplished.

“He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;  that we should no longer be children” Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV

“Five fold ministry” reference in 4:11-13, big words that mean we all have a place and we ought to honor each other’s gifts.  No room for jealousy in the body of Christ!

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary [h]edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, [i]clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV

Forgiveness is a decision. Anger gives the devil foothold – deal with it quickly!

chronological day 340 :)

Please read Acts 28, Ephesians 1 and Ephesians 2 today.  Continuing Paul’s missionary journey – and finishing Acts today! What’s your hight?  Here are a few of mine:

“when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”  But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god”  Acts 28:3-6 NKJV

It’s funny the immediate and extreme reactions: first, Paul must be a murderer because of the snake bite. When the bite didn’t kill him, he must be a god because he survived.  We make those same instant and often uninformed judgements today, don’t we?

A few highlights, bullet style today – it’s so important that we don’t skim these familiar parts and miss these big truths.  Paul’s ministry always points us back to Jesus.

“He chose us” Ephesians 1:4-6 Praise God, what a blessing and comfort to be chosen

“In Him we have redemption” Ephesians 1:7 That’s everything, isn’t it? In CHRIST, we have redemption.

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 –  In CHRIST we trusted, and the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance, precious.

Don’t miss 1:17-20 – now we are made alive where our sins had once made us dead, through the sacrifice of CHRIST.

“now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” Ephesians 2:13 – we are brought near by the blood of CHRIST.  We must never forget what a high price was paid so that we can live reconciled unto God.

“For He Himself is our peace” Ephesians 2:14 – regardless of our feelings or circumstances, CHRIST is our peace.

chronological day 339 : )

Today, please read Acts 27. Yep – just the one! 🙂 What’s your highlight today? Now Paul is traveling to Rome. Remember, he wrote his letter to Rome in advance of his trip there (that’s why we read Romans already). What’s your highlight today?

“Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over” Acts 27:9 NKJV

“But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them” Acts 27:21 NKJV

Again, we see the practice of fasting. Out of the fast, the Lord spoke an encouraging word. There will be disaster (consequence of their disobedience, not a reaction on the Lord’s part), but there is also a promise: there will be no loss of life (27:21-22).

And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, ‘Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.’ And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.” Acts 27:33-34 NKJV

Another reference to fasting.  When I see the word “since”, it makes me think of an action/consequence: since one thing happened, now another thing can happen.  Since they had heard their word from the Lord, now the fast could end.  Stay faithful and hang on until you receive your word from the Lord!

 

chronological day 338 :)

Please read Acts 24, 25 and 26 today.  Read it with feeling, see if you can grab some of the emotion going on here today. Come on back and share your highlight – here’s mine:

 “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”  Acts 24:14-16

Paul always kept the main thing the main thing.   All of these “troubles” come because Paul knows that Jesus was raised from the dead and he preached this truth “first of all” (like he wrote in 1 Cor 15:8).  The most important thing was that Christ be preached, and Paul let everything else become a secondary or minor issue.

“‘ I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ ” Acts 26:17-18

That’s the goal:  to turn people “from darkness to light”. In love, let your light so shine. What else could take precedence in our lives in minds, our schedules over accomplishing  this ONE thing?

“And Paul said, ‘I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains’ .” Acts 26:29

No jealousy, no bitterness over his situation.  Paul desires that ALL come to Christ and experience the blessings he was living. And ALL of this came from Paul as he was in chains.  That’s beyond remarkable.

I’ve tried to keep these blogs short and not put too much personal feeling into it, but honestly, y’all, today I’m about in tears reading this account. Did you get this: PAUL WAS IN PRISON, bound in chains. The man in charge, Felix, procrastinates and leaves Paul in jail for ANOTHER TWO YEARS (years, y’all) over charges that no one had been able to articulate to him (Acts 24:22-27).  When Paul finally gets the chance to appeal to the new man in charge and to Caesar, did you see how he started his appeal?  He said, “I think myself happy”.  He thinks himself happy?  He’s been in jail for 2 years, clerical errors and procrastinations keeping him there – if anyone had a reason to pick up an offense and be angry, wasn’t it Paul?  Wouldn’t we all have said “Yes sir! You tell ’em!” if Paul had absolutely unloaded when he finally got the chance to speak? When he finally is released, Agrippa says that it seems unreasonable to hold him without specifying the charges (Acts 25:27).  Is anyone else thinking: “Are you kidding me? After TWO YEARS, that’s all you have to say to me?” Would any of us have criticized him if he said, “peace out, Jerusalem – y’all deserve what you get.”  No – he counted himself happy because wherever he was he found a way to communicate the gospel to people in need of the truth.

What are you offended about today? Just drop it – keep the main thing the main thing and be singular in fulfilling your God-given purpose  –  and then, like Paul, you really will “think yourself happy” 🙂

chronological day 337 :)

Please read Acts 21:37-40, Acts 22 and Acts 23 today.  All in one place and all back-to-back, that’s nice!  Remember days where we were flipping like crazy to get through the reading?  Can you believe we have less than 30 days to go?  Let’s finish strong (begin AND complete like we talked about the other day!).  What’s your highlight?

What a big day!  Paul addresses the mob in Hebrew, because at first they were not willing to listen as he told the story of his conversion.  Hearing their own language made all the difference. It’s so important to know your audience and be able to relate.

‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.” Acts 22:14 NKJV

Couldn’t we all adopt 22:14 over own our lives? Yes and amen!  You are chosen!  God desires to speak with you! You can hear God’s voice!

Unfortunately, the mob turned again, and a plot was developed to kill Paul.  The very Jews who heard him speak in their own language made a vow (Acts 23:12-15) to attack and destroy him.  BUT the Lord appeared to Paul:

“But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.'” Acts 23:11 NKJV

I love that Jesus appears to Paul, to give comfort and strength, to remind him that God has a purpose for his life that would be fulfilled BEFORE these angry men made their vow.  There is no such thing as an emergency meeting in heaven – God knows, God sees, and God has already made provision to protect and provide.

In the midst of any storm in our life, Jesus brings purpose and peace always.

chronological day 336 :)

All in one place today, Acts 20:13-38 and Acts 21:1-36.  Quick reading, lots going on though! W hat’s your highlight?  Come on back and let’s share!

“And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” Acts 20:22-24 NKJV

Perhaps Paul is saying “because I am so valuable to Christ, I can count my life worthless to me”You know what happens when you know who you are in Christ?  You’ll find that you are able not only to see your own value, but also see the value in others.  Now that you now how precious you are to the Lord, you also know that nothing can diminish your value – He can’t love you any more or any less – and then guess what?  That “scarcity mentality” goes away.  You don’t have to worry about taking care of others or honoring others, because you don’t have any fear of lack in your own life.  You are valuable to God and you are confident that He is taking care of you!  What a beautiful circle!

We are worth the Blood of Christ – everything else is minor.  Obey the Lord and let your value be found in Him.

Now Paul is on his way to Jerusalem – tough times ahead.

chronological day 335 :)

Today, we’ll read 2 Corinthians 11, 12, 13, and Acts 20:7-12. Just a quick highlight today – what’s yours? 

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So many times we mistakenly equate our happiness or comfort with God’s favor. Look at Paul’s description of his life: 

“I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold….” 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 MSG

Favor has nothing to do with those external things – favor is the Lord’s presence and it is enough. Times for Paul were hard, but he was never alone – and THAT is favor!


Finished 2 Corinthians!