December 15th

Jude

  • 5-7 – Jesus came to save us all, but if we deny opportunities for salvation, our alternative is punishment.
  • 17-23 – Clearly the recipients of the book of Jude were surrounded by unfaithful people, but this letter is intended to encourage them to remain faithful.

December 14th

2 John, 3 John

  • 2 John: 1- The “elect lady” is most likely referring to the church.
  • 2 John: 5-6 – The author reminds the church that they have received God’s commandments and can show their love for God by following those commands.
  • 3 John: 5-8 – This section is encouraging all churches who followed John to accept and be open to traveling pastors and evangelists so they can all work within the same cause.
  • 3 John: 11 – The author has already explained what to do and then given an example of what not to do. This simply sums up that we should imitate the former.

December 13th

1 John 3-5

  • 3:1-3 – It’s pretty incredible to think of ourselves as children of God. We have been adopted into his family because he loves us and wants us.
  • 3:3 – “Little children” is how God is referring to us, his children. Not necessarily to children as defined by age
  • 3:16-18 – Jesus didn’t just talk about loving us, he showed us by dying for us on the cross. If we simply say we love our neighbors, our words are worthless. We must show it with our actions.
  • 3:19-24 – Salvation through grace does not exempt us from following God with our lives. We are still to follow his commands and live according to his will – actually even more so because of the gift of salvation.
  • 4:1-6 – This section encourages us to use discernment in who we trust and listen to. It also explains the difference and reminds us that the Spirit of God is greater than the spirits of the world.
  • 4:7-12 – The love we have for one another is love from God. God loved us first which then shows us how to love others.
  • 4:18 – This is how we can decipher what is true love – it does not operate on fear.
  • 5:3 – This is powerful because often we feel that if we obey God our lives will be boring and lifeless, but this reminds us that following God’s commands is actually beneficial and freeing for us.
  • 5:13-15 – When we believe in Christ, we receive eternal life. We also have a connection with him so that he hears our prayers.
  • 5:18 – When we accept Christ we are to be transformed, which means we change and leave behind sins and walk towards righteousness. This, of course, is a process.

 

December 12th

1 John 1-2

  • 2:1-6 – In order to say we follow Christ, we actually have to do the things he did. It’s ridiculous to say that we’re believers and not live as he taught us to.
  • 2:8-11 – This is convicting. If we hate our brothers and sisters (biological, spiritual, etc.) we can’t claim to be faithful. Darkness is sin and the light is walking with Christ.
  • 2:15-17 – Loving the world means putting those things first and, in essence, worshipping them. We worship things when our thoughts, time, energy and resources go towards those things.

December 11th

2 Peter

  • 1:3-11— Instructions and encouragement for faithful living. Note that Peter takes about participating in the divine nature (vs. 4). This means “to be made more like Christ”
  • 2:1-3— False prophets are not just an ancient phenomenon that we no longer need to worry about- there are still false prophets today, and we still need to be wary of them.
  • Chapter 3— This entire chapter is about Jesus coming for the second time- read it carefully, it has a lot to teach us about the Second Coming and about why we as Christians can have hope even in the bleakest situations.

December 10th

1 Peter 3-5

  • 3:1-2 – Our kindness and goodness can often draw others to Christ.
  • 3:3-6 – Outward beauty is fleeting, but inward beauty will always be beneficial.
  • 3:13-15 – The way we live our lives is a big part of our witness. We must live righteously so people don’t have anything to question, but if they do anyway, we must be ready to share the gospel.
  • 4:1-6 – As believers, we are called to live like Christ and leave behind our old ways.
  • 4:8 – Ain’t that the truth?
  • 4:10-11 – This is a great way of looking at our gifts – that they should be used to bless others. Often, we use our gifts for our own betterment or enjoyment.
  • 4:12-19 – We are told to relish our sufferings if they are received due to faithfulness. Not all suffering is because we’ve been faithful.
  • 5:6-11 – We are encouraged to always be ready for a time when Christ can raise us up. We must be watchful, however, for stumbling blocks along the way.

December 9th

1 Peter 1-2

  • 1:1-2— Peter is writing to house-churches scattered throughout the Roman empire- the language he uses here is intentionally comparing their lives to those of people who have been exiled from their homeland and live among strangers.
  • 1:13-15—These verses are antithetical to modern American culture and modern Western Christianity. We prefer to reject discipline and assume that since nobody is perfect, we don’t need to worry about being perfect either. Peter says otherwise- God’s people are supposed disciplined and should always be striving for holiness and perfection.
  • 2:9—This isn’t saying that God has chosen specific people to be Christians- instead, this is a reference to the covenant God made with the Israel in the Old Testament. Peter is stating that the old covenant now includes non-Jews

December 8th

James 4-5

  • 4:1-3 – This is inviting us to ask God for things. Note that we are to ask for things not to fulfill our selfish wants, but for God’s glory and for our good and the good of others.
  • 4:4-10 – Friendship with the world entails loving things and loving what the world tells us we need more than we love and follow God. Instead, we are to draw near to and worship God.
  • 4:13-17 – We are submit everything, even our futures, to God’s will.

December 7th

James 1-3

  • 1:2-4 – It is difficult to look at trials this way when we’re in the middle of them, but we can often look back at past trials and how God has sustained us through them. Hopefully, then, in the next trial we will remember God’s faithfulness in previous trials.
  • 1:12 – To remain steadfast is to remain faithful to God.
  • 1:13-15 – God does not desire for us to sin, so he does not lead us to sin.
  • 1:16-18 – These verses are the perfect answer to verses 13-15. God gives good gifts, not opportunities to sin.
  • 1:22-25 – Reading Scripture alone is not enough. We must also live what it tells us to do. Otherwise we are like a foolish person.
  • 1:27 – If we truly want to follow God we must care for the most vulnerable in his name.
  • 2:1-9 – We tend to want to associate with those who are powerful and can lift us up, but God does the opposite. He lifts up the lowly. God is calling us to share in his work.
  • 2:10-13 – We tend to want to make our sins seems less egregious, but once we have sinned, we are sinners.
  • 2:14-17 – This can be confusing because we know that faith in Christ is what saves us. We can’t save ourselves through works. This does not mean we’re not supposed to do the works though. Our salvation is intended to make us more like Christ, how worked diligently to care for those in need and bring others into God’s family.
  • 2:18-26 – Our faith is not helpful if it is inactive. True faith cannot actually remain inactive. If we have faith in Christ, it is transformative and causes us to begin to live more like Christ. Works are inevitable.
  • 3:2-12 – James spends time discussing how difficult it is to tame the tongue, but that if we do, it controls our whole selves. We all know how difficult it is to keep our speech pure, uplifting, and beneficial to others.

December 6th

Hebrews 11-13

  • Chapter 11 is often know as the “Hall of Faith”. It is a helpful list of many people in Scripture who acted faithfully because of their faith. We are often asked to take steps/leaps of faith. It is for our good and God’s glory that we are asked to take these steps. They’re scary, but worth it.
  • 11:1 – This helps us define what faith is and what it isn’t. We often want proof in order to have faith, but proof is not required for faith. Faith must come before proof.
  • 11:6 – It is interesting to think that faith is the root of pleasing God. We must have faith in order to please God.
  • 11:13-16 – The folks mentioned in this chapter all died still living faithfully. Each was seeking God’s best for them, a heavenly home, realizing that this life wasn’t all God had in store.
  • 11:26 – This verse should stop us in our tracks! Because of their deep and abiding faith that God’s promises are true, all these people acted faithfully with the willingness to wait for their rewards. Are we willing to do the same?
  • 11:32-38 – All these folks who lived by faith faced very difficult challenges and hardships. Following God does not make life easy or simple. It is the opposite. Life is often more difficult when we follow God, but the reward in the end is well worth it.
  • 12:1-2 – The “cloud of witnesses” is all the people who have gone before us and shown us what faithful living looks like. Our ultimate example is Christ who was willing to sacrifice himself in order to obtain the joy of the Lord and a place next to God.
  • 12:7-11 – Discipline is a form of love because it protects us and guides us to the version of us God intended.
  • 12:15 – “Roots of bitterness” are formed when we allow anger and resentment to build up in our hearts. These are often formed when we feel someone else is getting away with sin and when we are punished for our own sins.
  • 12:25-29 – Hebrews is warning us of the importance of listening for, obeying, and accepting God. God is described here as a consuming fire.
  • 13:1-2 – This reminds us to be kind and caring to everyone in our midst.
  • 13:4-5 – The things believers should and shouldn’t do stay pretty consistent throughout the New Testament.

13:15-16 – To be faithful we need to praise God and serve