Paul asks Titus to go to Crete to get the churches there to shape up. It won’t be an easy assignment, but Paul gives specific instructions on how to deal with their particular issues.
Everybody needs a mentor and everybody needs someone to mentor. Paul had Timothy. He taught him and then sent him out but stayed connected with him to assure he was set up for success. We could stand to learn from their relationship.
Can you believe it? We only have 10 weeks left of our One Year Bible readings!! We are so close!
This week, we shift gears from our letters from Paul to various churches to letters from Paul to an individual. Paul ministered to a lot of people, but one of his biggest investments was in a young man named Timothy. Timothy was a protégé of Paul’s and was often used as a stand in for Paul. If Paul couldn’t make the trip, Timothy was sent.
But how does that happen? Where does it start?
Paul used the discipleship model he spelled out in 1 Corinthians, “follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” He let Timothy watch him do ministry and included him on anything and everything he could. Timothy learned by watching.
Who is your Timothy?
The Thessalonians’ issues have only gotten worse since Paul’s first letter to them. Take a second to find out how Paul encourages the believers to continue in faithfulness despite persecution.
It’s hard for most of us to understand persecution for our faith. The worst we normally have to face is someone ridiculing us for our beliefs. In today’s 1 Thessalonians reading, Paul praises the Thessalonians for enduring persecution for the gospel. As you read it, take a second to pray for those around the world who daily face persecution for the gospel.
- 13-22 – There were many false prophets who were opposing what God was saying through Jeremiah and they were leading the Israelites astray. God tells Jeremiah what to say in response to the false prophets.
- 1-9 – God is not backing down in coming after the false prophets and everyone who follows them.
- 10-21 – Jeremiah is afraid of the people and God confirms his commitment to and protection of Jeremiah. God’s response in verses 19-21 are very powerful.
- 1-15 – The first 13 verses are very bad news for the Israelites. They will face a great deal of destruction. The last two verses give hope, though, that they will eventually be returned to God’s intent for them.
1 Thessalonians 2:10-3:13:
- 13-16 – The Thessalonian believers clearly faced a great deal of persecution as they initially pursued Christ. Paul, multiple times, expresses gratitude for their faithfulness in the midst of it.
- 17-5 – Paul explains why he hasn’t visited Thessalonica again, but why Timothy visited instead.
- 1-13 – Asaph, the psalmist, asks God why he would bother bringing the Israelites out of Egypt only to forsake them later.
- 14-19 – Asaph asks that God returns to the people and restores them.
- 2-3 – God’s mind is far greater than that of a king, but a king’s mind is greater than that of a common person.
- 4-5 – Kings, in order to be faithful and successful, should be taken away from bad advisors and influences.
How does the gospel inform your daily life? Take a few days to read Ephesians and you’ll learn how it should.
Yep, still in Isaiah. Settle in. We’ll be here for a while.
But, in the New Testament, in case you need a little reprieve from all the prophecies, we’ll look at two of Paul’s epistles (fancy word for letters – use it at parties – it will make you sound smart and holy). This week we read Galatians and Ephesians.
As you begin Ephesians, read it with this in mind: Paul was in prison when he wrote it. Even in the opening verses, as Paul exclaims, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 1:3). His joy and faith are evident.
Though I hope to never be imprisoned for my faith, I hope my joy and eagerness to share Christ are comparable to that of Paul.
If Jesus is our Savior, why does Paul get to boss us around so much in the Bible? Who was Paul and what are his letters about? Take a few minutes to learn a little more about Paul.
This week we finish Job and begin Ecclesiastes – Ecclesiastes is a fascinating book that accompanies Job and Proverbs in the wisdom literature.
We also spend time in 2 Corinthians. It’s important to note that 2 Corinthians is the second letter from Paul to the church he’s already written once (there aren’t two separate churches). Paul’s letters are written to various churches he either established or supports and each is addressing specific struggles that church is facing. Some struggle with unity, others with discerning how to balance their Jewish heritage with Christian beliefs, and others are unclear on the finer points of salvation.
When reading Paul’s letters, we must remember that they were written to a different group of people in a different cultural context, but the truths of faithfulness and connecting with Christ are still applicable today. I.e. Don’t get too hung up on the instruction not to wear your hair in a braid, but do absorb the encouragement not to do anything that would distract others in worship.
Have you ever tried to memorize Scripture? Maybe your favorite verse? Maybe you and a friend memorized a short passage together? I think we should all try it! It’s incredible when you face a situation and a Bible verse pops into your head and it speaks directly to that situation. So let’s all try it. You can start with 2 Chronicles 20:21 from today’s reading. You’ll read it a lot throughout Scripture and it’s a great reminder.
2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37:
- 1-2 – It was not good that Jehoshaphat made a pact with Ahab, who was not faithful to God.
- 5-12 – Jehoshaphat, here, is the model for trusting God in a terrifying time. He remembers the faithfulness of God in the past and uses that as assurance that God will be faithful again, and he sought help from the Lord instead of others.
- 21 – Memorize the sentence beginning “Give thanks to the Lord…”. It is repeated throughout Scripture and should be one you have on the ready when in need.
- 14-21 – Paul makes it clear that God is more than willing to reveal himself to anyone and everyone. He continues to be faithful even in the midst of peoples’ disobedience.
- 1-2 – We can’t swing the pendulum too far the other way and assume that God now rejects all Jews because they’re not gentiles. God saves people regardless of their background.
- 11-12 – This is very interesting! The question is did God put blinders on the Israelites so they wouldn’t believe and salvation would have to be opened up the gentiles? Because if the Israelites had been faithful, God may not have needed to open salvation up to others.