The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Matthew - Revelation


Matthew is assumed to be the writer of this book. He was a tax collector and one of the chosen 12 disciples. The writing takes place after the Roman Empire destroyed the Jerusalem temple, around 70 AD.
The book starts with a genealogy from Abraham to the present with many notables such as Abraham, King David, Rahab the prostitute, mentioned.
The birth of Jesus as the Messiah, is told, as is many life events following Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist.
A lot of Jesus' miracles and teachings are recorded and also the events of His crucifixion and resurrection.

This book is attributed to John Mark, the young man that made missionary journeys with Paul and Barnabas. 
It was written during the time that the Christians were being persecuted by the Romans.
Of the four books known as the gospels, Mark is the shortest. Each of the gospels are first person narratives about the life, teachings, actions, and behavior of Jesus.
Mark writes a lot about the treatment that Jesus receives from government officials, religious leaders, town people, and His own family.

Luke, a physician, is assumed to be the writer. He also was a sometimes traveling companion of the Apostle Peter. 
This book was written while the good news of Jesus was being spread throughout the known world, probably around 70 - 80 AD.
Luke's book is addressed to a man named, Theophilus. It is not known exactly who this person is, but most scholars believe he was possibly a Roman official.
Luke, a physician, is very detailed in his writing and also puts a lot of focus on the compassionate ways of Jesus by mentioning how Jesus treats widows, sinful people, very sick people, people with leprosy, Samaritans, roman soldiers and many others.
Luke writes about several appearances of Jesus following the resurrection, including The Ascension. 

John, the writer, is the brother of James, one of the sons of Zebedee. It was written about 90 BC.
The four gospels all record the life and words of Jesus, but the Book of John is different in that it is more about WHO Jesus really IS. This book talks about Jesus being God's Word in the flesh. It also states that God, the Father and Jesus, are ONE. 
John is the only book that tells of Jesus turning the water into wine and the raising of Lazarus.
Jesus came because of God's incredible love for us. He began the ministry of teaching and loving that we are to follow. He died and resurrected as a sacrifice and hope of salvation for us. Our only way to get to eternal life with God is through the Son, Jesus.

The writing of the Books of the Acts of the Apostles is generally believed to be Luke. The times and events covered take place from 30-60 ADs. 
The book starts with the Ascension into Heaven by Jesus after His resurrection. Next the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Peter preaches the very first gospel sermon and this sermon and his words lay the foundation for what we think of as our Assembled worship services today. It also outlines the activities of the early church members.
The Spirit gives power to the Apostles to begin their ministry of preaching boldly and performing miracles that will help to spread the gospel throughout the known world.
Because of fear of persecution by the Jewish leaders and Romans, the followers of "The Way" begin to scatter, all the while sharing their faith.
The hated persecutor, Saul, has an encounter along the road to Damascus that turns him around, brings repentance, and salvation through baptism. He becomes known as Paul and joins the other Christian leaders in working to strengthen and grow the earthly kingdom.

This book was written or at least dictated by the Apostle Paul near the end of his third missionary journey, around 57 AD.
Paul was a very studious man, a scholar and that shows through the way that the book to the Romans was written. He begins with God being very angry about the sinning of humankind, everyone falls short of the mark. He goes on to say that God then, provides the only way out of our sinfulness, through the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus Christ. 
The book is very complete in it's style of explaining the Christian life from the start to completeness. 
Paul wrote this book to the Roman Christians, a church of people that he had not yet met. He hoped to get there on one of his missionary journeys.

1 Corinthians
This is a letter, also known as an epistle, written by Paul to the Corinthian church. It was written about 55 AD. 
Paul founded this church on one of his missionary journeys. Then during his stay in Ephesus he learns about several sin problems in the Corinthian church. Some of those problems included, leadership issues, an incestuous relationship, and suing your friends and neighbors.
Chapter 13 is known as the love chapter and is often quoted at weddings.
Many of these same problems still occur in churches today. 
He also spends time addressing marriage, The Lord's Supper, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection of the dead.

2 Corinthians
This book is written by Paul with the help of Timothy, probably around 57 AD.
The Corinthian church is doing a little better now, since the writing of Paul's first letter to them. They have tried to put a stop to many of the issues that had been the problem. However, there are some in the church that were resentful of Paul's interference. They questioned his authority over them.
Paul explained his many hardships and sufferings that he endured for being in the Lord's service, including his "thorn in the flesh" that is never identified, although God tells him that His grace is sufficient for him.
Paul wants them to understand that each person is responsible for their own salvation according to God's Word and that authority, as a whole, needs to be respected.

This is one of the first letters written by Paul. There were several churches in Galatia and they were struggling to live in a manner other than the old Jewish laws and traditions. Paul wants the people to know that they are now living under the Grace of Jesus Christ and that no one would be justified while trying to live under the old law. Men are to live by the Spirit that now dwells within them. 
In the 5th chapter, Paul gives them evidence that the Spirit will bring in their lives; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Paul wrote this book around 62 AD. 
Paul had begun this church at Ephesus and is now hoping that they "take hold" and grow in their relationships with Christ. He explains how they should conduct themselves whether at church or at home.
All Christians no matter their race, sex or background are part of the body of Christ.

This book was written by Paul with the help of Timothy, probably in the early 60 ADs.
Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison. He was very pleased with the church of Philippi. They gave him much needed support and he spoke a lot about joy and rejoicing. 
Paul encourages to live in the joy of The Lord no matter what the circumstances are.

With the help of Timothy, Paul wrote this letter to the church of Colosse in 60 AD. 
This church had allowed false doctrines and confusing, yet enticing beliefs to take over. They were acting on beliefs and teachings that sounded good and true, such as worship of angels.
Paul tries to re-teach, remind them that Jesus, God's only son is above every creature.
The verse in chapter 2, verse 8 is a good reminder to everyone. "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. "(Colossians 2:8 NASB)

1 Thessalonians
This is one of Paul's earliest letters, written with the help of Silas and Timothy.
It was written to the church in Thessalonica. They were having concern issues with the second coming of Jesus. Paul teaches them how to live while waiting. He says things like, "Rejoice always." And, "Pray without ceasing." 
He describes exactly how the second coming will take place. But no one knows when this will occur. 

2 Thessalonians
Paul again writes to the Thessalonians with the help of Silas and Timothy. This time the time frame is the early 50 ADs.
The church had apparently received a letter that they believed, falsely, had come from Paul. It stated that Jesus had already returned and that deeply upset the church.
Paul now is writing to tell them that the event hasn't yet taken place and that they should continue to live their lives hopefully and productively. 

1 Timothy
Paul wrote this letter to Timothy as an instruction to evangelists in 63 AD.
Timothy often traveled with Paul and also took much dictation from him. This letter was written not only for Timothy but for leaders everywhere, warning them about legalism, false teaching. Paul talks about the qualifications of all the church leaders. 

2 Timothy
This letter was written by Paul to Timothy in the mid 60 ADs.
Paul teaches Timothy to live a holy life and to be a good example in his living. He is warned to expect that things will not always be good, in fact, expect trouble. But always remember that God is faithful and He will deliver those that serve Him. 

This is one of Paul's letters written about 63 AD. It is an instruction guide for church leaders. Titus is a leader in the church at Crete. Paul informed the people of Crete that they needed good, solid leaders, men that conformed to what they had been taught. 

Paul wrote this letter from the Prison in Rome around 63 AD. It is a letter to his friend, Philemon, who is a fellow Christian with a generous and serving heart for God. 
While in prison Paul makes friends with and leads to Christ a slave named Onesimus. The slave belongs to Philemon. Paul is writing to encourage Philemon to welcome back Onesimus and treat him as a Christian brother. Paul writes with the confidence of believing that Philemon will act accordingly and reminds his dear brother that he always prays for him.

The author of Hebrews is not known. It was written before 70 AD. The point of this letter is to teach the Jewish Christians that Jesus is better than any Jewish sacrifice. To be a Christian is much better than to be Old Testament Judaism. Jesus is the only way.

James, the brother of Jesus wrote this book about 60 AD. He wanted Christian people to know that true faith would be accompanied by good works. 
The apostle Paul was very clear in his teaching that salvation comes by faith through grace and that it cannot be earned. James is not contradicting that. He is saying that because of our salvation we, as Christians will say things, do things, act in ways, and help others just simply because it is the right thing to do.
This book is considered by some to be an instruction guide for Christian living.

1 Peter
This letter is written by Peter with the help of Silas around 65 AD. 
The persecution of the Romans is getting worse and spreading and the early Christians are very afraid for their lives. Peter wants them to know that God is in control of the situation. He tells them to be strong when facing these trials and sufferings and to remain joyful because suffering for Christ will be nothing compared to the joys that await.

2 Peter
Peter wrote this letter in the late 60 ADs, just before being executed. He wrote this letter knowing that he would soon die. He is telling the Christians that their spiritual qualities and characteristics will help them against the false teachings that will rise up. He warns against falling from steadfastness and into wickedness.

1 John
Thought to be written by the apostle John around 92 AD. 
This letter was written because there was some that believed that Jesus did not come in the flesh, that He came only in Spirit form. John wants the people to know that he knew Jesus personally as a flesh and blood person. 

2 John
This book was written by John around 92 AD. It is the shortest book in the Bible, containing only one chapter with thirteen verses.
Again John addresses the subject of the false belief that Jesus came and lived on earth only in spirit form and not as a human with flesh. John warns the readers to hold fast to what they know to be true.

3 John
John, the writer, writes this letter about 92 AD. It is written to a church leader named Gaius, praising him and another man for their Christian hospitality. He was not so kind to another that he mentioned by name, Diotrophies, who like to exalt himself and refuses to be hospitable to the traveling evangelists.
This book of the Bible is the second shortest with only 1 chapter containing 14 verses.

Written by the half brother of Jesus around 82 AD. 
Jude, like Peter, is taking on the false doctrine of teachings that were perverting the early church. He also encourages Christians to act in such a way that they can influence those that are backsliding to repent. 

Written by John the apostle near 95 AD.
Jesus shows John a revelation of things that will come to pass regarding judgements of the wicked and rewards of the godly. There are many visions shown to John. It is a revealing of all the secret things of the end times. In the end the saints will live in perfection with Christ in Heaven.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8

Yesterday I sat all day. My husband and I did not have a load. We had several load opportunities but none that worked into our needs. So we sat and waited. To help pass the time, we used the Internet, used it to work on our daily devotions and then share them with others. We also caught up with the goings on of our friends through social media. And we wasted some of the time playing games. 
Time is one thing that we can never ever get back. We can't save it either. Once the seconds, minutes, hours, days pass, they are gone forever! 
Make the best use of your time. 
Do you have something that needs done? Do it.
Do you have something that needs said? Say it.
Do you have somewhere you need to go? Go.
Do you have someone you need to forgive? Offer it.
Do you need to seek forgiveness? Humble yourself.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15, 16 ESV)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7

Verse of the day.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 ESV)
This is verse is the all time encouragement to the Roman Church. Remember it was the Roman Empire in control at this time. They are persecuting anyone that gets in their way, especially those that were followers and believers in this Jewish King that was just crucified. 
When the news of Jesus' resurrection and appearances spread, the churches grew, including into some of the Roman people.  So those Roman believers now Christians are especially persecuted.
Paul is telling them to be strong and do not lose the faith. No matter what you face, great is the reward in Heaven.

I believe that too often, we too, forget that this life is temporary. We are to be focused on the life that is to come for eternity.
Do not listen to the enemy as he whispers to you that your God doesn't care about you. Do not listen when he tells you that you will never be good enough for God's Kingdom. That is what grace is for.
Know and believe that God  loves you so much that He provided The Way for us to be with Him forever.
Nothing we face on this earth will ever compare to the joy that is waiting.
What are you willing to stand up to today?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4

Draw near
5 actions words, verbs; they tell what YOU need to do to have the devil flee from you. He is a formidable enemy. He is described as a prowling lion, seeking someone to devour. And that someone is you.
Have you ever watched a cat stalk, catch and then toy with a mouse until the point of death? That is what satan does with us. He stalks us, waiting for us to be vulnerable, then he catches us and toys with us until we feel we could die or would rather die than endure.
Yet God's words tell us that to have satan flee from us we must put into action the 5 words above. 
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:7, 8 ESV)

Friday, May 2, 2014

May 1

Don't we all love a new baby? How excited do we get over a new babe in Christ?
We need to be gentle, loving and nurturing with them.
If we don't, they will not survive.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

May 3

As a child I had a bad dream. I woke up terrified, in the dark. I called for my mom. When she came She turned on the light. "It was just a dream,"  she said. I asked her to leave the light on. 
With the light on, everything was ok. I could see what was really there and didn't see the things that scared me.

Verse of the day: For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. (Psalm 18:28 ESV)

God is our light. He lights our lamps. In His light I do not have to be frightened, because I "see the truth" and In His light, my fears are not there.

May 2 votd

Remember how fun it was to skip as a kid? I wonder why you never see adults skipping? Our verse today brought these questions to my mind as I imagined The Father leading me down the paths of my life. Hand in hand with Him, I have joy no matter what bumps are along the way.

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (Psalms 16:11 NASB)