Ecclesiastes is a series of counsels, interviews, proverbs, and “memos” to Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, soon to become King of Israel. Apparently, Solomon perceived that he was getting off on the wrong foot, and he collected these various teachings, aphorisms, and personal experiences to try to forestall Rehoboam’s drift into a life of folly and vanity.
Grace is one of those wonderful words that Christians embrace, use, and rejoice to know. But do we really know what grace is? Do we know what grace is for? How it operates? How to receive it, and what use to make of it?
Everyone has a worldview, and Christians especially should work hard to develop their worldview, keeping Jesus at the center and as the strength and goal of everything we do. We need to see Jesus and how the Christian worldview develops around Him, beginning in our thinking where Jesus did, with the Law of God.
Like all the prophets, Isaiah brings powerful words of judgment for the people of God, indicting them for their sin, calling them to repent, and warning them that the wrath of God is about to unfold against them. At the same time, Isaiah points forward to a day of restoration, of salvation, and of the coming of the Messiah and His Kingdom, when all things will be redeemed and made new. Isaiah is the first of major prophets, so called because of the quantity of their writing. In many ways, his book is the most beautiful of all the prophetic writings.
The great tsunami of a few years back was one of the greatest ever recorded, even though it probably didn’t affect you at all.
And our salvation is great – so great that, as the Psalmist explained, “My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits (Ps. 71.15). So deep, so vast, so profound, so allencompassing, so all-transforming and all-renewing, so powerful, so glorious and joyous and fruitful and inspiring and world-uprighting is our great salvation, that we can never get to the bottom of its grandeur, comprehend the scope of its greatness, or exhaust the vastness of its power.
Voices Together is available in a weekly format suitable for distribution as a church bulletin insert or for distribution to small groups or in prisons. It includes the Scriptures and meditations for the coming week, Monday through the Lord's Day. It is formatted to print double-sided on 8 1/2" x 11" paper with a mid-page horizontal fold. Please feel free to utilize this in your own ministries.
Paul’s ministry in Europe began in Macedonia, where in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea, he preached with power and saw many come to faith in Jesus.
But resistance was strong, angry, and at times, violent. From Berea Paul moved on to Athens and Corinth in Achaia (southern Greece). While there, he received a report from Timothy about the church in Thessalonica, to which he responded with 1 Thessalonians. 2 Thessalonians followed later, after another and disturbing report reached him about the situation in Macedonia.
The general impression we get from these two letters is that the church in Thessalonica was faithful and outspoken about its faith in Jesus Christ.
Christians cannot escape the responsibility for exercising sound judgment in every area of life. God intends to bring His shalom to the world through our judgments, so we need to make sure our judgments are in line with His.
In the Christian community, sometimes we give the impression that only the people with big responsibilities matter. They’re the ones that get things done, the ones everyone listens to and wants to learn from, the folks we look to for leadership in our churches and Christian organizations. We need leaders, and sometimes leaders play really important roles in the Kingdom. But more than that, we need energetic, everyday believers, men and women who understand that Kingdom progress is incremental and gradual, that it comes as we lay hold on the little things of life and make them something glorious.