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Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
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Reading for Today:

  • Jeremiah 17:1–18:23
  • Psalm 118:25-29
  • Proverbs 27:11-12
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

Notes:

Jeremiah 17:1 The sin of Judah. Reasons for the judgment continue here: 1) idolatry (vv. 1–4), 2) relying on the flesh (v. 5), and 3) dishonesty in amassing wealth (v. 11). pen of iron. The names of idols were engraved on the horns of their altars with such a tool. The idea is that Judah’s sin was permanent, etched in them as if into stone. How much different to have God’s word written on the heart.

Jeremiah 18:2–6 potter’s house. God sent Jeremiah to a potter, who gave him an illustration by shaping a vessel. The prophet secured a vessel and used it for his own illustration (19:1ff.). Jeremiah watched the potter at his wheel. The soft clay became misshapen, but the potter shaped it back into a good vessel. God will so do with Judah if she repents.

Jeremiah 18:12 That is hopeless! Jeremiah brought the inhabitants of Jerusalem to the point where they actually stated their condition honestly. The prophet’s threats were useless because they were so far gone—abandoned to their sins and the penalty. All hypocrisy was abandoned in favor of honesty, without repentance. Repentance was not in Israel (v. 18; 19:15). This explains a seeming paradox, that Israel can repent and avert judgment, yet Jeremiah is not to pray for Israel (7:16; 11:14). It would do no good to pray for their change since they steeled themselves against any change.

1 Thessalonians 3:2 establish…encourage…your faith. This was a common ministry concern and practice of Paul (Acts 14:22; 15:32; 18:23). Paul’s concern did not focus on health, wealth, self-esteem, or ease of life, but rather the spiritual quality of life. Their faith was of supreme importance in Paul’s mind as evidenced by 5 mentions in vv. 1–10. Faith includes the foundation of the body of doctrine (Jude 3) and their believing response to God in living out that truth (Heb. 11:6).

1 Thessalonians 3:5 the tempter. Satan had already been characterized as a hinderer (2:18) and now as a tempter in the sense of trying/testing for the purpose of causing failure (Matt. 4:3; 1 Cor. 7:5; James 1:12–18). Paul was not ignorant of Satan’s schemes (2 Cor. 2:11; 11:23) nor vulnerable to his methods (Eph. 6:11), so Paul took action to counterattack Satan’s expected maneuver and to assure that all his efforts were not useless.


DAY 16: What was Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians?

“Now may our God…direct our way to you” (1 Thess. 3:11). Paul knew that Satan had hindered his return (2:18).Even though Timothy had visited and returned with a good report, Paul still felt the urgency to see his spiritual children again. Paul followed the biblical admonition of the Psalms (Ps. 37:1–5) and Proverbs (Prov. 3:5, 6) to entrust difficult situations to God.

“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another” (v. 12). With over 30 positive and negative “one anothers” in the New Testament, love appears by far most frequently (4:9; Rom. 12:10; 13:8; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11; 2 John 5). It is the overarching term that includes all of the other “one anothers.” Its focus is on believers in the church. “And to all.” In light of the fact that God loved the world and sent His Son to die for human sin, believers who were loved when they were unlovely (Rom. 5:8) are to love unbelievers (Matt. 5:43,44). Other New Testament commands concerning all men include pursuing peace (Rom. 12:18), doing good (Gal. 6:10), being patient (Phil. 4:5), praying (1 Tim. 2:1), showing consideration (Titus 3:2), and honoring (1 Pet. 2:17).

“So that He may establish your hears blameless in holiness before our God.” Paul prayed that there would be no grounds of accusation because of unholiness. “At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” Since this exact term is not used elsewhere in the New Testament of angels but is commonly used for believers, it is best to understand the coming of the Lord to rapture all His church and take them to heaven to enjoy His presence.



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • Jeremiah 15:1–16:21
  • Psalm 118:21-24
  • Proverbs 27:10
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:1-20

Notes:

Jeremiah 15:1–9 It was ineffective at this point to intercede for the nation. Even prayers by Moses (Num. 14:11–25) and Samuel (1 Sam. 12:19–25), eminent in intercession, would not defer judgment, where unrepentance persists. Chief among things provoking judgment was the intense sin of King Manasseh. Noted in v. 4, this provocation is recounted in 2 Kings 21:1–18, 2 Kings 23:26, which says the Lord did not relent from His anger because of this.

Jeremiah 16:2 You shall not take a wife. Since destruction and exile are soon to fall on Judah, the prophet must not have a wife and family. God’s kindness will keep him from anxiety over them in the awful situation of suffering and death (v. 4).

Psalm 118:22 stone…builders rejected…chief cornerstone. Peter identified the chief cornerstone in the New Testament as Christ (Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7). In the parable of the vineyard (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10–11; Luke 20:17), the rejected son of the vineyard owner is likened to the rejected stone which became the chief cornerstone. Christ was that rejected stone. Jewish leaders were pictured as builders of the nation. Now, this passage in v. 22 has a historical basis which is paralleled in its major features by analogy with the rejection of Christ who came to deliver/save the nation. Moses’ experience, as a type of Christ, pictured Christ’s rejection. On at least 3 occasions, Moses (stone) was rejected by the Jews (builders) as their God sent the deliverer (chief cornerstone). For examples see Exodus 2:11–15; 14:10–14; 16:1–20.

1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8 gentle…as a nursing mother. Paul may have had in mind Moses’ portrayal of himself as a nursing mother to Israel (Num.11:12). He used the same tender picture with the Corinthians (2 Cor. 12:14, 15) and the Galatians (Gal. 4:19). Paul’s affection for the Thessalonians was like that felt by a mother willing to sacrifice her life for her child as was Christ who was willing to give up His own life for those who would be born again into the family of God (Matt. 20:28).


DAY 15: What is the effect of the Word of God working in a person’s life?

“We also thank God without ceasing,” Paul said, “because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13). Paul’s message from God is equated with the Old Testament (Mark 7:13). It was the message taught by the apostles (Acts 4:31; 6:2). Peter preached it to the Gentiles (Acts 11:1). It was the word Paul preached on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:5, 7, 44, 48, 49), his second (Acts 16:32; 17:13; 18:11), and his third (Acts 19:10).

“Which also effectively works in you who believe.” The work of God’s Word includes:

saving (Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23);
teaching and training (2 Tim. 3:16, 17);
guiding (Ps. 119:105);
counseling (Ps. 119:24);
reviving (Ps. 119:154);
restoring (Ps. 19:7);
warning and rewarding (Ps. 19:11);
nourishing (1 Pet. 2:2);
judging (Heb. 4:12);
sanctifying (John 17:17);
freeing (John 8:31, 32);
enriching (Col. 3:16);
protecting (Ps. 119:11);
strengthening (Ps. 119:28);
making wise (Ps. 119:17–100);
rejoicing the heart (Ps. 19:8);
and prospering (Josh. 1:8, 9).



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • Jeremiah 13:1–14:22
  • Psalm 118:15-20
  • Proverbs 27:9
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Notes:

Jeremiah 13:1 a linen sash. One of several signs Jeremiah enacted to illustrate God’s message involved putting a linen sash (generally the inner garment against the skin) around his waist. This depicted Israel’s close intimacy with God in the covenant, so that they could glorify Him (v. 11). do not put it in water. Signified the moral filth of the nation. Buried and allowed time to rot (v. 7), the sash pictured Israel as useless to God due to sin (v. 10). Hiding it by the Euphrates (v. 6) pointed to the land of Babylon, where God would exile Israel to deal with her pride (v. 9).

Psalm 118:19 gates of righteousness. Most likely a figurative reference, i.e., spiritual gates through which the righteous pass (Ps. 100:4) rather than to the gates of the temple.

Psalm 118:20 the gate. This points to the entryway which leads to the presence of the Lord. Jesus may have had this psalm in mind when He taught about “the narrow gate” in Matthew 7:13, 14.

1 Thessalonians 1:6 followers. The Thessalonians had become third-generation mimics of Christ. Christ is the first; Paul is the second; and the Thessalonians are the third (1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1). joy of the Holy Spirit. Joy in the midst of suffering evidenced the reality of their salvation, which included the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).


DAY 14: Why was Paul writing to the Thessalonians?

Paul had originally traveled 100 miles from Philippi via Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica on his second missionary journey (A.D. 50; Acts 16:1–18:22). As his custom was upon arrival, he sought out the synagogue in which to teach the local Jews the gospel (Acts 17:1, 2). On that occasion, he dialogued with them from the Old Testament concerning Christ’s death and resurrection in order to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was truly the promised Messiah (Acts 17:2, 3). Some Jews believed and soon after, Hellenistic proselytes and some wealthy women of the community also were converted (Acts 17:4).

Because of their effective ministry, the Jews had Paul’s team evicted from the city (Acts 17:5–9), so they went south to evangelize Berea (Acts 17:10).There Paul had a similar experience to Thessalonica with conversions followed by hostility, so the believers sent Paul away. He headed for Athens, while Silvanus and Timothy remained in Berea (Acts 17:11–14).They rejoined Paul in Athens (Acts 17:15, 16 with 1 Thess. 3:1), from which Timothy was later dispatched back to Thessalonica (3:2). Apparently, Silas afterwards traveled from Athens to Philippi while Paul journeyed on alone to Corinth (Acts 18:1). It was after Timothy and Silvanus rejoined Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:5) that he wrote 1 Thessalonians in response to Timothy’s good report of the church.

Paul undoubtedly had multiple reasons for writing, all coming out of his supreme concern for the flock from which he had been separated. Some of Paul’s purposes clearly included: 1) encouraging the church (1:2–10); 2) answering false allegations (2:1–12); 3) comforting the persecuted flock (2:13–16); 4) expressing his joy in their faith (2:17–3:13); 5) reminding them of the importance of moral purity (4:1–8); 6) condemning the sluggard lifestyle (4:9–12); 7) correcting a wrong understanding of prophetic events (4:13–5:11); 8) defusing tensions within the flock (5:12–15); and 9) exhorting the flock in the basics of Christian living (5:16–22).



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • Jeremiah 11:1–12:17
  • Psalm 118:10-14
  • Proverbs 27:8
  • Colossians 4:1-18

Notes:

Jeremiah 11:15 My beloved. A phrase showing God’s sensitive regard for His relationship to Israel as a nation (2:2; 12:7). It does not carry the assumption, however, that every individual is spiritually saved (5:10a). lewd deeds. Shameful idolatry that defiled all that befits true temple worship, such as the examples in Ezekiel 8:6–13. These were gross violations of the first 3 commandments (Ex. 20:2–7). holy flesh. In some way, they corrupted the animal sacrifices by committing sin which they enjoyed.

Jeremiah 12:5 If you have run. The Lord replied to Jeremiah telling him that if he grew faint with lesser trials and felt like quitting, what would he do when the battle got even harder? floodplain of the Jordan. The river in flood stage overflowed its banks into a plain that grew up as a thicket. The point is that Jeremiah needed to be ready to deal with tougher testings, pictured by the invader’s overwhelming the land like a flood, or posing high danger as in the Jordan thicket where concealed wild animals could terrify a person.

Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly. The Greek word means “to be courageously persistent” or “to hold fast and not let go” and refers here to persistent prayer (Acts 1:14; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 11:5–10; 18:1–8). being vigilant. In its most general sense this means to stay awake while praying. But Paul has in mind the broader implication of staying alert for specific needs about which to pray rather than being vague and unfocused.

Colossians 4:6 with grace. To speak what is spiritual, wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complimentary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful. seasoned with salt. Just as salt not only flavors but prevents corruption, the Christian’s speech should act not only as a blessing to others but as a purifying influence within the decaying society of the world.

Colossians 4:18 by my own hand. Paul usually dictated his letters to an amanuensis (recording secretary), but would often add his own greeting in his own writing at the end of his letters (1 Cor. 16:21; Gal. 6:11; 2 Thess. 3:17; Philem. 19).


DAY 13: What were the Prison Epistles, and what prison was Paul in when he wrote them?

Four of Paul’s letters are grouped as the Prison Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Each of them includes clear internal references to the writer’s prison surroundings (Eph. 3:1; 4:1; 6:20; Phil. 1:7, 13, 14, 17; Col. 4:3, 10, 18; Philem. 1, 9, 10, 13, 23). The similarities between the details of Paul’s imprisonment given in Acts and in the Prison Epistles support the traditional position that the letters were written from Rome. Among these details are: 1) Paul was guarded by soldiers (Acts 28:16; Phil. 1:13, 14); 2) Paul was permitted to receive visitors (Acts 28:30; Phil. 4:18); and 3) Paul had the opportunity to preach the gospel (Acts 28:31; Eph. 6:18–20; Phil. 1:12–14; Col.4:2-4).

Caesarea and Ephesus have also been suggested as Paul’s possible location when he wrote at least some of these letters. Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea for two years (Acts 24:27), but his opportunities to receive visitors and proclaim the gospel were severely limited during that time (Acts 23:35). The Prison Epistles express Paul’s hope for a favorable verdict (Phil. 1:25; 2:24; Philem. 23). In Caesarea, however, Paul’s only hope for release was either to bribe Felix (Acts 24:26) or agree to stand trial at Jerusalem under Festus (Acts 25:9). In the Prison Epistles, Paul expected the decision in his case to be final (Phil. 1:20–23; 2:17, 23). That could not have been true at Caesarea, since Paul could and did appeal his case to the emperor.

Ephesus has been the other suggested location. Most of the same difficulties faced by the Caesarea suggestion face those who support Ephesus. The most telling argument against Ephesus as the point of origin for the Prison Epistles, however, is that there is no evidence that Paul was ever imprisoned at Ephesus.

In light of the serious difficulties faced by both the Caesarean and Ephesian views, no reason remains for rejecting the traditional view that Paul wrote the Prison Epistles from Rome while awaiting a hearing before the emperor on his appeal for justice as a Roman citizen.



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • Jeremiah 9:1–10:25
  • Psalm 118:5-9
  • Proverbs 27:7
  • Colossians 3:1-25

Notes:

Jeremiah 9:1 waters,…tears. Jeremiah cared so greatly that he longed for the relief of flooding tears or a place of retreat to be free of the burden of Judah’s sins for a while.

Jeremiah 10:7 King. God, who sovereignly created and controls all things (vv. 12, 16; Deut. 4:35), is alone the eternal, living God (Pss. 47; 145) worthy of trust. By contrast, earthly idols have to be fashioned by men (v. 9) and will perish (v. 15).

Colossians 3:2 Set your mind. This can also be translated “think” or “have this inner disposition.” As a compass points north, the believer’s entire disposition should point itself toward the things of heaven. Heavenly thoughts can only come by understanding heavenly realities from Scripture (Rom. 8:5; 12:2; Phil. 1:23; 4:8; 1 John 2:15–17).

Colossians 3:20 in all things. The only limit on a child’s obedience is when parents demand something contrary to God’s Word. For example, some children will act contrary to their parents’ wishes even in coming to Christ (Luke 12:51–53; 14:26).


DAY 12: What should a believer’s relationship be to the Word of God?

In Colossians 3:16, Paul says to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” This is Scripture, the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, the word of revelation He brought into the world. “Dwell” means “to live in” or “to be at home,” and “richly” may be more fully rendered “abundantly or extravagantly rich.” Scripture should permeate every aspect of the believer’s life and control every thought, word, and deed (Ps. 119:11; Matt. 13:9; Phil. 2:16; 2 Tim. 2:15). This concept is parallel to being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18 since the results of each are the same. In Ephesians 5:18, the power and motivation for all the effects is the filling of the Holy Spirit; here it is the word richly dwelling. Those two realities are really one. The Holy Spirit fills the life controlled by His Word. This emphasizes that the filling of the Spirit is not some ecstatic or emotional experience, but a steady controlling of the life by obedience to the truth of God’s Word.

“Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (v. 17). The early church sang the Psalms. Old Testament psalms put to music, primarily, but the term was used also of vocal music in general. “Hymns”—perhaps songs of praise distinguished from the Psalms which exalted God, in that they focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. “Spiritual songs”—probably songs of personal testimony expressing truths of the grace of salvation in Christ. “With grace in your hearts to the Lord”—not just public, but private. The Lord Himself is both the source and the object of the believer’s song-filled heart. That such music pleases God can be seen in the account of the temple dedication, when the singing so honored the Lord that His glory came down (2 Chr. 5:12, 14).



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources
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Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

KJV Listen

[Thursday] we examined two kinds of destructive speech that attempt to achieve ulterior motives. When we flatter someone, we deceive that person in order to gain an advantage for ourselves.
Today's 2-minute sound-bite with Pastor Greg Laurie.
Today's 2-minute sound-bite with Pastor Greg Laurie.
Today's 2-minute sound-bite with Pastor Greg Laurie.
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