December 24, 2021Day 358
These messages are good in several different ways. First, they are historical— messages to God's people through time. Second, they can be messages to churches or groups in any time; the Holy Spirit can always direct any Bible verse to anyone in need of it. Third, they can be used in that same way by the Spirit to direct personal messages to one individual. Is there anything in this chapter that speaks to you personally today? What does it tell you about Jesus?
December 23, 2021Day 357
Sometimes Bible words become so familiar we forget what they mean. “Revelation” is like that. Literally, it means revealing. This means the name of this book is “that which shows Jesus.” Have you ever looked at Revelation that way? That's what we're going to do. In this first chapter, it's easy because it actually describes Him in verses 13-16. How is He different here than when He was on earth? Name three things you learn about Jesus in Revelation 1.
December 22, 2021Day 356
It is possible that the Jude who wrote this letter was actually the brother of Jesus, but we don't know for sure. He was going to write a general pastoral letter of encouragement, but then he heard that there were teachers of falsehood leading the people astray, so he hurried to combat that danger. It is very interesting to compare this letter with 2 Peter. What similarities and differences do you find? How are both these letters, so many centuries old, particularly applicable to our times?
December 21, 2021Day 355
Nobody knows who Gaius is, but John clearly loves him. It seems that the false teachers mentioned in the last letter might be usurping authority over the church. John is getting old; this might not be his last letter, but it's the last one we have, and he wants to be sure his “children” in the truth follow God alone, and no one else. Name three things John recommends Gaius and other Christians to do.
December 20, 2021Day 354
We can't tell for sure if the “chosen lady” in the salutation is one particular woman, or means the church as a whole, with “her children” as the congregation. Either way, this personal little letter is encouragement to stand firm against an false teachers that come along. Again, John equates love with walking in Jesus' teachings. Why and how will being loving protect you from false teachings?
1 John 5
December 19, 2021Day 353
There have been times and places where people considered themselves blessed if they could get their hands on one small bit of God's Word. If they had just this chapter, they could find the reassurance of salvation. Why does John say he wrote all this down? Do you personally know you have God's gift of salvation? If it sounds like John is saying that Christians never sin, just reread earlier chapters. We all sin, he says, and we all have an advocate, but we don't deliberately keep on sinning. Instead, we trust in the One who has come, and who has overcome the world for us.
1 John 4
December 18, 2021Day 352
There are so many wonderful verses in this chapter! Perhaps you want to choose a different one from the study verse. Why do you think John concentrates so much on love, love, love? How much difference does it make to your understanding of the Great Judgment Day, whether you think of God as loving you passionately, or as waiting to condemn you? Which have you been thinking lately, and is there anything you need to ask God to change about your attitude?
Love and Hate
December 17, 2021Day 351
How do we know we belong to God? By our love. We love God who first loved us, and we love each other. That can sometimes be easy (sometimes not) but the amazing thing is that we also love those who hate us. John says, don't be surprised—they hate Jesus, too. But He still loves them, and longs to save them, and He can share that unexplainable love with us. Notice verse 21. Sometimes our own heart can be the most condemning. But John says, don't listen— Jesus loves us even if we think we don't deserve it.
February 22, 2023Day 53
It must have been a confusing and long-term job, to gather up all the Jews in Babylon who wanted to go home and rebuild Jerusalem, figure out their tribes, and count them. Especially important is to determine who were from the tribe of Levi, and of those, who were in the priestly line. The numbers are relatively few. For example, instead of 4,000 gatekeepers and 4,000 singers, we have 139 combined (vs. 41-2). Some people who believe they are of the priestly line but can’t find records are told to stand aside until a priest with Urim and Thummim can determine the truth from God. They are determined to do things right this time!