Leaving Laodicea
346 - The Blessings of Being a Beggar

346 - The Blessings of Being a Beggar

May 11, 2016
In Matthew 5:1-12, we find a paradox known as the Beatitudes, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.  And in reading them today, they seem illogical and out of touch with real life.  Consider these questions:

How can you be blessed when you’re in mourning?
How is being poor in spirit a good thing?
In fact, how is being poor ever a good thing?
And how can you possibly call the meek blessed?
I always thought the strong were the ones who had it all together.  Is that not true anymore?

But these teachings of Jesus are not about life in the now, but about life in His Kingdom.  They speak of the realities of living with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.  And, by the way, they’re not a paradox.  They’re realities of life that transcend our feeble existence on earth.  They are, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”

Want to know more about living in His Kingdom?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:3.

344 - Steps to Freedom in Christ

344 - Steps to Freedom in Christ

April 24, 2016
In closing his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul said the following to one of his "fellow laborers" in the faith, a man named Archippus. 

Colossians 4:17 - And say to (who) Archippus, "Take heed (or, consider, discern, to see with the eye, to watch carefully) to the ministry (or, service) which you have received (how) in the Lord, (why) that you may fulfill (or, to render full, to complete, to bring to effect) it."

Archippus probably struggled, much like Timothy, with insecurity, timidity, and a lack of boldness. Paul reminded him that his ministry was from the Lord and his calling and purpose in life was to fulfill what God had created him to do.  And nothing more.

Do you ever struggle with the same thing?  Do you ever wonder why you have such a hard time getting beyond your past and present failures?  Do you sometimes feel God had a plan for your life but now, because of your disobedience, He has passed on by never wanting to use you again?  If it was possible to move beyond that crippling thought, would you be interested in finding out how?

If so, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Colossians 4:16-18.

342 - Understanding the Times in Which We Live

342 - Understanding the Times in Which We Live

April 4, 2016
Twice in the Proverbs we find the following warning:

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished - Proverbs 22:3.

And again,

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished - Proverbs 27:12.

But what does this mean?  And does this warning still apply to us today?  Absolutely— and even more so than when it was written so many thousands of years ago.  In fact, it's a vital warning to the church today.

Want to know more? Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 2 Timothy 4:1-4.

341 - The Resurrection Story in Philemon

341 - The Resurrection Story in Philemon

March 27, 2016
There is a passage in the letter to Philemon that sums up the entire Easter, or Resurrection Day message.  It tells the timeless story of Christ in a letter from Paul (representing Christ), sent to Philemon (representing God the Father) who was the one wronged, about Onesimus (representing you and me) the guilty, runaway slave, that Paul calls his son in the faith,"that is, my own heart" (Philemon 10).  

If then you count me as a partner (or, companion, partaker, comrade, one who shares in everything), (then) receive him (how) as you would me.  But if he has wronged you (or, hurt, damaged, injured, to act unjustly or wickedly, to sin against) or (what) owes anything, (then) put that (or, reckon) on my account - Philemon 17-18.

What a wonderful Resurrection story found in Philemon.  Do you want to know more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Colossians 4:7-9 and the letter to Philemon.

334 - Put On, Put Off, and Put to Death

334 - Put On, Put Off, and Put to Death

January 25, 2016
In Colossians 3 we see the commands to put off, put on, and put to death various aspects of our life.  Consider the following:

put to death your members” – 3:5
“you yourself are to put off all these” – 3:8
put off the old man with his deeds” – 3:9
put on the new man who is renewed” – 3:10
put on tender mercies” – 3:12
“above all these things put on love” – 3:14

You would do well to carefully examine what about you is to be put to death (or, to mortify, kill, make dead, to deprive of force and vigor, to render powerless, impotent) and what we are to put on (or, to sink into, to clothe oneself, to be enveloped) and to put off (or, renounce, throw off, lay aside or down, to cast away).

Want to know more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Colossians 3:12-17.

333 - Are You Chosen, Holy and Beloved?

333 - Are You Chosen, Holy and Beloved?

January 24, 2016
There are three words that Paul uses to describe each of us: elect (or, chosen), holy and beloved. He uses these descriptive words in the first part of Colossians 3:12.

Therefore (based on the previous verses), as the elect (or, chosen, picked out, one selected) of God (or, by God), (defined as) holy (hagios – set apart, sanctified, consecrated, a saint, a most holy thing, its fundamental idea is separation and devotion to the service of God, sharing in God’s purity and abstaining from earth’s defilement) and beloved (agapao – to be dearly loved, esteemed, to delight in).

Does this describe you? Do you see yourself as chosen by God, holy in His sight, and beloved above all? I sure hope so. But if not, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Colossians 3:12.

332 - The Deeper Things of God

332 - The Deeper Things of God

December 13, 2015
You know, there's more to our life in Christ than most of us realize.  And that's because most of us are satisfied and content with far less than what God has planned for us.  Consider one of the primary purposes of acquiring wisdom:

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, (why) to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles - Proverbs 1:5-6.

The climax, the zenith of wisdom is to be able to understand an "enigma" (or, a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand, also a riddle, a symbol or parable, a discourse requiring an interpretation) and the words of the wise and their "riddles" (or, difficult questions, perplexing sayings, statements with double meanings, or dark or obscure utterances).  It is the ability to comprehend the deep, dark sayings of the Lord.  The hidden truths, the obscure meanings of His Words.

Yes, that is our inheritance in Him via His wisdom.  So how are you doing in the wisdom arena?  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study of Proverbs 1:5-6.

328 - Your True Nature = Your First Thought

328 - Your True Nature = Your First Thought

November 15, 2015
Believe it or not, your first thought about something is a telling indicator of your core nature.  It's your knee-jerk reaction that shows what you are made of and who you belong to— the god of this world or the One you claim as your Lord.

Ask yourself this:  When you're faced with a problem or an inconvenience, what’s your first thought?

Is it, how does this problem affect me?
Or, is it how does this problem affect my family, or others, or the ones I love?

Is your first thought about you?  Or is it about the welfare of others?

Your answer may be a key indicator as to your true nature.  And your true nature is the single, most important indicator as to whether or not you're saved.  Confused?  Maybe a bit angry?  Good.  Then keep listening to find out what you need to do.

The following is a study on Colossians 2:11-15.

323 - How to Survive the Great Deception

323 - How to Survive the Great Deception

September 20, 2015
The Great Deception we are facing today centers around the same issues the church at Colossae was struggling with.  And it all has to do with this one simple question:  Who is Jesus?

Is He really the only way to the Father?
Is He really the only way to heaven?
Why is He right and everyone else wrong?
Isn't that intolerant and judgmental?
And isn't being intolerant and judgmental a sin?

Hence, the Great Deception.  Want to find out how to survive the Great Deception?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Colossians 2:4-7.

322 - Sending Me to You in the Form of Him

322 - Sending Me to You in the Form of Him

September 14, 2015
In John 14 we see Jesus, trying to encourage His disciples, telling them a wondrous truth.  He said, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another (allos— another, but of the same kind and essence, of equal quality) Helper, that He may abide with you forever" (John 14:16).

Or, to put it another way, Jesus said, "I'm leaving.  But I'm going to send Me to you in the form of Him— to be with you forever."

Really?  But what does that mean?  And what are the implications of that amazing truth?

Much.  So much.  Keep listening to find out more.

The following is a study on the Holy Spirit.