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Ephesians 6:20, Philippians 1:13, Colossians 4:3, Philemon 1:13, 2 Timothy 1:16

Do you find it a chore to write a letter?  Paul wrote 13 letters and five of them were from prison.  He wrote even though he was in chains.  I think that the weight of the chains would have made writing difficult for Paul.

If you do a quick online search regarding letters Paul wrote from prison, you’ll soon see that only Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon are mentioned, not 2 Timothy.  But according to my NIV Bible under, “Title and Background,” when 2 Timothy was written, “…he was again imprisoned in Rome under Emperor Nero about 66-67.  He was languishing in a cold dungeon, chained like a common criminal.  Paul knew that his work was done and that his life was nearly at an end.”

Chances are you’re not in chains.  Is there some Christian good you can do by sending off some handwritten snail mail to someone soon?

 

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Acts 27:1-26

I have been following news on Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas.  My Aunt Alice lives in Houston, so I became concerned when I got an update on my phone today.  I called my mom who let me know that the flooding is about a mile away from Aunt Alice and that her area is also in a tornado warning.

There is one mention of a hurricane in my NIV Bible.  It’s the account in Acts of Paul sailing to Rome.  In that adventure, there was, “a wind of hurricane force, called the ‘northeaster.'”

God knew about that hurricane long ago in Paul’s time and he knows about Hurricane Harvey.  God is in control.

2 Chronicles 34-35

Today after church, my family stopped by a nearby Hy-Vee to get a few groceries we needed.  At checkout, my husband noticed that the clerk’s name was Josiah.  That got us thinking about Josiah of the Bible.  Maybe he was named after the Biblical Josiah.

King Josiah was eight years old when he became king.  At the age of 16, he sought God.  He got rid of idols, smashing them into powder.  At one point in his life, the king of Egypt, Neco, came and Josiah decided to fight him even though Neco didn’t want to fight him.  Neco wanted to fight someone else.  However, Neco asked Josiah not to oppose God.  Despite the warning, Josiah fought anyway, in disguise.  Then, arrows sailed through the air and fatally wounded Josiah.

We all make mistakes in life.  If only Josiah wasn’t itching for a fight.  Jerusalem could have enjoyed their beloved king longer.

 

 

 

Matthew 24:12

In my opinion, Matthew 24:12 is one of the most fascinating verses of the Bible.  In response to His disciples about signs of His coming, Jesus let them know that since wickedness will rise, “…the love of most will grow cold…”

I witnessed a couple of situations that I think can fall within the category of love growing cold.  I was driving in construction and the road narrowed with orange cones flanking both sides.  Without construction, there is a clear left lane to turn left plus a lane to go forward.  The driver of a van tried to get as far left as he/she could.  The light for the main lane was green.  The driver of a large pickup behind the van moved in closer.  The van could only inch forward, still waiting for the opportunity to turn left.  The pickup driver managed to pull around to the right of the van, yelled something at the van driver, made a sustained angry gesture, and drove off.  Love was absent and he acted in a cold way.

Another example of cold love involves a mean girl and an autistic boy.  At our church, there’s a young boy who’s autistic.  Sometimes, he has a troubled look on his face, but a lot of the times he’s excited about something, usually music or geography.  One day though, he heard that “Chloe”, a teenager, was going to be helping in the class.  He suddenly acted in a way we hadn’t seen before.  He went to a corner of the room, facing the wall.  He was very disturbed and said, “She’s my annoyer.  She comes to annoy me.  She’s been here since 2000 and I’m allergic to her.”  It turned out to be a different Chloe, but it was evident that another Chloe hadn’t shown him love and acted in a cold way.

If Jesus said something, it’s true.  If He said that most people’s love will get cold, it will.  So, if a random yelling man makes an angry gesture, a familiar “annoyer” slings more hurtful comments, or any other near-loveless or loveless action happens, just rationally remember that Jesus called it.

Matthew 7:7-11, John 3:16

Matthew 19:14

My mom returned our book, “Heaven is for Real” this past week.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s about a boy, Colton, who claimed to visit Heaven during an appendectomy.  I believe him since his story doesn’t counter the Bible.  Chapter nineteen is entitled, “Jesus Really Loves the Children.”  One example of Jesus’ love for children is in Matthew, where Jesus talked about giving good gifts to children.

I know God loves our kids.  I have a recent example of how much God loves our daughter, Emily.  Emily and I had a Biblical conversation while driving home from an event.  As we pulled in the driveway, I felt satisfied that her questions were answered.  Five days later, I half-listened to a morning devotional, but knew that the writer had talked about losing wedding/engagement rings.  Then, one or two days after that, the kids were practicing tennis in the afternoon when I decided to sit down at a picnic table in a nearby shelter.  Before I sat down, I noticed something shiny and small on the concrete floor.  On closer inspection, I saw it was a child’s toy diamond that had become dislodged from a play ring.  I remembered the devotional about the lost rings and decided to read all of it on my phone.  It reminded me of the Biblical conversation I had with Emily almost a week before.  After the kids were done practicing tennis, as we were walking, I asked Emily if she remembered that conversation.  She did, but she had additional questions that I didn’t know about, but God did.  I listened to her and I again was able to answer her questions.  Evidently, it was important to God that Emily get answers to her extra questions.  Those answers were good gifts from God.  He showed He cared about her questions by lovingly and patiently going to great lengths to get them answered.

Colton was persistent in telling his parents how much Jesus loves kids.  Jesus’ words in the Bible revealed His love for children, and I’ve seen evidence of that love.  If you have kids, please remind them that Jesus loves them!

Luke 4:16, 7:11-17

As I was reading in Luke, I got curious about the town Nain.  This town was where Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead.  After a search in biblegateway.com, I found out Nain is mentioned just once in the Bible.  According to http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/nain/, Nain means “lovely” or “green pastures” in Hebrew.  On this ancient map, it is about ten miles from Nazareth.  Can you find Nain?  http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/israel-first-century.html

Mark 11:1-11

When Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem, they came to the Mount of Olives.  According to wikipedia, the Mount of Olives used to have olive groves all over the slopes.  I like to think that the olive groves were there when Jesus came.  Maybe He and His disciples ate olives there before the rest of the trek to Jerusalem.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_of_Olives

As I read today’s Scripture in English, I wondered what praise Jesus, who spoke Greek, would have actually heard as He rode the colt to Jerusalem.  My Bible says, “Hosanna!”  I looked up the Greek word for Hosanna, and although I don’t think this computer has the characters to type the written word for Hosanna, I can at least type a pronunciation which is very close to the English word.  In Greek, it is pronounced, “Osanna, ” without the “H” sound, and with the last syllable accented.

So, today, you can praise Jesus in English, Greek, or in whatever language you speak.  Happy Palm Sunday!

Genesis 17:5, Genesis 17:15, Revelation 2:17, Psalm 100:4

Has your name ever been changed?  The only time my name was changed was when I got married.  If someone gets a name change for another reason, that involves the Clerk of Court at a courthouse.  There can be a petition to the court, a hearing and pricey fees.  http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/CountyDivision/ChangeofNameProceedings.aspx

When God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah, it didn’t involve a Clerk of Court, petitions, hearings or pricey fees.  God changed other people’s names in the Bible too and He’s not done changing names.  In Heaven, one can receive a new name on a white stone.

Matthew 9:18-22, Matthew 14:22-33, Hebrews 11:6

If you’ve read The New Testament, then you know faith is important.  Early on in Matthew, a lady who had a bleeding condition for years touched Jesus’ cloak.  He was pleased with her faith and she was healed.  About midway through Matthew, Peter tried to walk on the water to Jesus, but he didn’t get very far before he was scared and started sinking.  Jesus seemed irritated that Peter’s faith was lacking.  He asked him why he doubted.

There are many more examples of faith in the Bible.  Faith is important but it’s more than that.  In Hebrews 11:6 we learn that without faith it’s impossible to please God.  Let’s please God by having faith.

 

Romans 1:18-32

Genesis 19:24

Matthew 19:4-6

You probably know about the Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage.  There was much celebration.

Early last week, I took our kids to the new downtown library.  Upstairs, there was a gay book display which had about a dozen books.  It made me sad and I didn’t bring the kids’ attention to it.

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?  In Romans 1, words used to describe homosexuality are, “unnatural,” and “shameful.”

Even though the Supreme Court judges made their decision, God is the Supreme judge over all judges and He will have the final say.  We know that His final say for Sodom and Gomorrah was destruction.

Earlier today, I saw a comparison of Earth to the sun.  The sun dwarfs the earth in a big way.  In light of all of the recent support and celebration for gays, God is so big and powerful, that if He wanted to, He could slam dunk the earth into the sun.

The end of the earth will eventually happen in God’s way.  Make sure you or someone you know isn’t supporting and/or celebrating what He’s against when Jesus comes back.