Monday, July 30, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Ark of Salvation

Date: July 30, 2012 10:15 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Ark of Salvation

Jesus: The Ark of Salvation

"Every living thing...was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air... Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark."  (Genesis 7:23)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 9

The natural man mocks the truth that God created the universe. He also scoffs at a literal Adam, and he sneers at a universal flood and the enormous vessel - the ark - that carried Noah and his family to safety. In doing so, people mock Jesus to whom these historical facts point. First, like Jesus whose mission to save His people was planned many years in advance, so was the ark. Both Jesus and the ark are revealed solely by God's Word. The ark, like Jesus, was intended as a refuge from the wrath of God.

Noah and his family were invited into the ark (Genesis 7:1), just as sinners are invited into Christ. The ark was a place of absolute security. So is our Lord who secures eternal salvation for us. Other symbols abound. The ark was made from wood - fallen trees. Wood symbolizes Christ's humanity here and elsewhere in Scripture, and speaks of the Anointed One who was "cut off" (Daniel 9:26). Finally, the ark had only one door. There is only one way to eternal life - through the Savior who gave His life for you.

Insight: Fools Mock Eternal Judgment. But The Bible Is Clear That God's Wrath Is Real. Only Faith In The Savior - Our Ark - Will Save From It.

+DEV+ Jesus: Foreshadowed By Noah

Date: July 30, 2012 12:01 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Foreshadowed By Noah

Jesus: Foreshadowed By Noah

"This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. ...Noah did everything just as God commanded him."  (Genesis 6:9, 22)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 8

Of all the people on earth at the time of the great flood, only Noah was seen by God as a "righteous man" who "walked with God." Noah was honorable, justified through His faith in God's word. Imagine; God told Noah that He was going to send a flood, and to start building an enormous ship - all alone! By faith, Noah did exactly what he was told to do. By his work, Noah saved the human race from extinction.

In the same way, Jesus came to earth to do His Father's will. His life was characterized implicitly by walking with the Father and completing the work that He was given to do. He is the only truly righteous man who ever walked the earth, and He also came to save His family - the people of God - from judgment. Both Noah and Jesus were scorned by those condemned to die. Both men were involved in the establishment of a covenant. Noah provided food for his family and for the animals in his charge. In the same way, Jesus feeds us as our "Bread of Life." Give Him the praise today for saving you from sin's penalty, death.

Insight: Jesus Reminds Us In Matthew 24:37, That Just As In The Days Of Noah, God Will Come To Judge The Earth Again In Righteousness.

Friday, July 27, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Righteous Judge

Date: July 27, 2012 1:29 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Righteous Judge

Jesus: The Righteous Judge

"The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become... [and] said, 'I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth... for I am grieved that I have made them.'"  (Genesis 6:5-7)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 6:1-13

Paul speaks of Jesus in Acts 17:31: "For [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." Too often when we think of Jesus, we think of Him in His humble, earthly ministry. But one day soon, He is coming in great majesty and power to judge the people of the earth in righteousness. It will not be the first time.

In the pre-flood (antediluvian) world, God's patience with human wickedness ran out. He brought about a flood that judged mankind's wickedness and snuffed out the lives of every creature on the earth, except a remnant saved by grace in the Ark. It was but a foreshadowing of what was to come when the Lord returns. As Peter says in 2 Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." Have you put your trust Jesus, the righteous judge and loving Savior?

Insight: We Know Of Jesus' Love And Mercy; He Is Also Just. Thank God That We Can Hide In The Holy One Who Took Our Sin Upon Himself.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Foreshadowed By Enoch

Date: July 26, 2012 12:36 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Foreshadowed By Enoch

Jesus: Foreshadowed By Enoch

"Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."  (Romans 6:11)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 5:21-24

Only three men in the Bible were taken up physically into the heavens, not to be seen again on earth. Enoch was the first. We read in Hebrews 11:5, "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God." The second was Elijah, who while walking with his protege’, Elisha, was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). Both men also foreshadowed Jesus.

Our Lord Jesus, forty days after His resurrection, "...was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight" (Acts 1:9). Unlike Enoch or Elijah, Jesus experienced death. However, He was very much alive when He was taken up into the air. Notice also from Hebrews that Enoch "pleased God." In this he foreshadowed our Lord, too. We read in Matthew 3:17, "And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" Put your trust in the one who has prepared a place in heaven for you.

Insight: Enoch Reminds Us That Believers' Bodies, Too, Will Be Translated Into Heaven - Taken Up To Be With Our Lord Jesus In Glory  (1 Corinthians 15:52).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Foreshadowed By Abel

Date: July 25, 2012 12:49 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Foreshadowed By Abel

Jesus: Foreshadowed By Abel

"But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering."  (Genesis 4:4)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 4

The first couple had great hopes for their firstborn, Cain, because of the promise of God in Genesis 3:15 that a son - born of a woman - would be the Redeemer and crush Satan's head. Little did they imagine that their firstborn would be a murderer and not a deliverer. It was his younger brother who foreshadowed the future Redeemer, Jesus.

First, Abel was a shepherd, just as our Lord was "that great Shepherd of the sheep" (Hebrews 13:20). Second, Abel was a righteous man. Third, he was murdered by his brother, just as Jesus was murdered by His brothers - the Jewish leaders. Finally, Abel brought to God a pleasing and acceptable sacrifice. Hebrews 11:4 says, "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings..." What was wrong with Cain's offering? Weren't grain offerings prescribed later in Leviticus 2:1? But they weren't what God had prescribed to Cain. A bloody sacrifice, brought in faith, is what was required.

Cain And Abel Teach Us That Sin Is Powerful, Lurking In Everyone. Only God, Approached By Faith Alone In Christ's Blood, Can Deal With It.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Bloody Sacrifice

Date: July 24, 2012 1:01 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Bloody Sacrifice

Jesus: The Bloody Sacrifice

"The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them."  (Genesis 3:21)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 3:17-24

Although Adam and Eve did not immediately die when they ate of the forbidden tree, their relationship with their Creator was severed. They died spiritually and lost sweet communion with God. Ashamed to appear before Him, they attempted to cover their nakedness with leaves. But God's Word says that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22). The Bible's first foreshadowing of the principle of substitutionary atonement - that One can die in place of the many - is here in Genesis.

Throughout the Old Testament we read of thousands of animal sacrifices. Their blood runs thick. Yet Hebrews 10:4 says that " is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." Why then did God require their deaths? To point to the One whose death could atone for sin - the Lord Jesus Christ. Only His blood is effective in dealing with sin - the One for the many. The restoration of sweet fellowship with the Creator is foreshadowed in the death of animals whose skin covered the first couple's nakedness.

Insight: People May Try To Hide From God In Religious Ceremonies And "Good Works." Fellowship With The Creator Is Through The Blood Of Jesus.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Seed of the Woman

Date: July 22, 2012 10:41 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Seed of the Woman

Jesus: The Seed of the Woman

"And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."  (Genesis 3:15)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 3

This verse has been called the proto-evangel. That simply means it's the first allusion to the gospel of grace in Scripture. God made human beings good, but Adam and Eve chose to commit cosmic rebellion against their Creator. Their sin plunged the world beneath God's curse, and we became enslaved to sin and death. How could we ever have communion with a holy God again? The answer is here. The "offspring of the woman" would someday crush Satan's head and set His people free.

Paul writes in Galatians 4:4-5, "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons." Jesus had to become a man to pay for man's sin (Hebrews 2:17). But to avoid original sin - the passing of the sin nature from parents to children - Jesus needed to be born supernaturally, through a woman by the Holy Spirit. Jesus became for us fully human, and yet is fully God. Only He provides the way to the Father (John 14:6).

Insight: Why Does Paul Speak Only Of Sons In Galatians 4:5? In The Old Testament, Only Sons Inherited Full Rights. Sisters, You Are Included As Sons!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Second Adam

Date: July 19, 2012 11:55 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Second Adam

Jesus: The Second Adam

"And the LORD God commanded [Adam], ' must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'"  (Genesis 2:16-17)
Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Perhaps the most important person in the Word of God - other than Jesus Himself - is our first father, Adam. For this reason, his historicity and origins are under attack today as never before. Some falsely say that he's but a legend - a product of ancient mythology. Others say we humans evolved from lower life forms, and so Adam never really existed. But it is crucial that we take the words of Adam's creation literally. "...God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him..." (Genesis 1:27).

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." He obviously believed Adam to be an historical person. More importantly, Adam is the only way to understand what Jesus came to do - to restore the fallen image of God in man. Adam sinned in a garden, and we died. Jesus - the second Adam - lived sinlessly in a desert, and gave His people life everlasting.

Insight: Thank You, Lord, For New Life Given Freely To Us By Faith Alone In Christ's Life, Death, And Resurrection. He Has Destroyed The Last Enemy: Death.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Author of Life

Date: July 18, 2012 12:33 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Author of Life

Jesus: The Author of Life

 "...the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."  (Genesis 2:7)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 2

One of the most fundamental questions we can ask about the universe is, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Some say the rocks are eternal, but there's no evidence of that. Some figure the beginning was a giant explosion, "The Big Bang." But where did the stuff come from that exploded to create the universe? The answer is that for something to exist today, something - or someone - must have the power of existence within Himself. That Someone is Jesus Christ.

In John 5:26, Jesus said, "For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself." [Jesus is] "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Revelation 22:13). Jesus is the pre-existent Creator who brings life out of death. Death on the cross could not defeat the Author of Life. He lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died, rising again for our justification. One day soon, the Giver of Life will come again and resurrect this strife-torn universe.

Insight: When People Mock Jesus Or Pay Him Faint Praise, They Pronounce Judgment On Him Who Gives Them "Life And Breath And Everything Else"  (Acts 17:25).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Author of Light

Date: July 17, 2012 1:05 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Author of Light

Jesus: The Author of Light

  "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."  (Genesis 1:3)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 1:1-5

In the narrative of creation we are told that, at first, the earth was characterized by darkness. When I was a teenager, my parents took the family to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. There, down in the depths of the earth, the ranger asked us all to be still while he momentarily turned off the lights. In total darkness, it was as if I was absolutely blind! Similarly, the earth without the creative power of the Lord bringing light would be in total darkness.

Another kind of darkness covers the earth today. John continues his gospel speaking of this darkness: "In [Jesus - the Word] was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it" (John 1:4-5). The darkness of this world is a deep spiritual darkness. Without the re-creative power of the Holy Spirit bringing "light" in the form of the new birth, we are totally blind to the gospel of truth and grace. Christ's Spirit penetrates the darkness and brings light to the blind and lost.

Insight: Thank You, Lord, That Faith In You Is A Gift Of The Holy Spirit  (Ephesians 2:8-9) Who Opened My Spiritual Eyes To See Jesus, My Savior.

Monday, July 16, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Creator and Re-Creator

Date: July 15, 2012 11:56 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Creator and Re-Creator

Jesus: Creator and Re-Creator

"In the beginning God created the heavens  and the earth."  (Genesis 1:1)
Scripture Focus: John 1:1-5

Have you ever noticed how similarly John's gospel and the book of Genesis begin? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:1-3). It has been said that the entire Bible is merely a footnote to Genesis 1:1. So also, the entire New Testament is like a footnote to John's brief introduction of the One who also came to save His people from their sins.

Think about that for just a second. The self-existent, all-powerful Creator of the universe - the God who flung the stars into space and "calls them each by name" (Psalm 147:4) - loves you and me, knows us by name and humbled Himself even "to death on a cross" for us (Philippians 2:8). The Creator came to earth to be the Re-Creator! To us in the bonds of sin and death, He brings new life by His grace. And one day soon, this present fallen world will be renewed in righteousness to truly reflect His marvelous glory.

Insight: Ponder The Fact Every Day That The God Who Created Everything Out Of Nothing Loves You With A Perfect, Everlasting Love.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

+DEV+ The Final Word

Date: July 12, 2012 12:16 AM
Topic: +DEV+ The Final Word

The Final Word

"But what does it say? 'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming."
 (Romans 10:8)
Scripture Focus: Romans 10:8-13

After a month of dwelling on the Living Word who created words and has communicated with us through words and through His very life, we see how intricately layered this idea of Word is. May our words be "always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:6), for we are reflections of Jesus. When we falter, He picks us up, encouraging us with the words of His never-failing promises and perfect law set out for our good. Jesus is the indispensable Word; in Him life begins to hold together.

When I was taught speech & writing in High school, I was encouraged to look for that "25-cent" word and not settle for the "nickel" one. We enjoyed the challenge and for years after would return to show my teachers the ”25-cent words" I had found. There is no need for believers to search further for another word; the final word is Jesus. The word is near, in our mouths and in our hearts, Paul says. That's the word of faith and the hope we joyfully proclaim: "Jesus is Lord!"

Insight: Jesus Is The Final Word, But In Him A Whole New Chapter Of Life May Begin!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

+DEV+ Words of Encouragement

Date: July 10, 2012 10:39 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Words of Encouragement

Words of Encouragement

"We who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18)
Scripture Focus: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

At the memorial service of a dear friend, the pastor spoke of how words of comfort rarely suffice in times of sorrow. Grief can be covered with words and Hallmark card sentiments, but we still need more. What we need is a word from the Lord.

God has not left us in silence. Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica who were grieving the persecution and loss of their Christian friends. "According to the Lord's own word," (vs. 15) Paul wrote, making it clear that the tragedies about them were in God's plan. Paul's word choice of "falling asleep" was carefully designed to imply also a "waking up." We wake up to these understandings: our weeping in sorrow is not without hope; those who die as Jesus' followers are immediately present with Him; Jesus brings us the privilege of being raised one day and re-united with our loved ones; we have the true words of encouragement and hope because they come to us from the Lord of all hope whose plans are to give us hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11).

Insight: Hold Fast To Jesus, The Hope Set Before You As You Rejoice In Sufferings, Persevere In Trials, Grow In Character, And Find Encouragement In Hope.

+DEV+ Add to or Take From

Date: July 10, 2012 12:40 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Add to or Take From

Add to or Take From

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."  (Isaiah 40:8)
Scripture Focus: Revelation 22:18-21

It ought to be comforting to know that God's Word will stand forever. But it is also terrifying. The entire book of God's inspired Word is complete exactly the way it is, but if we dare to add to it or take from it, we stand in danger of God's wrath. Those closing instructions from the last verses of the Bible have put "fear and trembling" in me even as I write these words.
We may not be tearing out pages from our Bibles or writing in new chapters, but consider these questions: Are there portions of God's Word you would rather ignore because the words speak with conviction to you? Has it ever been tempting to make a Bible passage fit a situation just for your need? Think of how Eve added to God's words back in the Garden of Eden when the serpent first questioned her (Genesis 3:3). Even that little deviation became a step in the process of her distorting God's directive and choosing the way of sin. Let's rest in the assurance of His good and complete Word drawing us confidently to Him.

Insight: Jesus Christ Is Your All In All, And His Divine Word Has Given Us Everything We Need For Life And Godliness. (See 2 Peter 1:3).

Monday, July 9, 2012

+DEV+ Certainty of His Word

Date: July 9, 2012 12:57 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Certainty of His Word

Certainty of His Word

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us has entered on our behalf."  (Hebrews 6:19)
Scripture Focus: Hebrews 6:13-20

You and I have given our word before. We may or may not have kept it. We've known people for whom we could say, "He's a man of his word," and others of whom we could not say that. I've given a skeptical nod to my kids who have at times promised to "never ever, ever, do such-and-such again," suspecting it unlikely that they'll be able to keep their word.

But we as followers of Jesus Christ have "two unchangeable things" (vs. 18) that we are anchored in: God's promise of His blessing, and God's oath confirming His promise. He gives His Word and never will it be nor has it ever been untrustworthy. He even swears it by His own name, the kind of oath which means giving your very life if the promise should be broken. Isn't that exactly what He did? Jesus gave His life, but not because of His own word's failure. He gave it because our word would be broken again and again: our promise to be faithful to Him would be a vow as uncertain as the shifting sand. But anchored in Him, we are firm and secure.

Insight: "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less/Than Jesus' Blood And Righteousness" (Edward Mote, 1834).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

+DEV+ Failed Words

Date: July 5, 2012 10:04 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Failed Words

Failed Words

"Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts, Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought to the earth."  (Psalm 46:6, 8)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 46

As I write this, it is the 30th anniversary of the day in 1980 that Mt. St. Helens erupted. A recent NOVA television special showed the astonishing footage of one of the most dramatic volcanic eruptions ever. The side of the mountain appeared to simply melt away. Watching it on TV, I recalled the psalmist's words: "He lifts his voice, the earth melts."

What a fitting image as we think of the majesty of the voice of our God. He speaks, and the earth dissolves. It also makes me think of my own words. No matter how I set myself anew to choosing them carefully, my attempts at speaking to honor Him melt away like that mountain. My sin-tainted utterances are as far from His glory as ever could be imagined.

But also as far apart - even as the east is from the west! - is how far He has removed the guilt of my sinful speech from Him. He's cast it into the deepest ocean, forgiving me, though my words fall short repeatedly. Rather than opening my mouth again, I would be still and know that He is God (v. 10).

Insight: There Is No Word Or Argument So Severe That It Cannot Be Covered By The Cross.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

+DEV+ Word of Forgiveness

Date: July 4, 2012 11:43 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Word of Forgiveness

Word of Forgiveness

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."  (Colossians 3:13)
Scripture Focus: Matthew 6:9-15

When Corrie ten Boom first saw a man after a church service in Germany who'd been a former S.S. guard, one of her tormenters in the Ravensbruck concentration camp, she loathed him. He had heard the message of the Gospel she'd just preached. So he rushed up to her, thanking her for telling how Jesus washed his sins away. The man was moved by her words that spoke of forgiveness; she boiled with anger now in his presence.

Can you imagine a more profound moment of comprehending Jesus' charge to us to forgive as we've been forgiven? Corrie begged the Lord for the ability to forgive the man, though feeling hatred toward him. She said when she did extend her hand to him, a current seemed to pass from him to her. The words of mercy she spoke were life-giving not only to the man, but also to Corrie.

If there would be any words at all where conflict exists, let them first and most sincerely be words of forgiveness. The peace of Christ will rush over you through those words, the very ones He's spoken to you!

Insight: Whenever We Speak Words Of Grace And Forgiveness, We Have A Little Taste Of Heaven.

+DEV+ Safety in the Word

Date: July 3, 2012 11:39 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Safety in the Word

Safety in the Word

"Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word."  (Psalm 119:24-25)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 119:17-32

There may be people you grew up with who now as adults want nothing to do with the faith in which they were raised. Does that make you consider your own history with Jesus? Originally, I suppose what attracted me as a young believer was a feeling of safety in the Word of God. One of the first things a child senses when told of Jesus' love for him/her is a distinct sense of safety. I didn't want to be outside the protective circle of Christ's love. Out of gratitude for God's care, I obeyed. But I also expected Him, therefore, to preserve me.
Over the course of the years, I've come to understand better who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for me. I know that the name of the Lord is a strong tower; I can run to Him, and I am safe. The security that I've rested in comes from the Savior who will preserve me, if not in this world, then in the next. There may be illness, a car accident, disappointment, even death awaiting me. But His forever design to redeem me for His own is promised in His faithful Word. I haven't earned it, and I never will. I am safe in Him.

Insight: Whether "Laid Low" (Vs. 25) Or "Set Free" (Vs. 32), Hold Fast To God's Word: The Only Word Worth Clinging To.

Monday, July 2, 2012

+DEV+ The Parent Speech

Date: July 2, 2012 11:46 PM
Topic: +DEV+  The Parent Speech

The Parent Speech

"May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."  (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Scripture Focus: 1Thessalonians 5:12-24

Do you remember getting the "parent speech" when you were a kid right before leaving to stay overnight somewhere? You may have heard, "Don't forget to say please and thank you, and don't beg for anything, and be sure to help with clean-up, and" The "parent speech" went on; you barely heard the rest of it, being anxious to just go.

In Paul's final instructions to the church in Thessalonica, he gives at least 15 different directives. His words of admonishment sound like the mom at the door hanging on to her kid by the shirtsleeve while she rattles off the instructions one last time. But there is a huge difference: the child may want to escape without really paying attention, while the believer who reads these words need not feel that way. The child would be thinking that there is no way he will be able to do all those things correctly. The Christian reading Paul's words has the astonishing, comforting closing line that tells him, "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it"!

Insight: The Lord Has Not Demanded Anything From Us That He Will Not Carry Us Through And That He Has Not Already Lived Out Himself.