2 Thessalonians__3

Scripture
 
 2 Thessalonians 3:11-13
 
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
 
ObservationWhat does it say?
 
Paul was addressing an issue among some in the church in Thessalonica – idleness. In the Matthew Henry Bible Commentary, Henry says, “It is probable that these persons had a notion (by misunderstanding some passages in the former epistle) concerning the near approach of the coming of Christ, which served them for a pretence to leave off the work of their callings, and live in idleness.” In other words, Jesus is coming back soon, so we can just coast until then.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Jesus has saved us! But that is not the end of the story. He gave us a calling – to go out and make Him known. He doesn’t want us to rest until the whole world knows about His love for them. Matthew 9:35-38: Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Are we being spiritually idle, concerned only for our own salvation? Or will we accept our calling and get to work?
 
Life Application
 
Lord, change my self-centered heart and fill me with Your compassion for those that are harassed and helpless, sick and in need of You. Open my eyes to opportunities to share Your goodness with those I come in contact with. No more excuses – I’m too shy, that’s not my gifting, others will do it – and help me, and all of us, to walk in our calling to know You and make You known.
 
-Debbie Dunn


Exodus__13

Scripture

Exodus 13:14

“In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 

 

Observation – What does it say?

God commanded the Israelites as a lasting ordinance, for all generations to come, to sacrifice the firstborn of every animal and to redeem every firstborn child by sacrificing an animal in it’s place. And the reason was so God’s people would have a continual reminder of what he had done for them, and it would also be a testimony to the generations to come.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

God doesn’t want his people to keep their testimonies to themselves!

He instituted this ordinance to make sure the generations to come would hear the stories of all God had done.

Sharing our testimonies has been a continual theme God has been highlighting. Faith has been ignited as those in our church family have shared how God physically healed them and hope has been ignited as several have shared how God saved them and continues to reveal himself to them.

Just a side note… growing up in the church and giving my life to Christ at a young age, in my younger years I always felt like I didn’t have a testimony. If that’s you, you have an amazing testimony! God has spared you the heartache and pain of life separated from him. He has surrounded you with people that love him and have encouraged you in your relationship with him. That’s an amazing expression of God’s love toward you, and a testimony just as powerful as anyone else’s… so share it!

 

Life Application

In light of the context in Exodus 13, I specifically feel challenged to share my testimony with my son. I will probably share a shortened and less detailed version for now because of his age, but none the less will share. It’s important he knows what God has done for me and why I love him, why I worship, why I pray, why I love the church, and why I’ve given my life to serve God.

God, thank you for giving me a testimony. Lord, stir in our hearts a fire to share our story. For those of us with children or who have relationship with those younger than us, grant us opportunity to share with them about all you’ve done in our lives. To You be all the glory! Amen.
 
-Levi Thompson


Psalm 108

Scripture 

Psalm 108:1-4 

My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my [a]soul.  Awake, harp and lyre; I will awaken the dawn!  I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, And I will sing praises to You among the nations.  For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens, And Your truth reaches to the skies.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

This is another psalm by David.  It is split into two parts.  The first half is written in praise for God’s love and as an expression of trust in God.  The second part is a prayer for help against their enemies.  This psalm may have been written during a period of David’s victorious military campaigns, documented in 2 Samuel 8 and 1 Chronicles 18.  In these verses, David’s armies defeat the Moabites, the Philistines and the Arameans, expanding the borders of the kingdom to the west, north and east.  The order of this psalm highlights the importance of the order of our prayers, praise first and then supplication.  This is similar to how Jesus taught his disciples to pray through the Lord’s prayer, Matthew 6:9-13.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was in school, though it’s been nearly twenty years.  I still remember standing up every morning to say the pledge of allegiance every morning.  The pledge of allegiance is almost like a mission statement for the country.  Companies and other organizations use a mission statement to give a general direction to its members and the people looking to invest in that organization.  The mission statement also helps set the tone to what is expected of the organization.  As a local church body, our mission statement includes the statement, “making Christ followers everywhere.”

 

Prayers like the Lord’s prayer, and songs like this one written by David, provide us direction like a modern day mission statement.  When we learn to pray like David did and how Jesus directed us, with praise at the outset, then we set the tone for our day to day activities, as well as our lives.  When we focus on God’s goodness first, it provides us with the right perspective to move forward and carry out His will.  At this point in David’s life, God’s will was to be victorious in battle and make the kingdom of Israel secure.  For us, it may mean being victorious in sharing the gospel with a coworker, overcoming a weakness, or maybe even turning the country back to prayer.  No matter what God’s will is for us, it cannot be accomplished unless our focus is on bringing Him glory.  

 

Life Application 

Jesus, when my feet touch the ground, let me go forward as an act of worship to you.  Help me to work and move and breathe as an act of worship to you.  Before all else, help me to sing of your goodness and praise you for your faithfulness, for you are working out all things for our good in Your glory.     

-Tyler Galloway



1 Thessalonians___5

Scripture – What stood out?

1 Thessalonians 5:8

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

 

Observation – What does it say?

This is the fifth chapter of the apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

I really really enjoy word pictures that relate to armor. Sadly before I truly accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior I had found and lost myself in countless tales of fantasy and science fiction literature. All that to say I really really dig the armor analogies in the bible!

 

The helmet guards the head or in our case the mind. And the spiritual helmet we are encouraged to put on is the “hope of salvation” in the ESV translation of the bible. 

The breastplate guards your heart. Literally. And we are encouraged to put on the spiritual breastplate of “faith and love”. 

 

God loves me. 

And I love God. 

My faith is in Jesus.

 

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

Lord, guard me from spiritual attacks today. 

When I see an attack aimed at my head I choose to dwell on the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ my Savior

When I see an attack aimed at my heart I choose to remember that God loves me.

I will choose to fill my heart with my love and faith in Jesus Christ my Lord.
 
 
In the name of Jesus,
-kenneth lee


Exodus_10

Scripture

Exodus 10:7, 27-29

Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”… But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.” “Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear before you again.”

Observation
 
Moses and Aaron continue to go before Pharaoh requesting the freedom of the Israelites, and he considers their offer. Yet, after hearing that they require the freedom of every Israelite he reconsiders again and denies their request, even after his advisors tell him otherwise. Then the Egyptians suffer from a plague of locusts and of darkness for three days.
 

Understanding

I remember learning about this Bible story in Sunday school and remembering it so clearly because I loved this lesson. However, two things from this story that I did not remember: 1) I didn’t know that Pharaoh actually considered their offer and 2) I didn’t know that Pharaoh’s advisors told him to let the Israelites go. Which brings me to my understanding today: sometimes our most trusted advisors have the best advice. I know what you are thinking: WELL DUH! But think about it for just a moment, put yourself in Pharaoh’s shoes. He had become so attached to the situation that he turned to those around him for advice, and they tell him to him pretty straight. He then decides “you know what maybe I’ll let some of them free,” and when Moses and Aaron want all of them free, he goes back to his Pharaoh ways and denies them freedom. His advisors probably hate him, and because of his unwillingness to perhaps listen to his those around him every one else had to suffer as well.

I can think of many times I was so connected to a certain situation that I turned to those around me, and they gave me some trusted and solid advice. It was then up to me to actually listen to those placed around me. As harsh as this sounds: there is no point in asking for guidance from trusted friends if you aren’t going to take said advice. Pharaoh gets what he wants for a brief moment, but then suffers the most in the end.
 

Life Application

What’s the last thing that God told you that was confirmed by a trusted friend that you haven’t done yet? Don’t trade instant relief for long-term heartache. Pharaoh had it all, until he didn’t… I don’t want to spoil the story if you’ve never read it but I mean God’s Chosen People kind of have the upper hand. And we as God’s children now have it too, but we have to be willing to take advice when necessary.

-Allison Khan


Exodus_9

Scripture

Exodus 9: 1 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

Something I observed in this chapter was that the Lord had started speaking directly to Moses now, meaning, it was Moses who was given the first instruction, it was Moses who threw the soot in the air for God to create the boils, it was Moses who spoke to Pharaoh and raised his staff to cause the hail storm. Although Aaron was still present, God worked primarily through Moses in this chapter and Moses no longer made excuses that he wasn’t qualified for this role.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Moses gained confidence in God’s power to work through him after everything the Lord had showed him throughout the past chapters. He still had his brother’s help, but instead of giving direction in the background, he came out and led from the front.

 

Life Application

The Lord is able to work through anyone who says “Yes” to Him. 

It doesn’t matter if we lack confidence, are slow of speech, feel like the task is too great for us to do, feel like we are not a good enough person, etc. When we put our faith and confidence in Him and His abilities, He will use us to do amazing things and He will eliminate the excuses. It is all about Him receiving the glory, honor and praise and not ourselves because we are His vessels. It’s all Him giving us the words to speak, giving us the desire to fulfill our call, giving us the gift of faith, giving us the desire to live a set apart life for Him and giving us the tools we need to accomplish the task. We just need to say yes to the call and he will supply everything we need to prepare us to fulfill that call.

-Michelle Gaddi



Exodus__8

Scripture

Exodus‬ ‭8:15

‬ ‭“But when Pharaoh saw that relief had come, he became stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted.”

Observation-What does it say?

Moses and Aaron go back to see Pharaoh to request that he let their people (the Israelites) go, so they could worship God. If these requests were not met, God would unleash a plague of frogs all over the land of Egypt. But the Pharaoh refused to listen to them. So, God instructed Moses to tell Aaron to raise his staff over all the rivers, canals, and ponds of Egypt, and to drive out all the frogs all over the land. So there were frogs literally everywhere! Although Pharaoh’s magicians were able to perform the same miracles with their magic, I think the plague of frogs became too unbearable for Pharaoh and his people. So Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron, and begged them that they plead with their God to take away all the frogs from their land. Then he would let the Israelites go so they could worship their God. So Moses and Aaron did as Pharaoh requested. God brought relief from the plague of frogs from the land, but Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened. Once the relief from the plague of frogs came, he changed his mind, and reneged on his promise.

 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Don’t treat God like your personal “genie in a bottle”!
 
We can all get upset with Pharaoh in this story. We can all point the finger at his stubbornness, or how he keeps breaking his promises to Moses and Aaron. But before we start pointing our finger at how awful Pharaoh is, can we take a look in our own lives and see if we do the same thing? Are we ever in desperate need of something, and then all of a sudden seek God’s help? I mean here we are, a crisis hits us. Then all of a sudden we are worshipping and praising God day and night. We are suddenly seeking God daily. We are on fire for God! Then once those prayers are answered, we go back to our old ways, doing our own thing, and neglecting God (the One who answered our prayers). Why do we do that? Why do we treat God that way? It reminds me of a story of a man who is working on a high rise rooftop. This man loses his footing, and begins slipping down the slope of the rooftop. The man cries out to God for help. He says “God, if you save me from this catastrophe, I will worship you the rest of the days of my life!” And as the man says his prayer, his belt loop gets caught on a nail, and it stops him from sliding completely off this roof. The man gathers himself, and tells God “Never mind God. I got it.” 🤦🏽 Talk about missing the point! Just know this. God hears our prayers. God answers our prayers. He may have us wait on our requests, or even decline them at times, but God ultimately has His best intentions for His children-(Jeremiah 29:11). But let me encourage you to regularly seek God. Develop a close relationship with Him. Don’t treat Him like some genie in a bottle, only there at our beck and call. Then when God answers our prayers, we are quick to “stuff Him away back in that bottle”, and simply forget Him. No! Seek Him daily! Reflect on all the good things He has done. Use those answered prayers as stepping stones to build our faith so we can continue building our relationship with Him. Learn from the mistakes of Pharaoh and the man on the roof. Be faithful to God because He is always faithful to us.
 
Life Application
 
Being a disciple of Jesus takes discipline.
 
Set up a time and place to meet with God daily. Don’t just try to “wing it” and fit God around your schedule. Instead, have your schedule work around Him. Use that time and place to spend with God in prayer, reading His Word, and journaling (PB&J). (Personally, I like spending time with Him first thing in the morning when everyone is still asleep and the house is dead silent so I can focus). But make it a point to keep your appointment. Don’t just seek God when you need something. Seek God regularly. Seek Him through the good times as well as the bad times. He is always there for us willing to give us His best. Doesn’t He deserve ours?
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Psalm 103

Scripture  

Psalm 103:6-9 

The Lord performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed.  He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.  The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.  He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.

 

Observation-What does it say?  

The title indicates this is a Psalm of David, who was a man after God’s heart.  It also states that this is a song of praise for God’s mercies. “A psalm of humble, heartfelt gratitude to God for all his goodness, but above all for his mercy and his unchanging, unchangeable love. What he has done for one (1-5), he has done for all (6-18): so let everyone, everywhere praise him” (Alexander, P. & Alexander, D., 1999).  We must also remember God’s righteousness, his anger, will not be held off forever.  There will be a judgement day and a time when we will have to reconcile with our decision to follow Jesus or not.  For those who follow Jesus, his grace extends forever, but not to those who chose the way of the world.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Every once in a while, a video will surface from the dashboard of a police officer’s vehicle that shows an irate person in a vehicle, screaming at the officer about how they won’t sign the ticket they are receiving for driving well over the speed limit.  Oftentimes in these videos, the officer is calmly addressing the irate driver asking them to sign the ticket, or explaining the circumstances to the driver.  Most people will agree the officer in these situations is displaying a lot of patience and grace toward the driver, who is acting like a two year old having a temper tantrum.  

 

This picture of a calm police officer is what I imagine when thinking of the patient grace of God.  As we sit down here on earth asking why God is allowing so many bad things to happen to us, he is holding back the wrath we deserve for our sins.  Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death.  However, God is patient with the consequences of our actions, in 2 Peter 3:9 we learn, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  God’s grace is sufficient for us and he is waiting for us to turn to him.  Just don’t wait too long.


Life Application 

Jesus help me to come to you in praise for your patience with me.  Remind me of your grace so that I can praise you all of my waking hours.  Let that praise be evident in my life as a testimony to those who need to experience that same love and grace. 
 
-Tyler Galloway  


Colossians___4

Scripture

Colossians 4:18

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.

Remember my chains.

Grace be with you.

Observation

Paul was writing from what was believed to be his first imprisonment.

Colossians 4:3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—

He was changing a world system, a religious system. He was installing God’s system and it was causing upheaval to the enemy.

So the enemy put him in chains…only he was already set free.

Understanding

Do we live a life of Faith in Christ, worthy of persecution?

Colossians 1:21 – 23

And YOU,

who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,

he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death,

in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

IF

indeed you continue in the faith,

stable and steadfast,

not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard,

which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven…

Colossians 2:20-23

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—

“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?

These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body,

but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Application

Colossians 3:1-10

If then you have been raised with Christ,

seek the things that are above, where Christ is,

seated at the right hand of God.

Set your minds on things that are above,

not on things that are on earth.

For YOU have died,

and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death,

therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, mpassion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.

But now you must put them all away:

anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Colossians 3:12-17

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,

compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other;

as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,

 to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

I understand that it may be difficult to live life differently than the world around you, especially from your close friends or family.

We don’t want to seem like fanatics or be legalistic…

accepting the gift of salvation is FREE

it will just cost you your life.
 

Matthew 10:36-39

And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me

is not worthy of me,

and whoever loves son or daughter more than me

is not worthy of me.

And whoever DOES NOT take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Whoever finds his life will lose it,

and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 
May we be worthy of the chains of those that came before us!
May we live a life worthy of the Blood that was shed for us!!
 
Would you listen to this song with deep contemplation? I have attached the lyrics so that you may read the translation. Let the spirit speak to you.
 
-deborah lee
 
E eu me despedi dos meus pais
And I said goodbye to my parents
E eu queimei minhas carroças
And I ́ve burnt my carts
E eu afundei meus barcos no cais
I ́ve Sunk my boats on the docks
Pra onde eu irei se eu não tenho pra onde voltar?
Where will I go if I have no place where to come back to
Só tenho você, Deus, palavra de vida eterna
I only have you God, the words of eternal life
Sou, sou totalmente Teu
I am, I am completely yours
Fui encontrado pelo Teu amor
I was found by your love


Colossians___3

Scripture

Colossians‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing the church in Colosse, encouraging them to live their new lives in Jesus. Paul encourages them to renew their way of thinking, to think of heavenly things, and not the things of earth. To focus on Jesus’ love and forgiveness for them, and in return treat others with that same love and forgiveness. Paul gives the church specific instructions on how to live godly lives. He teaches them how they should interact with each other. He teaches them how to treat their spouses, children, parents, their employees, and even their bosses. It’s a new life they have been given by God through their faith in Jesus. The old is gone. The new is risen!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Be a light for Jesus wherever I go.
 
The verse I selected this morning always seems to stick out to me every time I read it. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because my wife reminds me of this verse every time I vent to her about my work. But God’s Word doesn’t come back void. As a matter of fact, in this case, it reminds me Who I am truly working for. It reminds me that people around me are looking and watching just how I react and behave in certain situations. I am reminded that as a Christ Follower, I am called to a higher standard. It reminds me that whatever I’m called to do, to do it with an effort of excellency because Jesus is watching. And with that in mind, knowing that Jesus is watching, knowing that others are looking at me to set an example, I better be giving an effort and behaving in a way that is honoring to Jesus. My life needs to be a light in this dark world. My life needs to point others towards Jesus.
 
“In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.”-‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭ERV‬‬
 
Life Application
 
Does my life reflect Jesus in it?
 
When I am at work, does my work ethic and integrity reflect Jesus? When I am driving in my car, does that reflect Jesus? Or how about the way I treat my wife and children? There are lots of things in life we may overlook and take for granted. Things in life that others see. Things in life that Jesus looks at and observes. What would Jesus have to say with the way we are living?
 
Father God, I pray that my life can represent Jesus in a way that others can see You, and give praise to You. Forgive me when I fall short of that. I know You provide the opportunities for me to shine, but I pray for Your strength and boldness for me to follow through with my actions and words. Help me Lord to give You the effort and excellence You deserve. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi