All posts by JT

Christian. Husband. Dad. 911 dispatcher. Baseball fan. Horror nut. Music nerd. Bookworm. Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 238/260: Read 3 John

Proverbs 16:18 teaches, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride brings with it shame (Proverbs 11:2) and strife (Proverbs 13:10) and persecutes the poor (Psalm 10:2). It is among the attitudes that God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19; 8:3); it comes from within a man’s heart and defiles him (Mark 7:21-23). Pride led to the condemnation of Satan (1 Timothy 3:6).

In today’s reading, we are introduced to Diotrephes, a proud man “who loves to have the preeminence.” He rejected the inspired apostle John, “prating against us with malicious words.” Going even further, Diotrephes punished those who did wish to show kindness to the faithful apostle and those with him.

Pride is evil. John writes, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.” Diotrephes was not an example to follow.

In stark contrast to this proud man stands Gaius, a man who did “faithfully…for the brethren and for strangers,” and Demetrius, having “a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself.” What kind of example are you setting?

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

1 John 5:4. For whatever is born of ____________ overcomes the ____________. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our ____________.

Pray

Pray for forgiveness if you struggle with pride. Pray that your example may be such that others can look to you and follow to be pleasing to God.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 237/260: Read 2 John

What does the word “transgress” mean? Looking at verse 9 in different Bible versions and paraphrases is eye-opening. Here’s a brief selection:

  • “Goes on ahead” (English Standard Version).
  • “Goes too far” (New American Standard Bible).
  • “Runs ahead” (New International Version).
  • “So progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ” (The Message).

Give some thought to the way you live life, the way you serve Christ, and the way you worship God. Do you stick to His revealed will, or do you “go on ahead”? When it comes to the elements of worship, do you “go too far”? When you have a decision to make, do you pray to God or do you “run ahead”? Are you a person who is “so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ”?

Progressiveness is harmful to the church when it rejects, ignores, or contradicts revealed truth. It can be sobering to look at how we are living life in the light of God’s Word, but it is so important to be sure we are living according to His precepts.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

1 John 5:4. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Pray

Pray for the wisdom to live within the boundaries of God’s Word. Pray for strength to resist the temptation to “run ahead.”

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 236/260: Read 1 John 5

John writes, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

If I made a list of my favorite hymns, “Faith is the Victory,” written by John Henry Yates and Ira David Sankey, would undoubtedly appear near the top.

The last stanza of the hymn especially resonates with me:

To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n;
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in heav’n;
Then onward from the hills of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring name.

What a powerful God we serve! He gives us not only the opportunity to serve Him, but grace to pick us up when we fall short!

Do you have the type of faith in God’s power that overcomes the woes of this world?

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

1 John 5:4. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Pray

Pray for stronger faith!

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 235/260: Read 1 John 4

The Scriptures warn against false teachers in a number of passages. Here, John encourages his readers to “test the spirits.” He warns that “many false prophets have gone out into the world.” With all of the technological advances in our modern world, from radio to television to internet, it is easier than ever for false teachers to find followers.

One cannot possibly make a list of every well-known modern false teacher without excluding a few names. Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, and the Pope would certainly be included, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Even within the local community, preachers should be tested. Hold their sermons up to the light of God’s Word. Do they match up?

It is true that no one is perfect, and even faithful gospel preachers may misspeak occasionally. When error is exposed, the one who wishes to please God will make the appropriate corrections. When discussing possible error with a preacher, be sure to have the spirit of Aquila and Priscilla, who “took him (Apollos) aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). Your aim should not be to embarrass the preacher, but to help him in his work for the Lord’s kingdom.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Pray

Pray for your preacher, that he may be true to God’s Word. Pray for your elders, that they may always stand for the truth to be taught in the local congregation.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 234/260: Read 1 John 3

Have you found yourself at odds with friends and family members who are not Christians? Have they shown disdain for your doctrine? Have they mocked your motivation? Have they belittled your beliefs?

If you answered, “Yes,” that’s (probably) good! That means you are standing up for the truth and trying to lead others to the pure love of Jesus!

If you answered, “No,” then you might want to think about how you interact with others. Do you wink at their wickedness and encourage their evil ways? Do you timidly tolerate their transgressions so that they don’t even know you disagree with their actions?

This is not a license to be hateful toward those with different beliefs. Rather, it should be seen as an opportunity to tenderly educate them about God’s grace and mercy. “Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”

Since they don’t know Jesus, why don’t you introduce Him? Tell them about His love and sacrifice, about the hope He offers to all creation! Give them the opportunity to come out of the world and to become a follower of the Savior!

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

1 John 1:7. But if we _____________ in the light as He is in the light, we have _____________ with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son _____________ us from all sin.

Pray

Pray for an opportunity to teach someone in the world about Jesus’ love today and every day.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 233/260: Read 1 John 2

There are those who say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” They claim to have a love for God, but refuse to spend time learning about Him. They are not interested in what the Bible says. In doing so, they sadly and foolishly turn their backs on the One they claim to love.

Jesus is clear: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). The apostle repeats the Savior’s teaching in today’s reading.

One cannot truthfully claim to be in Jesus, to know Him or to love Him, if they reject His Word. Reading what He reveals and doing the opposite leads to destruction (Matthew 7:21-23). Many will be surprised at the Judgment, but you don’t have to be. God does not expect anything from us that He doesn’t tell us (John 12:48).

Do you love Jesus? Do you obey His commands? The answer to those two questions must match if one is to be truthful, and they must be “yes” if one is to be faithful. One cannot be spiritual without actively and faithfully living the Word of God.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the _____________ as He is in the _____________, we have fellowship with one another, and the _____________ of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Pray

Pray for opportunities to obey God wherever you find yourself today: at work, at a restaurant, driving your car. Pray for the wisdom “to walk just as He walked.”

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 232/260: Read 1 John 1

What a great blessing the blood of Christ is to His followers! John says Jesus’ blood “cleanses us from all sin”—but there is a caveat. We are only cleansed “if we walk in the light.”

We must not take it upon ourselves to decide how to live, or to guess at what pleases God. He tells us what He expects! Jesus called Himself “the light of the world” in John 8:12, saying, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Following Christ means following the inspired Word. The Psalmist declared, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Those who refuse to spend time discovering God’s will in His Word have no fellowship with Him. John equates it to walking in darkness.

God’s blessings are infinitely abundant, but we must keep in mind that His promises are absolutely conditional on our actions. Do you want your sins covered by the blood of Christ? Be faithful. Follow His doctrine. Walk in the light. When you realize your shortcomings (and you will as you read the Bible!), don’t make excuses. Make changes.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Pray

Pray for the strength to recognize the sin in your life, the wisdom to repent, and the humility to beg for the forgiveness offered through Christ’s sacrifice.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 231/260: Read John 21

Our God is a God of second chances. In John 18, we read of Peter’s three-fold denial of Jesus, but his story doesn’t end there. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius.

Three times, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” Peter, who “wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62) when he realized what he had done in the courtyard, now affirmed his love for the Lord. “You know that I love You.”

Jesus gave Peter a mission. He told him, “Feed My lambs.” He said, “Tend My sheep.” He said, “Feed My sheep.” Jesus, “the good shepherd,” had given “His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He was now ready to go to the Father and begin preparations for His faithful followers to join Him (John 14:2-3). While He does that, He gives Peter the responsibility to feed and tend the flock.

We can continue to learn from Peter and the other inspired writers of the New Testament, by reading their words and obeying the instructions God has given us through their pens. We are the sheep, and we are to follow the good shepherd.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Pray

Pray for selflessness in loving Christ and doing the will of God as He revealed in the New Testament.

Jesus Before Pilate and Herod (Luke 23:1-25)

Jesus Before Pilate and Herod Luke 23:1-25

(Luke 23:1-25)

I. Before Pilate

    A. The accusations (23:1-2; Acts 10:38; Luke 20:20-26)
    B. “Are You the King of the Jews?” (23:3; John 18:33-37)
    C. “I find no fault in this Man” (23:4-6)

II. Before Herod

    A. Herod’s curiosity (23:7-8)
    B. Jesus’ silence (23:9-10)
    C. Herod’s mockery (23:11-12; Revelation 3:17-18)

III. Before Pilate (again)

    A. Pilate’s plan (23:13-17)
    B. The Jews’ rejection (23:18-19)
    C. Jesus delivered to the will of the Jews (23:20-25; Romans 12:1-2)

What Makes a Strong Church?

What Makes a Strong Church?

I. A strong church is a converted church

    A. Priorities (Matthew 6:33)
    B. Conviction (1 Peter 3:15)
    C. Love (1 John 5:3)

II. A strong church is a working church

    A. Every Christian must bear fruit and win souls (James 1:22)
    B. Prevents worldliness (1 John 2:15-17)
    C. Prevents error (Matthew 7:21-23)

III. A strong church is a praying church

    A. We should communicate with God often (Hebrews 4:16)
    B. Every faithful Christian’s prayer is powerful (James 5:16)

IV. A strong church is a united church

    A. Christ prayed for unity (John 17:20-21)
    B. Paul preached unity (1 Corinthians 1:10)