Idleness 

2 Thessalonians 3:6

Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us.

Idleness 

This short section of scripture caught my attention. Paul isn’t saying to stay away from idle people in general. No, he is specifically saying to stay away from BELIEVERS who won’t work. It would be nice to get all “churchy” and make this some spiritual lesson about “working for the Lord”. However, it is very clear that Paul as actually writting about working for money.

In verse eight he reminded them that when he had been there, he worked and earned money to pay for what he ate.

What he was telling his listeners was not “if you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  He was trying to show that, as he had been an example to them, they were to be seen as example to others. 

Being idle in one area of a persons life is an indication of an attitude of general lazyness. A person with that mindset will always be a drain on others rather than a contributor. Jesus was all about being a “doer”. “Take my yoke upon you” means that he expects us to work along side him. I challenge you to find anyplace in scriptures where God appeared to a person and didn’t say in effect, “Go. Do”.

Prayer:

Lord, we want to be your faithful follower. We want to contribute to your ongoing work in this world in anyway that we can. Search us and remove any idleness from us.

Amen.

Prophesies

Luke 21:5-19
When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, ““As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

And he said,“Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”

Then he said to them,

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.”


Prophesies


I have a confession to make,: I hate prophesies. I’m not good at understanding them. The only way to determine if a prophecy is true, is after it has be fulfilled. And even then you can be left wondering, was this THE event prophesied about or will there still another event yet to come that will be the REAL fulfillment?

Some of what Jesus said had come true; and some almost immediately. The apostles were nearly all handed over to be exceeded for teaching about Jesus. The temple was destroyed within the lifetime of many of his listeners.
Wars and famines as well as earthquakes and floods have always been with us. So how are we to know?
We aren’t supposed to know the WHEN.  That’s the point of what Jesus was saying. What we are supposed to be doing is staying strong in the faith even when persecuted, even to death.

Prayer:
Lord, you know that your children always want to know every twist and turn of the road before we even take that first step. Give it’s the courage and trust to keep moving forward, under your guidance, even when we can’t we where to place our foot in the next step.
Amen.

  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)

  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.

http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com

  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/

  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

Bookends of Love

John 14:15-21

If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you all alone. I will come back to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. You will live because I live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me and that I am in you. Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father’s love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them.”

Bookends of Love

In this brief section of Jesus’s teaching and instruction to his apostles and disciples, he links love and commandments twice: “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” and “Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me.”  I found it interesting that love came both before and after the commandments. It was as if they we wrapped in love. Love is the reason for obeying his commandments and obeying his commandments is proof of our love.

Prayer:

Jesus, lover of my soul, I love you more than anything that this world had to offer. Your commandments are simple to understand but,sometimes, difficult to follow. Thank you for the Spirit of Truth that you have given us to guide our steps through this ungodly world.

Amen.

  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
  • https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
  • https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • PATCHES

    Matthew 9:16-17

    “No one patches an old coat with a new piece of cloth that will shrink. When the patch shrinks, it will rip away from the coat, and the tear will become worse. Nor do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, people pour new wine into fresh skins, and both are saved.”


    PATCHES

    Sometimes, after Jesus had given a parable or analogy as an answer, he should take his disciples aside and explain its meaning. He did not do that here, and I wish he had!

    John’s disciples had asked him why his disciples didn’t fast. He had answered with an analogy about a bridegroom. I understood that answer. However, he went on to say today’s scripture about patches and wineskins. While what he said made sense in the natural world, I didn’t understand how they answered the question about fasting.

    So, since I was missing the spiritual meaning, I considered what his answer meant in the physical world.

    1. New cloth on an old coat. Tailors and dressmakers know that many fabrics need to be laundered before cutting and sewing. Washing the fabric causes It to shrink. Therefore, it should be preshrunk so that measurements remain accurate. Knowing that, it makes sense to not use a non-preshrunk fabric to path fabric that had already shrunk.
    2. New wine into old wineskins. Wineskins are exactly what It sounds like, a container made of skin that its used to hold wine and other liquids. As anything made of leather ages it becomes thinner and brittle. New wine is still fermenting and releasing gasses. If you pour new wine into an old wineskin the gasses would cause the skin to expand like a balloon and rupture which would destroy both the bag and the wine.

    Now I believe that I understand Jesus was saying that adding new to old can be destructive. His disciples were rough men of the world, not raised in the strict religious practices of the Pharisees. To impose such strict practices as fasting on them, when they are not ready for them, would be counterproductive.

    Notice that Jesus said, “The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them. Then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:15) There would come a time when his disciples lives would lose their worldly ways and would become more able to accept such spiritual practices as fasting.

    Prayer:
    Lord, give us wisdom and maturity in the faith that we may full partake of all you’ve laid before us.
    Amen.

    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)

    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.

    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com

    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/

    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

    I Know Him

    1 John 2:3-6

    We are sure that we know Christ if we obey his commandments. The person who says, “I know him,” but doesn’t obey his commandments is a liar. The truth isn’t in that person. But whoever obeys what Christ says is the kind of person in whom God’s love is perfected. That’s how we know we are in Christ. Those who say that they live in him must live the same way he lived.

    I Know Him

    I’m sometimes amazed that I see people who claim the salvation that Christ offers but do not seem to accept the duty to change, to live the life that he lived, to love the way he loved. Friends, I have to tell you this, you cannot live with one foot on the path of righteousness and the other foot on that worldly path that leads to destruction. I know. I tried. If you take the name of Christ upon you (Christian), you must also take his lifestyle upon you. “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” 

    (John 14:15)

    Prayer:

    Jesus, teach us to study as you studied, to speak as you spoke, to live as you lived and to love as you love, to forgive as you forgive and to grow ever closer to being Christ-like.

    Amen.

    Priestly Duties

    Malachi 2:1-9
    “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. If you won’t listen and if you won’t consider giving honor to my name,” says the LORD of Armies, “then I’ll send a curse on you, and I’ll curse the blessings you give. Yes, I’ve already cursed them because you don’t carefully consider this. “I’m going to punish your descendants. I’m going to spread excrement on your faces, the excrement from your festival sacrifices. You will be discarded with it. Then you will know that I sent you this warning so that my promise to Levi will continue,” says the LORD of Armies. “I promised Levi life and peace. I gave them to him so that he would respect me. He respected me and stood in awe of my name. The teaching that came from his mouth was true. Nothing unjust was found on his lips. He lived with me in peace and honesty and turned many people away from sin. “A priest’s lips should preserve knowledge. Then, because he is the messenger for the LORD of Armies, people will seek instruction from his mouth. “But you have turned from the correct path and caused many to stumble over my teachings. You have corrupted the promise made to Levi,” says the LORD of Armies. “So I have made you disgusting, and I have humiliated you in front of all the people, because you have not followed my ways. You have been unfair when applying my teachings.”

    Priestly Duties

    The prophet Malachi lived about 400 years before Christ was born. He was the last prophet before John the Baptist. The warning that he gave was to the priests, not the people, nor the king as other prophets had been.  

    The condition for escaping the wrath of God was simple, listen and consider giving honor to His name. God certainly wasn’t asking a hard thing of them. He only asked that they, as His messangers, preserve knowledge and give good instruction to His people. 

    And what were the consequences of disobedience? They were harsh, very harsh

    • their blessings become cursed
    •  excrement from there sacrifices smeared on their faces
    • Discarded with the excrement.
    • punispunish even to descendants

    Why was the punishment so harsh that even their descendents were punishment? These priests had not only turned away from God’s path but they had also lead others astray by giving false teaching.

    As a preacher I am very aware of my duty and responsibility to God and my listeners and readers. I would never intentionally lead others astray and I pray that, no matter what words I speak, that the people hear the message that God has for them. I also stress that it is each persons responsibility to do their own study of the scriptures and to pray for and listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading. It is their eternal soul at stake.

    Now hear this, being a child of God and a follower of Christ cuts two ways. We are responsible to God for ourselves continuing on the right path AND we are responsible for not misleading others.

    Prayer:

    Father, forgive me for the times I’ve wandered from your path. Lord also forgive me for anytime that by my action or inaction others may have between lead astray. Also, Lord, don’t hold them accountable for my error. And more importantly, set their lives back on the path you have laid out for them.

    Amen.