Why Christians Should be Thankful: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 19)

(This devotional is day nineteen of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read 1 Timothy 1:12–17; Ephesians 2:1-10; 2 Corinthians 4:15

What’s your story? What’s your testimony? If you’re a believer in Christ, do you remember the wonderful gift of salvation when Jesus rescued you?

In our verses today, Paul links God’s grace and our gratitude. All the spiritual blessings we receive come to us from Christ and in Christ, so through Christ we find the source of grace and the object of our gratitude

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Christ’s Sufficiency in Colossians

As you read the book of Colossians, Paul repeatedly holds up the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus in all things and over all things. This would be true for any of the churches he sent a letter (Epistle), but it was especially necessary at Colossae. There were those at Colossae undermining Christ’s sufficiency. They did this–as far as we know–not by rejecting Jesus, denying his humanity or divinity, or denying the claims of Jesus. Instead, it was more subtle. This false teaching conveyed the idea that Jesus is a great start, but to really arrive, grow, be happy, or experience the highest levels of knowledge and religious experience, other things needed added to Jesus or sought alongside of Jesus. It’s a “Jesus plus” or “Jesus and” theology rather than a “Jesus alone” theology.

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Dwelling on The Good News in A Year of Bad News: An August Reading Plan

2020 has given us plenty of challenges: the pandemic, quarantine and isolation, church closures and re-openings, racial tensions, riots, debates over masks and pretty much everything else tied to COVID-19, politics in an election year, and questions about government intrusion on the Church. Mix in that trying to figure out what families should do for school, and how that affects our jobs and income, as well as churches scrambling to do their best to gather together and care for those struggling with all that’s going on, and there’s plenty to leave us discouraged.

One temptation is to immerse ourself in the news–on TV, online, or through social-media–to stay up to speed and feel informed. The intense debates only fuel this as so many people read articles to defend their cause. It’s no wonder people feel stressed, anxious, and angry. To make matters worse, some statistics indicate Christians are spending even less time in the Bible than they did before the pandemic. We’re filling our minds with bad news and stressful news, meanwhile we’re neglecting to fill our minds and hearts with The Good News.

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Articles on Two Key Doctrines in Colossians

Colossians is full of great theology. Not just informative, but the kind of theology that warms our hearts with the knowledge of who Jesus is or that provides solid ground to stand on when our faith is shaky. The deeper we dive into Paul’s theology in this book the stronger our faith becomes.

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Christ’s Heart that Righteously Rages Against Hurt, Death, and Injustice

I posted this on Facebook after the death of Ahmaud Arbery, but sadly, it is fitting again this weekend.

Recently I’ve been reading Dane Ortlund’s wonderful book Gentle and Lowly. The book focuses not so much on the person and work of Jesus—like so many books do—but on helping us see Christ’s heart of compassion and love. Yesterday, I read chapter 11 on “The Emotional Life of Christ,” which focused on how Jesus felt a righteous anger toward death. Jesus felt and feels an indignant anger against anything that is “not the way it should be.”

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10 Quotes from *Gentle and Lowly* by Dane Ortlund

Every year there are a couple of Christian books published that fall into the “must buy” category. Dane Ortlund’s Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers is one of those books. We mature by marveling at Jesus (Col. 1:28). That means a good book must partially be judged by how much it compels us with the glory and goodness of Jesus. That’s what Ortlund’s book is all about. While it certainly unpacks the person and work of Christ, what’s unique is it’s angle of showing us the heart of Christ. How does he view and treat us as sinners and sufferers? We all want that question answered. If we’re bold enough to say it, we even wonder how he feels about us.

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Pursue Unity by Practicing Humility

Most Christians would agree that unity is a good thing. We’d like more unity in churches and in our relationships, not less. But what often impedes progress is we don’t like what’s required to make unity possible. There is no unity without humility.

There is no joining ourselves with others apart from some dying to self. Each of us must decide, is the payoff of peace worth the price of a gut-punch to my pride? We might desire the beauty of oneness and the sweetness of harmony, but we wait for others to bend and come to us. We want peace on our terms, without the baggage of humility, empathy, and selflessness. Unity is important, but do we value it as much as being heard, exercising our freedoms and rights, and expressing my opinion?

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How the Cross Counters What We Know and Answers What We Long For

From an early age, we’re taught that what people think of us is based largely on our performance. Teachers, parents, coaches, and peers all seem happier with us and affirm us when we stand out as good students, athletes, musicians, or obedient children. Most jobs reinforce this. The more I can impress and prove my worth, the more secure my job and future is.

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Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 13 (Heb. 7:11-28)

Hebrews 7:11-28, especially verses 23-28, reminds us why Jesus alone is the perfect high priest, able to sympathize with us as a human and yet able to save for us as a sinless sacrifice. The language emphasizes the permanency of Christ’s priesthood and the firmness of our salvation. It’s meant to remind us that there will never be a time when Jesus is not interceding for his people. He never takes a sick day or a vacation. He continually lives at the right hand of the Father. It’s a reminder that we are never alone. We are never without an advocate. We always have full and complete access to the Father through Jesus our mediator.

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Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 8 (Heb. 4:14-16)

As we walk through Hebrews in our reading plan, below are a few additional thoughts, questions, commentary, and quotes. These aren’t designed to substitute your personal study and reflectionon God’s Word, but they’re small supplements to your study. It’s always helpful to begin your study by reading the passage and making some basic observations. See the post “Making Observations”  for basic questions to help you understand and apply what you’re reading.

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