Posts Tagged “2 Thessalonians”

Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2013Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2013

We’re down to the final days of summer. Take a bit of time to sit in the sun (or shade) and enjoy God’s Word over the next few weeks. Use our Resting at the River’s Edge schedules to stay on track with us, reading four or five chapters each weekday. If you fall behind – don’t worry about it! Use the weekend to catch up or don’t worry about keeping up. Just keep reading. God will reveal Himself to you – He promises to! Ask Him to and He will.

Click on one of the following buttons to open a PDF file of the July/August bookmark or all bookmarks. After the file has opened, you can print it or save it to your hard drive from your browser’s file menu.

Click here for the July/August 2013 recommended reading bookmark. Click here to download all bookmarks for 2013.

The August Reading Schedule also appears at the end of this blog.

I love the way God’s Word seems to speak to my specific situations as I read through His Word. I know He’ll do that for you, too. I’d love to hear about it. Email me, leave a message on our Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Blessings, Friends!
Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for August is below.

Resting at the River's Edge Reading Schedule for August 2013

Here’s how the Resting at the River’s Edge reading schedules are organized:

  • The first two columns of the schedule allow you to read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice over a two-year period. You will typically read about three chapters a day if you follow this reading plan.
  • The “Additional Readings” column put you on a plan to read through the entire Bible in one year. You will read between four and five chapters a day if you follow this plan.

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Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. Here’s more details about the plan and our schedules.

Track your reading along with us using the table below, the downloadable half-page PDF or the May/June bookmark.

Share what God is teaching you with otherse. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Enjoy God as you watch spring unfold!
Sandy

Download All 2012 Bookmarks Here

Download only the May/June 2012 Bookmark Here

Download a Half-Page PDF of the May Reading Plan Here

Here’s May’s reading plan:

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Help! I’ve Fallen Behind and I Can’t Catch Up!

As I prepare this last Resting at the River’s Edge recommended reading list for 2011, I somehow “all of a sudden” find myself 22 chapters behind! Now that translates to just about a week, but I like to stay a couple of days ahead so that I can write blogs related to passages you’re reading that day, the next day or you’ve just read the day before. And here I am in late November finding myself 22 chapters behind. Well, at the end of this blog you’ll find December’s reading schedule, but I think my own situation provides a perfect jumping off place for when you’ve fallen behind in your reading. (I’m guessing there a few of you out there who share my situation!) Here are some tips:

  • Don’t fret over it! Our pastor shared the definition of “fret” in his sermon last week. The definitions included:
    • Feel or express worry or discontent
    • Cause corrosion, gnaw into something
    • To become eaten, worn or corroded
    • Irritated state of mind, vexation

Wow! That’s certainly not a condition or state of mind conducive to meeting with God as you read His Word! Let it go.

  • Keep at it! Don’t let being behind schedule keep you from continuing to read. What’s the worst that can happen? Instead of reading through the Bible by December 31, 2011, you’ll finish some time in 2012. Sounds good to me! You will still have read through the Bible and that’s the important thing. It’s not the schedule, it’s the content and meeting with God.
  • Don’t rush through your reading just to stay on schedule! It’s not the schedule, it’s the content and meeting with God. (Is there an echo here?)
  • Realize that catching up just might be possible! Our reading plans schedule about three chapters a day. Here are some ways to catch up:
    • If you’re able to add one chapter each day, you’ll catch up almost two days each week.
    • Read three chapters on Saturday or Sunday (or both) and you’ll catch up one or two days each week.
    • Spend your lunchtime reading your Bible. You’ll catch up at least one day, perhaps more, each time you do this. You might even decided that it’s a great way to relax at lunch!
    • Arrive at an appointment about fifteen minutes early. Spend the time reading your Bible. You’ll catch up another day. This is a great thing to do on Sunday morning if there is a quiet place you can read before service. It really prepares you to enter into worship and the message.
    • Carve out some “me and God” time in your schedule. This is absolutely the best thing I’ve done in my walk with the Lord and I look forward to it each week.

Implement one or more of these things for a few weeks and you’ll find yourself catching up quickly.

  • December’s reading schedule is great for this season. Don’t hesitate to stop reading where you are, read along with us in the month of December (think Revelation and Psalms), then pick up where you left off in January. Or begin following the December schedule while you employ some catching up techniques to previous schedules.
  • Remember: It’s not the schedule, it’s the content and meeting with God!

So, friends, keep at it. I commend you for all the reading you’ve done – even if you’re three months behind schedule or more! The monthly schedules will continue to be available here all throughout the coming year. Enjoy your reading and your time with God.

Now before I get back to my reading, let me provide you with a short synopsis of our December reading:

  • We will begin the book of Revelation on November 29th  and we’ll finish it on December 29th. We will end the year reading about the future. I love that God’s Word doesn’t teach us only the Law and history and how to live in this life, but it gives us a glimpse into the future – some of which we can only imagine, and some that seems so bizarre that we can’t even imagine it. Still, He trusts us with such knowledge. Wow! Enjoy this book and if it gets too confusing don’t let it get to you! Just ask God to reveal what He wants you to understand and keep reading. What you can’t understand will simply begin to lodge itself in your spirit for the time it’s needed.
  • We’ll finish the minor prophets by reading Malachi on November 30th. Note that this is a slight change from the schedule that was published in November. I changed things up a bit to read the book of Malachi before finishing the Psalms instead of after.
  • We will begin reading the rest of the Psalms on December 1st and finish them on December 30th. I can’t think of a better way of ending the year than with Psalm 150 which begins and ends with the phrase “Praise the Lord.”

I know the month of December is a busy one for everyone, but friends – enjoy your reading throughout the month. Remember, it’s not the schedule, it’s the content and meeting with God!

Blessings, Friends!
Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for December is below.

To download a PDF of the December 2011 recommended reading plan, click here.

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“In the beginning was the word…”

This month during our Resting at the River’s Edge readings we’ll read the Gospel of John – starting with the beginning of time, it will take us through the life of Christ and then lead us into the book of Revelation for December’s readings. I thought it would be interesting to read these two books back-to-back. (Although you’ll find 2nd Thessalonians sandwiched in between because I realized I had forgotten to include it in the schedule when we read 1st Thessalonians this month. Oops!)

The Gospel of John is many people’s favorites. It’s a bit too contemplative to be my favorite, but I appreciate it’s uniqueness among the Gospels.

Our Old Testament readings will have us finishing the Old Testament except for the book of Psalms which we’ll read in December. That means we’ll finish the book of Ezekiel, cover six of the minor prophets and read the book of Daniel. Remember, the minor phrophets aren’t called that because their message is minor, but simply because they wrote shorter books. For example, you’ll find these two prayers in the book of Habakkuk:

LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.
Habakkuk 3:2 – I often include this prayer of Habakkuk in my times of intercession for revival

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 – this prayer challenges me to rejoice regardless of my circumstances

One of the minor prophets we’ll read is Zechariah. According to the NIV Worship Bible (Zondervan Publishing), “Zechariah is not an easy book to understand, partly because it is an example of apocalyptic literature. This genre includes fantastic visions, grand schemes and mysterious interpretations. Often history is ‘telescoped,’ with past, present and future described as happening at the same time. Above all, Jewish and Christian apocalyptic writings demonstrate God’s ultimate sovereignty over everything. God is the cosmic playwright and authoritative director of the drama of history. We worship this God with awe, humble obedience and confidence in His rule over all that is and is to come.” (page 1271)

Hold on to your hats, folks, there’s some fantastic reading ahead!

Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for November is below.

To download a PDF of the November 2011 recommended reading plan, click here.

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Two Old Testament Leaders, One Message
In the month of May, we’ll read about the passing of two great leaders: Moses and Joshua. I love their final exhortations to the people they had led for so many years.

Moses speaks at the end of his life:

15“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. 16I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, laws, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. 17But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

19“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! 20Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life. Then you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (NLT)

The Book of Joshua picks up the story after Moses dies. With Joshua as their leader, the Lord gives the Israelites many victories over their enemies and they gain the land they had been promised. After the land was divided among them, they had peace. It is then Joshua’s turn to give a final message:

1The years passed, and the LORD had given the people of Israel rest from all their enemies. Joshua, who was now very old, 2called together all the elders, leaders, judges, and officers of Israel. He said to them, “I am an old man now. 3You have seen everything the LORD your God has done for you during my lifetime. The LORD your God has fought for you against your enemies. 4I have allotted to you as an inheritance all the land of the nations yet unconquered, as well as the land of those we have already conquered — from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5This land will be yours, for the LORD your God will drive out all the people living there now. You will live there instead of them, just as the LORD your God promised you.

6“So be strong! Be very careful to follow all the instructions written in the Book of the Law of Moses. Do not deviate from them in any way.

14“So honor the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone. 15But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 23:1-6, 24:14-15 (NLT)

A Transition in the New Testament Readings
So far this year we have read two Gospels, the book of Acts and we’re half way through Romans. I placed Romans after Acts because it is such a foundational book — it appears “first in every list of the Apostle Paul’s writings [bearing] witness to the importance of the work both in its tehem and in its content.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament) Perhaps that why it always makes sense to me to read Romans immediately after reading the Gospels and Acts.

When we finish Romans, however, our reading plan transitions. I’m doing things a bit different this year in scheduling the remainder of the Epistles based on when they were written. In other words, you’ll read the books in the order they were actually written. Of course, they were written by different people and to different groups of people, but I think it will be interesting to see the themes that the writers addressed knowing that those themes would mirror the growing new Church.

So following Romans, we’ll read James. James is an interesting book and has caused some controversy over the years. Martin Luther called it a “right strawy epistle,” and the Bible Knowledge Commentary describes it like this:

“needles in this haystack to prick the conscience of every dull, defeated, and degenerated Christian in the world. Here is a ‘right stirring epistle’ designed to exhort and encourage, to challenge and convict, to rebuke and revive, to describe practical holiness and drive believers toward the goal of a faith that works. James is severely ethical and refreshingly practical.”

Hmmm. Seems like the first issues that needed to be addressed in the Church was faithful endurance and holy living.

The two letters to the Thessalonians followed much in the same theme. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul encouraged perseverance in the face of persecution and he addressed some more issues in which the church that had cropped up in the church.

2 Thessalonians was most likely written shortly after 1 Thessalonians. Some suppose the information came to him from the person who delivered Paul’s first letter. Paul commends the church for their faithfulness and exhorts them to continue in faithful living, not abandoning responsibilities because they expected the Lord to return soon.

Paul’s final exortation in 1 Thessalonians followed by his closing from 2 Thessalonians seem to be a fitting closing to this month’s Resting at the River’s Edge blog:

12Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and warn you against all that is wrong. 13Think highly of them and give them your wholehearted love because of their work. And remember to live peaceably with each other.

14Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.

15See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else.

16Always be joyful. 17Keep on praying. 18No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

19Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20Do not scoff at prophecies, 21but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22Keep away from every kind of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (NLT)

May the Lord of peace himself always give you his peace no matter what happens. The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)

The recommended reading schedule is below.

To download a PDF of May’s recommended reading plan, click here.

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Note: There are many references to Scripture in this blog. All are to the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible unless otherwise noted.

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
1 Corinthians 1:1

Yesterday’s blog about Paul’s calling (and my calling and your calling) encouraged me to dig a little deeper. Simply by looking up the other usages of the word that is translated “called” The word is only used eleven times, and in all cases it is used one of two ways: (2) by Paul referring to his calling as an apostle and (2) by various authors to refer to those who are children of God. Yesterday we looked at Paul usage of the term. Today, let’s look at how it is used in relation to others who trust Jesus:

  • In writing to the believers in Rome, Paul says we are called “to belong to Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:6)
  • Paul addresses his letter to the Roman believers as those who are “called to be saints.” (Romans 1:7)
  • In 1 Corinthians, Paul describes us as being “called to be holy.” (1 Corinthians 1:2)
  • Later in that chapter, Paul writes that for those who are called by God, Christ is the power and wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)
  • In the book of Jude, those who have been called, are described as those “who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:1)

In each of these cases, the word translated “called” means “ongoing (or continuing) choice.” It is the derivative of a word that is also translated “called” but refers to the single act that is done or has been done. Looking at this word gives us more insight into our calling. Read over this list slowly to understand who you are in Christ and what you are called to do or be.

  • We are called into fellowship with God’s Son Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
  • We are called to live in peace. (1 Corinthians 7:15c, Colossians 3:15)
  • We are called “by the grace of Christ” (Galatians 1:6)
  • We are called to “freedom” (Galatians 5:13, NRSV)
  • We are called to live a life “worthy” of the calling we have received (Ephesians 4:1)
  • We are called to “one hope” (Ephesians 4:4)
  • We are called “into His kingdom glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12)
  • We are called to “live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:7, 2 Timothy 1:9)
  • We are called to “share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14)
  • We are called to received the “promised eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15)
  • We are called “out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
  • We are called to suffer unjustly (1 Peter 2:19-21)
  • We are called to return evil or insults with a blessing (1 Peter 3:9)
  • We are called to God’s “eternal glory in Christ” (1 Peter 5:10)
  • We are called to “the wedding supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9)

That’s quite a list! As I created the list there were several items that caught my attention. Rather than talk about them, let me give you an example and a challenge, then offer an encouragement and a prayer.

The example: As I typed “to live in peace,” the questions came into my mind “Am I living in peace? Am I appropriating God’s peace?”

The challenge: Read over the list prayerfully. Which of the things you are called to would God like you to experience more fully? Make it a part of your daily prayers for the next two weeks.

The encouragement: God doesn’t call us to anything He cannot give us or enable us to experience. If He has highlighted one of these “callings,” it is His desire to help you attain it.

The prayer: I pray that this week you will apprehend the grace that God has for you. And I bless you with a supernatural ability to see God working in your life as you pray to bring about His calling this week.

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