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1 Thessalonians 5:12-15

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
“But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
I love Paul’s closing quick-hitters in chapter 5. Rich. Powerful. To the point.
 
Respect your elders (verses 12-13). We should have respect for all people but hold special esteem in our hearts for the elders who labor among us and lead us and admonish us. There is disagreement as to whether Paul is referring to teachers, prophets or elders specifically, but these verses certainly apply chiefly to elders in the post-direct-inspiration era of the church. The calling of elders is of the highest order and their work is truly indispensable in the body of Christ. We are encouraged to have “special love” for them because of their work. There is no more important obligation than being responsible for watching over the souls of human beings (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17).
 
“Live in peace with one another” (verse 13). We should strive for peace so that the body of Christ can be unified in its efforts to serve the Lord and save the lost. It is also important to do this so that the difficult job of our elders can be as pleasant as possible (Hebrews 13:17).
 
Be aware of the condition of your brethren in Christ and treat them appropriately (verse 14). If any are walking disorderly “admonish” them to do what is right in God’s sight. If any are discouraged try to cheer them up ("encourage them"). If any are spiritually weak provide the “help” that they need to bolster them in the faith and embolden them to stay the course. We should help our brethren from a heart of love and with a hand that is “patient”.
 
Never respond to evil and sinfulness by fighting fire with fire (verse 15). It is only possible to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). When we return anger for anger, insult for insult, violence for violence, evil will consume us and destroy us. Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), but cursed are ones who turn their hearts away from the Lord (Jeremiah 17:5).
 
Always, ALWAYS seek what is good!!! For every person! In every situation! No matter how much we want to blast them! God help us (ME) in this endeavor!
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 5:6-11

Monday, November 19, 2018
“So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
The majority of the people in the world are groping in the darkness of sinfulness and religious error and ignorance of God’s will. That is not being judgmental or pessimistic, it is just factual truth revealed by God’s word, and Jesus Himself. “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
 
The only way to find and walk the narrow way and make it through the small gate that leads to heaven is to be sober-minded and spiritually alert (verse 6). People do not make it to heaven by accident. Eternal salvation requires a vigilant and diligent pursuit of God and what the Bible reveals that He desires and requires of us. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 6:11).
 
Jesus went on to say the following in Matthew 7:21-24: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
 
God requires obedient, alert, sober-minded, solid-rock living from those whom He has “destined…for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 9). We need to suit up every day in preparation for the repeated spiritual assaults that Satan is certain to hurl at us (verse 8). It takes time and effort and wisdom for a soldier to strap on his breastplate and helmet before entering into battle, and the same is true for the soldier of Christ and his/her spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-17). Living life on planet Earth is continual existence in a spiritual war zone. If we are not fighting and defending our faith we are giving ground to Satan and losing the war for our eternal, spiritual lives.
 
Wake up (verse 6)! Suit up (verse 8)! Build up (verse 11)!
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 5:1-5

Sunday, November 18, 2018
“Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses ---
 
The Thessalonians needed more elaboration on the events that would take place at the Lord’s Second Coming so that they would not be grieved by the passing of their faithful brethren (4:13-18). But they needed no further instruction about the timing of the Lord’s return (verse 1). They knew it would happen at a time that the world least expected it. “The Lord will come just like a thief in the night” (verse 2).
 
A thief doesn’t announce beforehand the timing of his larceny. He uses the element of surprise to catch his target off guard. When the Lord returns it will be to the shock of the vast majority of the people who are not prepared for His arrival. And, no matter how long the Lord chooses to wait, in the end His coming will be sudden. Even though a woman in the 39th week of pregnancy knows for certain that her baby is coming soon, when the labor pains hit her, they hit her severely and swiftly.
 
The best that we can do is to live our lives each day as if it is the day that Jesus will descend, and to be spiritually prepared for His coming, no matter when that day might be. We take precautions and make preparations in advance to protect our homes against theft, and to be ready for our babies when they are born into the world. It is the height of foolishness to not make the necessary preparations for the most important inevitability in the life of every single human being—the certainty of the Final Judgment.
 
“We must all appear before the Judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Jesus came to the world the first time to be our Savior. When He returns the second time He will be our Judge. Please do what you need to do to be ready for “the day of the Lord” (verse 2). By the way, anytime that phrase is used in the Old Testament, it refers to Yahweh God as LORD (Amos 5:18; Zephaniah 1:7; etc.). Jesus is the great God of heaven. He is our Almighty Creator, our Blessed Savior and our Righteous Judge.
 
Take the time to learn of Him and get to know Him. There is no good reason for the day of the Lord to “overtake you like a thief” (verse 4). There is no good reason for any of us to remain in the “darkness” when it comes to knowing the Lord’s will for us and what pleases Him. Learn the truth and obey the Gospel and live your life in all righteousness and goodness as “sons of the light and sons of day” (verse 5).
 
“The Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
 
BE READY!
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 5:6-11 for tomorrow.
 
Please come study the Bible and worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ, and start learning what you need to do to make your life right with God in preparation for the Day of the Lord.
 
We are located at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
We have Bible study period at 9:30 AM on Sundays and 7:30 PM on Wednesdays.
 
We have worship services at 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM on Sundays.
 
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Saturday, November 17, 2018
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses ---
 
We do not need to “grieve” over our loved ones who fall “asleep” (die) if they are faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus (verse 13). Now, naturally we WILL grieve over losing them from our earthly lives, and we may even grieve over the way that they die if it is particularly disturbing and painful. But there is no reason to grieve in the WAY that the rest of the world “who have no hope” do, when their loved ones die. The reason is that faithful Christians DO have hope that carries on past the earthly grave. If we live and die in faith and obedience to Christ, we know we will be reunited with the faithful departed when the Lord returns to claim His own (verse 14).
 
What will happen on that final day when time and earth and death will be no more?
 
“The Lord himself will descend from heaven” (verse 16). Jesus will return personally to raise the dead who died in the Lord, and to “change” the living who remain at His coming (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). He came to this earth personally to live for us, die for us and arise from the grave in order to save us from our sins. And on the last, promised day, He will personally “descend from heaven” (verse 16), not to alight upon the earth, but to receive His own to Himself “in the air” (verse 17).
 
Jesus will descend from heaven “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God” (verse 16). I’m not sure what all of that is going to sound like, but I guarantee you that it is going to be as LOUD as all get out! Some religious groups maintain that the Lord has already returned to the earth, but He has done so secretly and silently. If their story is true, then the Bible is not! The return of Jesus will be audible and visible and every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7)!
 
The resurrected dead and the living faithful will all be changed (given spiritual bodies suitable for an eternity in heaven – 1 Corinthians 15:42-49), and all “will be caught up together…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (verse 17). After Jesus was resurrected from the dead, he ascended into heaven through a cloud (Acts 1:9). Two angels told the Apostles who were looking on that He would return “in just the same way” (Acts 1:11). Paul tells us here that when the Lord comes back, we will meet Him in the clouds, “and so we shall always be with the Lord” (verse 17).
 
When Jesus takes His faithful home to heaven, there will be no coming back to earth to set up a kingdom or to fight bloody wars or anything else! And honestly, who in their right mind would ever want to leave the glories of heaven and return to this earth of sin, pain and death? The Lord would never be so cruel as to play a dirty trick like that on us. No, when Jesus returns on the last day, it will be to destroy the earth, and to judge the living and the dead (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 1 Corinthians 15:23, 24; 2 Peter 3:10). But, most importantly for faithful Christians, we can “comfort one another” with the fact that, at the Lord’s Second Coming, He will return to take us all home to heaven to be with Him forever (verse 18)!
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Friday, November 16, 2018
“Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses ---
 
The Thessalonians obviously excelled in the area of brotherly love because Paul urged them to “excel still more” in loving their brothers and sisters in Christ (verse 10). The spiritual tie that binds Christians together should be stronger and run deeper than that of any earthly relationship, even blood-relatives. We share in the most precious substance to ever grace this earth—the lifeblood of the Only Begotten Son of God (Acts 28:20). Sharing in Christ’s calling and sacrifice makes us kin on both the spiritual and blood level.
 
In verse 11 Paul told the Thessalonians to make it their ambition to do three things in particular that would actually be expressions of love for their brethren:
 
“Lead a quiet life” – When individual Christians comport themselves in ways that express the inner peace of Christ, it helps to quell the anxieties of the body of Christ as a whole.
 
“Attend to your own business” – It is good and appropriate to get involved in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we must be careful to not allow our concern for them to lead to meddling in their private affairs.
 
“Work with your hands” – Any of us could fall upon hard times at any time and need a helping hand, but if we refuse to work to support ourselves and our own families, we become an undue burden on the congregation.
 
Yes, it is true that we should have affection for our brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 12:10), and that we should do good things for them (Galatians 6:10), and give preference to them in honor (Romans 12:11). But maybe we’ve never considered that when we take good care of ourselves (mentally, spiritually and financially), we are actually demonstrating a deep love and concern for the body of Christ.
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Thursday, November 15, 2018
“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
Paul had prayed that his brethren would increase their love for one another and all people (3:12), and in today’s passages he exhorted them to “excel still more” in their endeavors to please God in their daily walk of life (verse 1). It is not spiritually healthy for us to remain stagnant in our love and faith. While it is true that sometimes we may struggle to try to stay the course and hold on to what we’ve got (Philippians 3:16), our goal should be to excel, increase, and abound as much and as often as possible.
 
In order to please God and do His good will, it requires our personal, intentional “sanctification” (verses 2 and 7). Things that are sanctified are separated from common and ordinary usage, and dedicated to special service to the Lord. That means that the words, actions, bodies, minds, and lives of God’s chosen people must be removed from typical, worldly, sinful activities, and devoted to holy, consecrated attendance to Him and His desires for us. Paul specifically hones in on sexual purity in the context for today.
 
A Christian is commanded to “abstain from sexual immorality” (verse 3). No matter how a person may try to justify sexual sin, if we have intimate relations with anyone other than the husband or wife that God has blessed us with, we are transgressing God’s will and committing a heinous sin against Him. Worse still, we also wrong and “defraud” our brother (verse 5) when we overreach our legal and moral boundaries and try to “possess” more than is rightfully ours by sinning this way against a member of his family.
 
Friends, we are not mindless, instinctual animals. God fully expects us to, commands us to, and will help us to “possess” our “own vessel in sanctification and honor” (verse 4). The matter of lust-control is an extension of self-control, and a critical hallmark of sanctification in Christ Jesus is the desire and willingness to control that rascal that looks back at us in the mirror (Galatians 5:23; Titus 1:8; 2 Peter 1:5-9, etc.). Don’t justify any sin, including sexual sin. It will not wash with God. It doesn’t matter how lonely you are, how unloved he makes you feel, how un-nurturing you think she is, God’s judgment is against fornicators and adulterers (verse 6; Hebrews 13:4).
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
“Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
Paul prayed that the Thessalonians would increase and abound in their “love for one another” (verse 12). It was Paul’s desire and prayer that the Lord would direct his way back to the city of Thessalonica in order to help his beloved brethren (verse 11). But, whether he found himself in their presence again or not, his prayer for them was that the love they already possessed for one another would continue to grow. There is a danger of taking our loved ones for granted and actually growing more distant from them as we are exposed to their particular ways and quirks. But brothers and sisters should love one another in spite of their differences, and strive to find and bring out the best in each other as they seek to be more like their Savior.
 
Paul prayed that the Thessalonians would increase and abound in their love for “all people” (verse 12). As we focus on channeling our love inwardly to our brothers and sisters in Christ, it must not be to the exclusion of all the lost souls of our brothers and sisters in the human race that live all around us. There have been some religious groups that have isolated themselves from society at large and have chosen to live in their own little cloistered communities. But the Bible, and the Lord Jesus himself, tell us to “go into all the world and teach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). The greatest act of love that we can express to anyone is to tell them about God’s greatest act of love in sending His Son Jesus to die for their sins. Our love should be great for “the household of faith,” but we must make certain to “do good to all people” (Galatians 6:10).
 
Paul prayed that the Thessalonians would have their hearts established “without blame in holiness” (verse 13). The Lord wants His people to be stable in mind and firmly planted in faith (established). In this condition of heart they can be the most faithful to the Lord, live the highest quality lives for themselves, and do the greatest amount of good for the people around them. We want to make certain that we are living holy and sanctified lives “at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” We know not the day nor the hour of His return, so we must live our lives each minute as if it could be our last. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 3:6-10

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
“But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account, as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
Timothy brought “good news” back to Paul after his visit with the church in Thessalonica (verse 6). This is the Greek verb “Euaggelizo” that is normally used to articulate the “evangelizing,” or the preaching of the gospel. When Paul received the good report from Timothy that these young Christians had not abandoned their newfound faith in Christ or their love for the Lord and His messengers, it “comforted” him beyond belief (verse 7).
 
This good news was a real emotional shot in the arm for Paul. He had been under considerable stress because of the persecution that accompanied preaching the Gospel, and he was very apprehensive about how the Thessalonians were holding up under their own maltreatment. So, when he heard that they were holding fast to their faith, he really felt refreshed and revitalized (verse 8). He said that “now we really live” because THEY were spiritually alive and well. But that would only last if they continued to “stand firm in the Lord.”
 
Friends, it is not always easy to stay faithful to the Lord. But it most certainly is a matter of life and death that we obey the Gospel call of salvation, and then live sanctified lives all the remainder of our days. This is why Paul agonized over the people that he helped to convert. He did not want to lose one, single, precious soul to Satan’s allurement or discouragement once he had helped to free them from his ruinous grasp.
 
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). Eternity is on the line here friends! Faith is not something that we have on Sunday or a game that we play through the week! It is a lifelong commitment to service and obedience to God Almighty! “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10), and work diligently on the things that are “lacking in your faith” (verse 10)!
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

Monday, November 12, 2018
“Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses
 
Sometimes we all need to be strengthened and encouraged in our faith (verse 2). We are often fraught with weakness and temptation, and God has blessed us with loving brethren to help lift us up and shoulder our burdens (Galatians 6:1-2). It appears from the context that the strength and encouragement that Timothy was sent to instill in the Thessalonians was to equip them for the spiritual battle they were currently involved in, and the skirmishes that were certain to ensue. We need to lift each other up so that we can continue to put up a good fight against Satan and his daily onslaught.
 
Christians are destined for afflictions (verse 3). I don’t know of anyone who actually enjoys trouble and afflictions, but there is no reason for any child of God to be surprised or caught off their guard when they come. 1 Peter 4:12-14 tells us, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” It is a matter of “when” and not “if” persecutions will come. All who are trying to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord WILL suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). If we try to avoid difficulties at all cost, chances are we are not being what God wants us to be in Christ.
 
Please do not dismiss the power of the tempter (verse 5). Do not be fooled into thinking that he is not real, and that he is not heavily involved in your temptations to do wrong. The tempter tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:3) and you are not greater than your Lord, so you can know for sure that the devil wants to tempt you and deceive you and destroy you. The Apostle Paul wrote frequently about Satan and his active endeavors to hinder the spread of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Satan had hindered Paul from returning to the Thessalonian brethren in order to strengthen and encourage them himself (2:18). And he wants to hinder you from doing good and to tempt you to sin. Please put up a deliberate resistance against your greatest adversary. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). He will keep coming back, so you keep resisting! Read! Study! Pray! Worship! Fellowship! Teach! Work! Fight! To quote a political slogan: “You are the resistance!”
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10 for tomorrow.
 
Have a strong day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 2:13-16

Saturday, November 10, 2018
“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
The word of God “performs its work” (verse 13). The inspired word of God has inherent, abiding power that resides within it. Hebrews 4:12 says that it is “living and active and sharp” and that it has a “piercing” power which can cut people to the quick and convict them of their sins (Acts 2:37). God designed His word to cut us down but also to remake us and build us up and equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
 
The word of God helps us endure sufferings (verse 14). When we fill ourselves “with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9), we will be “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience (Colossians 1:11). When we read how Jesus maintained His righteousness and faithfulness under the continual assaults of evil and perverse people, He encourages us and shows us how to withstand the storms of life ourselves. “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (1 Peter 2:21-23)
 
The word of God saves (verse 16). People cannot be saved eternally or maintain their salvation without hearing (learning from others) and reading (even if with the help of others) the inspiration contained within the book we call the Bible. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16-17). Within its pages we learn what we need to do to be saved, and what we need to do to be pleasing to God after we have been translated into His kingdom. It is our responsibility to learn the Truth, obey the Truth, and live the Truth. “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (James 1:21-22)
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

Friday, November 09, 2018
“For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses—
 
In today’s verses Paul implored the brethren to harken back to the short time that he had spent with them and the pattern that he and his companions had left for them to follow after. He wanted them to “recall” or “remember” their time together so they could etch in their minds the approved apostolic example he had given to them to mimic for the rest of their lives.
 
Paul and his companions showed them how to work hard for a living (verse 9). While among the Thessalonians, Paul, Silas and Timothy labored “night and day” so that they would not become a financial “burden” to them. He gave them no reason to believe that they were only preaching the Gospel for the money they could get out of them. But, equally as important, he showed them the value of honest labor to support yourself and your family. “If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
 
Paul and his companions showed them how to be godly in behavior (verse 10). “Devoutly” expresses the idea of “holiness,” or piety and reverence toward God. “Uprightly” implies righteous living before God and mankind. “Blamelessly” means to live in such a way that no charge could be maintained or proven if a person brought one against you. “For we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2 Corinthians 8:21).
 
Paul and his companions encouraged them to follow their example (verses 11-12). As a loving father cares for and urges his children to do the right things, they implored these new babes in Christ to “walk in a manner worthy of the” Lord. They showed them how to live right. They urged them to live right. They encouraged them to live right. They begged them to live right. The reason why they went to such great lengths is simply that it is not always easy to do the right things! But we see here just how important it is for us to try with all our might to do so! God’s “kingdom and glory” are on the line!
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Thursday, November 08, 2018
“For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
Paul and his fellow workers had “boldness” to speak in the face of “much opposition” (verse 2). But let’s be certain to notice the source of this great confidence to be vocal in spite of fierce antagonism: they had “boldness in our God”. If we will only remember and fully believe that the power of Almighty God is in the Gospel that we teach, and behind us when we do His will, there will be no excuse for timidity. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
 
Another reason that they had to speak out boldly to people is that they taught the unadulterated Gospel truth that is vital to people’s salvation. We have every reason to speak confidently as well as long as we are saying things that are “approved by God” and true to His word (verse 4). We really do not need to concern ourselves if the truth that we speak is not pleasing to the ears of the hearers because we know that it is pleasing to God. As long as we are “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) we are telling people the things that they desperately need to hear whether or not they like it or realize it.
 
Yet another reason that Paul and his companions had confidence in their mission is that they had no secret, sinful motivation to preach salvation (verses 5-6). The only reason they stuck out their necks and put their lives on the line daily is because they loved people (verses 7-8). All they wanted to do was help people get to heaven. A phrase that I often repeat is we need to love people enough to allow them hate us. Lost people need the truth more than they need our friendship. Everyone deserves an opportunity to hear the Gospel even if they exercise their right to reject the truth and the messenger who delivers it.
 
We should always speak with love and grace, and our words should be chosen carefully and seasoned for palatability (Colossians 4:6), but the truth still hurts and causes division. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16)!
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 1:8-10

Wednesday, November 07, 2018
“For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul wrote in verse 7 that the brethren in Thessalonica had become a great “example” for “all the believers” in the surrounding region because they had “received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (verse 6). Their conviction for the truth in the face of persecution was such a strong testimony to the power of the Gospel and the genuineness of their faith that “the word of the Lord sounded forth” like a trumpet blast along with their good reputation.
 
Notice the pattern that they left for all of us to follow after:
They received (verse 9). They embraced the messengers with open arms because it was evident to them that God Almighty was the true source of and authority behind the message that Paul and his companions spoke. Hearing and believing the Gospel are important parts of God’s plan of salvation, but we must receive it as well as believe it. If we do not eagerly welcome the living word of God, we will be hearers only and not doers who only delude ourselves (James 1:22).
 
They turned (verse 9). When they “turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,” they exemplified the heart of true repentance. Repentance is a change of heart that leads to a change in the direction of life. When they learned the will of God they turned from their wicked ways and pursued a course of life that was pleasing to Him. Unless we repent we will all perish in our sins (Luke 13:3).
 
They waited (verse 10). Paul is not praising them for just sitting around and waiting for Christ to return, which is unfortunately what some of them were actually guilty of doing. To wait on the Lord means to make the strong determination to stand fast and remain faithful and loyal to Him until we die or He returns, whichever comes first, no matter how long it might take. To wait also implies the full expectation that the Lord will indeed return, and that He will do so according to His own perfect timing, when He finalizes our rescue from the wrath to come.
 
Receive the word of God. Turn from the ways of the world. Faithfully serve the Lord in full expectation of one day seeing Him face-to-face.
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Thessalonians 1:1-7

Tuesday, November 06, 2018
“Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia."
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
I am struck by Paul’s heart-felt love for each of these brethren individually as he gave “thanks to God always for all of” them (verse 2). He played a pivotal part in the conversion of most if not all of the Christians he wrote this letter to, and he was not about to let them fend for themselves after their new birth in Christ. He was forced to leave the city shortly after the establishment of the church there, but he sent Timothy back to help them in their spiritual growth, and he personally, continually and earnestly prayed to God on their behalf.
 
Paul gives mention to the blessed triad of “faith, hope and love” in verse 3. He actually lists these virtues in a more logical order here, however. Their “faith” looked back to what God had done in sending His Son to save them; their “love” was a present, positive and active (labor) response to Jesus’ sacrifice and invitation; and their “hope” looked forward to His return to take them home in glory. Their eternal hope produced in them a “steadfast” or “patient” endurance for any trial and “tribulation” (verse 6) that this world may have forced them to suffer.
 
Paul also pays tribute to the Holy Trinity by invoking the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in verses 3 and 5. Living in a polytheistic society, Paul regularly stressed the nature of the true God of heaven that we serve. Our God, He is one Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4), consisting of three individual personalities. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equally eternal and powerful, equal in nature and essence, and united in holiness and purpose.
 
The brethren in Thessalonica “received the word in much tribulation,” and yet the truth and the hope revealed by the Holy Spirit produced a “joy” within them that was both glorious and inexpressible (1 Peter 1:8). The awesome God of love that we serve in faith is the God of everlasting hope!
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

Introduction to 1 Thessalonians

Monday, November 05, 2018
Thessalonica was the largest and most important city in Macedonia. It was founded around 315 B.C. by the Macedonian king Cassander, and he named the city after his wife (Thessalonike), who was the half-sister of Alexander the Great. The city was located on the northern point of the Thermaic Gulf and boasted a magnificent harbor.
 
Thessalonica was populated mostly by Greeks but there was a sizable Jewish population. The worship of the Greek gods Isis and Osiris as well as Dionysus was prolific, but there was also a Jewish synagogue and a number of “God-fearing Greeks” from which the first converts to Christ of the city were made (Acts 17:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:9).
 
The Apostle Paul and his companions travelled to Thessalonica after receiving the famous “Macedonian Call” vision while positioned across the Aegean Sea in the city of Troas (Acts 16:8-9). After leaving Philippi, they came into the city's synagogue and “for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.’” (Acts 17:3-4).
 
After such a very short time Paul and Silas were forced to leave the city because “the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar” (Acts 17:5). From there they went to Berea and then Paul travelled to Athens. While there he became very concerned about the babes in Christ he was forced to leave behind in Thessalonica, so he sent Timothy to them to “strengthen and encourage” them in the faith (3:1-2), and to find out how they were faring in the faith under persecution from the Jews (3:5).
 
Timothy’s report was mostly good but many had gotten the wrong impression from Paul’s teaching that Christ would return immediately. Some had quit working and (4:11-12), and others were despairing over loved ones that had died (4:13). Paul encouraged them to live their lives in such a way that they would be ready for the Lord’s Second Coming no matter when it might occur (5:6-22). The return of Jesus is a prevalent theme and is mentioned near the end of each chapter (1:10; 2:19 3:13; 4:15-17; 5:23).
 
Please read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-7 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 4:15-18

Sunday, November 04, 2018
“Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas. Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. Say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses—
 
When we find a good doctor, we hope that he/she will not move away and set up practice in another state. Paul was blessed to actually have a “beloved physician” for one of his travelling companions as he journeyed around the Roman Empire preaching the Gospel. What an amazing person Luke must have been. He was a physician, an historian, beloved by Paul because he was a fellow worker in the Lord, and the Lord used Him to write one of the four inspired Gospel accounts and the book of Acts.
 
The brethren in the city of Colosse were to share the message of this letter with the local church that met in the city of Laodicea about 11 miles away. Also the letter that Paul had written to the Laodiceans was to be read to the church in Colosse. Even though some of the information in Paul’s epistles was aimed at specific individuals and congregations and their unique needs and issues, the truths revealed in these inspired epistles are timeless and applicable to the spiritual necessities and problems of all people in all locations around the world.
 
I would love to know the contents of the letter that Paul wrote to the Laodiceans, but it has not been preserved for us to read. It is just a matter of curiosity on my part because, the truth be known, even if that genuine epistle was discovered intact, it would not add significantly to our spiritual wellbeing. God has delivered and preserved the entirety of His perfect, inspired revelation that He promised to mankind (1 Corinthians 13:9).
 
Everything that God wants us to know, believe and do is contained in the canonized compilation that we call the Bible. In it the Lord “has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). It is “inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).
 
Lord willing, we will have some introductory words on the letter of 1 Thessalonians for tomorrow.
 
You are invited to worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ located at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible study for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 4:10-14

Saturday, November 03, 2018
“Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him); and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me. Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses—
 
It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that Paul had written this letter as a prisoner (verse 18), and that he had been wrongfully incarcerated for doing nothing more than serving the Lord in truth and righteousness. His conditions were not deplorable, but he had lost his freedom and mobility, and there had to have been days that he felt restless and disheartened. It was at times like these that I feel certain he must have appreciated his “fellow workers” all the more that had “proved to be an encouragement” to him (verse 11).
 
We all need the encouragement that only brothers and sisters in Christ can provide. It is a rich blessing to receive comforting words of support and reassurance from a person of “like, precious faith” that we know has our best interests at heart. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 that the encouragement of a fellow Christian is really the extension of God’s very own comfort. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
 
I want to be that kind of person because I know that God wants to use me in that capacity. He wants me to lift up my fellow, world-weary pilgrims, and help them on their journey home. It is appropriate that Barnabas, “the son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36) is named in this list of brethren who buoyed the apostle’s spirits. But let’s remember that the thing that encouraged Paul the most was that these men were ardent and dedicated “fellow workers in the kingdom of God.” The only way that we can help ourselves and others to stand “fully assured” that all will work out well in the end is to stress the importance of the need to “stand perfect…in all the will of God” (verse 12).
 
Please read Colossians 4:15-18 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 4:7-9

Friday, November 02, 2018
“As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses—
 
Paul had some kind words of high praise for two of his close friends that he was sending back to Colosse with this letter and information about Paul’s situation in prison at Rome. Tychicus and Onesimus were both Paul’s “faithful and beloved” brethren and servants in the Lord. They could be depended upon to always do the right things, and Paul could always count on them to carry out important and sometimes difficult tasks for and with him as they served the Lord Jesus together.
 
We are commanded by the Lord to love all people. But isn’t it much easier to love the people that we know will always try their very best to come through for us when we need them the most? That is the kind of person that I most want to be. I can’t think of a better description that I would like to have attached to people’s memory of me than “faithful”. I want to be a faithful husband, father, brother, worker, and most of all a faithful Christian. Tychicus and Onesimus were beloved by Paul because they were the beloved servants of the Lord (Ephesians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13) who served Him faithfully to the end.
 
Please read Colossians 4:10-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 4:5-6

Thursday, November 01, 2018
“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
Paul had given instructions for the proper treatment of brethren in Christ (3:17), family members (3:18-21), and “work” relationships (3:22-25). In today’s verses he encourages us to be wise in our “conduct” (verse 5) and our “speech” (verse 6) when we deal with “outsiders”. An outsider is a person who lives outside of the eternal security of a relationship with Yahweh through the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
We must remember that we were at one “time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But, through the grace of God and the efforts of some loving “insiders,” those of us who are Christians were taught and obeyed the Gospel, and are now dwelling inside the fold of safety.
 
When talking to people who are not Christians, our speech should “always be with grace.” We should always try to speak graciously and humbly to lost people understanding that we have found something that they desperately need, and that we are to be Christ’s representatives on earth as possessors and exhibitors of God’s saving grace. Our words should be carefully selected and “seasoned” so that they can be palatable to the listeners. Just trying to ram God’s word down people’s throats never works and is actually counterproductive.
 
James, the Lord’s brother, tells us that “we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well” (James 3:2). When speaking to people, the wisdom from above dictates that we be “peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
 
Please read Colossians 4:7-9 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 4:1-4

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
“Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
“Devote yourselves to prayer” (verse 2) – I often find myself approaching the Lord’s throne of grace when I am afraid, when there is an illness or when I want something. That is not devotion to prayer. That is praying when I feel I need the Lord’s help more than usual. But the truth is that I need the Lord every minute of every day, and I need to lead a dedicated prayer life that habitually and continually draws near to Him in good times and bad; in times of plenty and in times of need.
 
“Keeping alert in it” – We need to keep our minds clear and focused as best we can when we pray. Sometimes I catch myself just saying “mindless” words without putting much thought into them when I am talking to (at) God. And, as most of you have probably already discovered, it is impossible to keep alert in prayer when you are lying sleepily in your bed at night after a long, hard day of life. The horizontal prayer position is not forbidden in Scripture but it is not very conducive to attentive, focused, coherent prayer.
 
“With an attitude of thanksgiving” – Friends, we have a lot to be thankful for. I know that when we are going through a rough spot it is difficult to think about the things that are going right in our lives. But, more times than not, the good far outweighs the bad. A grateful heart is one that is much more open and receptive to God’s blessings than an unpleasant, dissatisfied disposition of mind. Count your many blessings every day. You will actually find that they are far too many to count and sufficiently thank God for. Show Him your appreciation for your innumerable blessings just the same. That pleases God and mentally eases your burdens.
 
“That God will open up…a door for the word” (verse 3) – If the Apostle Paul saw the need for prayers for open doors into people’s hearts to preach the truth, then certainly we should as well. Pray daily that God will give you opportunity to talk to someone about their immortal soul and their eternal salvation, and that God will “make it clear in the way” you ought to speak to them (verse 4). I am convinced that God will never deny a petition like that. Be and stay devoted to prayer!
 
Please read Colossians 4:5-6 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day.
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 3:22-25

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
The Bible does not condone or glorify slavery. It was just a prevalent reality in the first century world in which the letters of the New Testament were written. God is telling us here that a person can be a slave and still be a Christian. A person can be a slave owner and still be a Christian. But a person’s relationship with God through covenant in Christ Jesus must profoundly affect his relationship with a slave or earthly master. A slave or master (4:1) who also serves the Lord Christ (verse 24) must be the best servant he can possibly be.
 
Paul tells us here that “whatever” we do, we should do it to the best of our ability—with all our heart—because all of our work is done ultimately for the Lord (verse 23). Even if we have a boss that we think is the biggest jerk in the world, we should still work diligently and with the best quality and attitude that we can because we work for and represent the Holy One who has supreme authority in heaven and on earth. Even if no one else on earth is watching us, we serve a Master in heaven who sees all and knows all and judges “without partiality” (verse 25).
 
“From the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance” (verse 24). Do you serve the Lord Jesus Christ? I promise you that you will not be offered a better retirement package than the one you are promised through a life of dedicated service to the “blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:16).
 
Please read Colossians 4:1-4 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 3:18-21

Monday, October 29, 2018
“Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
The Apostle Paul covers in a few, terse words what is an enormous part of being a new creation in Christ: the proper treatment of our family. It is “fitting” for wives to be subject to their husbands because that has been God’s plan for marriage from the very first espoused couple (Genesis 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:14). It is appropriate in God’s sight for wives to submit to the leadership of her husband, but it is even more the right thing to do when she is “in the Lord.” A woman who is a Christian has double motivation to be the kind of wife that God wants her to be.
 
Husbands are to love their wives and not be “embittered against them.” A husband’s authority over his wife is not absolute. God expects men to lovingly lead their wives in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7). He is to love her as Christ also loves His church and “gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). That is a devoted and sacrificial love, but when great sacrifice is consistently required, bitterness can ensue. Husbands must be careful to quell their anger and moderate their temper, and not treat their wives with harshness and roughness.
 
Children are to obey their parents “in all things.” This is a command of God that must be expected by parents from their children even when they are young and immature; so it is imperative for the parents to patiently discipline and train their children to be compliant to their leadership (Proverbs 22:6). Any older and more mature child who converts to Christ is commanded by God to submit to the authority of their parents, and mom and dad should remind them of this on a regular basis if necessary.
 
As husbands are prone to be harsh and bitter towards their wives if they are not overly careful, they also may be inclined to “exasperate” their children. When parents are hypercritical of their children, it has the tendency to discourage them and suppress their emotional and spiritual development. It takes a group of careful and attentive hearts guided by the Lord’s direction to keep a healthy balance in a family composed of a variety of personalities, temperaments and maturity levels. But just remember the words of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
 
Please read Colossians 3:22 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 3:15-17

Sunday, October 28, 2018
“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 richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses--
 
There are three things that we must do as individuals if we want to be united in Christ with our brethren and pleasing to God in heaven: We must let the peace of Christ rule within us (verse 15), the word of Christ dwell within us (verse 16), and the name (authority) of Christ govern all our words and actions (verse 17). Of course, the word of God is the linchpin of this trio that provides God’s peace and reveals Christ’s sovereign authority.
 
We often like to think about Philippians 4:7 which says, “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And we rightly love the imagery of that indescribable, invaluable inner peace “guarding” or protecting our hearts. But we must be careful to let Christ’s peace “rule” in our hearts as well. To “rule” means to “umpire”. We need to learn to “let” or “allow” God’s peace to “settle” those inner conflicts that we struggle with, as well as the disputes we sometimes have with other Christians.
 
Since it is in the Bible that we learn God’s plan for sending His Son to die for our sins so that we can be reconciled to Him and have “peace through the blood of His cross” (1:20), we really need to fill ourselves up with “the word of Christ.” The less time we spend in God’s word, the less internal and external peace we will experience in our lives. Singing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…with thankfulness” in our hearts helps fill the heart with peace as well. Singing along with A/C D/C or Motley Crew might not provide an adequate release for stress, and may likely increase it! But singing God’s praises from hearts filled with thankfulness will help the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts.
 
But we must be careful to not settle for false peace. We can salve our consciences and pacify our relationships by just “going along to get along.” Whatever we do in word or deed must all be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus” if we truly want to have peace with God. This means that we have to appeal to the revelation of Christ and obey His authority in everything that we believe, say and do in order to be in a right relationship with God. Inner peace and peaceful relationships are secondary at best. Our first priority must be to please God in all respects (Colossians1:10) if we want to go to heaven when we leave this world and all its turmoil behind.
 
Please read Colossians 3:18-21 for tomorrow.
 
Please come worship God with us this Lord’s Day at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ. We are located at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
We offer Bible classes for all ages at 9:30 AM and we assemble for worship at 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM.
 
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 3:12-14

Saturday, October 27, 2018
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
God’s chosen people should strive mightily to become the choicest of people. The Gospel call of salvation and separation is a call to holy living which is a beloved thing to behold in the eyes of the Lord. Christians are the beloved of God because they have been delivered “from the domain of darkness, and transferred…into the kingdom of His beloved Son” (1:13). Paul shows us in today’s verses what a lovely life of light and loyalty looks like.
 
When we cast aside the old, filthy garments of sin and lawlessness, and “put on” the apparel of faith, beauty and obedience, our lives will look a whole lot like the life of our Master and Savior. Like Jesus, we must endeavor to be compassionate, kind, humble gentle and patient with other people, and especially with those who share our common calling in Christ. When a brother or sister behaves in an un-Christ-like manner towards us, we should be ready to forgive them, just like Christ has readily forgiven all of our many sins and transgressions.
 
As we sink ourselves into these virtuous vestments of faith, we should wrap ourselves up in the raiment of love which, “beyond all these things” will help to secure the unity of the members of our spiritual family. Sacrificial love will knit our hearts together with our brethren in Christ like nothing else in this world possibly can (2:2). “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Love is patient, love is kind, love bears all things, love endures all things, love never fails.
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14).
 
Please read Colossians 3:15-17 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 3:5-11

Friday, October 26, 2018
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses--
 
When we crucified the old person of sin and buried him in the waters of baptism, we arose to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-6). Once we are reborn spiritually and come alive in Christ, we are to continually mortify the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:23), and consider the members of our earthly body as dead to its sinful passions (verse 5). When we were “living in” these things we were dead to God and subjected to His righteous “wrath”.
 
But, if we are thinking clearly and are cognizant of just how disgusting a life filled with sinfulness is, we will readily “put them all aside” (verse 8), or rip them off like a dirty garment and fling them as far away from us as we possibly can! God condemns sexual sins and the lust for money in verse 5, and sinful thoughts, emotions and words in verse 8, and all “evil practices” in verse 9. Those were the thoughts, words, actions and traits of the old person that we crucified with Christ, and that we must never allow to revive and hold sway over our lives again.
 
And in case you haven’t noticed, that old guy doesn’t like to stay dead! If we want to successfully crucify and hold down the “old self,” we must work diligently to persistently replace those old, habitual, sinful practices with the wholesome and godly pursuits of the “new self” (verse 10). Lord willing we will look at characteristics of that new, blessed, living person tomorrow. But for today just know that the only way to recreate ourselves in the image of the Lord who created us is to be “renewed to a true knowledge” of His will for us.
 
That means that our Bibles cannot be just for show as props on the mantel and coffee table! Nose in The Book friends!!!
 
Please read Colossians 3:12- 14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 3:1-4

Thursday, October 25, 2018
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
Paul wrote extensively about many activities that a Christian should not participate in chapter 2. But our new life in Christ is not all about what we must avoid doing. Our main focus should be on the things that we are to be actively “seeking” (verse 1) and setting our minds on (verse 2). He wrote in 2:20 that we have “died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world.” In verse 1 of Chapter 3 he emphasizes that we have also been “raised up with Christ” to live a new life dedicated to truth, holiness and obedience to the Lord. We will see in this chapter that there are certain things we are to “take off” (stop doing), and other things we are to “put on” (pursue with a passion).
 
We are to seek and set our minds on “the things above.” That is to say that our minds should be focused on heaven and eternity and spiritual pursuits, even as we take care of our (not as) important secular business here on earth. Paul is not suggesting that we walk around with our heads in the clouds. On the contrary, to seek the things above “where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” and reigning with supreme authority, is to engage ourselves in the very serious pursuits of learning His will, living righteously, worshiping truthfully, helping the needy, and teaching the lost. Our faith in Christ and commitment to God’s will for us are higher and nobler than, and should take preference over, any worldly commitment or desire.
 
Even as we shine our lights so that others may glorify God because of our good deeds (Matthew 15:16), our lives are still “hidden with Christ in God” (verse 3). When we “sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts” (1 Peter 3:15), that light illuminates from within where Christ and His word have been firmly buried, planted and rooted. The world did not recognize Jesus (John 1:5), so most of the people of the world will not recognize or appreciate the fact that He is the source of our transformed life. But when Christ returns all truth will be exposed for what it is when we are “revealed with Him in glory” (verse 4).
 
Please read Colossians 3:5-11 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 2:20-23

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
“If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!’ (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
Paul makes frequent references in his epistles to the death we experienced when we “died with Christ” (verse 20), and buried the old person of sin in the waters of baptism (Romans 6:3). When we “mortify the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13) we are to effectively die to “the world” and its sinful passions and influences. Any type of man-made religious practice is considered by God to be “elementary principles of the world” that we are to put to death with the old, unredeemed person and his errant ways and practices.
 
“The commandments and teachings of men” (verse 22) have the “appearance of wisdom” (verse 23), but they are only foolish and substandard substitutions and additions to the perfect mind and will of God. Jesus condemned man-made doctrine and worship in Matthew 15:8-9: “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” It is really very easy to discern between the teachings of men and the doctrine of Christ. You can learn of Christ’s commandments and precepts in the New Testament, but the teachings of men you cannot find therein.
 
The Holy Spirit condemns “self-made religion” in verse 23. The King James version renders this term as “will worship”. Any time we try to worship God in alignment with our desires and not according to His will that He revealed in the pages of the New Testament, we have merely invented practices that are foreign and unrecognizable and unacceptable to Him. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
 
Friend, please do not fall for the self-deception that it doesn’t matter what you believe or how you worship, just as long as you are sincere about it. Please don’t fall for Satan’s lie that God wants you to find a religion that you can feel comfortable with. God cares very little about our comfort when it comes to serving and worshiping Him. The Lord is very demanding, and, as Creator of the Universe, He has every right to be. Please kneel to Him now and meet Him on His terms so that you can stand before Him on Judgment Day.
 
“So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left.” (Deuteronomy 5:32)
 
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
 
Please Read Colossians 3:1-4 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 2:16-19

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
“Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
There is more going on here with regard to the “food and drink” than merely a condemnation of dietary restrictions of the Law of Moses (verses 21-22), but it is obvious that the references to “a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day” are specific to that inferior and supplanted covenant and system of rules and regulations. Paul called these types of austerity measures and religious rituals “elementary principles of the world” in verse 8, and here he refers to them as “mere shadows” (verse 17).
 
A shadow is completely dependent upon and inferior to the object that casts it. A shadow is temporary and non-substantive, and has no significance except in its relation to the material that it darkly reflects. The ordinances of the Law of Moses were precursors that foreshadowed the superior things that were “to come” in “the substance” which is Christ Jesus. The Hebrew writer wrote the following about this shadow and substance relationship that existed between the Law of Moses and our covenant in Christ:
 
“Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, ‘See,’ He says, ‘that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.’ But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:4-6)
 
Paul was not singling out the ordinances and holy days of the Law of Moses in His denouncement of the rudiments and elements and shadows of the “religious” world. He condemned any form of false teaching and practice as disqualifying us from the race and “defrauding” us from our eternal “prize” in Christ Jesus (verse 18). Anyone who tries to enforce “self-abasement” or the “worship of angels” is acting equally contrary to the truth and worthy of condemnation.
 
Paul even warned against people who take their stand on “visions” that they claim they have seen. There is only one reliable and authoritative source of revelation for our faith, work and worship today, and that is the New Testament. You cannot trust your own feelings, dreams or apparitions that you think you have experienced. I know some people who are convinced that they are privy to prophetic dreams and visions even today. An inspired Apostle tells us here that these things cannot be trusted! They cause people to be “inflated without cause” (verse 18)! Why? Because there is no substance to them! They are just feelings or hallucinations!
 
Don’t trust your feelings. Get your spiritual instruction and nutrition from Jesus through the Bible only. He is “the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (verse 19)!
 
Please read Colossians 2:20-23 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 2:14-15

Monday, October 22, 2018
“Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
Most denominational preachers will insist that the “certificate of debt” that was cancelled out by Christ on His cross was the unpayable debt that we owed God because our sins and “transgressions” (verse 14). While it is true that Jesus paid the price to secure our forgiveness by His substitutionary death, what was taken “out of the way” and “nailed…to the cross” was the “certificate of debt consisting of decrees” or “ordinances”. This is a clear reference to the commands and statutes of the Law of Moses.
 
In a parallel passage Paul wrote about Christ abolishing the Law of Moses in order to bring Jews and Gentiles together in one body: “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.” (Ephesians 2:14-15) Tomorrow we will see that Paul went on to warn the Colossians against false teachers who attempted to enforce holy days associated with the now-defunct Mosaical Law (verse 16).
 
Paul said that those “decrees” were “against us” and “hostile to us.” The only way for a Jew or a Proselyte to be justified by the Law of Moses was for them to keep it perfectly. The Law only condemned the transgressor and offered no true means of atonement. That was only provided when the Savior lived a perfect life of sinlessness and offered himself as a propitiatory sacrifice. The Law also was an instrument of “hostility” toward the Gentiles in that it served as a “barrier” of separation and exclusion from God’s “covenants of promise” (Ephesians 2:12).
 
Not only did Christ nail these hostile decrees to His cross when He died for our sins, He also overthrew and “disarmed” the hostile spiritual forces that were arrayed adversely against Him and all humanity. He “triumphed” over Satan and his evil militia by His resurrection from the grave, in which He demonstrated His absolute authority over life and death, and declared himself to be “the Son of God with power” (Romans 1:4). Like a general returning home from a successful military campaign in a victory celebration, Jesus made a “public display of them, having triumphed over them.”
 
Jesus has done all the heavy lifting friends. Stay faithful to Him and you are guaranteed the final victory! “Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4)!!!!!
 
Please read Colossians 2:16-19 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 2:10-13

Sunday, October 21, 2018
“And in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Only in Christ Jesus can we be made “complete” (verse 10), lacking nothing that is good and essential for spiritual life and prosperity. As Christ has “all the fullness of deity” (verse 9), He is more than capable of filling us up with all the spiritual blessings that can only be found “in Him” (Ephesians 1:3). Jesus is “the head over all rule and authority,” and He amply supplies all that the body (His church) and its members (Christians) need to survive and flourish.
 
In Christ Jesus we have undergone a spiritual circumcision (verse 11). Unlike the physical circumcision of all Jewish males, this one is evidenced by the ways that our lives have been transformed, not by the changed outward appearance of the flesh. Paul talked about this circumcision in Romans 2:28-29: “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.”
 
This circumcision takes place in the waters of baptism, when we are “buried with Him” and afterward we are “raised up with Him through faith” (verse 12). Again Paul elaborates in his letter to the Romans: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:3-6)
 
This circumcision of the heart where the “old self was crucified” and the “body of sin” was “cut away” cannot be appropriately called a work of man because it is actually “the working of God” (verse 12). This is where the Lord makes us “alive” spiritually, “having forgiven us all our transgressions” (verse 13). Have you been made complete in Christ? If you have not been baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, you have not experienced the necessary spiritual rebirth or taken your first baby-step in a new life in Him.
 
Please read Colossians 2:14-15 for tomorrow.
 
Please come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ located at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville.
 
9:30 AM Bible Study – 10:30 AM worship service – 5:00 PM worship service.
 
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 2:6-9

Saturday, October 20, 2018
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
The Colossians had “received” the teaching of and the truth about “Christ Jesus the Lord” (verse 6) from “Epaphras” (1:7), and other faithful Gospel preachers and teachers. They had received and believed the perfect revelation of God in opposition to “the tradition of men” (verse 8) which was taught by people who did not have their best interests at heart, and who brought damnable heresy into their lives. Christians must shun all false doctrine that only brings alienation from God, and “walk” in the truth that alone brings freedom and salvation.
 
We must be taught right in order to be saved by the Lord, and we also need to walk (live our lives) the right way—strictly according to the doctrine of Christ—in order to remain faithful to Him throughout our lives. Once we have had our faith “firmly rooted” in Christ Jesus the Lord, we should strive to be continually “built up in Him and established” even more deeply and securely in the truth (verse 7).
 
There is an ever-present danger in the “deception” that exists in purely human “philosophy” and reasoning (verse 8). Even reverting back to Old Testament ordinances, which originated from God’s mind and were formerly pleasing to Him (Colossians 2:16-23), is considered to be “elementary principles of the world” that were superseded by Christ. Once God has “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (1:13), we must be vigilant to never be taken “captive” again by Satan and His dark power of sin and error.
 
If we truly comprehend what God has accomplished by giving us the Sacrifice of His Son and the superiority of His doctrine, our hearts would be “overflowing with gratitude” (verse 7). If we learn to appreciate the former bleak, horrid, lost condition that sin created in our lives before Christ, we would treasure the beautiful, vivid contrast of walking in the light of His truth and glory, and reverting back to that darkness would not even be a remote consideration. No matter what circumstances you may find yourself living in today, if you are in Christ, be grateful for the salvation, freedom and eternal hope that God has so mercifully given to you in Him!
 
Please read Colossians 2:10-13 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!

Colossians 2:1-5

Friday, October 19, 2018
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul experienced great external and internal “struggle” (verse 1) on behalf of his brethren as he fought for the truth of the Gospel. Paul earnestly contended for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints (Jude 1:3), and he willingly and daily confronted the enemy of sin and doctrinal error. He was obviously troubled over the false teaching that was threating the security and unity of the Christians in Colosse, and he expressed this internal struggle by writing of His concern for them and by taking it to God in prayer on their behalf.
 
The disclosure of Paul’s daily struggles is a clear attestation to the very real and serious dangers that moral transgression and the “persuasive argument” (verse 4) of false teaching present. Anyone or anything that stands in opposition to God and His will for His people is a source of stumbling and falling short of the salvation that Jesus died to make available. The only ways to combat wickedness and lawlessness is by learning, living and teaching the pure, unadulterated truth, and by petitioning God for the wisdom and understanding of the ones who are teaching and hearing it.
 
Teaching the Gospel truth is also the only way for the hearts of brothers and sisters in Christ to be “knit together in love” (verse 2). Paul tells us to speak the truth in love in Ephesians 4:15, and, in Christ Jesus, truth and love are inseparable companions. The only way for brethren to attain “the full assurance of  understanding resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery” is that we all learn the same, absolute truth that produces “like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1), and to stand firmly together in our convictions for that truth and our love for one another. No amount of earthly wealth is worthy to compare to the true “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (verse 3) that can only be found through Christ and His word and His church.
 
Please read Colossians 2:6-9 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 1:24-29

Thursday, October 18, 2018
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
I don’t believe that anyone truly enjoys suffering, but Paul was able to “rejoice” because He was following after His Master’s example, and picking up in the suffering of “afflictions” where Christ had left off (verse 24). After Christ had stopped him cold on the Damascus Road and completely turned his life around, Paul’s “purpose” (verse 29) in life was to “fully carry out the preaching of the word of God” (verse 25). Paul was not about to let sufferings, persecutions and afflictions stop him from teaching people the message of eternal salvation that they so desperately needed to hear and obey.
 
The word of God is considered a “mystery” because the full scope of the truth was once “hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been” made clearly and fully known through the Gospel (verse 26). The mystery is that Christ Jesus is the “hope” and “glory” of the Gentiles as well as the Jews (verse 27). Paul did not discriminate in the proliferation of the Good News, but admonished and taught “every man” (person) regardless of lineage, background or status. His goal was not only to convert people to Christ but also to instill “wisdom” within them so that they would grow to spiritual maturity and be “complete in Christ” (verse 28).
 
Paul labored and strove for the furtherance of the Gospel because God’s “power” worked “mightily” within him (verse 29). But lest we think that we are not equal to the task because we are not endowed with the power and authority of an Apostle of Christ, let me remind you that there is ample, mighty power dwelling within the word of God itself! “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Let the word of God do what He designed it to do! Just teach people the truth and do not even give consideration to your own inadequacies! The Gospel is God’s power to save!
 
Please read Colossians 2:1-5 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 1:21-23

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.”
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
When we were in the world and engaged in sinful thoughts and “evil deeds,” we were “hostile” enemies of God and “alienated” from Him and His spiritual blessings (verse 21). Wicked thoughts and actions are direct attacks on God and His holiness, and are completely deserving of God’s righteous wrath. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
 
Yet, because of His great love and mercy, Jesus paid the penalty that we all deserve from of our sins, and He “reconciled” us “in His fleshly body through death” (verse 22). Without Christ’s sacrifice there could have been no appeasement of God’s wrath and therefore no reconciliation with Him. Sinners who refuse to turn to God through obedient faith in Christ Jesus make themselves forever the Lord’s enemies and will be eternally damned and estranged from Him.
 
For those of us who willingly and purposefully chose a covenant relationship with God through Christ, we must “continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast” and unmovable in our hope (verse 23). Jesus died for us in order that He might present us “holy and blameless and beyond reproach” as we stand before God on Judgment Day (verse 22). But we can see that Christ’s sacrifice and our “belief alone” will not be enough to secure us on that day. We will only be regenerated on the last day “if” (verse 23) we continue firmly, steadfastly and unwaveringly in our faith in Jesus and our conviction for His Gospel.
 
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:11-14)
 
Please read Colossians 1:24-29 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 1:18-20

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Jesus is “the head of the body, the church” (verse 18). The church of Jesus Christ does not have a chief earthly ruler or headquarters. There is no ruling class or committee or governing body that makes policy, determines doctrine or delegates authority. Jesus reigns over His church kingdom seated at the right hand of His Father’s throne in heaven as Supreme Ruler. He has dictated His will and commands to us through the inspired revelation that has been perfectly preserved throughout the ages in the pages of the New Testament.

Jesus is the “firstborn from the dead.” He is not the first person to ever be resurrected from the dead, but He is the only one who has arisen by His own power and authority, and the only one to remain alive and in a glorified form after having arisen. Jesus holds “first place” or “preeminence in everything.” He is God in all “fullness” (verse 19), form (verse 15) and essence. He is the Creator of the Universe, and all things were made “through Him and for Him” (verse 17). He is the ruler of eternity, of all creation and of the church that He purchased “through the blood of His cross” (verse 20).

The Father chose Jesus, and Him alone, to “reconcile all things to Himself” and make “peace” between Himself and mankind (verse 20). There is no other way to an eternity with the Father in heaven than through the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ (John 14:6), and our faith in Him and obedience to His commands. The only way to live with God’s grace and favor, and to have things ultimately end well for you is to give Jesus “first place in everything” in your life.

Please read Colossians 1:21-23 for tomorrow.

 

- Louie Taylor

Colossians 1:15-17

Monday, October 15, 2018
10-16-18 – Colossians 1:15-17
 
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
 
---End of Scripture Verses---
 
Paul is making the case for the preeminence and absolute authority and sufficiency of Christ Jesus. The brethren had some misconceptions about the nature of Jesus because of the misinformation spread by some false teachers. Paul teaches them who Christ is in regards to deity (verse 15), as concerns the created Universe (verses 15-17), and in relation to the church (verses 18-23) in this chapter.
 
Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (verse 15). To say that Jesus is the “image” or the “eikon” of God is to say that He is the Father’s “representation and manifestation” (Vine’s Dictionary). The Apostle John wrote concerning Jesus: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18).
 
Jesus bore the image of His Father in heaven because He coexists with Him from eternity and He shares the same eternal nature and essence of the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew writer wrote of Jesus that “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus doesn’t merely bear the “image” of the Father in appearance, but is the “exact representation of His nature.”
 
To say that Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation” is not to say that Jesus was a created being. Paul is relating the concept of rank and privilege, and not birth and origination by this statement. He is not saying that Christ is a part of creation, because “by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth” (verse 16). Jesus as the Word existed “before all things” (verse 17) therefore His is far superior to anything in the created world, and owns the rank far above any created person or thing.
 
In Jesus “all things hold together” (verse 17). As we read in Hebrews 1:3, Jesus “upholds all things by the word of His power.” The Word not only created the Universe, but He also maintains its order and cohesiveness by the Almighty power that He exerts in keeping things intact and functioning properly. Do you feel as if your life is flying out of control as you read this? Maybe it is because you have not made or maintained Jesus as the center of your world. It is impossible to “hold it all together” without Jesus as the power source for mental and spiritual cohesion in your life.
 
Please read Colossians 1:18-20 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 1:13-14

Sunday, October 14, 2018
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Through the beloved Son of God alone can we hope to be rescued, transferred, redeemed and forgiven. “The domain of darkness” is the realm of sin and spiritual death where “the prince of the power of the air” reigns (Ephesians 2:1-2). This is the state of existence of spiritual blindness and ignorance and alienation from the God of love, light and holiness.
 
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
 
Jesus lived and died and arose and ascended in order to illuminate our lives and rescue us from this horrid realm of alienation and damnation. He paid the purchase price of “redemption” with His own blood that brings us back into good standing with God, and transfers us into the safety of the “kingdom of His beloved Son.”
 
Friend, if you are living outside of a covenant relationship with God through the blood of His Only Begotten Son, you are in grave peril! If you have yet to express your faith in God by complying to the command to be baptized “for the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 2:38), “into Christ Jesus” and “into His death” (Romans 6:3) so that you can contact His blood and arise to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), you are still dead in the darkness of sin.
 
If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world (John 3:16), and you are ready to confess your belief in Him (Romans 10:9-10), repent of your sins (Acts 2:38) and turn to the Lord in obedient faith, you can make your life right with God this very day!
 
Please come visit us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ. We are located at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
We offer a Bible study period at 9:30 AM and we assemble for worship at 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM.
 
God bless you and have a wonderful Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 1:9-12

Saturday, October 13, 2018
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
The only way we could ever hope to do God’s bidding on a consistent and continual basis is to “be filled with the knowledge of His will” (verse 9). If we do not take the time to frequently feed bountifully upon and fill ourselves up with the living word of God, we will find ourselves suffering from spiritual starvation and alienation from the giver of “all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
 
If we are spiritually malnourished, we will not be able to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (verse 10). We will just stagger around and bump into and trip up on all manner of foolishness and transgression. The word of God is not only food but it is also living seed that, when planted firmly within our minds, bears lovely fruit that manifests itself in “every good work” of faith and love.
 
God’s word is our source of “strength,” “power,” and “might” to do these good works and remain “steadfast” in times of troubles and trials (verse 11). The Bible produces “patience” within us so that we can “joyously give thanks to the Father” not matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in. Isn’t it a wonderful and joyful thing to know that, whatever our lot is here on earth that God has taught us to say: “It is well with my soul”? We have an eternal “inheritance” with “the saints in Light” (verse 12) that no depth of darkness in this world could ever hope to dim or flicker out!
 
Rejoice and give thanks holy ones! If our Father in heaven is for us, no one and no thing can ever prevail against us! Drink deeply from the wellspring of life! I am so thankful that you are reading along with us in these daily Bible readings, but please do not stop to sip at this little well only. Let this only serve to stimulate your thirst to drink much more deeply and meaningfully throughout the day!
 
Please read Colossians 1:13-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Colossians 1:1-8

Friday, October 12, 2018
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul mentions the blessed triad of faith, hope and love in verses 4 and 5. The Apostle tells us that the greatest of these three virtues is love in 1 Corinthians 13:13, but it seems that hope is the hinge. It is “because of the hope laid up” in heaven that their faith and love were so strong. If we did not have hope in Christ Jesus for a bright eternity in heaven, there would be little or no motivation to have Christ-like love for our brethren or fight the good fight of faith. “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19). The hope (confident expectation) of heaven is the driving force behind our faith and our love and every good thing that we do. How pitiable we would be if our hope ended at the grave!
 
The Gospel is THE word of truth (verse 5) that prompts us to have faith in God and love our brethren, and that gives us the hope of heaven. The Gospel is a living, dynamic, spiritual power plant (Hebrews 4:12). It is not only the absolute truth and the final word on truth, it is the “power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16) and transformation (Romans 12:2). The Gospel is “constantly bearing fruit and increasing” in the world today, just as it was “in all the world” back then (verse 6).
 
Sometimes we may get discouraged because it seems that people just don’t respond favorably to the Gospel like they used to. But human nature and mankind’s needs have not changed in the slightest. People still need the Gospel today as much as they ever have in the past, and God’s word will still work powerfully in their lives. It's just that we must be determined to get the word out into the world and into human hearts. “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
 
Please read Colossians 1:9-12 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Introduction to Colossians

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The city of Colosse was located in the district of Phrygia in the province of Asia (Minor – modern day Turkey), and it was in close proximity to the cities of Hierapolis and Laodicea, the latter of which Paul wanted this letter read to (4:13, 16). Once a large and prosperous city that flourished because of its wool garment industry, by the time of Paul’s writing in the first century, Colosse was in decline, especially in comparison to its sister cities of Hierapolis and Laodicea.

It is not known how the church began in Colosse but it is unlikely that Paul had a part in its inception because it appears that he was personally unknown to the churches in that area (2:1). Jews from Phrygia were present in Jerusalem at Pentecost when the church of Christ was established (Acts 2:10), so perhaps some of those played a part in converting some of the locals to Christ when they returned home. Epaphras worked diligently to spread the truth with Paul and he was from Colosse (4:12), and he actually preached the Gospel there (1:7), so he may have been instrumental in starting up the congregation.

It seems that the main reason Paul wrote this letter was to warn the brethren to “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (2:8-9). There was an element among the brethren in the region that was teaching damning heresy that may have been a combination of early Gnosticism and old Judaism.

Twice in the letter Paul emphasized that all the fullness of deity dwelt in Christ in bodily form (1:19: 2:9), which is a direct refutation of the gnostic principle that flesh is inherently evil. The Apostle also warned the brethren against the keeping of Jewish holy days which were “a mere shadow” of the truth and substance that has since been revealed in Christ Jesus (2:16-17). Paul wanted these brethren to “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that” they would be able to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (1:9-10).

Please read Colossians 1:1-8 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

Philippians 4:15-23

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
“You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
When churches and individual Christians help support preachers and the spread of the Gospel it is “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God” (verse 18). Paul used familiar Old Testament language associated with the former system of animal sacrifices to show that God is pleased with us when we give up something of value in order to support the most important cause that will ever exist. It appears to me that Paul viewed this congregational contribution to be a form of worship offered to the Lord in heaven.
 
We will never lose when we give sacrificially to the Lord, and there is no way that we can ever possibly out-give Him. “God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (verse 19). The true, spiritual, lasting riches can only be found in a covenant relationship with God through the atoning sacrifice and mediation of Jesus Christ. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
 
Christ temporarily gave up the riches and glories of heaven so  that we could enjoy them with Him for all eternity. If we seek first the kingdom of God He will take care of all our needs on earth and crown us with eternal glory in heaven.
We will have some introductory remarks about Paul’s letter to the Colossians tomorrow Lord willing.
 
Have a super day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philippians 4:10-14

Tuesday, October 09, 2018
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The brethren in Philippi had sent Paul some money to help with his financial needs while he was in prison. He really appreciated that gift because it showed him how much they cared for him (verse 10), and it helped to ease some of his burdens during his time of “affliction” (verse 14). The money really was a blessing to him and he eagerly accepted it and was able to put it to good use.
 
But an even greater blessing is having the ability “to be content in whatever circumstances” that a person may find himself in (verse 11). Paul was happy with his gift but he knew he would have been alright even if they would not have had the “opportunity” to send it to him. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6-8, “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
 
Paul is not condemning having wealth or an abundance of material goods in today’s verses. He had learned to be content when he lived in “prosperity” and when he only had “humble means” (verse 12). I am of the opinion that prosperity is much better than poverty! But, if we have faith in the Lord Jesus, and all of our NEEDS are being met, we can be spiritually rich even if we are fiscally poor. If we keep our mind focused on Jesus, we can pull off being either wealthy or needy with our faith and salvation intact.
 
Paul called the ability to do this a “secret” (verse 12) because the majority of the people in the world have not acquired the skill of being content in all situations. The secret of being able to do “all things” (verse 3) is Jesus Christ. When we turn to Him for our strength, He will equip us to do every good thing that is in accordance with His will for us. When we are faithfully devoted to Christ, even when we are physically or monetarily “weak” we can be mentally and spiritually “strong” (2 Corinthians 12:12).
 
Ok the secret is out! The key to having and doing everything blessed and good is Jesus Christ! Now let’s get the word out, and let’s put all our trust in and focus on the Lord and His will for us!
 
Please read Philippians 4:15-23 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philippians 4:4-9

Monday, October 08, 2018
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
In a nutshell, Paul is telling us here to not worry about anything but to pray about everything (verse 6). Worrying never helped a single soul solve their problems. Worry and anxiety only make things worse. When we stress and fret over our problems our physical and spiritual health suffer, and we are quite often paralyzed by fear and rendered incapable of doing anything to help ourselves.
 
On the other hand, if prayer is our habitual practice and our first impulse, we take the weight of our burdens and troubles, and cast them upon the Creator of the Universe who can actually handle them (1 Peter 5:7). The effective fervent prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much (James 5:16), but the foolish fretting of a faithless person fails to accomplish a thing.
 
God loves you and He is ready, willing and completely able to bless you in your times of distress. Stop worrying long enough to start praying. Cast your cares and your prayers upon God, “WITH THANKSGIVING,” and He will give you the strength to endure. Don’t forget to thank God for all the good things that He has given you! That will help to take your focus off things that are going wrong in your life.
 
Then, redirect your focus. “Dwell on” things that are “true” and “honorable” and “right” and “pure” and “lovely” (verse 8). Focus on the excellent and praiseworthy things, and “the God of peace will be with you” (verse 9). As a matter of fact, God will grant you the peace of mind that “surpasses all comprehension” that will “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (verse 7).
 
God doesn’t always promise to remove the storm, but He will help you to have peace in the midst of the storm if you will only turn outward and upward to Him instead of inward to yourself. Get out of your own head and turn to the One who has all the power to help you with your problems!
 
Please read Philippians 4:10-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed and peaceful day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philippians 4:1-3

Sunday, October 07, 2018
“Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul refers to his brethren in Christ as his “beloved” (verse 2). He had a heart full of love for his fellow Christians who brought much “joy” to his life and the delight of a much-prized victory “crown”. So it obviously troubled him when two sisters in Christ were having a tough time getting along and expressing the love of Christ to one another. Paul asked the brethren in the church at Philippi to do two things for these rivalling siblings in Christ: “urge” them and “help” them.
 
The love of the brethren and the unity of the church are so vital to the wellbeing of everyone involved that they literally needed to “urge” or “beseech” or “beg” these sisters to “live in harmony in the Lord” (verse 2). This literally means “to be of the same mind,” just as Paul had urged the whole congregation to be in chapter 2 verse 2. He then went on to show them that adopting the “mind” or “attitude” of Christ was the only way to succeed harmoniously in this spiritual venture together (2:5-8). The best way to “live in harmony in the Lord” is to try our best to be like the Lord. Paul called upon his brethren to “help these women” (verse 3) by encouraging them and teaching them and intervening on each of their behalves.
 
These were faithful Christians who allowed their differences to cause a rift between the two of them. That is very disappointing but it sometimes happens. The church is made up of a diversity of people from a variety of backgrounds, having different temperaments, personalities and viewpoints. But on the flipside, these ladies were both hard workers for Christ who had “shared” in Paul’s “struggle in the cause of the gospel,” and their names were written “in the book of life” (verse 3). Never give up on Christians who have compatibility problems. Urge them. Help them. And if necessary, separate them (Acts 15:36-41).
 
Even if we sometimes have a hard time standing side-by-side with an individual soldier in the Lord’s army, that doesn’t necessarily make us bad people. Sometimes we just have to love someone from a distance. Let’s just make sure that we do our very best to love everyone and hate no one. And we must make certain that we are personally standing “firm in the Lord” (verse 1) no matter what!
 
Please read Philippians 4:4-9 for tomorrow.
 
You are invited to assemble with us to worship the Lord in Spirit and truth today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ. We are located at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville.
 
9:30 AM Bible study. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Hoping and praying you all have a blessed and faithful Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philippians 3:17-21

Saturday, October 06, 2018
“Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul was not just tooting his own horn when he talked about all the power, privilege and prestige that he had once possessed (verses 1-6), and that he willingly gave the sum of it up because he knew that it was all rubbish in comparison to the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus and walking in His footsteps (verses 7-10). Paul was setting himself up as an “example” and a “pattern” to follow (verse 17) all the way to a glorious resurrection and an eternity in heaven (verses 12-19).
 
Today’s passage speaks to the power of example, whether it be a good one or a bad one. Paul and his companions led lives of dedication to “the cross of Christ,” and they demonstrated their love for the Lord by accepting the “fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” in order that they “may attain to the resurrection of the dead” (verse 10). Any time people are willing to lay their lives on the line for a cause, and subject themselves to ridicule and suffering, that makes a powerful impression on the minds of others and can stimulate similar feelings of devotion within them.
 
But still, there were others who walked as “enemies of the cross of Christ” (verse 18). And it seems that Paul was “weeping” over these people because they were once purified by the blood that freely flowed upon that old rugged cross. These were people who were controlled by their base, fleshly appetites and not by the Holy Spirit’s direction to live lives of holiness and self-control. They gloried in shameful things and “set their minds on earthly things” (verse 19). They walked according to the pattern and path of destructions, and, undoubtedly people followed after their horrid example, and they did so to eternal destruction.
 
So what is the impetus to follow a righteous pattern and not a wicked one? The answer is a home in heaven (verse 20)! Paul counted his earthly home and fortune as rubbish because he had been promised a glorious mansion and eternal treasure in heaven above! Paul believed with all his heart that it didn’t matter how men might abuse his body on earth as he dedicated it to the service of the Lord in heaven because Christ would one day “transform” his week and feeble body after the image of His glorious, resurrected body (verse 21). One suitable for living an eternity in the presence of the Lord who had redeemed him.
 
Be careful of the example you set. People are watching.
 
Be careful of the example you follow. It will determine your destiny.
 
Please read Philippians 4:1-3 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philippians 3:12-16

Friday, October 05, 2018
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul was thrilled that he had given up the rubbish of world in order to gain the excellency of Christ (verses 7-8), but he was sobered by the fact that he was not yet in heaven (verse 11). He had still not laid hold of the eternal prize that was promised to him when he was first apprehended by Christ (verse 12). When Paul received and obeyed “the upward call of God” (verse 14) his mind was renewed and his spirit redeemed, and he was placed on the narrow track that leads to heaven. But the “goal” line where the ultimate “prize” is won cannot be found on this side of eternity.
 
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 that this prize is promised to all Christians who faithfully finish the race. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” When our time on earth is done, and when the Lord returns to gather His own, it will truly be a glorious day for His faithful runners! But, until we cross that finish line, we still have work to do and a race to run.
 
Let’s keep reminding ourselves that the race lies ahead of us and not behind us (verse 13). One of the hardest things for me to do is to keep running forward without looking back. I allow too many things that have been said and done in the past to hinder my progress in the race of faith. This is a passage that I should read with frequency—maybe every day but at least every week. I need frequent reminders that, as my brother used to say, “there ain’t no future in the past!” The Apostle Paul didn’t live in the past. He never forgot the lessons that he learned from his past mistakes, but he didn’t “dwell on” them. As a matter of fact he didn’t focus on his past failures or successes. He was all about future thinking and forward progress.
 
So, stay on track and don’t look back! Sometimes we might get stuck a little bit, but let’s hold on to what we’ve attained in Christ, and not throw our eternity away because of a few snags along the path (verses 15-16). Stay the course no matter what, even if the road gets a bit rocky from time to time. None of the rubbish of the world we left behind is ever worth giving up heaven to go back to!
 
Please read Philippians 3:17-21 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philippians 3:8-11

Thursday, October 04, 2018
“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Absolutely nothing was more important or more valuable to Paul than “knowing Christ Jesus” (verse 8). After Jesus had entered into Paul’s life he began to look at life through a completely different set of lenses. He came to realize that most of the things that he had treasured prior to coming to the Lord were actually trivial in comparison to the “surpassing value” of discovering true knowledge. Paul knew about Jesus but his knowledge ran much deeper than mere awareness. When he came to truly know the eternal nature and essence of the Word that became flesh, and how He lived on earth and what He expected of and promised to His faithful followers, Paul knew he had learned the pinnacle of human purpose.
 
Nothing is more important than a deeper knowledge of, a closer walk with, a greater love for Jesus. In Paul’s mind, everything else, relatively speaking, was pure “rubbish”. The combined total of that which he was willing to throw away in no way compared to that which he gained from his complete devotion to Christ. He would let nothing or no one stand between him and his relationship with his Lord. No defunct system of religion, or his position in it; no vain, human philosophy; no monetary wealth or worldly possession. Paul was all in for the Lord because he knew that he had found the one, priceless treasure that he could not live without.
 
If we want to one day realize “the power of His resurrection” to eternal life (verse 11), we must commit our minds and hearts to Him and entrust our lives to Him on earth. We must be willing to live for Jesus and die for Jesus if we want to reign with Jesus eternally in heaven.
 
Please read Philippians 3:12-16 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philippians 3:1-7

Wednesday, October 03, 2018
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The “same things” that Paul wrote about again in verse one likely harken back to his admonition for them to stand “firm in one spirit together for the faith of the gospel” against their “opponents” (1:27-28). Here he actually identified their common “adversaries” as “the dogs,” “the evil workers,” “the false circumcision” (verse 2). This was the element among the church that had professed belief in Christ but tried to bind circumcision and other aspects of the Law of Moses upon the brotherhood. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:12 that their motivation for doing this was to avoid being “persecuted for the cross of Christ.”
 
Paul referred to these “evil workers” as “false brethren” in Galatians 2:4. Even though we do not experience this particular form pressure to conform to religious error in the church today, we still must be on our guard against anyone who would try to teach us false doctrine or attempt to coerce us into doing something that we know is wrong or not commanded by God. We are responsible for serving and worshiping God “in the Spirit” (verse 3), or according to the truth of the Holy Spirit’s revelation, and for glorifying Christ Jesus in all that we do.
 
Paul gave up all of his privilege and power in the Jewish community in order to believe and obey the truth, and glorify Christ in his life and in his death (1:20). He had much more to put “confidence” (verse 4) in than the false brethren did, so his influence for good should have overridden the evil influence of the false circumcision in the minds of the Philippians. Paul was actually at the very “top of the food chain” in Judaism (verses 5-6). But he willingly forsook everything that was coveted and esteemed by the pride and lust of mankind in order to gain Christ and please God.
 
Paul weighed the whole world in the balances against the “surpassing value of knowing Christ” (verse 8), and the world came up lacking. He willing suffered the “loss” of everything that he had once held dear, but he really didn’t lose anything of lasting value in the deal. He wisely exchanged an eternal crown of life for some brief and fleeting earthly possessions and prestige. What do you need to turn loose of for Christ that you have yet to give up? Whatever it is, it is not worth it!
 
Please read Philippians 3:8-11 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philippians 2:25-29

Tuesday, October 02, 2018
“But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Apostle Paul considered Epaphroditus to be his “brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier” (verse 25). These two had worked hard together and had fought arm-in-arm with one another against the enemy of all that is good and holy. Their common adversary, common goals and common struggles had bound them closer together in brotherly love in the Lord. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” When we know that we can count on someone to guard our flanks and cover our back in the heat of the battle, we come to love and appreciate a brother or sister like that in ways that words cannot fully describe.
 
Paul also referred to his friend and brother as a “messenger and minister.” The word “messenger” is actually the Greek word for “apostle,” which literally means “one sent” to deliver a message or accomplish a work. The church in Philippi had sent Epaphroditus to Paul for the purpose of delivering their monetary gift to him, and for personally ministering to Paul’s needs in any way that was beneficial to him. Paul was sending his helper back to his brethren in Philippi, but it was not because he had not been extremely useful to him. It was just that Epaphroditus was worried about them because they had been so worried about him and his poor health (verse 28).
 
Epaphroditus had risked his life in order to serve the church and to minister to Paul’s needs. But Paul made it clear that Epaphroditus had come close to death “for the work of Christ” (verse 30). He was primarily and ultimately serving the Lord when he was putting his life on the line to serve the Lord’s people. This is another testimony to the “unsung heroes” of the faith. The Lord knows the lives that belong to Him and He greatly esteems the Christians who serve Him with all their heart and soul. We should “hold men like him in high regard” (verse 29) because God surely does. Let the hard workers of the Lord’s vineyard know how much you appreciate them!
 
Please read Philippians 3:1-7 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philippians 2:19-24

Monday, October 01, 2018
“But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
A couple of Paul’s fellow workers who had “the mind of Christ” (verse 5) were Timothy (verses 19-24) and Epaphroditus (verses 25-29). These two men had dedicated their lives to Jesus and put their lives on the line every day in service to their brethren and fellowman. Paul said that Timothy was “of kindred spirt” with him (verse 20). This term literally means “equal-souled”. Both Paul and Timothy shared a deep and genuine “concern” for the brethren in Philippi, and the Apostle was confident that when he sent Timothy to help them out spiritually, they would be getting the next best thing to a visit from Paul himself.
 
Timothy did not seek after his own interests but the interests of Christ Jesus (verse 21). This means that, just like His Savior, Timothy did “nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,” but with humility of mind he regarded other people as “more important than” himself” (verse 3). He did not merely look out for his “own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (verse 4). Timothy had “proven worth” because he consistently displayed a Christ-like attitude as he faithfully carried out his duties as a servant of Christ. He could be trusted and depended upon to do the will of God because he had a proven track record that stood the test of time.
 
These two men were not superhuman heroes. They were regular people like you and me who gave their very best to the Lord because of their deep gratitude for all that He had done for them. God recognizes and rewards the efforts of the dedicated workers in His kingdom and soldiers in His army, even if no one else ever does. Keep fighting! Keep working! Keep serving! The Lord knows your worth! If you have been sitting idly by, get into the fracas! There is no time like the present to surrender your will and life to your Lord!
 
We’ll read about Epaphroditus in verses 25-29 for tomorrow Lord willing.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

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