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Hebrews 5:7-10

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
As the High Priest of the New Covenant, Jesus “offered up” His own lifeblood in order to be our “source of eternal salvation” (verse 9). “In the days of His flesh” He also “offered up both prayers and supplications” (verse 7). The prayers of the “pious” (those with reverent devotion to God) are sweet smelling sacrifices to the Lord. Jesus is the preeminent example of God hearing the prayers of the righteous sufferer.
 
Please take comfort in knowing that as we pour out our hearts to the Lord “with loud crying and tears,” He hears us, He cares for us and He will help us through our dark hours. Notice that Jesus prayed this way “to the One who was able to save Him from death.” But what did Jesus pray that fateful, fretful night, alone in the garden? He prayed that the Father’s will be done. The Father heard His Son, but the Father’s will was done. Just as the Son would have it to be.
 
Jesus was “made perfect” by suffering and dying for our sins (verse 9). He was obedient to His heavenly Father in life and death, and became our perfect Savior and perfect High priest. All who obey Him have the hope and blessed assurance of knowing that we will be saved eternally and will reside with Him in heaven for ever and ever and ever. Take comfort brethren. Our God knows our pain and suffering and He rewards His faithfully obedient servants.
 
Please read Hebrews 5:11-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 5:1-6

Monday, February 18, 2019
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The author continues his portrayal of Jesus as our sympathetic High Priest in order to convince his converted Jewish readers that they should “draw near” to Him to “receive mercy and grace to help in time of need (4:14-16). His argument today is that Jesus is a legitimate high priest in every way, hand-selected by God and perfectly qualified for the position.
 
Jesus was “taken from among men” as the Levitical priests were since Jesus was also a man who was tempted in all points as they were (Hebrews 4:15). He was superior to them, however, in that He was “without sin” while they needed to “offer sacrifices” for their own sins as well as for the sins of those they were interceding for (verse 3).
 
Jesus also offered “gifts and sacrifices for sins” (verse 1), but His were more excellent and effectual in nature. While the old high priests sprinkled the blood of animals upon the altar of atonement and the mercy seat which resided in the holy of holies in the temple, Jesus carried the precious gift and sacrifice of His own atoning blood into the true most holy place in heaven itself, and made “eternal redemption” for sins there (Hebrews 9:12-14).
 
Jesus was “called by God” (verse 4) to the office of high priest as His “Son” (verse 5), and “according to the order of Melchizedek” (verse 6). Jesus is legitimate in His high priestly position as were those under the Law of Moses, but He was not of their order, being much more excellent in nature since His priesthood did not end at His death but actually began there, and is perpetual in nature (Psalm 110:4).
 
Psalm 110 is a prophetic view of the Messiah who would reign as both King and High Priest over God’s chosen people. This was unheard of in the Mosaic system as the Law strictly separated the two positions. Whenever a king of Israel imposed himself upon the duties of a high priest he was harshly disciplined by God (1 Samuel 13:8-14).
 
We should all marvel at our Lord Jesus and what we have in Him as our Savior, Priest and King. He loves us because He created us. He sympathizes with our weaknesses because He became one of us. He offered Himself as a perfect, atoning sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. He sits at the right hand of the throne of God interceding for us and helping us with our weaknesses and temptations. He’s coming back for His faithful to safely deliver them home to the place that He has prepared for us in heaven.
 
Please read Hebrews 5:7-10 for tomorrow.
 
Try to sympathize with the weaknesses of the people who share in our own human frailties!
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 4:14-16

Sunday, February 17, 2019
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
From stern words of warning in most of the previous verses to soothing words of comfort today. Continuing with the dominant theme in this letter, our covenant with Christ is superior to any previous covenant because our high priest is greater. We have a “great high priest” in heaven, “Jesus the Son of God”. In God’s prior covenant with Israel, the high priests rendered temporary service in a holy place that was an inferior copy and shadow of the true holy of holies in heaven. The author will go into greater detail about the changing of the priesthood in chapter 7, but he notes here that Jesus serves as high priest at the right hand of God, sitting as His Son on the throne in heaven.
 
Because of this truth, those of us struggling on earth, for any reason, should “hold fast our confession” (commitment to Christ) with all the strength we can muster. In verse 13 we were warned to stay faithful because God can see right into our hearts and knows our thoughts and intentions and He will judge us. But verse 14 comforts us with the fact that God is not just scrutinizing us but also sympathizing with us. We have a high priest who is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” in Jesus the Son of God, because He was also Jesus “the Son of Man”. As the “Son of Man” Jesus was forced to “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed” (Mark 8:31). He also was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (verse 15).
 
Jesus knows what you are going through because He is God, but more so because He was human. It is not a sin to be tempted and tested, but it is a sin to give in to sin’s temptations. Jesus never gave in like we do, but He can still help because it is much more difficult to endure temptations than to surrender to them. He knows what it is like to be you, and He is strong enough to help you because He had the perfect power to resist that you do not possess. Friends, fear of the Lord’s judgment is a perfectly legitimate incentive to become and remain faithful to Him. But the fact that He loves us and wants to help us by showering His mercy and grace on us “in time of need” (verse 16) is a much more appealing plea and reason to be faithful until death.
 
As our King on the throne, Jesus has every right to order us to do His will. And He does just that. But as our sympathetic High Priest, He stands ready, willing and able to help us in the doing of it. So, rather than abandon Him during our times of trials, tribulations and persecutions, those are exactly the times we should “draw near” to Him with “confidence”. Just as closely as we possibly can. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:8-10)
 
Please read Hebrews 5:1-6 for tomorrow.
 
We would love for you to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a great Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 4:12-13

Saturday, February 16, 2019
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The writer sets his focus upon “the word of God” to illustrate the power of “the Good News” that has been “preached to us” (verse 2), and the consequences of either accepting or rejecting God’s desires and demands, and His invitation to enter into His rest. The word of God “is living” because it emanates from “the living God” (Hebrews 3:12). The Bible is not a “dead letter” or a merely historical document containing facts and narratives. “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). The word of God is alive and “enduring” and is always relevant and essential to humanity, no matter what needs they may have or era they may live in.
 
The word of God is “active” (effective, powerful). The inspired books of the Bible contain nothing less than “the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The revelation that expresses God’s will always succeeds in the matters for which He designed it, and it always accomplishes the goals for which He sends it (Isaiah 55:11). God sent His word into the world imbued with the power to save souls for eternity (Romans 1:16), but also as His instrument of judgment and punishment. It is a lethal weapon that is “sharper than any two-edged sword.” The person who believes and obeys God’s word will be saved by it, but the one who defies and disobeys it will be condemned by it.
 
The word of God has the piercing and penetrating powers to expose even the deepest “thoughts and intentions” of our hearts. It is not enough to “appear” to be doing what is right on the outside in order to maintain a facade of faithfulness. God looks right into the human heart and knows our every notion and secret motive, for “there is no creature hiding from His sight.” “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). God sees us exactly for who we are at our innermost being. “All things are open and laid bare to” His “eyes”. We will all be required to stand before God in Judgment and give an account to Him for the way that we either received or rejected His word. This is what is meant by the term “of Him with whom we have to do.”
 
Please read Hebrews 4:14-16 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 4:1-11

Friday, February 15, 2019
“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‘As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,’ although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works; and again in this passage, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Okay, so this is one of those passages that can really make your head swim if you read it over and over trying to make sense of it. I will remind you the Apostle Peter wrote that “some things” are “hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16), but they are not impossible to understand. Let’s see if we can follow the general flow of the logic, and I see no way to do this in few words. It is important to point out that much of the logic here is chronological in nature: from Creation, to the Exodus, to Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land, to King David the great psalmist, to Jesus.
 
A “promise remains of entering His (God’s) rest” (verse 1). “God rested on the seventh day from all His works (of creation)” (verse 4), and since that time He has extended the invitation to those whom He created in His image to join Him in peaceful rest and fellowship. The children of the exodus from Egypt did not enter into their Promised Land rest because of their faithlessness (Hebrews 3:16-19). But even this earthly Land of Promise was not the fullest fulfillment of the blessed rest that God had planned for those who truly love Him.
 
A case in point is that Joshua finally did lead Israel into the Promised Land and they conquered the inhabitants of Canaan, and it is said that: “The Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:44-45). And yet the Hebrew writer said that Joshua had not given God’s people the truest form of rest that He ultimately had in store for them (verse 8).
 
David wrote hundreds of years after Joshua in Psalm 95:11, “Therefore I swore in My anger, truly they shall not enter into My rest” (verse 5); implying that “it remains for some to enter” into this blessed rest. The rest that David wrote of and looked forward to is the same rest that the Hebrew writer has been focusing upon: the “Sabbath rest” (verse 9) supplied only by Jesus the Loving Shepherd (Psalm 95:7). The peace and joy and fellowship that has been made available “today” (in this final dispensation through God’s covenant in His Son), is obtained only if we “hear His voice” and “do not harden” our “hearts” to God's will for us (Psalm 95:7; Hebrews 4:7).
 
How can we not be reminded of the heartwarming invitation of Jesus, the great and only provider of true peace and rest?: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
 
But of course, there is the warning to remain faithful in verse 11, which is really what the letter to the Hebrews is all about. The author sums up and concludes his whole line of argumentation this way: “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” The fullest measure and fulfillment of the rest that only Jesus provides for us will only be achieved in our eternal Sabbath in heaven, if we love Him and are faithful to Him until death (verse 10).
 
Please read Hebrews 4:12-13 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 3:12-19

Thursday, February 14, 2019
“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.’ For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
If there is a passage in the Bible that teaches more clearly that it is possible for a Christian to lose his salvation, I don’t know what it would be. Remember that this inspired letter was written to some unspecified Hebrew Christians who were tempted to abandon their faith in Christ because of the persecution they were experiencing. These brethren needed to “encourage one another day after day” (verse 13) to remain faithful to Christ no matter what.
 
Verse 12 tells us plainly that we can fall away from the living God. One thing that can cause that is an “evil, unbelieving heart”. I think most of us have seen this happen in our own lives. Most of us know someone who was a true, converted believer in Christ, and then just simply lost their faith. I think even a salvation by “belief only” proponent would have to admit that if someone stops believing they are lost. It is universally known that a person has to believe in Jesus to be saved (John 3:16), and the Hebrew writer tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (11:6).
 
When we “sign up” to follow Christ, we will become “partakers” in His suffering and persecutions. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). But we will only be “partakers” of His glory in eternity, “IF” we “hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end” (verse 14). Even in the face of that persecution. The word “if” is a term of “conditionality”. Certain conditions must be met if we want to be assured of our eternal salvation. The “biggie” is that we must remain faithful to Christ until death.
 
The author used God’s unfaithful children of the exodus out of Egypt as the prime example of His “chosen” people falling short of His promises. They were not permitted to enter into the Promised Land because they continually “sinned” (verse 17), because they were “disobedient” (verse 18) and “because of unbelief” (verse 19). The whole point of this exposé on their fall from grace is to warn us that the same thing will happen to us if we prove ourselves to be faithless and disobedient like they were.
 
Please read Hebrews 4:1-11 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 3:7-11

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
“Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, “THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS”; AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
We must make certain to not allow history to repeat itself in our lives. God warned His covenant people in Psalm 95:7-11 to not make the same mistakes that His rebellious children of the Exodus made when they hardened their hearts against His will and were forbidden admittance into the Land of Promise. As God warned Israel through the great psalmist, David, so He warns those of us living in these “last days” to heed the words of His Son Jesus (Hebrews 1:2), and not put Him to the test by rebellion and defiance from hearts that have gone astray.
 
It is of great significance to understand that when we read our Bibles we are actually “hearing the voice” of the Holy Spirit (verse 7). In Hebrews 4:7 the writer says the revelation of Psalm 95 was given “through David”. But in Hebrews 3:7 he ascribed the origin of the words of the Psalm to the Holy Spirit. We are reminded of what is written in 2 Peter 1:20-21: “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
 
The reason that God’s people “go astray in their hearts,” and “drift away” (Hebrews 2:1) from His will is because they either have not known or have forgotten His “ways” (verse 10). God is a kind, loving, patient and benevolent Provider who only wants what is absolutely best for the children that He brings into the world. But He cannot tolerate persistent rebellion against His good will and good blessings, and His patience will and does run out.
 
“Behold the kindness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22): God “will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” (Romans 2:6-8) Friends, God’s wrath is just as real as His love. Let us not temp the Lord by our sinful ways and provoke His righteous anger. When we do that we have no one to blame but ourselves.
 
Please read Hebrews 3:12-19 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!!!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 3:1-6

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
We should look to Jesus as the paragon of faithfulness (verse 2) in our times of distress. We must “consider” (give careful attention to) Him when we are tempted to abandon our faith and throw our eternal future away. Christians partake, not in an ordinary, secular profession, but in a “heavenly calling” through Jesus. God calls us FROM heaven and TO heaven by His Son through His word.
 
Jesus is the “Apostle” of our confession (commitment) in that He was “sent” from heaven by the Father to rescue us from the slavery of sin (Hebrews 2:15), and He is the “High Priest” of our confession in that He offered himself as the atoning sacrifice for the sins that separate us from God (Hebrews 2:17) and His eternal rest (verse 11). Jesus was sent by God as an Apostle and He presents us to the Father as a High Priest.
 
Jesus is greater than the angels of heaven, through whom the Law of Moses was delivered (Hebrews 2:2), and even greater than Moses himself (verse 3). It was a challenge for a faithful Jew to elevate any man above the station of “the great law-giver,” who was the “apostle” and “mediator” of God’s law and covenant with Israel that was ratified on Mount Sinai. Both Moses and Jesus were faithful in the administration of their duties over God’s “house” (family). But Jesus is “worthy of more glory than Moses” because the Son of God is “builder” (Creator) of the house and not merely a created (yet faithful) servant like Moses (verses 5-6).
 
Because of Jesus’ absolute obedient faithfulness in His execution of the Father’s plan of salvation for us, faithful Christians are a privileged part of the household of God (verse 6). As brethren of Jesus and faithful children of the Great I Am, we have every right and reason to “hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” Stay faithful. Like Jesus. To the very end. No matter what. It will be more than worth it!
 
Please read Hebrews 3:7-11 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 2:14-18

Monday, February 11, 2019
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The devil is real and the devil is powerful (verse 14). When we fall for his deception and give in to our lusts and choose to sin, we fall under the power of Satan. Our adversary uses the power of sin to secure our spiritual “death” and subject us to the bonds of “slavery” (verse 15). Sin kills us (separates us from God), and enslaves us (holds us captive and powerless to escape).
 
That is why Jesus came into the world. In one of the greatest and most powerful ironies of all time, Jesus defeated death by His own death (verse 14). What looked like a surefire victory for Satan over Jesus and His efforts to save mankind, turned out to be a crushing defeat for that slanderer (3:15). As Jesus pitifully hung on that old rugged cross, and afterward was laid in that dark, cold tomb, it looked like our King had been vanquished and humanity’s greatest hope had been snuffed out.
 
If Jesus had stayed dead and His body had remained in the tomb, Satan would have won. But Jesus arose victoriously from the grave and destroyed death and Satan and all the fear that goes along with being a slave to sin. If you belong to Jesus you need never fear death. If you are a faithful Christian, life only gets better after your spirit separates from your body.
 
Jesus, our “faithful high priest” appeased (made “propitiation” for) God’s wrath that our sins rightly incurred, when He offered himself as the perfect, substitutionary sacrifice. Then He arose from the grave and ascended into heaven and blazed the trail for us to follow. Until we get there, Jesus sits at the right hand of the throne of power and helps us in our times of need and temptation (verse 18). Jesus is not a mere heavenly spectator sitting idly by as we struggle with sin here on earth. He is ready, willing and able to help when we ask, seek and knock.
 
Please read Hebrews 3:1-6 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 2:5-13

Sunday, February 10, 2019
“For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, ‘WHAT IS MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.’ For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.’ And again, ‘I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.’ And again, ‘BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The author returns to his argumentation that Jesus is greater than the angels, and therefore the Gospel is greater than God’s prior testimony that was given through the mediation of angels. “The world to come” is not the afterlife, but the dispensation of “which we are speaking” (verse 5). The author is still writing about the Messianic age of Jesus, which is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies, and that is the great and final dispensation of time before God destroys the world and judges all of its inhabitants.
 
Even though Jesus was greater than the angels being the Creator of the angels, He made Himself “for a little while lower than the angels” (verses 9), when He visited the earth that He created in the form of a human being, and “suffered” and tasted “death for everyone” (verse 9). The author quoted Psalm 8:4-6 where David expressed His amazement at the fact that the Almighty Creator of the Universe would even think or be concerned about such a minute and seemingly insignificant thing as a man.
 
Well, not only did God “remember” us, He loved us enough to become one of us. Jesus, the Word incarnate, is not ashamed to call” us “brethren” (verse 11). Think about that for a few moments. If the great psalmist was perplexed about the contemplation that God would even have the slightest consideration for us, how about the fact that “the Word became flesh,” and dwelled among us, that He lived for us, died for us and tasted death for each and every one of us!!! If you are ever feeling low and lonely and unloved, please open your Bible to Hebrews chapter 2 and just feel the intensity with which God loves you friend.
 
God the Word became “The Son of Man” to become the “author” of our salvation (verse 10). The word “author” means “captain” or “leader” or “pioneer”. It is one who goes into a new area before others and leads the way that they may follow safely after. Jesus is the “author” and “originator” of our salvation who ascended to heaven as our “forerunner” (6:20) to prepare a place that we might follow after Him (John 14:2-3). Jesus suffered for all those who have been subjected to suffering, so that He might bring as “many sons to glory” as put their trust in Him (verse 13).
 
Please read Hebrews 2:14-18 for tomorrow.
 
We would love for you to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a great Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 2:1-4

Saturday, February 09, 2019
“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
If the readers practiced zealous adherence to the old law delivered through angels, they ought to pay even “closer attention” (verse 1) to the word which was spoken by the Lord Jesus (1:2), and delivered to them through His apostles and prophets (verse 4). These Hebrew Christians were experiencing some troubling times because of their faith, but it was time to cling to their faith and Christ’s word and kingdom as tightly as possible, and not fall away from it. The eternal consequences were entirely too great for them to turn loose of their spiritual moorings and “drift away” from their Rock of salvation.
 
Friends, the Creator and Judge of the world speaks to us through the Gospel (1:2). We must listen closely to it and cling to it like our lives depend upon it. We must obey the truth and not let go of it for any reason because one day we will all be judged by it. We must “pay much closer attention” and keep our ship on its proper course so that we do not just aimlessly drift about in the sea of ignorance, doubt and sin. If we neglect spending time in the word and applying its teaching to our lives we will float away from the Lord and toward the jagged rocks of error and worldliness, to our own peril. There are many things in this world that can cut us loose from our strong anchor of hope (6:19). Laziness. Distraction. Dissatisfaction. Worldly ambition. Busy-ness.
 
The author uses a classic “lesser to the greater argument” in verse 2-3. If the Law of Moses was “unalterable” and “just,” and those under it were accountable to its every command and every infringement was punishable by God, how much more so the “great salvation” revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament? Once a person was convicted of sin under the old law, there was no way of release or “escape” because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins (10:4), and there was no true forgiveness until God provided a Savior.
 
But, when the Father sent His own Son into the world to die for our sins and provide for our soul’s salvation, that was truly the provision of “great salvation”. This salvation is “great” because of the greatness of the One who gave His own life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. This salvation is “great” because of the horrid nature of sin and its eternal damnation that He rescued us from. Friend, there is no way to escape the everlasting condemnation of sin unless you latch onto the Savior and His holy message with all your might and not let go and “drift away” to your own disaster.
 
We see in verse 4 what the true purpose of “signs” and “wonders” and “miracles” was. God empowered the Apostles and other disciples in the first century with miraculous capabilities through His Holy Spirit in order to “confirm” (verse 3) the word of truth that they spoke by inspiration. When they taught the Gospel, the accompaniment of miracles validated their words as God-ordained truth. Just read Acts chapter 14 as a prime example of this truth in action. “Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3).
 
Now that we have the final, perfect, completed, compiled New Testament, miracles have served their purpose and have ceased to be necessary (1 Corinthians 13:8-13). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16), and it is all we need to make us spiritually complete (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
 
Please read Hebrews 2:5-13 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 1:8-14

Friday, February 08, 2019
“But of the Son He says, ‘YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. ‘YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS.’ And, ‘YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; THEY WILL PERISH, BUT YOU REMAIN; AND THEY ALL WILL BECOME OLD LIKE A GARMENT, AND LIKE A MANTLE YOU WILL ROLL THEM UP; LIKE A GARMENT THEY WILL ALSO BE CHANGED. BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, AND YOUR YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END.’ But to which of the angels has He ever said, ‘SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET’? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrews author pours fourth streams of Old Testament quotes in the first two chapters, mostly taken from the Psalms, for two critical purposes. Firstly, the most effective way to convince Jewish converts that Jesus is the Christ and worthy of their loyalty, even if suffering is required, is to do so through the Scriptures that they cherish and consider the final word in all matters.
 
Secondly, the writer demonstrates through these Old Testament passages the truthfulness of the assertions that he made about Jesus in the first three verses—That “He is the heir of all things;” that He shares God’s glory and essence; that He made the world and holds it together; and that He is now sitting “at the right hand of the majesty on high.” Today’s verses expand upon those bold statements about Jesus in verses 1-3 and use the Holy Scriptures to validate them.
 
Unlike all transitory earthly kingdoms and their fallible, impure rulers, the kingdom of Christ is eternal (forever and ever), and He reigns over it with a “righteous scepter” (verse 8). When the Father “anointed” Jesus as Sovereign over His kingdom, He did so with “the oil of gladness” (verse 9). Jesus was given a measure of joy that far exceeded that of any earthly king because he “loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.” Jesus lived a perfectly sinless, purely righteous life on earth which qualified Him to sit “down at the right hand of the majesty on high” (verse 3).
 
Although some religious groups make a fuss about Jesus being called “begotten” (verse 5), the “firstborn” (verse 6), and God’s “heir” (verse) to prove that Jesus was a created being, the Hebrew writer has an entirely different focus. The author refers to Jesus as “God” twice and “LORD” once, and ascribes to Him all the attributes of deity (verse 1-4). The terms “firstborn” and “heir” refer to Jesus’ preeminence and exalted status above all created people and things, and He was “begotten” when He powerfully arose from death (Acts 13:33), and ultimately ascended to the right hand of the Father. The things that the writer said about Jesus in verses 11-12 are also ascribed to Yahweh God in Psalm 102:24-27 and Isaiah 51:6.
 
The Hebrews writer stresses the superiority of the eternal Jesus over the angels that He created to set the stage for the argumentation that he makes throughout this letter that the New Covenant (Testament) is superior in every way to the Old Covenant (Testament). The New Testament prophets and writers say that the old law was “ordained by angels” (Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19, Hebrews 2:2). Our “better covenant which was enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6); our “new and living way” (Hebrews 10:19) was not administered by mere “ministering spirits” (verse 14), but by the Only Begotten Son of God who is the Creator of the Universe and King of kings and Lord of lords.
 
Please read Hebrews 2:1-4 for tomorrow.
 
Have a wonderful day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 1:1-7

Thursday, February 07, 2019
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’? And again, ‘I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME’? And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.’ And of the angels He says, ‘WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The author gets right down to the business at hand. He doesn’t extend greetings. He doesn’t introduce himself. The most important message for him to convey to his readers (us) is that “God…spoke” (verse 1). Friends this is such a profound concept and statement that we dare not breeze by it. God spoke, and still speaks, to the people that He created. He wants to communicate His will to us. He wants us to know why He created us, how much He loves us, what He requires of us so that we can have a relationship with Him on earth and in heaven’s eternity.
 
God “spoke long ago” to our spiritual forefathers through His chosen prophets in many separate instances (portions), and by many different methods (ways). He communicated His will directly and verbally to them or through dreams, visions, signs, Urim and Thummim (1 Samuel 28:6). His past methods of revelation were continual and varied and scattered about over time and location. But, “in these last days” God “has spoken to us” His final, complete, compiled, perfect revelation “in His Son” Christ Jesus (verse 2). That these are the “last days” confirms the concept of the final and complete revelation and covenant in Jesus.
 
The author explains more fully HOW God speaks to us through Jesus in chapter 2. “It was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard” (2:3). Those authorized ambassadors (apostles) who walked with Jesus and heard Him speak were subsequently inspired to speak His words for Him (John 16:13). These “spokesman” then recorded God’s vital message of “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) in the inspired documents that comprise the New Testament. It behooves us to closely “pay attention” to the “prophetic word made more sure” (2 Peter 1:19).
 
Now to the glory and supremacy and excellency of Jesus. He is greater than the sum total of all the prophets who ever spoke before Him in that He is the Only Begotten Son of God. Beyond this, as “heir of all things” Jesus holds the place of preeminence in everything in heaven and earth, He Himself being the Creator who “made the world.” To express that the Lord is “the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” is to say that Jesus possess all the “splendor” and “essence” and attributes of deity that God the Father intrinsically owns. If any of the readers of this letter were (are) tempted to look for a better offer from God and a greater being than Jesus and a more perfect plan of salvation, they were (are) looking in vain. Jesus is the Messiah that was promised “to the fathers in the prophets” and He is over and above all, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega. After “He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (verse 3), and reigns as eternal King over His church kingdom.
 
Much more could be said about these verses but I don’t want to write a book.
 
Question and thought for tomorrow: Why does the author emphasize the superiority of Jesus over the angels?
 
Please read Hebrews 1:8-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Introduction to the book of Hebrews

Wednesday, February 06, 2019
We simply do not know who wrote the letter to the Hebrew (Jewish) Christians or the location of its recipients, and there is no way to tell with any certainty on this side of eternity. It has been speculated that the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Peter, Luke, Silas, Barnabas or any one a host of others is the possible penman of this epistle. God only knows and neither the Inspirer nor the author deemed it necessary to inform us about it, so it must not be important for our salvation or spiritual welfare. Hebrews 13:24 suggests it may have been written from or to a location in Italy, but this too is inconclusive. That this letter was written immediately to Jewish Christians in a specific location and not to all Hebrew disciples at large seems evident from the author’s desire to visit with them soon after writing the epistle (13:23).
 
This letter was written in large part to encourage Jewish Christians, who were enduring persecution because of their faith, to remain loyal in the face of hostilities. Even though they had not “suffered to the point of shedding blood” (12:4), they had suffered significantly in their past (10:32), and were currently enduring tribulation at the hands of aggressive non-believers at the time of the writing (2:18; 4:16; 10:36, etc.). Some had endured verbal and physical abuse and even had their property confiscated, while others had been thrown into prison for their profession of faith to Christ (10:32-34; 13:3). Frequently the author encouraged these harried Christians to remain faithful to their Master to the very end regardless of the earthly consequences, and to warn them of the dire eternal consequences of abandoning their faith, and incurring the wrath of the Almighty God of heaven (2:1-3; 3:15-18; 6:7-8; 10:26-31; 12:25-29).
 
He encouraged them to not “fall away from the living God” (3:12-14; 4:14); to mature and “have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (5:11-14); to “hold fast the confession” of their faith (4:12); to endure and not “shrink back” (10:32-39); to “lay aside every encumbrance and sin” that entangles, and “run with endurance the race” set before them, looking to Jesus as the perfect example of eternal reward for faithful endurance (12:1-3). The main focus of the author is to demonstrate the vast superiority of Christ and His New Covenant as compared to Moses and the rudiments and shadows of that inferior law and covenant (1:1-14; 8:1-13); and to convince his readers of the foolishness of abandoning their heavenly calling and returning to a disobedient and fruitless way of life.
 
I know that this brief introduction in no way comes close to doing justice to this magnificent epistle, but we will dig deeper into its meaning as we delve into our daily readings. But let’s end by making application to our own lives based on what we’ve learned from this intro today. While it is true that few if any of us are Jews tempted to revert back to a defunct covenant and system of law, Hebrews teaches us that nothing in this world is worth abandoning our faith in Christ for. No amount of ridicule, slander or persecution. No amount of fame, fortune or power. No amount of pride, prejudice or pleasure. Nothing that this world can offer us or throw at us is worth falling from or faith for and forfeiting our eternal sabbath rest in heaven (4:11).
 
Please read Hebrews 1:1-7 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philemon 1:21-25

Tuesday, February 05, 2019
“Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say. At the same time also prepare me a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given to you. Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Can your Lord, your brethren and your family have “confidence in your obedience” to the word? The best way that we can be of greatest service to our loved ones and the kingdom, and even to the world at large, is to immerse ourselves in the Bible, and then go about being diligent doers of the word. Let’s try to do “even more” good than what the people in our lives expect us to do. The more we do the more we bless and are blessed.
 
It is so very sad and troubling to look at the wonderful doers of the word listed in verse 24, and yet to know that Demas “loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10) more than the Lord toward the end of Paul’s life. This was one of the “fellow workers” that the apostle had great confidence in as well, but he let his guard down and was pulled back into the world by the magnetism of Satan’s devices.
 
Take Demas’ bad example as a warning. It is a wonderful thing when other people can have confidence in us, but we must be very careful to not be overconfident about ourselves. Stay humble. Study diligently. Work hard. Keep your focus. “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.” (Colossians 3:2-4).
 
Lord willing we will have some introductory remarks on the book of Hebrews for tomorrow.
 
Have a great and godly day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philemon 1:17-20

Monday, February 04, 2019
“If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me. But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand, I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well). Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” Whatever act of kindness we extend to a brother or sister in Christ, Jesus said that we actually do that for Him. When we clothe someone who is exposed, feed someone who is hungry, visit someone who is sick or in prison, Jesus takes that very personally. When we see these needs and refuse to extend the love of the Lord to them, Jesus takes that very personally as well.
 
Paul told Philemon that receiving Onesimus back with a heart full of forgiveness and love was, in effect, to receive the Lord’s apostle in the same way. While this is true, it even goes farther and higher than that. To forgive an erring brother and receive him back into the family of Christ when he repents is to actually receive the Lord himself. When we show compassion for a fellow debtor, we expand our heart’s capacity to love and receive “benefit” from the Savior who died to pay our debts.
 
Onesimus owed Philemon a trifling sum compared to the life that he owed Paul and his salvation that he owed the Lord. It is much more blessed to receive a debt of gratitude than to have a monetary debt repaid. Jesus tells us in the Parable of the Unrighteous Steward to, “make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). It is spiritually shrewd to use our money to make good friends, influence people for Christ, and serve the Lord faithfully (Luke 16:8).
 
It is impossible to serve two masters. We cannot serve God and wealth simultaneously (Luke 16:13). Let’s make sure that we are using our material and financial blessings to serve the Lord and our fellowman.
 
Please read Philemon 1:21-25 for tomorrow.
 
Praying that your blessings abound!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philemon 1:10-16

Sunday, February 03, 2019
“I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Apostle Paul vouched for the integrity of his new brother in Christ, Onesimus. Sometimes we just need a person of good standing to put in a good word for us to help give us a leg up in life. Paul certainly understood this truth from the early days in his service to the Lord. When he first tried to associate with the Christians in the city of Jerusalem after his conversion, they were afraid to have anything to do with him because of his past reputation. But Barnabas took him to the Apostles and gave him a good referral and afterward he was able to move “about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord” (Acts 9:26-28). He was once “useless” like Onesimus had been, but the Lord Jesus made him “useful” or “profitable,” which is what the name “Onesimus” means.
 
Our “goodness” should be offered, not “by compulsion, but of” our “own free will” (verse 14). If we do good deeds for people and make sacrifices for God merely because we feel like we are forced to, that means our hearts are not in the right place. If we attend worship services because we feel like we “have to” and not because we “want to,” our attitude will be poor, our focus will be off and our offering will be tainted. God wants us to choose to serve Him willingly, lovingly and cheerfully.
 
The right thing to do was for Philemon to not merely receive Onesimus back as his servant, but to embrace him as “a beloved brother” (verse 16). When people obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it should always change their relationships for the better. I love the way my brother-in-law Randy Scott refers to me as his “double brother”. Christ takes relationships that are poor and makes them good. He takes relationships that are good and makes them even better. In Christ Jesus all of our petty differences are rendered insignificant and our barriers are torn down, and we (should) understand that we have the one thing that matters most in common with our brethren: the salvation of our God-imprinted, immortal spirits.
 
Please read Philemon 1:17-20 for tomorrow.
 
I would like to invite you to 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.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philemon 1:8-9

Saturday, February 02, 2019
“Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
As a hand-picked ambassador of Jesus Christ, Paul had the apostolic authority to command Philemon to accept Onesimus back as a brother in Christ and without any repercussions for fleeing from his proper place. Instead Paul lovingly and compassionately appealed to him to have a forgiving heart as that which the Lord Jesus Christ possessed, and to do the “proper” thing by embracing his runaway slave when he returned, and pardoning him for his infractions, and receiving him as a fellow-member in the family of God. Paul appealed to Philemon to do the right thing as an “aged” and experienced brother and as a “prisoner of Christ Jesus” who had endured much wrong at the hands of others, and did so without the demand or desire for justice or retribution.
 
Friends, even though God has the right as the Creator and Supreme Ruler of the universe to demand that we do everything that He wills us to do, we should comply with His every command simply because they are the right things to do. We should embrace the Lord’s will for us because we love Him so much for all the wonderful things that He has done for us and given to us in our lives, and for the great and precious eternal blessings that He has promised to us if we are faithful. The astonishing fact that God came to this earth in the form of human flesh in the person of Christ Jesus, for no other reason than to save us because of his immeasurable love for us, should humble us to the greatest degree and provide the only motivation we need to live our lives to please Him in all respects.
 
Please read Philemon 1:10-16 for tomorrow.
 
Have a wonderful day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Philemon 1:1-7

Friday, February 01, 2019
“Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
One of the most refreshing things that a prisoner can hear is good news from the outside world. Paul had good reason to thank God because of the good reports he received about the active love and faith of many of his fellow kingdom servants. Philemon and his good family were people who could be counted upon to uplift the hearts of the saints and provide spiritual refreshment for the Lord’s people. They were willing to open up their home as a gathering place for the church, and they were known for their eagerness to share (fellowship) their blessings with others who had need of them.
 
Paul’s personal experience of Philemon’s benevolence, and the news from Epaphras that Philemon’s love and faithfulness flourished toward the Lord and His people, really brought Paul “much joy and comfort” during a tough time in his life. It may seem like Paul was just buttering his brother up before the request he made on behalf of his beloved Onesimus, but he was actually explaining to Philemon the reason why he had confidence to make such a bold entreaty of him and not an authoritative demand (verses 8-9).
 
Are we the sort of disciples that the Lord and His people can have great confidence in to be generous in times of need and faithful in all circumstances? Are the expressions of our love and faith for the Lord like a breath of fresh air to the saints who are struggling to keep their heads above water? I want to follow in the footsteps of Philemon and be the source of much thanksgiving and joy and comfort and refreshment and love to other people!
 
Please read Philemon 1:8-9 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Introduction to Philemon

Thursday, January 31, 2019
Philemon was likely a wealthy and influential member of the church in the city of Colosse in modern day Turkey (Philemon 1:2, 22; Colossians 4:9). It is commonly believed that Apphia was his wife and Archippus was his son (verse 2), and also the preacher or “minister” of the church that met in their house (Colossians 4:17). Paul was likely the one who converted Philemon to Christ (verse 19), and obviously considered him to be an upstanding man of honesty and reliability based upon the praise he gave him in this epistle.
 
Paul wrote this letter to his brother Philemon to address the situation with his runaway slave, Onesimus (verse 16). Onesimus had fled his master’s home in Colosse to the city of Rome, and likely after lifting some of Philemon’s valuables (verse 18). While in Rome Onesimus met up with Paul who had been imprisoned there, and the apostle converted him to Christ and the two quickly formed a bond of love and loyalty with one another (verse 12). Paul desired to keep his new brother in Christ by his side because he found him to be very “useful” in his service to the Lord (verses 11, 13), but he knew that it was right for Onesimus to return to his appropriate place and position in the household of Philemon (verse 14).
 
This is one of those Bible passages that brings the very touchy issue of slavery into focus. The Bible deals with slavery in a very matter-of-fact way because it was so prevalent in the times and places in which the inspired books were written. Here is what Adam Clarke wrote concerning Paul’s letter to Philemon: “This epistle is the Biblical answer to the question of slavery. Here we have no law of outward compulsion to forbid slavery but a gospel spirit of love which so changes the heart that slavery automatically withers and becomes impossible.” When we read Paul’s sentiments written in verses 15-16 we can understand this assessment to be true.
 
Please read Philemon 1:1-7 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Titus 3:12-15

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
“When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Even though we tend to just glance over the beginnings and endings to the New Testament epistles, they are important. When we read these real names of real people we are reminded that this was a real letter written to address the real concerns and needs of the Lord’s church. Artemas, Tychicus, Zenas and Apollos dedicated their lives to assisting the Apostle Paul and serving the Lord Jesus Christ in all faithfulness. We owe a debt of gratitude to these men and people like them who serve the Lord today. We should “diligently help” God’s ministers, making certain that they lack nothing they need in this earthly life, as they diligently help the Lord’s people in regards to their spiritual needs and the eternal life to come.
 
In closing this letter, Paul used the example of these four faithful servants of God to instruct all of the Lord’s people to “also learn to engage in good deeds” (verse 14). Let this serve as a reminder to us that it is not just the preacher’s job to teach people the truth and help bring them to the Lord Jesus. Undoubtedly the most “pressing” need known to mankind is the Gospel of Christ that, alone, can save people’s souls. God demands labor that produces fruit from all of His children. Jesus is the True Vine and we are the branches. If we are truly “in Him” we will bear fruit, and He will “prune” us so that we will be able to bear much more still. If we do not bear fruit He will cast us away as branches and we will wither and die (John 15:1-2).
 
I do not say this to shame us or scare us but to remind us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13)! God would never ask anything of us that is too difficult for Him to empower us to do! “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)
 
Lord willing we will have a brief introduction to Paul’s letter to Philemon for tomorrow.
 
Have a wonderful day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Titus 3:8-11

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
“This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Isn’t it interesting that the “trustworthy statement” that God “saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done” (verse 5) is all the motivation we should need to “be careful to engage in good deeds” (verse 8). All the good works in the world would never be enough to save us without God’s grace and mercy, and “the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”, but we had better take care to be fully engaged in them until the Master comes just the same. The one talent man in the Lord’s famous parable was condemned as a “wicked and lazy servant” because He refused to put that which his master entrusted to him to good use (Matthew 25:26). “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).
 
“Disputes about the Law…are unprofitable and worthless” (verse 9) for the simple reason that the Law of Moses has been fulfilled by Jesus and therefore nullified and rendered unnecessary. “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). To argue, fuss and fight in the name of the Lord is foolishness, but to do so over a law which has been abolished is foolishness run amok.
 
“A factious man” must be rejected and silenced after giving him adequate warning because the Lord does not permit rifts and divisions in His body (Proverbs 6:16-19; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13). Paul says such a person is “self-condemned” (verse 10). I believe this implies that the “heretic” knows that what he is doing is forbidden by the Lord and damning to his soul, and yet he chooses to do it anyway. Friends, it is the height of foolishness to know good and well that the sins we commit are condemning our souls to Hell, and yet to callously continue in them just the same. God loves our eternal spirits so much that He sent His Son to pay the ultimate price to save them. Do we dare think so lightly of our immortal spirits and His eternal love that we would snub the sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son?
 
Please read Titus 3:12-15 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Titus 3:1-7

Monday, January 28, 2019
“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Apostle Paul reminds us all to not forget where we came from in this passage. We should show “every consideration for all men” (verse 2) precisely because God showed every consideration to us by granting us adequate time as He sought us out and reached us by His truth. We should be patient and loving with all people because there were people in our lives who lovingly endured our disobedience and hatefulness while teaching us about “the kindness of God our Savior and His love” for us (verse 4). Every time I am tempted to look at some poor, pitiful soul ensnared by the entanglements of the adversary and write him off as a “lost cause,” I must stop and remind myself that, but for the grace and patience of my Father in heaven, that would still be me.
 
God saved those of us who have obeyed the Gospel, “not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy” (verse 5). It may seem like a contradiction to say that God requires our obedience for salvation, and yet He does not save us by our deeds, but there are no inconsistencies here. We see clearly in verse 5 that it is by an act of God’s unmerited mercy that He cleanses us of our iniquities “by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” when we obediently submit to the Spirit’s command to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). To say that God places conditions that must be met upon our salvation, in no way negates the fact God still saves us by His mercy and grace and not by our own meritorious works when we do meet them.
 
When we do what we are told, we are simply unprofitable servants who are only doing things that are required of us, and are in no way earning our salvation. We are merely accepting God’s immeasurable gifts according to the terms that He has placed upon them. When the Heart-pierced listeners of that Pentecost sermon asked Peter and the other Apostles, “what must we do?” (Acts 2:37), under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter responded: “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit enumerated two things that people must DO in order to receive His free GIFT of eternal life: repent and be baptized. The believers who obeyed these commands were saved, not by their own works, but by the power and grace and mercy of our loving God.
 
“So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
 
Do the math with me here. Those who were “baptized” were “added” (verse 41). Those that the Lord “saved” were “added” (verse 47). By the simple rule of replacement, “baptized” = “saved”!
 
This reads like a simple syllogism that logically cannot be denied. (Premise 1) Those who were baptized were being added. (Premise 2) The Lord added those who were being saved. (Conclusion) Therefore those who were baptized were being saved!
 
Please read Titus 3:8-11 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Tauylor

Titus 2:11-15

Sunday, January 27, 2019
“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. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
This is one of my favorite “memory passages” for many reasons, and one of them is the number of false religious doctrines that are shot down by just 5 short yet exquisite verses of Scripture.
 
(1) God’s grace instructs us (verse 12). Grace is not an overpowering, mystical, better felt than told or explained experience. God’s grace “appeared” to us in the form of Jesus Christ coming to this earth and living and dying for our sins. God extends His grace to us by “instructing” us through His perfect revelation on what we need to do to contact the blood of Jesus, and how we need to live our lives in faith. Living faithfully, as instructed by God’s grace, requires denying ungodliness and worldly desires and living sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age.
 
(2) Jesus died for, and God’s grace is available to “all men” (people) (verse 11). God did not “hand-pick” a certain, select number of people to save unconditionally. Anyone who is convicted by the power of the word, and by the repulsiveness of their sins, will be saved eternally if they repent and are baptized for the remission of those sins (Acts 2:38). “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
 
(3) Jesus is “our great God and Savior” (verse 13). Jesus was not a created being. He was “the Word” who has existed from all eternity as an equal part of holy deity (John 1:1). When “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14), God took on the form of humanity (being simultaneously God and man) in the person of Jesus the Christ. Jesus is not a god. He is not “the mighty god” while Jehovah is “the Almighty God”. Jesus is Yahweh God and is equal to the Father in eternity, essence and purpose (Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 1:3). The Word subjected himself to the will of the Father when He “emptied himself,” took on the form of a human servant, and humbly obeyed to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8).
 
(4) Jesus is going to appear again in glory (verse 13). He did not return to this earth invisibly sometime in the past as some people falsely claim (2 Timothy 2:18). When Jesus appears the second time, it will be in all His radiant glory, and it will be the most amazing spectacle to ever behold, visibly and audibly (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52). In light of what Jesus did and what He will do, we must stay focused on living godly lives of purity and zealousness, wholly devoted to good works (verse 1). “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…” (2 Peter 3:11-12).
 
Please read Titus 3:1-7 for tomorrow.
 
We would love to see you at worship services today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a great Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

 

Titus 2:6-10

Saturday, January 26, 2019
“Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Being “sensible” is the one attribute that Titus is encouraged to teach and “urge” both gender and age groups to embrace. Some of these characteristics overlap and can even be used interchangeably. Just looking at the NASB New Testament Greek Lexicon definitions for this word: “of a sound mind, sane, in one's senses…curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate”. It seems like common sense was as much a rarity on the Island of Crete in the first century as it is in 21st century America. God wants us all to come to our senses, and keep the brains and bodies that He gave us under His control. I think we can all improve in the area of exercising good judgment in some if not all areas of our lives.
 
I have been thinking about verses 9 and 10 a lot here lately, and how this applies to me personally. People tend to dismiss the passages about slave and master relationships because they are uncomfortable to think about, and frankly dismissed as irrelevant in our culture. While the specifics may be different, good application can still be made to our employer-employee relations of today. I hear and see a lot of “argumentative” employees at the workplace that God has blessed me with. Honestly, I have been one myself in times past. Some people “bad-mouth” their bosses at every opportunity that they get. I have witnessed a whole lot of “pilfering” as well, and stealing is condemned outright in the Bible, over and over again, no matter how “entitled” we feel to the things that we are swiping.
 
God is not pleased with these expressions of disloyalty to our superiors. Christians do not “adorn” (beautify) “the doctrine of God our Savior” when we act ugly, hatefully and sinfully toward the people who write our checks. We actually bring reproach upon the word, the Lord and His church when we do that. Friends listen. If God demanded loyalty and respect from slaves toward their masters, even the ones who treated them cruelly (1 Peter 2:18), I can assure you that He expects the same kind of fidelity and esteem from His people for their employers. Please remember that when we are at work or on our own “free time,” we are never off the clock in our service to our Lord and Master in heaven above. We are always working for The Higher Power, so let’s serve Him and do our work with all our heart and all our might (Colossians 3:23).
 
Please read Titus 2:11-15 for tomorrow.
 
Have an sensible day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Titus 2:1-5

Friday, January 25, 2019
“But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
God’s older men should be paragons of self-control, dignity, faith, love and patience (verses 1-2). These are clear indications that they live and model spiritually “sound” or “healthy” lives for others look up to and emulate. Experienced veterans in the faith are susceptible to the temptations of sin as all humans are. But most of them should have accumulated an abundance of life experiences and a wealth of biblical knowledge to help sharpen their faith and smooth out the rough edges of their temperaments and personalities. They have survived the naivety and impulsiveness of youth, have witnessed the calming and healing powers of love, and have persevered through the storms and trials of life. God’s older men should be a wellspring of knowledge, wisdom and virtue for the family of God to draw from.
 
The same is true for God’s older women (verses 3-4). They are to be beautiful portraits of reverence and holiness. And there should be no question that older women play a vital role in the teaching of the Lord’s spiritual family. They should teach all the brethren by their godly example of love, wisdom and temperance; and there is no better qualified person to directly teach a young Christian woman how to be the kind of wife and mother that God wants her to be than our godly “mothers and grandmothers” in the faith.
 
Young women need to be taught how to properly love their husbands and children. This is not a skill that comes naturally and easily to most women. Husbands have a special set of needs to be met in order for them to feel loved and respected, and, let’s be honest—children can just make you crazy! Okay, men can do that too! That’s why we need godly, older women teaching faithful, younger women the knowledge and wisdom and love that they have accrued from a lifetime of experience of being a wife and mother and that they learned from older women when they were younger as well.
 
Friends, no matter what stage of life you may find yourself standing upon, God expects us to “act” in ways that harmonize with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our speech and our conduct must be consistent with the “sound doctrine” of the faith if we want to be pleasing to God and helpful to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Each one of us has an appointment to keep (Judgment) and a part to play (in God’s family), no matter what our age or gender might be. If we refuse or neglect to live our lives accordingly, we do disservice to our spiritual family and we dishonor the word of God (verse 5).
 
Please read Titus 2:6-10 for tomorrow.
 
God’s blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

Titus 1:10-16

Thursday, January 24, 2019
“For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
“Rebellious men…must be silenced” (verses 11-12). There is no room for rebellion in the kingdom of God. In a real sense, all sinfulness is rebellion against God and places our souls in peril of destruction. But this type of open sedition, where “deceivers” teach damnable heresies in order to acquire personal advantage, is personally destructive for them, and also upsets “whole families” and the entire spiritual family of the Lord. Dialogue and reprimand do not work in situations such as these. The only appropriate action is to shut the “empty talkers” down.
 
The inhabitants of the island of Crete had the reputation for being “always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (verse 12). Sometimes a bad reputation is undeserved, and sometimes it is spot on. Paul said “this testimony is true,” as corroborated by “a prophet” (poet) “of their own” (verses 12-13). If we get a bad rap for our faithful service to the Lord Jesus Christ, we have no reason to be ashamed and can even wear it as a badge of honor. But if what they are saying about us is true, we need to take a good look in the mirror and make sure we are being faithful doers of the word and not hearers only.
 
“To the pure, all things are pure” (verse 15). This refers back to the “Jewish myths and commandments of men,” and likely was said in reference to food restrictions that the deceivers from “the circumcision” (verse 10) were trying to impose upon the brethren of Crete. When a person’s “mind and their conscience” have been defiled (verse 15), everything they try to do comes out twisted and tainted, even when they vainly endeavor to operate within the sphere of the doctrine of Christ. There are multitudes and multitudes of men who “profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him” (verse 16). You let a person talk long enough and eventually he will reveal his true heart to you. You will know the bad trees by the bad fruits that they produce. The same is true with the good trees!
 
Please read Titus 2:1-5 for tomorrow.
 
Have a super day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Titus 1:5-9

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
“For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Apostle Paul temporarily left the young evangelist, Titus, on the Island of Crete to “set in order” some things that were “wanting” or “lacking” in the local churches of Christ there (verse 5). This statement and appointment necessarily implies that God fully intends local congregations to exist, and for them to function properly, according to a determined plan or design. The Lord did not leave the structure, organization and leadership of local churches up to the whim and discretion of the merely mortal, human mind.
 
Paul wrote to the very dysfunctional church in the city of Corinth that, “all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Corinthians 14:40). There is a proper way to do things in the Lord’s church and that is the Lord’s way that He revealed in the New Testament. There are many improper ways to do things and those are the ways that feel right to the human will. Paul left the young preacher, Titus, at Crete to set things right in the churches in each city on that island. But know for certain that this was not Titus’ determination, nor did the Lord leave the ordering of congregational structure and worship up to the discretion of preachers. Titus merely did what Paul “directed” him to do by the apostolic authority granted to Him by his Master, Jesus Christ.
 
An important aspect of the Lord’s design and pattern for His local churches is that each of them have a set (a plurality, at least two or more) of elders to “rule well” over them (1 Timothy 5:17). These elders must meet the qualifications placed within the pattern by the Designer. They must be men, they must be married to “one wife” and they must have “children who believe” (verse 7). These are some of the “objective” qualifications that are not open for debate or negotiation. There are other qualifications that are more “subjective” or “relative” in nature, and some latitude should be given. Some people are more “hospitable” than others, so there are varying degrees of hospitality that are acceptable.
 
The one qualification that leaps off the page to me in this passage is that an elder must be “above reproach” (verses 6 and 7). Anytime a statement is repeated in a short context, it appears to me that the Lord is stressing this characteristic. This does not mean that the man must be perfect, but he must be quick to admit and repent and make things right when he is wrong. This does not mean that accusations will not be leveled against his character, but that the charges will prove to be unwarranted. A “blameless” man is one with a great track record of being a solid, upstanding person of proven character and worth in the Lord’s kingdom.
 
 
Please read Titus 1:10-16 for tomorrow.
 
Hope you all have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Titus 1:1-4

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
“Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior, To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul made himself a “bond-servant of God” in order to dedicate his life to the promotion and improvement of “the faith of those chosen by God,” and to increase the “knowledge of the truth” which instructs and equips God’s people to be godly people (verse 1). Paul was hand-selected and given the authority by God to be “an apostle of Jesus Christ,” which was a divinely appointed privilege given to a select few. But he personally chose to live a life of dedication to the Lord and His purposes as “a bond-servant of God,” which anyone can elect to do.
 
“The hope of eternal life” (verse 2) is what prompted Paul to do what he did, and is more than enough motivation for all of God’s people to do what He wills us to do with our momentary earthly lives. Lift your eyes up and look around you for a moment. Everything that you see is temporary. You will only have occasion to enjoy your home, drive your car, drink your coffee, spend time with your family, breathe this air for a very short time. But you have the opportunity to share in the glories of heaven with God and His saints forever, and ever, and ever, if you will only choose to spend your fleeting time on earth serving your Creator in loving, trusting, obedient faith. Don’t take my word for it. God himself promised eternal life to His faithful, and it is an utter impossibility for Him to tell a lie.
 
God sent Jesus to make salvation available to the world at just the perfect, “proper time” (verse 3). As imperfect humans, we often squander our time and miss out on our opportunities to do what we want and need to do. Thanks be to Him that God’s timing is always perfect timing. God always knows what is best for us and God always does what is best for us. Friend, God sent Jesus to this world at the perfect time to die for you and your sins. Take it personally. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have plenty of time left to make your life right with Him. God knows how much life you have left in you, but you do not. Don’t waste your time and miss your chance. Give your life to Him. Put Christ on in baptism. Become His bond-servant. Take hold of the hope of eternal life today while you can.
 
Please read Titus 1:5-9 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Introduction to Paul’s letter to Titus

Monday, January 21, 2019
Excerpts from Marshall Patton’s Truth Commentary on The Books of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon by Guardian of Truth Foundation:
 
“Titus was a close associate and trusted companion of the Apostle Paul. The apostle refers to him as ‘mine own son after the common faith’ (Tit. 1:4), ‘my brother’ (2 Cor. 2:13), and ‘my partner and fellowhelper’ (2 Cor. 8:23)… Like Timothy, Titus was a young evangelist who had been converted to Christ by Paul, as indicated by the expression ‘mine own son after the common faith.’
 
“We do know that he was a Greek and that, about fourteen (perhaps seventeen) years after the conversion of Paul, he was at Antioch in Syria and with others went up to Jerusalem with Paul and Barnabas to see the apostles and elders concerning circumcision (Gal. 1:18; 2:1; Acts 15:2). Since Titus was a Gentile and uncircumcised, Paul later used this occasion and Titus as an example of the truth on this saying, ‘But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised’ (Gal. 2:3).
 
“Nine times Paul mentions Titus in 2 Corinthians… From these references we learn that while Paul was at Ephesus on his third journey, he wrote his first letter to the church at Corinth… Paul sent Titus to Corinth probably as the bearer of the letter and primarily to encourage the brethren in making…corrections… Again, we find Paul sending Titus a second time to Corinth…this time he bears Paul’s second letter… We are not surprised, therefore, to find in this epistle that Paul left Titus on the Island of Crete to ‘set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city’ (Tit. 1:5).
 
“The island of Crete is one of the largest in the Mediterranean Sea and lies at the entrance to the Aegean Sea about equidistant from Europe, Asia and Africa. The Apostle Paul…showed that he was well acquainted with the character of the Cretians and the reputation they had established for themselves when he said, ‘One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies’ (Tit. 1:12). This prophet or poet…is generally identified by authorities as Epimenides…variously dated between 630 and 500 B.C.’
 
“The purpose of Paul’s letter to Titus is clearly implied in Titus 1:5, ‘For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.’ This implies a divine pattern to be followed and the need for divine instructions in carrying out the charge.”
 
Please read Titus 1:1-4 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 4:16-21

Sunday, January 20, 2019
“At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren. The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
“The Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (verse 17). Paul had been imprisoned like a criminal and forsaken like a leper. But through all of the abuse and loneliness he experienced, he continued to only do what was right in the sight of the Lord. Even if the whole world should persecute you and all your friends and family should abandon you, the Lord never will. As long as you choose to do His will, He will never leave you nor forsake you, AND He will give you the spiritual and mental strength to continue the race and keep up the fight.
 
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom” (verse 18). And frankly, that is all that truly matters in the grand view of eternity. Heaven will make all the misery we may be forced to face here on earth, for being followers of Christ, more than worth it. Conversely, All the wealth and power and comfort and pleasure that this world offers could never come close to being worth abandoning Christ and giving up heaven for. Friend, Judgment is an appointment that every human being must keep, including you. Make pleasing God and going to heaven the number one priority in your life! Don’t miss heaven for anything!!!
 
Lord willing, we will have some introductory comments about Paul’s letter to Titus tomorrow.
 
“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you”!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 4:9-15

Saturday, January 19, 2019
“Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
If we love this present world then this present world is all that we will have to take comfort in. Please heed the warning and do not be or become a Demas. He chose the passing pleasures of earthly life over the eternal glories of a heavenly crown. He set his mind on the inferior things of this lower realm and not on excellencies of heaven above (Colossians 3:2). He let Paul down at a time when the imprisoned Apostle really needed him, but much more horribly, he deserted the Lord who loved him and purchased him with His own blood.
 
Please brethren in Christ, “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.” (Colossians 3:1-4) If we refuse or neglect to “KEEP SEEKING the things above,” we will not be revealed with Christ in glory. If we deny Him, He has no other choice than to deny us (2 Timothy 2:11-13). The Truth cannot deny the truth.
 
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
 
Make no mistake about it friends. “The Lord will repay” us “according to” our “deeds” (verse 14). “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 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 5:9-10)
 
Please read 2 Timothy 4:16-21 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 4:6-8

Friday, January 18, 2019
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 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.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul was about to die for his faith and he knew it. He had spent the entirety of is life in Christ being “poured out” like a sacrificial “drink offering” on the altar of faith and duty. He had poured himself out and completely emptied himself in the service of His Father in heaven and his fellow human beings. Please notice that he does not express one ounce of regret. He does NOT say, “Man, I wish I hadn’t given my life to Christ!” He knew and was absolutely convinced that he had not wasted a minute of his life but had spent it in the most meaningful and rewarding ways that he possibly could have. He expresses some sadness in this letter, mostly because of the behavior and bad choices of some of his brethren. But he knew he had chosen the best life that a person could possibly live—the life of a faithful Christian!
 
What Paul “poured out” in no way compared to what was being “laid up” for him in eternity. Those who pour themselves out in service to Christ here on earth are only storing up treasures in heaven for eternity. If we fight the “good fight,” finish “the course” and keep “the faith,” we will receive “the crown of righteousness” which Jesus himself will award to us on the day when He returns to receive and deliver up His own unto His eternal, glorious, heavenly kingdom. Friends, the sum-total of all the trifles that this world offers to compensate you with is worth giving up for one second’s worth of the riches and glories and bliss of the eternal “reward” heaven. Please don’t forfeit your eternal crown for a fleeting moment of earthly pleasure.
 
Please read 2 Timothy 4:9-15 for tomorrow.
 
Have a super day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 4:1-5

Thursday, January 17, 2019
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
“Be ready in season and out of season” (verse 2). Teach people the truth whether they want to hear it or not. They desperately need it whether they realize it or not. Sometimes people will get fed up with what they consider to be continual “nagging”. But sometimes persistence pays off! You never know when the truth that you speak will hit the target and catch a person at the right time, with the right message and the right spiritual need.
 
“Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (verse 2). Paul had just told Timothy that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (3:16). Now he is telling his young protégé to use the word for what God gave it to us for. Just in case you may not have noticed, reproof, rebuke and correction are “negative” commandments.
 
To reprove is to “reprehend severely.” To rebuke is to “admonish or charge sharply.” To correct is to take corrective action against the behavior that needs reproving and rebuking. There most certainly is a prominent place for positive and uplifting messages in pulpits of the Lord’s church. But if all you hear are cute stories, quaint anecdotes, feel-good messages and personal improvement pitches, that preacher does not “preach the word.”
 
The main reason that God gave us the Bible is to address our greatest problem: SIN! “Sound doctrine” (verse 3) always addresses mankind’s greatest needs and concerns. We do not need to feel better about ourselves and have our self-esteem built up. The truth is that we are all sinners and we need to change our erring ways! We do not need our “ears tickled.” We need our backsides spanked and our toes crunched!
 
Please do not misunderstand. Neither I nor Paul is advocating being mean to people with God’s word about their sins. We can and MUST reprove, rebuke and correct “with great patience and instruction” (verse 2). We can tell people hard truths without being hard-nosed. When all is said and done, we need to get out of the way of God’s word and let it do the toe crunching. It is more than capable of convicting people of their sins. We just have to make sure that people get the chance to hear it!
 
Please read 2 Timothy 4:6-8 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 3:10-17

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
“Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
“All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (verse 12). If we are trying our best to serve the Lord in truth and righteousness, people are going to take notice, and not all of them are going to like what they see. Some people are going to view your godliness as a personal affront to their sinful lifestyle choices. Others will ridicule you because they think your faith is ridiculous. Still others will give you a hard way to go just because they are mean-spirited and you are an easy target.
 
This should not trouble you in the slightest because it means you are following in the footsteps of Jesus and meeting with God’s approval. What should bother us is if we try our best to live our lives in such a way as to avoid all controversy whatsoever. This means we are not living a godly life by God’s standards because ALL who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus WILL be persecuted! Don’t go looking for trouble, but don’t avoid all trouble by sacrificing your godliness!
 
“All Scripture is inspired by God” (verse 16). That includes both Old Testament and New Testament Scripture, but nothing written outside of the books contained in THE BOOK that we call the Bible. Every word that is written in the Bible is “profitable”. Inspired revelation is good for teaching us God’s ways, laws and promises. It is adequate to reprove us and correct us when we choose to deviate from its teaching. It is the only work of literature that is able to perfectly train us in righteousness, even though we will fall short of its perfection.
 
God’s perfect word provides us “wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (verse 15). Everything recorded in the Old Testament was written in preparation for, and points the way to, God fulfilling His perfect plan of salvation by sending Jesus into the world to live and die and provide salvation for all people. Everything written in the New Testament tells us who Jesus is, what He did, and what He will do for us (in perfect accordance with Old Testament prophecy) if we live lives of faithfulness to Him. The Bible teaches us, reproves us, corrects us, trains us, saves us, gives us wisdom, equips us for every good work.
Maybe it’s time to start taking the Bible a lot more seriously! Seriously!
 
Please read 2 Timothy 4:1-5 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 3:1-9

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Friends we are in “the last days” (verse 1), and we have been since the Holy Spirit gave us the New Testament inspiration of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). But the sins of these “difficult times” seem to have increased in our generation to such a degree that you can see why many people think that Paul had us in mind when he wrote these words. Self-love and “arrogance” seem to be at an all-time high, and it appears to be the norm for people to be driven by ego satisfaction instead of love for fellowman. We live in a society of “ungrateful” people who are “lovers of pleasure” and no amount of pleasure can satisfy their lusts and feelings of entitlement. And that’s just in the secular society!
 
There is also a huge sector of the “religiously minded” people and “leaders” who hold “to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (verse 5). They flash sweet smiles and speak smooth words in order to deceive their listeners and enrich themselves, all the while professing a godliness that they do not possess. It is remarkable how loving and longsuffering our God is, not wanting any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). I would have lost my patience a long time ago and wiped out the whole lot of us! We must take care to not become discouraged and embittered, however. It is at difficult and dark times such as these that we need to cling all the tighter to God for comfort and encouragement, and let our lights shine their brightest for the cause of Christ!
 
Let’s not be numbered among the folks who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (verse 7). A lot of people know something about the Bible, and some people know a lot about the Bible. But there is a huge difference between acquiring some knowledge and learning, loving and obeying the truth! Just as Pharaoh’s magicians, Jannes and Jambres, opposed the efforts of Moses to free the children of Israel (Exodus 7:11-13; 9:11-12), the “false teachers” of our day “oppose the truth” (verse 8). “Their folly will be obvious to all” of Jesus’ genuine disciples who “search the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11), and “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1).
 
Please read 2 Timothy 3:10-17 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 2:20-26

Monday, January 14, 2019
“Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
In such a large “house” as the church of Jesus Christ, there are bound to be some dishonorable “vessels” sitting alongside the Lord’s instruments of honor (verse 20). Unfortunately there have always been people like Hymenaeaus and Philetus who stray from the truth and upset the faith of others (2:17-18). The good news is that we can make the choice to stay sanctified regardless of how dishonorable our brethren decide to be. They can also choose to repent and turn from their wickedness, and allow the Lord to cleanse them and restore them to an honorable condition of usefulness (verse 21).
 
A person with a “pure heart” will have the foresight to “flee” dangerous things and situations, and “pursue” that which the Lord loves and rewards. If there is a strong weakness in your life that you are just too fragile to approach and put up a good fight against, by all means RUN AWAY! That is not cowardice it is common sense! It is also a commandment! Flee youthful lusts or whatever lusts are peculiar to your age and life condition. But don’t just run FROM the dangers of the world. “Pursue,” or run TO those things that are good and holy and blessed—“righteousness, faith, love and peace.”
 
“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all” (verse 24). The Lord did not enlighten our minds to the truth and welcome us into His fold of safety to equip us to be good at Bible trivia and win “religious” arguments. The people who need the truth are caught in “the snare of the devil” and are being “held captive by him to do his will” (verse 26). They need the truth that we have in order to escape and be saved, but we need to teach it to them in all kindness, patience and “gentleness” (verse 25). We may be our friends’ and family’s best shot at the kingdom, but the manner in which we approach them and speak to them makes all the difference in the world.
 
Please read 2 Timothy 3:1-9 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 2:14-19

Sunday, January 13, 2019
“Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
“Remind them of these things” (verse 14). One of the most important duties of a faithful Gospel preacher is to give frequent reminders to people of what the Lord expects and demands of them. If you are anything like me, you forget things that you have learned in the past. The only way that we can commit something to memory is to read it or hear it over and over again until we are fully immersed in it. “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder.” (2 Peter 1:12-13).
 
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God” (verse 15). This is an expectation and a demand placed upon all of God’s people, not just Gospel preachers. The word “approved” means to be “accepted after testing”. This world and its trials and temptations are the crucible through which God tests us, refines us, purifies us. If we are “workmen” for God who diligently pursue Him and His will in all righteousness and purity, we will have no need “to be ashamed” after He has inspected us.
 
The standard by which we must live our lives and the prism through which we must view the world is “the word of truth”. If we mishandle God’s inspiration, if we distort His revelation, and manipulate it to suit our own selfish will and desires, we will fail the test miserably and incur His wrath. “The Lord knows those who are His” (verse 19). They are the ones who cherish and respect and take very seriously the word of truth. They carefully consider it, persistently pursue it and accurately handle it, knowing that they are currently being examined by the words of Christ, and will ultimately be judged by the Bible on the last day.
 
Please read 2 Timothy 2:20-26 for tomorrow.
 
We would love to have you come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 2:8-13

Saturday, January 12, 2019
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The premier example of someone suffering and dying before arising to glory is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the prototype and the author of the salvation that faith in the Gospel brings. If we endure suffering with Him, we will also reign by His side in eternity (verse 12). If we are willing to die with Jesus—to give up our lives to Him and sacrifice our lives for Him if necessary—we will live forever with Him in heaven (verse 11). Please remember (verse 8): if the Creator, Christ and King (descendant of David) took the hard road that required a cross before a crown, we are not above our Master and the same will be required of us. But if we are faithful to death, He will give us the crown of life.
 
But, the converse is true as well. “If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” That is only just and practical and logical. Jesus cannot deny Himself (verse 13). Jesus is pure, unadulterated Truth. He cannot lie and He cannot contradict Himself. He keeps His promises regardless of whether we like them or not. He promises eternal life to those who are faithful and righteous and obedient. He promises eternal punishment to those who are faithless, unrighteous or disobedient (Matthew 10:32-33; 25:46). Jesus always “remains faithful” to Himself, His nature, His word and His promises.
 
“The word of God is not imprisoned” (verse 9). Paul gloried in the fact that the very thing that he was imprisoned for, the word of God, could never be imprisoned itself. You can arrest the messenger, but you cannot hinder the eternal, inspired message. God’s word cannot possibly be shackled or thwarted. It will always return to Him having accomplished the purposes for which He sent it into the world (Isaiah 55:11). While Paul’s physical life was being snuffed out, souls were being saved for eternity! Faithful men like Timothy and Titus and a multitude of others were out sewing the seed of the kingdom and the word was proliferating and producing fruit to everlasting salvation! This was more than enough reason for Paul to “endure” all the suffering that was thrust upon him (verse 10)!
 
Rejoice my brethren! The living, effective, powerful word of God will endure forever! And so will we if we cling to it in faith, hope and obedience! Let’s share it with those who are without strength and hope!
 
Please read 2 Timothy 2:14-19 for tomorrow.
 
Have a wonderful day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 2:1-7

Friday, January 11, 2019
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
If Timothy was going to maintain the course and keep the faith, unlike Phygelus and Hermogenes, he needed to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (verse 1). It is God by His grace that sustains us through the rocky roads of life. When Paul was stricken with his “thorn in the flesh,” God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). God’s unmerited favor is prevalent in the lives of His faithful children in many ways, but it has its most powerful expression in His eternal, saving grace that is found only “in Christ Jesus”. If we can keep our minds focused and our hopes locked on “the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18) when the promise of heaven is realized, that comfort can carry us and keep us in faith through all of earth’s turbulence and tribulation.
 
As a “good soldier of Christ Jesus” we must endure the hardships that we are bound to incur in the spiritual warfare that is being waged against us (verse 2). God will certainly keep us by His grace, but we must be careful to avoid the “entanglements” that the enemy has placed in our path. This is going to require great vigilance and determination for the soldier of Christ because Satan’s snares come in the forms of “the affairs of everyday life” (verse 4). Most of the time it is not blatant immorality that trips us up, but actually the mundane issues of daily living. If we spend way too much time working, playing, travelling, sleeping, etc., we just won’t have enough time left in our day to focus on God and His word and will for us. Soldier beware of Satan’s traps! Take time to be holy! Speak oft with thy Lord! Beware of desensitization to the world and its evil ways!
 
Shifting metaphors, as we run the race of faith, we will not “win the prize unless” we compete “according to the rules” (verse 5). To be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” requires vigorous training and intense spiritual exercise. God’s athlete must have his senses trained by heavy exposure to the Lord’s powerful word (Hebrews 5:14), and he must discipline himself for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). If he works hard at this, he will “be the first to receive” the fruits from his labors (verse 6), even as he is entrusting what he has learned “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (verse 2). These charges were given primarily to a young preacher as exhortation to fulfill his duties faithfully and diligently, but their applications concern all of Christ’s soldiers, all of Christ’s runners, all of Christ’s sowers.
 
Please read 2 Timothy 2:8-13 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 1:15-18

Thursday, January 10, 2019
“You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me—the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
While Paul was in prison, there were some men who could have helped him, but refused. There was also at least one other brother who went out of his way to seek Paul out and assist him in his time of need. This letter was likely written during the time of Emperor Nero’s reign of terror against Christians, and Paul was the subject of the wrath of that place and time. He had been imprisoned for his faith and was soon to be executed for the cause of Christ.
 
It seems that Phygelus and Hermogenes were ashamed of the Gospel and Paul, the Lord’s prisoner, and cowered away from the possible repercussions of associating with the word and the messenger. On the other hand, Onesiphorus proved himself to be courageous and faithful, for he was not willing to sacrifice his eternal soul in order to save his own neck (Matthew 16:25). We have our faith tested every day of our lives. But it is in times like these, when Satan really turns the heat up, that we prove the strength of our metal.
 
I love the fact that Paul called these brethren out by name. These were real people confronted with real-life situations and difficult decisions, and not just statistics on a piece of paper. These were brethren whose names were written in the Lamb’s book of life. I pray that the Lord had mercy on Phygelus and Hermogenes, and that they turned from the errors of their way. I thank the Lord for people like Onesiphorus, and I want to have lived my life like he did when I stand before the Lord on Judgment Day.
 
Onesiphorus “eagerly searched” for Paul in his time of crisis. He went out of his way to help a brother, a friend, a person in need. Let’s strive to be like that. Let’s go above and beyond in our service to the Lord and our fellowman. There is no better form of existence than that of a servant in the eyes of the Lord. Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Humble yourself to be exalted!!!
 
Please read 2 Timothy 2:1-7 for tomorrow.
 
Have a super day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 1:13-14

Wednesday, January 09, 2019
“Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
“Retain the standard of sound words” (verse 13). The word “standard” means an “outline or sketch” and was used metaphorically for a “pattern” according to Vine’s Dictionary. Friends, the inspired word of God is a blueprint to build by and not a catalogue of suggestions. The “sound” (where our word “hygiene” comes from) “words” (doctrine) that we read in our New Testament is not to be deviated from in the slightest or we will have a sickly and perverted faith. The perfect word of God is what we are to pattern our personal lives after and our local congregations after. Paul exhorted the young preachers, Timothy and Titus, of the necessity of teaching this concept and command repeatedly (1 Timothy 1:3, 10; 6:3; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9, 13; 2:1, 2, 8).
“Guard…the treasure which has been entrusted to you” (verse 14). Do you understand the value of the Bible? According to Paul, writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is priceless wealth to be treasured. This precious word that is able to save our souls (James 1:21) is “entrusted” in a special way to all Gospel preachers, and they will be held accountable to God if they mismanaged it or tarnish it or devalue it by altering it or deviating from it. But the doctrine of Christ has been entrusted to all of us to cherish, treasure, love, respect and obey—for our own betterment and life everlasting.
 
“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7-11)
 
Please read 2 Timothy 1:15-18 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 1:8-12

Tuesday, January 08, 2019
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
When we suffer for doing what the Lord wants us to do, we having nothing to be ashamed of (verse 8). Sometimes we will be ridiculed and made fun of for making the determination to live the holy, sanctified life. It is possible that we could even suffer violence or death, as was the case with the Apostle Paul and was a likelihood for his protégé, Timothy. Just know that God will carry you and protect you and deliver you by His power when you are unashamedly pursuing His will in faithfulness.
 
When we truly come to know the One whom we have believed (verse 12)—the One who “gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist” (Romans 4:17); the One who causes the light to shine forth through the darkness; the One who has “brought life and immortality” to humanity and who brings it “to light through the gospel” (verse 10)—we will have no fear or shame, but fully come to trust in Him and His Good News of salvation.
 
Our Savior Christ Jesus “abolished death” for us (verse 10). When Jesus died and then His Spirit returned from Hades and His body arose from the grave, He destroyed sin and death and all the works of Satan. Death’s destruction will not be finalized until “that day” (verse 12) in which Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead, but death’s termination is a guaranteed certainty that is as good as done. In the meantime, Jesus took away the terror of death from the hearts of those who have truly come to know and love and obey Him.
 
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Hebrews 2:14-15) When Jesus appeared the first time, He brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. When He appears the second and final time, He will destroy death and the grave in the lake that burns with fire (Revelation 20:14).
 
Please read 2 Timothy 1:13-14 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 1:6-7

Monday, January 07, 2019
“For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
“Kindle afresh the gift of God” (verse 6). When we consider that Paul wrote this letter from a Roman prison cell and that he knew that he would be killed soon for his devotion to Christ, it is understandable why he would encourage Timothy to keep the fire of his faith lit and burning brightly. There would be a great temptation to cower and run for cover in the face of the fierce persecution that a young preacher would be confronted with in this hostile environment.
 
“God has not given us a spirit of timidity” (verse 7). God will empower His children to stand firmly in their faith if we will only place all of our trust and confidence in Him and His Almighty power to equip us to do all good things in Christ Jesus. “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).
 
God has given us a spirit of “power and love and discipline.” God sustains His children through life’s trials and battles through His power (dunameos). Paul wrote about God enabling him to endure his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12:9 in this manner: “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
 
Our “love” for God and mankind will embolden us to do His will through the thickest fight and darkest hours. When we truly love someone, we find strength within us to spring into action that we are not even aware that we possess. And our faith in Christ will enable us to do so, not in an unrestrained manner, but with “discipline” or “self-control”. “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)
 
Please read 2 Timothy 1:8-12 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

2 Timothy 1:1-5

Sunday, January 06, 2019
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
“The promise of life in Christ Jesus” (verse 1). There is nothing more precious than the eternal life that God promises to those who live their earthly lives faithfully “in Christ Jesus”. There is no doubt that this promise brightened Paul’s life as he penned this letter in his dreary prison cell, and that it had much greater significance to him knowing that he was about to depart from this earth and enter into “that which is life indeed” (1 Timothy 6:19). Paul wrote near the end of this letter, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (4:7). “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (4:18).
 
“Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (verse 2). While it is true that this is a typical type of greeting that Paul opens many of his letters with, there is nothing ordinary about the blessings of “grace, mercy and peace from God.” This is a reminder that God’s “promise of life” is purely a gift, given my His grace, and that we do not deserve the indescribable prize of life everlasting that He grants to His faithful children. God forgives us of the unpayable debt of our sins by the grandest act of mercy, which is an expression of His undying love for us. The peace of mind that comes from God’s saving grace and loving mercy “surpasses all understanding, and will guide” our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
 
“I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy” (verse 4). Life is often paradoxical. Sometimes our eyes leak when we are happy. The thoughts of the tears that Timothy shed as an expression of his love for his mentor and father in the faith brought comfort to the wearied apostle in his lonely prison cell. But what he really longed for was “to see” Timothy one more time. Friends, we can take great comfort in knowing that we will see all of our faithful brethren in Christ again. If not on this side of eternity, most certainly in the great After Awhile. There will be the grandest of reunions in heaven of the dearly departed faithful, and I want to make certain that I do not miss out on that one.
 
I have never attended any of my high school reunions, nor have I had the desire to do so. But no prize or pleasure that this world has to offer is worth forfeiting that great reunion in the air! “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.” (2 Thessalonians 4:15-18).
 
Please read 2 Timothy 1:6-7 for tomorrow.
 
We would like to invite you to worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Introduction to Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy

Saturday, January 05, 2019
Quoting Marshall Patton from His Truth Commentary on 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon by the Guardian of Truth Foundation:
 
“This epistle is altogether different from 1 Timothy. From the dungeon of the Mamertine prison in Rome, Paul writes under conditions that are in sharp contrast to those of his first imprisonment in the imperial city. He faces the sentence of death with no hope of acquittal. The tone of this epistle is one of finality, of reminiscence of a sacrificial life well spent and now to be eternally rewarded, and of farewell instructions to a beloved son to whom a torch of great responsibility is being passed. The whole epistle may be summarized from a fourfold viewpoint: 1. Paul’s concern for Timothy. 2. Paul’s concern for the church. 3. The need for strict adherence to the Gospel. 4. Paul’s farewell.”
 
Here are Patton’s introductory comments on chapter one:
“This chapter marks the beginning of Paul’s last letter. He is in his second imprisonment in Rome, and this time he is facing certain execution in the not too distant future. Well may one expect a greater degree of fervor and a note of finality in every line that he writes. This chapter, subject wise, may be viewed as follows: (1) Salutation (1:1-2); (2) Thanksgiving (1:3-5); (3) Paul’s concern for and encouragement to Timothy (1:6-12); (4) Paul’s charge to Timothy (1:13-14); (5) Paul’s associates (1:15-18).”
 
Please read 2 Timothy 1:1-5 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed and dry day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Timothy 6:17-21

Friday, January 04, 2019
“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”—which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Some things that people who are rich in earthly possessions should and should not do:
 
Wealthy people SHOULD NOT “be conceited”. There is a temptation that resides inherently within monetary wealth for its possessors to think too highly of themselves. They can look at and think of their financial prosperity and mass accumulation of material possessions and think that, since these things make them better off than the average person, they make them better than most people. Friends, no amount of wealth that we can accumulate will impress God. In His eyes we are all the same. Black or white. Male or female. Rich or poor.
 
Wealthy people SHOULD NOT “fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches.” They can come to feel self-reliant and self-secured, not realizing that everything could all be taken away from them without a moment’s notice. Consider the man in Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:16-21. This wealthy man was convinced that he had many earthly goods for many years to enjoy. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)
 
Wealthy people SHOULD “do good” and “be rich in good works.” If we DO good things with our money and possessions, then they will truly BE rich in the sight of God. I love the wording in the previous parable about how we should be “rich toward God.” The proper consideration and usages of our earthly possessions should always be “God-ward”. We should always give thanks to Him for all of our possessions (on loan from Him), and always give consideration to His will when we spend, save and share them.
 
Wealthy people SHOULD “be generous and ready to share.” Only trust in God, and generosity to those He created in His image, can store up “the treasure of a good foundation for the future.” Putting our trust in our earthly wealth is building our house upon the shifting sand. Putting our trust in “the living God” (KJV) is the solid foundation that no storm of life can assail. No matter how good (or bad) our life on earth may be at any moment in time, if we store up our treasure in heaven—if we treasure the things that have true, eternal value—we will take possession of “life indeed”.
 
Lord willing we will have some introductory remarks on 2 Timothy for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Timothy 6:11-16

Thursday, January 03, 2019
“But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
As we run away (flee) from the love of and longing for money (verse 10), we are to run toward (pursue) “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness” (verse 11). A godly, righteous life marked by meekness, faith and love does not happen by accident. It must be pursued with diligence. It must be fought for (verse 12). Faith is a “good fight” not a “pleasure cruise”. We need to “take hold of,” lock on to, the salvation that Jesus hung upon the cross to provide for us.
 
We enter into the “good fight” after we make the “good confession” before we are baptized into Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. Timothy made the good confession of his belief that Jesus is the Christ in the city of Lystra before his baptism, just like the Ethiopian eunuch did on that desert road as recorded in (Acts 8:37). When Peter made this good confession in Caesarea Philippi, Jesus told him that “upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18).
 
Our salvation depends upon the truth, the confession, the conformity to a life worthy of the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. The Father made the declaration from heaven more than once that Jesus was His Son in whom He was well pleased (Matthew 3:16-17; 17:5). When Pilate asked Jesus if He was “the King of the Jews,” He responded, “It is as you say” (Matthew 27:11). This was the good confession of His Messiahship before Pontius Pilate (verse 13), that He is the King of a kingdom not of this world (John 18:36).
 
To the “blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” be all the glory, “honor and eternal dominion!”
 
Please read 1 Timothy 6:16-21 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Timothy 6:9-10

Wednesday, January 02, 2019
“But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
I do not believe that Paul is teaching that the desire for personal, financial improvement is a sin, or even, necessarily a problem. But, the desire to “get rich” presents just a multitude of difficulties. If our desire is to work hard, and excel at our profession or occupation, and make a good living for ourselves and our families, we will not necessarily fall victim to lustful desires or incur the Lord’s displeasure. But if the power that drives us is the “longing” for riches, we are doomed for “ruin and destruction”. Money is not evil. The love of money is.
 
Paul uses graphic terminology to stress the dangers involved in “the love of money”. Those who want to get rich fall into “a snare,” and it is often a trap of their own making. Like a dumb animal that gets lured by its lust into the hunter’s snare, people often take the bait that Satan offers with the promises of possessions, power and pleasure. When we determine to get rich at any cost, we will eventually find out that the price was much too steep to pay, and we may come to this realization only when it is too late.
 
The “foolish and harmful desires” that accompany great wealth and the desire for great wealth “plunge men into ruin and destruction.” Like a swimmer that swims too far from shore and has gotten into waters far too deep, the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh will plunge us into troubles that are over our heads, and they will sink us. The “ruin” Paul writes of refers to the physical consequences of a life dedicated to worldly pursuits, and the “destruction” is the eternal “perdition” that ensues from sin left unchecked and not repented of.
 
Make no mistake about it. People have “wandered away from the faith.” It is possible to be saved spiritually, and then revoke your privilege of eternal salvation. One way to do that is to love money and long after it to your own devastation. It will pierce you through with many griefs, and leave you among the wreckage of the foolish souls that have been strewn about on the broad way that leads to destruction. Snared. Plunged. Pierced. The love of money is one of those horrific lusts that we must flee from.
 
Please read 1 Timothy 6:11-16 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

1 Timothy 6:3-8

Tuesday, January 01, 2019
“If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. 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.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul’s first letter to Timothy is all about the defense of the truth against the corrupting influence of false doctrine (1:3; 4:1; 6:3). There are many people who, falsely in the name of Christ, have a “morbid” (sick) interest in septic teaching, instead of a wholesome desire for “sound” (healthy) doctrine. An unhealthy addiction for “controversial questions” and “disputes about words” will make us arrogant, envious, selfish, unkind, distrustful and condemned. But if we feed our spirits on the words of Christ (not just the ones in red letters), and his unadulterated doctrine (2 John 9), we will be spiritually cleansed and healthy and godly and alive. Please do not be deceived into thinking that doctrine doesn’t matter. Spiritual hygiene is a matter of eternal life and death!
 
The “prosperity gospel” is false doctrine. Many people teach and believe that if we have faith in God, He will bless us with financial “gain” (verse 5). They see a life of poverty as an indication of ungodly living and God’s displeasure. These people may be rich in possessions but they are “deprived of the truth.” Godliness produces the greatest form of gain—peace and contentment on earth and a resplendent inheritance in heaven. It is a good thing to try to improve our lot in this earthly life, but not to the neglect of our spiritual prosperity. We will depart this earth with exactly as many of its possessions as we entered into it with—zero (verse 7). Let us strive to provide for ourselves and our family, both physically and spiritually, and to be satisfied with the blessings that the Lord has heaped upon us. If we do that, the best is yet to come!
 
Please read 1 Timothy 6:9-10 for tomorrow.
 
Happy New Year!
 
- Louie Taylor

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