Posts tagged ‘2 Thessalonians’

April 11, 2014

843 Acres Lent: Absolute Truth and Megalomania

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Prov 29 (txt | aud, 2:52 min)
2 Th 3 (txt | aud, 2:04 min)
Highlighted: Prov 29:25

Megalomania: A few years ago, David Brooks wrote about the megalomania of Muammar el-Qaddafi. “How does a guy who seems to be only marginally attached to reality manage to stay in power for 42 years?” he asked. One thing, Brooks noted, was that Qaddafi was not bothered by the fear of man: “[Megalomaniacs like him] are untroubled by doubt or concern for the good opinion of others since they already possess absolute truth.” But does possession of absolute truth necessarily lead to megalomania? How can it lead to love and service instead?

Truth: The problem with Qaddafi was not that he was untroubled by concern for “the good opinion of others.” His problem was that his absolute truth was rooted in making himself god. Instead of fearing the Lord, he repeatedly likened himself to Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad and referred to the Green Book, his book of teachings, as “the new gospel.” His self-worship led him to seek “control every neuron” in the heads of his people and to “destroy all outside authority and civil society.”

Trust: Proverbs says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” [1] The Scripture, thus, connects our not being afraid of man with our trusting God. How does this lead to a life of love and service? When we trust the Lord, we follow him who revealed himself as a servant-king in Jesus. Although some people expected him to come as a political or military ruler, he came as a sacrificial lamb, who laid down his life for his people. Following this type of God does not lead to totalitarianism or dictatorship. It leads to taking up our crosses daily and serving others.

Prayer: Lord, Possession of absolute truth does not necessarily lead to megalomania; it depends on what that truth is. In Christ, our truth is that weakness is strength and foolishness is wisdom. For the cross is weak and foolish in the eyes of the world; but we know that it is the power of salvation to those who believe. Therefore, may we root ourselves in your truth, not fearing man by trusting you. Amen.

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M’Cheyne Weekend Reading

Saturday, April 12: Prov 30 (txt | aud, 3:50 min) & 1 Ti 1 (txt | aud, 2:43 min)
Sunday, April 13: Prov 31 (txt | aud, 2:56 min) & 1 Ti 2 (txt | aud, 1:34 min)

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 Lent - logo

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Click 
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Footnotes

[1] Proverbs 29:25 ESV

April 10, 2014

843 Acres Lent #TBT: Confession in Life Together

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Prov 28 (txt | aud, 2:48 min)
2 Th 2 (txt | aud, 2:11 min)

Solomon: Proverbs 28:13

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Life Together

A confession of sin in the presence of all the members of the congregation is not required to restore one to community with the entire congregation. In the one other Christian to whom I confess my sins and by whom my sins are declared forgiven, I meet the whole congregation. Community within the whole congregation is given to me in the community which I experience with this one other believer. For here it is not a matter of acting according to one’s own orders and authority, but according to the command of Jesus Christ, which is intended for the whole congregation, on whose behalf the individual is called merely to carry it out. So long as Christians are in such a community of confession of sins to one another, they are no longer alone anywhere.

In confession there occurs a breakthrough to the cross … In confession we affirm our cross. In the profound spiritual and physical pain of humiliation before another believer, which means before God, we experience the cross of Jesus as our deliverance and salvation. The old humanity dies, but God has triumphed over it. Now we share in the resurrection of Christ and eternal life.

In confession there occurs a breakthrough to new life. The break with the past is made when sin is hated, confessed, and forgiven. “Everything old has passed away.” But where there is a break from sin, there is conversion. Confession is conversion. “Everything has become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). Christ has made a new beginning with us. As the first disciples left everything behind and followed Jesus’s call, so in confession the Christian gives up everything and follows. Confession is following after. Life with Jesus Christ and the community of faith has begun. “No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Prov. 28:13). In confession, Christians begin to renounce their sins. The power of sin is broken. From now on, the Christian gains one victory after another. What happened to us in baptism is given to us anew in confession. We are delivered from darkness into the rule of Jesus Christ. That is joyful news. Confession is the renewal of the joy of baptism. “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps. 30:6).

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 Lent - logo

We invite you to join us and the Women’s Bible Society to a Lenten Bible Listening Event on Thursday morning, April 10th.
Click 
here for more details.

____________________________________ 

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April 9, 2014

843 Acres Lent: Planning Our Lives

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Prov 27 (txt | aud, 2:29 min)
2 Th 1 (txt | aud, 1:19 min)
Highlighted: Prov 27:1

Precious: Life is precious but precarious. We may not always have eyes that can see a child’s surprise at Christmas or legs that are able to run on the beach. We may not always be able to see snow falling, eat molten chocolate cake, or read great novels by the fire. Recognizing this, what do we do? How do we live today?

Tomorrow: In Proverbs, Solomon offers guidance, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” [1] And James wrote, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” [2]

Boasting: It is our boasting—not our planning—that displeases the Lord. After all, Jesus planned “tomorrow” when he set his face to Jerusalem: “He was determined to go to Jerusalem.” [3] Yet he also humbly submitted to his Father’s plan: “Not my will but yours be done.” [4] Similarly, Paul planned “tomorrow” when he embarked on his three missionary journeys. [5] Yet he told the Ephesians, “I will return to you again, if God wills.” [6] Thus, as we recognize that it is God—not us—who holds every minute of our precious yet precarious lives in his good and wise hands, let us treasure humble hearts that cling to “if God wills.”

Prayer: Lord, You decide how long we will live and what we will or will not accomplish. As we plan our precious yet precarious lives, give us strategic minds that plan and humble hearts that do not presume. Let us rest in the security of your providence that is stronger than chance or schedules. May your will—not ours—be done. Amen.

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 Lent - logo

We invite you to join us and the Women’s Bible Society to a Lenten Bible Listening Event on Thursday morning, April 10th. Click here for more details.

____________________________________ 

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here. How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here. What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

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Footnotes

[1] Proverbs 27:1 ESV | [2] James 4:13-17 ESV | [3] Luke 9:53 NASB | [4] Luke 22:42 NASB | [5] See Acts 27-28. | [6] Acts 18:21 NASB. See also 1 Corinthians 4:19

October 22, 2013

Tuesday Tweetables: Work, Leisure, and Authentic Fruit

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: 2 Kings 3 (text | audio, 4:48 min);
2 Thess 3 (text | audio, 2:04 min)
Highlighted: 2 Thes 3:6-15 

Discerning Brokenness

Paul: “ … keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.”

“If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.”

Imagining Redemption

An over-desire for work leads to idolatry + an under-desire for it leads to idleness. We need both a theology of work + one of leisure.

Work was meant to be an expression of our humanity, not the source of our identity. #work http://ow.ly/pNSGi cc @redeemerCFW

Not everything that is not “useful” is useless. There is not only use; there is also blessing, rest, contemplation. #leisure

“Do not grow weary in doing good.” (2 Thess 3:13) + “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps 46:10) #work #leisure #balance

Praying ACTS

Lord, You are a God who works and rests. Yet you do not worship work as an idol nor rest from it in idleness. #adoration

Lord, We confess that we often approach work and rest with distorted loves. We seek identity in this world, not in you. #confession

Lord, By working 6 days and resting 1, you showed us that the active life is transformed by the reflective life. #thanks

Lord, Let us love work + rest as you do. May we live intentional, contemplative lives that we may experience authentic fruit. #supplication

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October 21, 2013

843 Acres: The Mystery of Lawlessness

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: 2 Kings 2 (text | audio, 5:00 min)
2 Thes 2 (text | audio, 2:11 min)
Highlighted: 2 Thes 2:7-8

Taunts: On the playground, one kid questions the authority of another with a familiar taunt: sez who? As adults, our settings may be different, but our sentiments are largely the same, i.e, adultery is wrong sez who? Ever since God “died” in the Enlightenment, any appeal to the grand sez who seems backwards and childish. To whom do we appeal now? Yale Law Professor Arthur Leff says that authority “can be only one place: in us.” This may seem freeing at first, but it is actually quite “despairing,” Leff argues. [1]

Lawlessness: Paul says that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” [2] Lawlessness, however, is not a disregard for the law or a willful disobedience of its regulations.  It’s an orientation of the heart and mind that asks, who sez what the law is? Even Leff, an agnostic, realizes the problems of such an orientation. He continues, “All I can say is this: it looks as if we are all we have. Given what we know about ourselves and each other, this is an extraordinarily unappetizing prospect … Neither reason, nor love, nor even terror, seems to have worked to make us ‘good,’ and worse than that, there is no reason why anything should. Only if ethics were something unspeakable by us, could law be unnatural, and therefore unchallengeable. As things now stand, everything is up for grabs.” Napalming babies, starving the poor, buying and selling each other—if there is no grand sez who, then who is to say what is “bad” or “immoral”?

Appearance: Lawlessness happens when we place ourselves at the center of reality. As the refrain in Judges repeats: “In those days, there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” [3] How does lawlessness end? “At the appearance of [Jesus’s] coming,” Paul writes, lawlessness will be brought to nothing. [4] Today, as we look upon the gospel, the Spirit empowers us to say No to lawlessness and Yes to Christ’s gracious authority over our lives.

Prayer: Lord, We have lawless hearts. Although we are Christians, we forget the gospel and, as a result, begin to hate the law. Because we live in a lawless age, we need accountability. Give us deep fellowship with others that is based on true and humble acknowledgement that we need other to help us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so that we obey the law with happy and joyful hearts. Amen. 

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Footnotes

[1] Arthur A. Leff. “Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law.” Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository. 1979. | [2] 2 Thessalonians 2:7 ESV | [3] Judges 21:25 ESV | [4] 2 Thessalonians 2:8 ESV

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