Author Archives for Guest Blogger

The Stress of Vacation

June 26, 2017 1:00 am Published by 1 Comment

As I write, it is 4 a.m. I’m not used to 4 a.m. It’s dark, my house is cold, and I don’t have the drive to turn my coffee pot on. You read that right . . . I am writing without coffee. An important question you’re hopefully asking yourself is, ‘“Why? What would cause this man to be awake so early, and trying to function without coffee?’”The answer is pretty simple . . . vacation. My family and I are leaving for vacation today, and I don’t know about you, but the nights before I leave for vacation are historically bad nights of sleep for me. Excitement paired with the fear of forgetting . . . well, everything, is overwhelming. As I pull together the final things I need to pack, I am thankful for the little things. I’m thankful that over the past year I have accumulated four new chargers for my iPhone and iPad, so I don’t have to disconnect the ones that are basically built into my bed frame. I am thankful for my noise cancelling headphones. I am thankful for my backpack and all its different compartments so that I can easily separate my Macbook... View Article


Yielding to God’s Purposes

June 23, 2017 10:00 am Published by 27 Comments

“But the wisdom that is from above is the first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. –James 3:17 NKJV Consider this: God is perfect. Eternal. Almighty. He knows everything about everyone (Ps. 139:1-4). On the other hand, we are imperfect. Sinful. Our lives are but a vapor (James 4:14). The more we learn, the more we realize we don’t know. So why in the world wouldn’t we align our plans with God’s purpose? We tend to think we know enough to make our own way in life. But because God actually cares, get over that tendency. He is God. You are His. He provides the resources you need to accomplish His purpose. Isaiah 41:10 records God’s assurance to His people: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” God’s purpose for you is not mysterious – see Micah 6:6-8. This is the foundation of God’s will: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. All of the specific decisions... View Article


Love Is An Action

June 19, 2017 10:00 am Published by 21 Comments

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” —John 13:34-35 NKJV Faith is compelling when it is seen in action. When Jesus announced that He would be leaving, He gave one very simple and profound instruction: “Love one another.” This is harder than it seems. We are prone to argue, hate, and fight. We default to selfishness and wanting to win. Love doesn’t naturally fit. But we crave it. And love is the mark of Jesus’ followers. Jesus asked His disciples to practice the love that He modeled. If they reflected the example of Jesus’ love, they would stand out in a world that does not understand love. Jesus explained, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (v. 35). The distinguishing mark of Jesus followers is how faith influences their daily actions: how they work alongside coworkers, how they solve problems, how they speak to spouses and children, how they work out problems with church members. Jesus’ followers live... View Article


Do You Know about These Two Unique Features of John’s Gospel?

June 16, 2017 10:00 am Published by 1 Comment

It has been understood that John’s Gospel is a distinct chronicling of the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. It’s so unique that biblical scholars have isolated it from the so-called Synoptic gospels. And if you’ve spent any amount of time with the beloved disciple’s gospel you’ve probably sensed its uniqueness, too. But do you know some of the central features that make it distinct? Edward W. Klink III helpfully explains two such characteristics in his new John commentary (ZECNT), which is currently 50% off on our website. Building on the pioneering work of C. H. Dodd, who “In the twentieth century … provided the most focused analysis” (53), Klink provides readers an extended introduction to two unique features of John in order to help readers interpret it rightly: dialogues and monologues. Johannine Dialogues: Functions and Forms Klink identifies two functions for the dialogues in John’s gospel. First, they serve an important role in developing its broader narrative, where the meaning lies not only in what is said, but in how what’s said moves the plot forward. The dialogue brings meaning to Jesus’s person and work so that the characters—and therefore the readers—are exhorted to take a particular action, thereby moving... View Article


What are the characteristics of a godly man?

June 12, 2017 10:00 am Published by 19 Comments

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned  to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife,  but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His... View Article


These Exegetical Commentaries Are for You, If…

June 12, 2017 8:00 am Published by 1 Comment

Right now the Zondervan Exegetical Commentaries on the New Testament and Old Testament are steeply discounted (50% off). If you identify with one or more of these statements, this commentary series is for you: you would like help interpreting the words of Scripture without getting bogged down in scholarly issues that seem irrelevant to the life of the church. you would like to see a visual representation (a graphical display) of the flow of thought in each passage. you would like expert guidance from solid evangelical scholars who set out to explain the meaning of the original text in the clearest way possible and to help you navigate through the main interpretive issues. you have taken Greek and would like a commentary that helps you apply what you have learned without assuming you are a well-trained scholar. you would find it useful to see a concise, one- or two- sentence statement of what the commentator thinks the main point of each passage is. you want to benefit from the results of the latest and best scholarly studies and historical information that helps to illuminate the meaning of the text. you would find it useful to see a brief summary of... View Article


How does the Expositor’s Bible Commentary Approach Scripture?

June 7, 2017 10:00 am Published by 3 Comments

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary series set the gold standard for expositors—for understanding the biblical authors and teaching their message today. Save 50% on this 12-volume commentary set right now. Don’t wait. ABOUT THE EXPOSITOR’S BIBLE COMMENTARY The Gold Medallion Award–winning Expositor’s Bible Commentary offers pastors, teachers and students a comprehensive tool for the exposition of the Scriptures and the teaching and proclamation of their message. How does this commentary approach Scripture? Hear from the General Editor, the late Frank E. Gaebelein: The chief principle of interpretation followed in this commentary is the grammatico-historical one—namely, that the primary aim of the exegete is to make clear the meaning of the text at the time and in the circumstances of its writing. This endeavor to understand what in the first instance the inspired writers actually said must not be confused with an inflexible literalism. Scripture makes lavish use of symbols and figures of speech; great portions of it are poetical. Yet when it speaks in this way, it speaks no less truly than it does in its historical and doctrinal portions. To understand [Scripture’s] message requires attention to matters of grammar and syntax, word meanings, idioms, and literary forms—all in relation to the... View Article


A Better Understanding of Biblical Joy

May 17, 2017 8:00 am Published by 3 Comments

Originally posted at Bible Connection. On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the good that the Lord had done for David, for Solomon, and for His people Israel. 2 Chronicles 7:10 NKJV 3 Hebrew Word Studies on Joy Sameach: The joy the people felt was more than just a spontaneous subjective emotion – it was rooted very concretely in all “that the LORD had done for David, Solomon, and for His people Israel.” Indeed, the Feast of Tabernacles was intended as a time of rejoicing for all the ways the Lord had blessed His people (Deut. 16:15). The people were filled with “great joy” at Solomon’s coronation (1 Kin. 1:40). Haman’s joy at his plot to kill Mordecai (Esth. 5:9, 14) backfired when he was executed instead, “and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad” (Esth. 8:15). But more often, joy is connected directly to God: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.” (Ps. 126:3). Simchah: This Hebrew word is one of several frequently occurring Hebrew words that express exceeding gladness of rejoicing. Like its synonyms, this word can... View Article


Soil, Seed & Sower – A SOAP Bible Study on Matthew 13:3–8

May 15, 2017 10:00 am Published by 22 Comments

Originally posted at Bible Connection. Scripture “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places…Other seed fell among thorns…Still other seed fell on good soil.” —Matthew 13:3–8, NIV Observation Although this is often known as the parable of the sower and the seed, it can also be said this is a parable about the soil. All four types of soil are essentially the same dirt but are in different conditions and respond in different ways to cultivation. What made one soil more responsive and the other less? When the New Testament was written, communities were agriculturally based. A family would be appointed a section of land to farm. Every farmer’s plot was adjacent to their neighbor’s. In order to get to the fields, the farmers would walk along the boundaries bordering each field to avoid stepping on the growing plants. The “path” was held in common by all the farmers. Over time, the soil on the path would compact. It was never plowed and never fertilized. In the parable, the seed that is sown on the path... View Article


Understanding the Lord’s Prayer

May 8, 2017 8:00 am Published by 41 Comments

He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. ‘Give us each day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us [who has offended or wronged us]. And lead us not into temptation [but rescue us from evil].’” Luke 11:2-4 AMP The Lord’s prayer illustrates the variety of requests that one can and should make to God, as well as displaying the humble attitude that should accompany prayer. The use of the plural pronoun us throughout the prayer shows that it is not just the prayer of one person for his or her own personal needs, but a community prayer. Your Kingdom come: The references here is to God’s program and promise. This is more affirmation that request, highlighting the petitioner’s submission to God’s will and the desire to see God’s work come to pass. For we ourselves also forgive: The petitioner recognizes that if mercy is to be sought from God, then mercy must be shown to others. We need to adopt the same standard that we expect others to follow. Lead us not into temptation: This remark is often misunderstood... View Article