Happiness is...

Last night I read for several hours and then I decided to watch TV.  Nothing much was on (hard to believe with 500 channels) so I decided to watch a not-to-old movie: Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.  Somehow, it seemed strange to see the older Harrison Ford with Karen Allen, but the ending of the movie seemed even stranger.  The treasure they had been looking for was knowledge and this was described as happiness.  When I thought about it today, I searched and found the following verse that seemed to strike a chord with me somehow...

Proverbs, Chapter 3
  13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gets understanding.

  14 For her good profit is better than getting silver,
and her return is better than fine gold.

  15 She is more precious than rubies.
None of the things you can desire are to be compared to her.

Wisdom is happiness; now there is a concept worth thinking about.  I don't know if it would make me jump for joy like the alligator in the picture, but to me, there is no doubt that it can yield the most sublime pleasure.  And I know right where to find it; its as close as the Scriptures...

Sept. 1 Psalms 26-29

Sept. 1
Psalms 26-29

Psa 26:1 Judge me, Yahweh, for I have walked in my integrity. I have trusted also in Yahweh without wavering.
Psa 26:2 Examine me, Yahweh, and prove me. Try my heart and my mind.
Psa 26:3 For your loving kindness is before my eyes. I have walked in your truth.
Psa 26:4 I have not sat with deceitful men, neither will I go in with hypocrites.
Psa 26:5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.
Psa 26:6 I will wash my hands in innocence, so I will go about your altar, Yahweh;
Psa 26:7 that I may make the voice of thanksgiving to be heard, and tell of all your wondrous works.
Psa 26:8 Yahweh, I love the habitation of your house, the place where your glory dwells.
Psa 26:9 Don't gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men;
Psa 26:10 in whose hands is wickedness, their right hand is full of bribes.
Psa 26:11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity. Redeem me, and be merciful to me.
Psa 26:12 My foot stands in an even place. In the congregations I will bless Yahweh.
Psa 27:1 Yahweh is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Yahweh is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?
Psa 27:2 When evildoers came at me to eat up my flesh, even my adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.
Psa 27:3 Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, even then I will be confident.
Psa 27:4 One thing I have asked of Yahweh, that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of Yahweh all the days of my life, to see Yahweh's beauty, and to inquire in his temple.
Psa 27:5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion. In the covert of his tabernacle he will hide me. He will lift me up on a rock.
Psa 27:6 Now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me. I will offer sacrifices of joy in his tent. I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to Yahweh.
Psa 27:7 Hear, Yahweh, when I cry with my voice. Have mercy also on me, and answer me.
Psa 27:8 When you said, "Seek my face," my heart said to you, "I will seek your face, Yahweh."
Psa 27:9 Don't hide your face from me. Don't put your servant away in anger. You have been my help. Don't abandon me, neither forsake me, God of my salvation.
Psa 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then Yahweh will take me up.
Psa 27:11 Teach me your way, Yahweh. Lead me in a straight path, because of my enemies.
Psa 27:12 Don't deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, such as breathe out cruelty.
Psa 27:13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living.
Psa 27:14 Wait for Yahweh. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for Yahweh.
Psa 28:1 To you, Yahweh, I call. My rock, don't be deaf to me; lest, if you are silent to me, I would become like those who go down into the pit.
Psa 28:2 Hear the voice of my petitions, when I cry to you, when I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
Psa 28:3 Don't draw me away with the wicked, with the workers of iniquity who speak peace with their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts.
Psa 28:4 Give them according to their work, and according to the wickedness of their doings. Give them according to the operation of their hands. Bring back on them what they deserve.
Psa 28:5 Because they don't regard the works of Yahweh, nor the operation of his hands, he will break them down and not build them up.
Psa 28:6 Blessed be Yahweh, because he has heard the voice of my petitions.
Psa 28:7 Yahweh is my strength and my shield. My heart has trusted in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices. With my song I will thank him.
Psa 28:8 Yahweh is their strength. He is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed.
Psa 28:9 Save your people, and bless your inheritance. Be their shepherd also, and bear them up forever.
Psa 29:1 Ascribe to Yahweh, you sons of the mighty, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength.
Psa 29:2 Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due to his name. Worship Yahweh in holy array.
Psa 29:3 Yahweh's voice is on the waters. The God of glory thunders, even Yahweh on many waters.
Psa 29:4 Yahweh's voice is powerful. Yahweh's voice is full of majesty.
Psa 29:5 The voice of Yahweh breaks the cedars. Yes, Yahweh breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
Psa 29:6 He makes them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young, wild ox.
Psa 29:7 Yahweh's voice strikes with flashes of lightning.
Psa 29:8 Yahweh's voice shakes the wilderness. Yahweh shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
Psa 29:9 Yahweh's voice makes the deer calve, and strips the forests bare. In his temple everything says, "Glory!"
Psa 29:10 Yahweh sat enthroned at the Flood. Yes, Yahweh sits as King forever.
Psa 29:11 Yahweh will give strength to his people. Yahweh will bless his people with peace.

Sept. 1 Romans 13

Sept. 1
Romans 13

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God.
Rom 13:2 Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment.
Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same,
Rom 13:4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn't bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.
Rom 13:5 Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience' sake.
Rom 13:6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God's service, attending continually on this very thing.
Rom 13:7 Give therefore to everyone what you owe: taxes to whom taxes are due; customs to whom customs; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.
Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Rom 13:9 For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not give false testimony," "You shall not covet," and whatever other commandments there are, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Rom 13:10 Love doesn't harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.
Rom 13:11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already time for you to awaken out of sleep, for salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed.
Rom 13:12 The night is far gone, and the day is near. Let's therefore throw off the works of darkness, and let's put on the armor of light.
Rom 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy.
Rom 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.




AUTHOR:  The apostle Paul, joined in his salutation by Silvanus and
Timothy (1:1), and with a reference to his own signature at the end of
the epistle (3:17).  Early sources in church history that attribute
this letter to Paul include:  Clement of Alexandria (200 A.D.),
Tertullian (200 A.D.), and Irenaeus (200 A.D.).

THE CITY OF THESSALONICA:  It was the capital and largest city of the
Roman province of Macedonia.  Located on the Egnatian Way, a major road
from Rome to the eastern provinces, the city served as center of trade
and commerce.  Today, it is known as Thessaloniki, or Salonica.

THE CHURCH AT THESSALONICA:  The establishment of the church is 
recorded in Ac 17:1-9.  On his second missionary journey, Paul and his
companions (Silas and Timothy) had just left Philippi and passed
through Amphipolis and Apollonia to arrive at Thessalonica.  As was his
custom, Paul immediately located the synagogue and reasoned with the
Jews for three Sabbaths concerning Jesus Christ.  While some of them
were persuaded, including a great number of devout Greeks and leading
women, the unbelieving Jews became jealous and created an uproar in the
city.  Therefore it became necessary to send Paul and Silas away
secretly by night to Berea.

Despite such ominous beginnings, a strong church was established in
Thessalonica (cf. 1:2-10).  Mostly Gentile (cf. 1:9), its members
included Jason (Ac 17:9), Aristarchus, and Secundus (Ac 20:4).  It had
already been the recipient of an earlier letter (First Thessalonians).

TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING:  Second Thessalonians appears to have been
written just a few months, possibly a year, after First Thessalonians.
This would place the writing of the epistle during Paul's extended stay
at Corinth on his second missionary journey (cf. Ac 18:1-11), sometime 
around 53 A.D.

PURPOSE OF THE EPISTLE:  The first epistle to the Thessalonians had 
been written in response to news brought back by Timothy who had made a
quick trip there while Paul was in Athens (cf. 1Th 3:1-3,6).
Encouraged by their steadfastness in the face of persecution, Paul had
exhorted them to holiness in view of the Lord's coming (cf. 1Th 
3:12-13; 5:23).

From the second letter, it appears that they remained strong in the 
Lord despite persecution (cf. 1:3-4).  But it is apparent from this
letter that misunderstanding about the Lord's coming was present in the
church.  Some of the members were being troubled by false reports (cf.
2:1-2); others had stopped working, perhaps assuming that the Lord's 
imminent return meant one did not need to work anymore (cf. 3:11-12).

Paul's purpose in writing this epistle, therefore, is three-fold:

   * To encourage them in their steadfastness under persecution

   * To correct their misunderstanding about the imminence of the 
     Lord's return

   * To instruct the congregation on what disciplinary action to take
     toward those who refused to work

THEME OF THE EPISTLE:  In correcting their misunderstanding about the
return of Christ, Paul explains that the Lord will not come right away
(cf. 2:1-3).  Therefore they need to continue with steadfastness and
patience for which they had been commended.  A suggested theme of this
epistle might therefore be:


KEY VERSES:  2 Thessalonians 2:15-17

   "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you
   were taught, whether by word or our epistle.  Now may our Lord Jesus
   Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given
   us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your
   hearts and establish you in every good word and work."


   1. Salutation (1)
   2. Greetings (2)


      1. Thanking God for their growing faith and abounding love (1:3)
      2. Boasting to others of their patience and faith in all their
         persecutions (1:4)

      1. Suffering will make them worthy of the kingdom of God (1:5)
      2. God will repay those who trouble them (1:6)
      3. This will occur when Jesus is revealed from heaven (1:7-10)
   C. HIS PRAYER FOR THEM (1:11-12)
      1. That God would count them worthy of their calling (1:11a)
      2. That God would fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness
         and the work of faith with power (1:11b)
      3. That the name of Jesus might be glorified in them, and they in
         Him, according to the grace of God and Christ (1:12)


   A. DO NOT BE TROUBLED (2:1-2)
      1. Concerning the coming of the Lord and our gathering to Him
      2. By false reports, as though the day had come (2:2)

      1. A falling away must occur, and the man of sin revealed (2:3-5)
      2. The man of sin is being restrained, though the mystery of
         lawlessness is already at work (2:6-7)
      3. When the lawless one is revealed, the Lord will destroy him 
         with His coming (2:8)
      4. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of
         Satan, and will mislead those who do not have a love for the 
         truth (2:9-12)

      1. Thankful to God for their election through sanctification by
         the Spirit and belief in truth, having been called by the 
         gospel to obtain glory (2:13-14)
      2. A call to stand fast and hold to the traditions taught by word
         or epistle (2:15)
      3. Prayer for their comfort and establishment in every good word
         and work (2:16-17)


      1. Asking them to pray that the word of the Lord might have free
         course, and he be delivered from evil men (1-2)
      2. Expressions of confidence in the Lord, and in their obedience
      3. Praying that the Lord will direct their hearts into the love 
         of God and patience of Christ (3:5)

      1. To withdraw from those who do not follow apostolic tradition
         and example (3:6-9)
      2. Especially those who will not work (3:10-12)
      3. Don't grow weary in doing good, and avoid those who do not 
         obey the words of the epistle (3:13-15)

   1. A prayer that the Lord bless them with His peace and presence
   2. A confirmation of his authorship of this epistle (3:17)
   3. A benediction of grace from the Lord Jesus Christ (3:18)


1) On which missionary journey was the church at Thessalonica 
   - Paul's second missionary journey

2) Where can we read about the establishment of the church at 
   - Ac 17:1-9

3) What two letters were written to this congregation?
   - 1st and 2nd Thessalonians

4) From where and when did Paul write 2nd Thessalonians?
   - From Corinth, sometime around 53 A.D.

5) What length of time had passed between the writing of the two 
   - A few months, maybe a year

6) Why did Paul write 2nd Thessalonians (see Purpose Of The Epistle)?
   - To encourage them in their steadfastness under persecution
   - To correct their misunderstanding about the imminence of the 
     Lord's return
   - To instruct the congregation on what disciplinary action to take 
     toward those who refused to work

7) What has been suggested as the theme of this epistle?
   - Steadfastness while waiting for the coming of Christ

8) What are the key verses of this epistle?
   - 2Th 2:15-17

9) According to the outline above, what are the three main sections of
   this epistle?
   - Encouragement in persecutions (chapter 1)
   - Enlightenment about the coming of the Lord (chapter 2)
   - Exhortations to Christian living (chapter 3)