I THESSALONIANS– Paul started the church at Thessalonica on his second missionary journey. He taught there for about three weeks, but then he had to leave because the Jews were opposing him so strongly. Paul wrote this letter from Corinth to encourage the Thessalonians and to teach them more about Christianity. He praised them for being brave and not giving up their faith “in spite of severe suffering.” He instructed them “how to live in order to please God.” And he taught them about Jesus’ second coming. He explained that the time of Jesus’ coming was secret, so they should keep on working hard till he came.
II THESSALONIANS–was sent from Corinth a little while after the first letter. Some people had misunderstood Paul and were sure Jesus was coming very soon. They had stopped working and were just waiting for Jesus. Paul told the Thessalonians again what Jesus’ second coming would be like. He reminded them to keep working hard till Jesus came.
PHILIPPIANS–was also written while Paul was in prison in Rome. The Philippians had sent Epaphroditus to Paul with a gift. While he was in Rome, Epaphroditus became sick, and the Philippians Christians were worried about him. After Epaphroditus was better, Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter. Even though Paul was writing from prison this letter was full of joy. Paul was thankful for the love and helpfulness of the Philippians.
COLOSSIANS– is a third letter written from prison in Rome. Epaphras had come to Rome and told Paul that there were false teachers in Colosse who were telling the people that the Christian faith was incomplete. They were teaching the Colossians to worship angels and to follow special rules and ceremonies. Paul wrote to the Colossians to oppose these false teachers. He reminded them that Jesus is supreme over everything, that his death is all we need to save us from our sins, and that through him we are free from man-made rules.
I was shopping in a local store today and noticed a brightly decorated huge Christmas tree at the entrance. I stopped to admire the big tree and feel the Christmas spirit. On that tree were hung white paper slips with angel sketches on every one of them. Upon a closer look, I discovered that each slip of paper held a child’s name and appropriate clothing and shoe sizes plus some gifts this child was wishing for. It was an Angel Tree and sponsored by the Salvation Army for families who were unable to buy gifts for their children for Christmas! Imagine my excitement as I set about shopping for the little girl whose slip I had chosen. A toy here and there were found from her list asking for a baby doll and cars. Next we looked for the clothing and shoes according to her size on that list. Our heart was warming with each item that went in the basket. When we think we have nothing to give, we are wrong. There is always something to give. You see, from whom much has been given, much is going to be required. Open up your heart and give back something more than you intended to someone who has less than you have been blessed with. Be a blessing to others as you have been blessed. That is the Spirit we should share with others this Christmas season! May you all take this to heart and rejoice and be glad that our Saviour lives!!!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each and every one of you out there!
Last week we heard a story of a little homeless boy and his introduction and experience with the Bible verse John 3:16. Living on the streets in what we sometimes call hand to mouth situations.(very, very, very poor) People never took time to talk to this little lost boy much less tell him about Our Loving Savior. One night this little boy approached a policeman and asked for help to find a warm place to sleep for at least one cold night. What the policeman told this little boy is straight out of the Bible. It changed this little boys life forever. Simply click on the play button to hear more of this story.
GALATIANS–Paul wrote this letter to the Christian churches in the Roman province of Galatia. These churches were being confused by false teachers called Judaizers. These men were teaching the Gentiles Christians that they were not really saved unless they obeyed all the Jewish laws– such as being circumcised, eating special foods, and celebrating Jewish feast days. Paul wrote that we cannot be saved from our sins by obeying the law; we are saved only by believing in Jesus Christ. He also taught that Christians are free to live by the law of love, not the law of Moses.
EPHESIANS– was written by Paul while he was in prison in Rome. Probably this letter was sent not just to the church at Ephesus but to all the Christian churches near Ephesus. Ephesus was a large, important city at that time, so it was a natural center for the Christian churches. In this letter Paul wrote about the church– not a church building in a certain place but the church that is made up of all Christians who have ever lived. We called this “the church universal.” Paul wrote that because all Christians are one family in Jesus, they should act with love toward each other.
I CORINTHIANS– was written by Paul from Ephesus, where he has heard disturbing news about the church at Corinth. The Christians there were not getting along with one another–they were taking sides. And some of them were living sinful lives. Paul wrote this letter to scold them and teach them how Christians should act. Corinth was a wicked city. It was hard for the Christians there not to act like there neighbors. In this letter Paul was trying to teach practical lessons about the Christian life so they would know right from wrong.
2CORINTHIANS– When the Corinthians got Paul’s first letter, some of the people became angry. But most of them knew that what they were doing was wrong. The sent news to Paul that they would change their behavior. The first part of this letter tells how happy and thankful Paul was when he heard that the Corinthians were sorry for the way they had acted and were now trying to live the way God wanted them to. In the second part of the letter, Paul defended himself against the people who were angry with hin and who were saying unture things about him.