Is it safe to build the temple again? Are we going to be destroyed by another nation? The people of Judah were asking these questions during Haggai's time, and God used Haggai to reveal His will to the people. The following has been adapted from the Lutheran Bible Companion.
With the onset of autumn comes the end of summer work at our house. One of our summer projects each year is growing tomatoes. We make every effort to create the ideal growing environment for them. We purchase large animal watering troughs that we fill with high-quality soil, water daily, fertilize, and trim off any dead fruit or branches. Nevertheless, we struggle with all the things that can go wrong with tomato crops: early blight, late blight, cat’s face, splitting, and the like. Despite all our efforts, the plants usually produce less than we desire.
Why does God allow bad things to happen to those who love Him? Habakkuk cries out to God and asks Him why He continuously allows the righteous to be persecuted by the wicked. In this book, Habakkuk records God’s response to the faithful. The following has been adapted from Lutheran Bible Companion.
During nearly thirty years of professional church work, I have often wondered which sin is most damaging to the local congregation. In my experience, it is not disregard for worship and Bible study, arguments over money, lack of unity regarding mission and ministry, lack of forgiveness, theft, or even adultery. In my experience, the single sin which most damages congregations is mismanagement of conflict between brothers and sisters in the faith. There are numerous reasons. Foremost, this mismanagement destroys trust, which damages relationships. But it also breeds gossip and character assassination, which can lead to loss of good reputation and even loss of employment. Mismanagement of conflict blurs the facts and leaves the conflict unresolved. Such unresolved conflicts are infected wounds in the Body of Christ. Let’s look at what Jesus has to say.
The following has been adapted from the Lutheran Bible Companion.
To understand the Books of History, it is imperative to understand what came before them. The Books of the Law and the Books of Moses (the Torah) gave instruction to God’s people. The Law established the terms of the covenant God would be in with His people. Simply put, God would provide and protect for His people, and they would obey His statutes and be His chosen people. The future of Israel was understood through this relationship between God and His people.
Telling nice people things they don’t want to hear is an unavoidable part of being a faithful pastor. On one occasion, a pleasant couple from the neighborhood came to my office. The husband and wife wanted to know my opinion of ghosts and spirits.
Nahum is a book of comfort for those who trust in the LORD. God is portrayed as a warrior who will fight for His people, but He is also as an avenging God who does not tolerate wickedness. The following is adapted from Lutheran Bible Companion.
It seems the land on which our house is built is the perfect breeding ground for thistles, a particular type of weed that is painfully prickly and extremely difficult to remove. No matter how many plants my wife and I remove, there are always more. Related to this month’s reading from Matthew, the parable of the sower, these thistles can grow abundantly regardless of the location or quality of the soil.
In this study, Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs explores what it means to make disciples. Jesus commands us to make disciples, but what does that entail? Dr. Gibbs’ perspective helps us understand the Great Commission and what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The following is adapted from Matthew 21:1–28:20 in the Concordia Commentary series.