Ways to Improve Your Relationship with God

  • Spend five minutes of prayer in which you do nothing but praise Him (Psalm 22:3).
  • Do something for Him that requires you to step out of your comfort zone—initiate a conversation with a stranger or give a tract to a coworker you’ve been talking with.
  • Have a devotional with your family.
  • Call a shut-in; stop by and visit a widow(er).
  • Write a missionary, expressing appreciation and giving encouragement.
  • Anonymously give a sacrificial amount of money for a family in need or someone dependent upon support (school of preaching student or teacher, or a missionary).

  • Contact an elder and ask him how you can encourage the elders in their work.
  • Make a list of at least twenty blessings God has given specifically to you.
  • Speak to someone at church services you have never spoken to before.
  • Put a packet with bottled water and a granola bar, along with a tract, into a Ziploc bag to give to the person at the intersection asking for assistance.
  • Pick out a Bible book you are unfamiliar with and look for keywords, purpose statement, and other clues to better understand it. Take detailed notes.
  • Pray for someone you are having problems with—an enemy or critic, for example.
  • Alone or with your spouse and/or children, sing several songs of praise and admonition.
  • Carry a meal to a young mother who has had a difficult day.
  • Give a big smile and warm greeting to a fellow shopper, employee, or waitress.
  • Ask the secretary for a list of Sunday’s visitors and send each one a warm, brief note.
  • Think of an area for spiritual improvements in your life and ask God to help you focus on it, being transparent and sincere as you petition Him.
  • Ask the person closest to you (parent, spouse, sibling) something you can pray about on his/her behalf.
  • Invite a family from church you don’t know well over for dinner. —Neal Pollard, Denver, Colorado

Sadducees

The second most prominent sect of New Testament Judaism was the Sadducees.

Supposedly, they derived their name from the prominent priest Zadok, who lived during the reign of King David (2 Samuel 8:17; 15:24; 2 Chronicles 31:10; Ezekiel 40:46; 44:15; 48:11). Because of their priestly background, the Sadducees were more closely associated with the priesthood and the temple than were the Pharisees (Acts 4:1). But contrary to their priestly connection, the Sadducees were more open to liberal theology, Hellenistic ideas, and political pressure, when yielding to such pressure could improve their influence.

Due to their liberal theology, the Sadducees were anti-supernaturalists who denied the resurrection from the dead (Matthew 22:23–32). They did not believe in angels, spirits, or the immortality of man’s soul (Acts 23:8).

This placed them in direct conflict with the teachings of the Pharisees, who believed in angels, spirits, and the resurrection. Even though Jesus denounced the Pharisees more than the Sadducees, Jesus was more in harmony with the Pharisees on these doctrinal points than with the more liberal Sadducees. —Terry A. Martin


Divorce

“I have been a public school teacher for 18 years, and the number one cause for the troubled minds, hearts, and lives of teenagers is the divorce of their parents. High school students have indicated that to me many times.” —Steven Hodgin

“God . . . hates divorce” —Malachi 2:16


The Church Epistles

One way to outline the New Testament is 5-9-4-9: 5 books of history, 9 church epistles, 4 personal epistles, and 9 general epistles.

The canonical (textual) order is not their chronological order. The following lists approximate dates and places of composition:

  1. 1 Thessalonians Corinth  (AD 52–53)
  2. 2 Thessalonians Corinth (AD 53)
  3. 1 Corinthians Ephesus (AD 57)
  4. 2 Corinthians Macedonia (AD 57)
  5. Galatians Corinth (AD 57–58)
  6. Romans Corinth (AD 58)
  7. Colossians Rome (AD 63)
  8. Ephesians Rome (AD 63)
  9. Philippians Rome (AD 64)

Where is Jesus in the church epistles?

  • Romans – Christ the power of God to us.
  • 1 Corinthians – Christ the wisdom of God to us.
  • 2 Corinthians – Christ the comfort of God to us.
  • Galatians – Christ the righteousness of God.
  • Ephesians – Christ the riches of God to us.
  • Philippians – Christ the sufficiency of God to us.
  • Colossians – Christ the fullness of God to us.
  • 1 Thessalonians – Christ the promise of God to us.
  • 2 Thessalonians – Christ the reward of God to us.

Each epistle has a distinctive emphasis or prominent aspect, as shown:

  • Romans – In Christ — justification.
  • 1 Corinthians – In Christ — sanctification.
  • 2 Corinthians – In Christ — consolation.
  • Galatians – In Christ — liberation.
  • Ephesians – In Christ — exaltation.
  • Philippians – In Christ — exultation.
  • Colossians – In Christ — completion.
  • 1 Thessalonians – In Christ — translation.
  • 2 Thessalonians – In Christ — compensation.

—Author Unknown

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