With tiny wrinkles and cries, He entered the world. Wrapped in strips of cloth, He took His first nap on a bed of straw. Subject to time and to parents, He grew to manhood in Roman-occupied Judea—His gentle hands becoming strong and calloused in Joseph’s woodworking shop. As a man, He walked through the countryside and city touching individuals, preaching to crowds, and training 12 men to carry on His work. At every step He was hounded by those seeking to rid the world of His influence.
Read: 1 John 1:1-2:11
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. 1 John 1:1-4 (NLT)
The Book of James is a powerful little book written by Jesus’ younger brother, who became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. It can be read very easily in just one sitting. James pulls no punches in challenging believers to stop talking about their faith and start demonstrating it through their actions.
Read: Hebrews 11:1-40
In presenting readers with a long catalog of faith-filled heroes, Hebrews chapter 11 builds up overwhelming evidence that the life of faith is the only real way to live for God. The writer repeats the phrase “by faith” to drive this main message into the minds and hearts of his listeners.
The Thessalonians were wondering why many of their fellow believers had died and what would happen to them when Christ returned. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to understand that death is not the end of the story. The great hope for all believers is in the Resurrection. Because Jesus Christ came back to life, so will all believers, including those who have already died. Therefore, we need not despair when loved ones die or world events take a tragic turn. God will turn tragedy to triumph, poverty to riches, pain to glory, and defeat to victory. All believers throughout history will stand reunited in God’s very presence, safe and secure. As Paul comforted the Thessalonians with the promise of the Resurrection, so we should comfort and reassure each other with this great hope. (85)
These passages encourage the believer to remember that nothing else matters as much as growing in our faith and understanding of Christ. Paul announces to the Philippians that he continued to press toward the goal. He said he had not yet attained full spiritual maturity, even though he had been a Christian for over thirty years by the time he wrote this letter. He continued to strive to know Christ more fully in His power and even in His suffering, looking forward to the resurrection of all the believers at the last days.