The stories of the first six chapters of Daniel are often taught in Sunday school and in sermons. The second half of the book is usually lef alone! We're going to work our way through it, but it's worth taking a moment to understand more about how to read this section of the Bible.
As a widow, refugee and foreigner, Ruth is vulnerable to sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse. But she has come to take refuge under the wings of Israel's God. So what will she find among His people? Will this community be different in the way they treat an outsider?
The family that left "the house of bread" provided by God, to look for food in a pagan country, has been reduce to two widows. But there's hope--they return to Bethlehem "as the barley harvest was beginning" (1 v 22).
The story of Ruth is set during the time of the book of Judges. It involves no famous events or great people. Even the setting--Bethlehem--was, back then, just an obscure farming community. But this story sows the seeds of Bethlehem's future royal connections and--later still--its fame as the birthplace of God's Messiah.
Little destroys a church faster than false teaching. Paul knew the Corinthian Christians were being fooled, misled and deceived by impostors. The danger is no less real for churches today. But how do you spot the real and the fake?
Division causes conflict, suffering and sadness. Division in the church is even more tragic, since it goes against Christ's desire that His people enjoy "complete unity" (John 17 v 23). So how can a church stay united?
Paul will need to correct and challenge this church in many areas. But first he wants them to count their blessings. And what blessings they have as those who "call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (v 2)!
While Elizabeth and Mary were speaking and singing about God's goodness, Elizabeth's husband Zechariah was literally speechless (verse 20). But the time was coming for his words to return. What would he use them to do?
There were no ante-natal or bith classes in first-century Israel. But the elderly mom-to-be Elizabeth and the pregnant teenager Mary did get together as they waited for their babies to be born. And it's the first time we see the effect on people of knowing that God's Son has come to this world.
Elizabeth had experienced a miracle: but her son was only the support act. He was to "make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (v 17). God was about to step onto the stage, and in the most unexpected way...
If you only had one wish, what would it be? This question has been posed throughout the ages by many. Today, King David gives us his answer. And it's very different from how many people would answer it.