Jeremiah 44-46, Song of Solomon 1, John 5:16-30, 1 Peter 2:1-8 1 Peter 2:1-8: Given that these Christians are in exile – scattered, it seems, throughout the world, alienated from the surrounding culture, and under pressure to conform – how should they then live? Peter here gives them instructions on how to live, and a motivation to live…

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Jeremiah 39-43, Ecclesiastes 12, John 5:1-15, 1 Peter 1:17-25 1 Peter 1:17-25: Peter is addressing himself to Christians who are exiled, strangers, foreigners, out of sync with the culture and world in which they live, and unsure how they should therefore act and think as Christians in this situation. Now, he gives them four reasons to be faithful, to…

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Jeremiah 35-38, Ecclesiastes 11, John 4:43-54, 1 Peter 1:10-16 1 Peter 1:10-16: Peter is equipping these “exiles” – Christians, like us, who often feel excluded, alienated, far from home, friendless, and adrift in an adversarial world. And he has been reminding them of reasons why they can rejoice and persevere even in this exilic situation. Primarily, because of…

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Jeremiah 32-34, Ecclesiastes 10, John 4:27-42, 1 Peter 1:1-9 1 Peter 1:1-9: Perennially relevant, parts of the Bible sometimes have particular resonance in certain periods of time. And there is no doubt that for many Christians today, the book of 1 Peter has that resonance. Many Christians feel as if they are “exiles.” In the Middle East, there…

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Jeremiah 30-31, Ecclesiastes 9, John 4:15-26, James 5:13-20 James 5:13-20: This passage is famous in prayer circles for its description of the “prayer of faith.” What does it mean? And how do we apply it today?  First of all, the prayer of faith is offered in response to a request from a member of the congregation made to the…

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Jeremiah 26-29, Ecclesiastes 8, John 4:1-14, James 5:7-12 James 5:7-12: Patience is not easy even in the best of times. We find it hard to be patient standing in line to get into a movie that we have been longing to see, or waiting in line at a checkout after we have bought something we wanted to buy.…

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Jeremiah 23-25, Ecclesiastes 7:15-29, John 3:22-36, James 5:1-6 James 5:1-6: If there was something intrinsically wrong with money itself, then Abraham, Joseph, David, and many other great heroes of the Old Testament would be in trouble. But money can be a serious and dangerous trap. James now turns to talk to those people who are not just wealthy,…

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Jeremiah 19-22, Ecclesiastes 7:1-14, John 3:16-21, James 4:11-17 James 4:11-17: James now addresses the power of the tongue and its misuse in two further ways. First with regard to slander, and then second with regard to boasting. With regard to slander, James is at first simply straightforward. “Do not slander one another.” What could be more clear? And…

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Jeremiah 16-18, Ecclesiastes 6, John 3:1-15, James 4:1-10 James 4:1-10: James now turns his attention to what causes fights and quarrels between Christians. Of course, Christians are meant to live at peace with each other, love each other, forgive each other, and submit to each other out of reverence for Christ. But, nonetheless, Christian communities can become factious,…

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Jeremiah 14-15, Ecclesiastes 5, John 2:12-25, James 3:13-18 James 3:13-18: What is real wisdom? What are its characteristics? James now describes two different kinds of wisdom. And each is characterized by a certain sort of fruit. First, there is wisdom that is not from God. That kind of wisdom is characterized by envy and selfish ambition. And so…

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