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Showing posts from October, 2016

Monday - October 31, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 23:1-39

A tradition that many of us still practice today is placing flowers at the grave of someone who passed on. When you think about it, it is a little strange for us to decorate and make appealing a thing that is not desirable. It almost seems as though we are trying to hide what is really in the grave: Death. 

The Jews had a similar tradition of whitewashing the tombs. Jesus brings up this practice by comparing these whitewashed tombs to the Pharisees and Scribes. Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28). We can be guilty of the same thing today. We can do all the right things on the outside, making ourselves appear righteous, but on the inside, we are s…

Saturday - October 29, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study SATURDAY
BIBLE READING:Acts 4:1-22

When Peter and John were arrested after the day of Pentecost, the people noticed something about them. These were men who had no education, were “ blue collar   workers,” yet they had a passion about them - a boldness. Luke says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Application: How would people describe you? Would they recognize you as being with Jesus, or someone else? Evidently, those who spend time with Jesus will display certain characteristics that stand out to others. What characteristics are you displaying? 

Prayer Request

Friday - October 28, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study FRIDAY
BIBLE READING:Philippians 4:10-20

Our minds are very complex, yet very stubborn as well. Let me illustrate that point by giving a quick test. For the next 10 seconds, you are allowed to think of any image you’d like, with one exception: you are not allowed to think of a pink elephant. You can think of anything else, but you are not allowed to conjure up in your mind the image of a pink elephant. Well, how did you do? More than likely, you failed the test. Our thoughts are among the most difficult things for us to control, yet God tells us that with Christ, even this is possible (Philippians 4:13). 

To control our thoughts, we must go on the offensive and “take captive” of them, and hold them under the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5-6). Think of it this way. When we allow a bad thought to enter our mind, we should do everything we can to surround that thought with good, positive ones. We need to hold it captive, and then release it. Difficult? Ye…

Thursday - October 27, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study THURSDAY
BIBLE READING:Genesis 27:1-46

One of the Bible stories that have always confused me was when Isaac was about to   impart the blessing to Esau. Being the oldest, he was entitled to receive the blessing from his father. Although Esau had already sold his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob, for a pot of stew, the blessing was still entitled to him. As soon as Isaac told Esau that he was about to bless him (Genesis 27), Rebekah took Jacob and deceived Isaac into thinking that Jacob was Esau so that Jacob was blessed instead. 

I have always had a problem with Jacob receiving the blessing because he did so deceitfully. It always seemed that the blessing was undeserved. That got me to thinking that none of us really deserve a blessing from God. Not one of us has lived a life that has made us worthy to receive anything from God, yet He continues to bless us freely. Maybe God wanted us to see just how gracious He really is by blessing the undeserved. 

Pray…

Wednesday - October 26, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study WEDNESDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 27:15-31

Have you ever thought about whatever happened to Barabbas? The last we see of Barabbas is him being released into the angry mob that was demanding that Pilate crucify Jesus. After that, there is no mention of him. I want to believe that Barabbas was so intrigued that he was released instead of Jesus that he decided to stick around and watch as the events unfolded. I can imagine him witnessing the scourging of Jesus, wincing with every blow, and imagining himself being beaten. I want to believe that as Jesus stumbled to Golgotha, Barabbas ran to assist Him and pleaded with the soldiers to allow him to assist in carrying the cross. Instead, they select Simon. I want to believe that he followed Jesus to the cross and watched in disbelief as Jesus hung there instead of himself. I also want to believe that Barabbas looked for the disciples to find out more about the man who took his place that day. I really want to believe t…

Tuesday - October 25, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study TUESDAY
BIBLE READING:1 Peter 3:1-7

Husbands, have you ever prayed earnestly for something only to never hear a response from God? We have all heard that God answers prayers in one of three ways: yes, no, or not now. But what if your prayer never made it to God? Is that even possible? Doesn’t God always hear our prayers? Yes, He does. However, some things we that do can cause our prayers to be hindered from getting to God. 

For instance, how is your relationship with your spouse? Did you know that sometimes marital problems can cause our prayers to be hindered? Peter said, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1Peter 3:7). 

Just think about it. On the outside, a man may seem moral and good, yet he goes home and unleashes all of his frustrations on his wife. If you were God, would you want to listen to …

Monday - October 24, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:Mark 11:20-33

There was once a man who had been wronged. He spoke to a minister and said, “I will never be able to forgive them for what they have done to me!” The minister then replied “Well then, I hope you never sin.” 

We have all been offended in ways that are very difficult to forgive, much less forget. However, if we want Christ to forgive us of our sins, then we must make sure we strive to forgive others. Jesus said, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). Try to imagine all the times you have committed the same sin over and over again, and then prayed for God’s forgiveness. We cannot expect God to do something, yet be unwilling to do ourselves. 

Application: Why would He be willing to forgive us if we are reluctant to forgive others? That should give us something to think about before we refuse forgiveness t…

Saturday - October 22, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study SATURDAY
BIBLE READING:Galatians 2:15-21

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). 

Since I became a Christian, this passage has been one of those that has always encouraged me. However, every now and then, the person that I was so long ago seems to try to resurrect himself. It’s difficult  keeping my old habits away. Just when I least expect it, the old me pops up and wants to satisfy his desires of the flesh. My mind knows that this person was put to death and buried in that watery grave of baptism, but my flesh keeps trying to make me believe that he is still there. Will I ever be able to hold my old self in check long enough to allow my new self to thrive? 

That is a question that has yet to be answered. Even though it seems like I fail over and over again, that does not mean that I …

Friday - October 21, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study FRIDAY
BIBLE READING:Psalms 1:1-6

Have you ever wondered how people can turn away from God so quickly even though they were once faithful to Him? Sadly, it happens everyday. Too often, people who are faithful to the Lord in thought and in deed are lured away from the truth by unbelievers. How is this even possible? How can someone get a taste of salvation, and then fall away from the church? 

It usually doesn’t happen overnight. The gradual decline usually happens in three steps: walking, standing, and then sitting. David explains this gradual process as, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, not stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1:1). The process happens when we begin “walking” with those who do not share the same spiritual goals with us. The longer you walk, the more likely you are to stick around for a while, and then stand with them. By “standing” with them, you have decided to stay a while with…

Thursday - October 20, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study THURSDAY
BIBLE READING:1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Christians have the huge responsibility of making sure we introduce the lost of this would to Jesus Christ. First Corinthians 12:27 reminds us that we are the “body of Christ.” Although Christ ascended back into heaven, He is still here today in the form of the church. We are left with the incredible duty of making sure that Jesus is still alive and well in this world, living through us. So when someone sees us, they should ultimately see Jesus. 

Paul reminds us just how important our role is when he says that there will be a day when the Lord returns to this earth “with His mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8). I may not be able to do anything about those who don’t obey, but I can do something about those who don’t know Him. 

Application: Have you done all you can to make sure that everyone …

Wednesday - October 19, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study WEDNESDAY
BIBLE READING:Titus 2:1-15

You care about your appearance. You bathe regularly, style you hair, wear trendy clothes, and you may even wear a few pieces of jewelry. One of the most common pieces of jewelry is a necklace. People wear necklaces with certain charms, pendants, or amulets to add a bit of flair to their wardrobe. The Bible warns us to not go overboard with wearing these types of things, but says that our inner beauty should come from within. 

However, Titus tells us about one piece of “jewelry” that God encourages us to wear proudly: “...showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10). Vines Expository Dictionary defines the word “adorn” as “garnish, trim or to decorate.” The lovely jewel we adorn ourselves with is the “doctrine of God,” or in other words “teaching of God.” That means when someone sees us, the first thing that they should notice is that Christ’s teaching is a major as…

Tuesday - October 18, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study TUESDAY
BIBLE READING:Hebrews 11:1-39

Are you looking forward to something? Perhaps the big game? The summer? Retirement? Maybe it’s as simple as looking forward to the weekend. Looking forward to something brings excitement, anticipation, and hope. Therefore, looking forward to something is important. 

If anyone ever had something to look forward to, it was Abraham. He left his hometown after God requested that he go to a land that He would show him. God’s promises to Abraham were that he would become a great nation, have a great name, and that he would bless every nation on earth. Even with all of those promises from God, the Hebrew writer lets us know that Abraham was “looking forward to the city that had foundations, whose designer and builder is God” ( Hebrews 11:10). 

Application: So now that you have had a moment to think about it, I ask you again: what are you looking forward to? 

Prayer Request

Sorry!

I had a "senior moment" and totally forgot to post Monday's devo on time.  So sorry!  It's posted now, and the rest of the week will be on time...I promise!  Have a great week!

Monday - October 17, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:Judges 6:11-27

“Excuses, excuses, you’ll hear them everyday. And the Devil, he’ll supply them if the church you stay away. When people come to know the Lord, the Devil always loses. So to keep them folks away from church, he offers them excuses.” 

Those were the lyrics from “Excuses”, a song from my childhood by The Kingsmen quartet. The truth the song presents is so profound, because people will come up with the strangest excuses to get out of going to worship. We hear, “In the summer, it’s too hot. In the winter, it’s too cold!” Sometimes even the entire family stays home because of one runny nose! 

I wonder if the Lord ever looks at us like He did Moses, when He told him that he would be leader of the nation of Israel. Moses had as many strange excuses as we do. 

Application: What kind of excuses have you used to avoid attending worship? What illegitimate reason have you had to sidestep a particular ministry? Let's try to stop our excu…

Saturday - October 15, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study SATURDAY
BIBLE READING:Philippians 2:1-11

Do you ever listen to WIIFM? At first glance, these letters look like a radio station’s call sign. What it really stands for is, “What’s In It For Me?” Like any true radio station, it has a catchy slogan: “At WIIFM, it’s all you, all the time!” It is part of human nature to be selfish because we regard to our own interests over the interests of others. But when we give our lives over to Christ, we need to delete that station from our list. Instead of looking our for our own interests, Paul teaches us to have the mindset of Jesus when he says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others” (Philippians 2:4). It isn’t easy for us to understand why Christ gave up heaven to come to earth and offer us salvation. He left a home in heaven where angels tended to His every need an praised His name, only to come to a world that hated Him, mistreated Him, and ultimately killed Him. 

Applic…

Friday - October 14, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study FRIDAY
BIBLE READING:Mark 11:15-25

Forgiveness is hard! It may very well be one of the hardest things associated with our faith. Somewhere down the line, all of us have had trouble forgiving someone who has wronged us. We may say the words, “I forgive you," but we continue to store feelings of pain and anger. 

The fact is that forgiveness is not easy. Speaking the words is only the beginning. It is something for which we have to work, pray and force ourselves to put into practice. Why? Because if we are not willing to forgive others, why should God be willing to forgive us? 

When Jesus began to teach the disciples to pray, He added, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you and your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). Think about all the times you have failed God. If you’re like me, you continue to do the same things over and over again. If God is willing to forgive me over…

Thursday - October 13, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study THURSDAY
BIBLE READING:Psalm 119:1-16

How many verses can you quote from memory? For the average person, the typical answer is very few. Why is it that we can remember passwords, movie quotes and song lyrics, but can’t remember the life-giving words of the Scriptures? 

The psalmist said, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). The greatest benefit of memorizing Scripture is that it will help keep us from sinning. The phrase “stored up” means “to hoard up,” or “to keep in reserve.” It gives the idea that if we were facing an upcoming tragedy, we might “hoard up” as much food and water as we possibly could, so that we will have a “reserve” in case of a shortage. There will never be shortage of God’s word, but there will be tragedies within our lives when we will need comfort, guidance, and strength. 

Application: Why not “hoard up” as much of God’s word as we can, and be prepared when the time comes? 

Prayer Reques…

Wednesday - October 12, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study WEDNESDAY
BIBLE READING:2 Corinthians 9:6-15

We are a truly blessed people! We may not have all the things we want, but generally, we have all the things we need. When you begin to feel that you are not as blessed as you would like to be, consider counting your blessings. On a piece of paper, make two columns. Title the first column, “Things That God Has Given Me That I Don’t Deserve.” Title the second column, “Things That God Has Given Me That I Deserve.” As you begin to fill in the first column, you’ll see how quickly the list grows. As for the second column, let me know if you ever come up with something. Let our prayer always be, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Prayer Request

Tuesday - October 11, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study TUESDAY
BIBLE READING:John 8:1-11

There she stands beside the Son of God, stripped of her innocence. Not only had she been accused of a crime that is worthy of death, she knew was guilty as well. She watched in silence, amazed that no one else could hear the beating of her heart, as her Master knelt down to scribble on the ground. What had she done? Why did she do it? It doesn’t take her very long to realize that she had been set up, yet she continued to feel the enormous weight of guilt pressing down on her chest. How embarrassed she must have been to be standing there with all eyes and fingers pointing at her. As Jesus stood up, she began to fear the worst. Looking around for her accusers, “Jesus stood up and said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' She said, ‘No one, Lord.' And Jesus said, 'Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more’” (John 8:10-11). 

I wonder if she hugged him, fell down to worship Him, …

Monday - October 10, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:John 3:16-21

“For God so loved the world….” Since you are reading this book, there is a good chance that you are able to finish that verse. The most quoted verse in the Bible is probably John 3:16. It contains a wealth of information for us to know. First of all, we learn we live in a sinful world. Since God loves us so much, He was willing to send His Son as a sacrifice to save us from this wicked earth. Next, we see the willingness of our Savior. For God to send His Son, Jesus must have first been willing to come to this earth and live an uncomfortable life for us. However, for God to save the world from sin by sending His Son, there had to be a workable plan: “that whoever believes.” God’s plan was to give the sacrifice and persuade us to believe in His love by committing our lives to Him. We may not be able to live a perfect life, but He gives us a chance by giving us the choice to believe. Finally, it is through God’s perfect plan tha…

Saturday - October 8, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study SATURDAY
BIBLE READING:Psalm 46

Every few years my wife and I get the opportunity to travel to Lake Tahoe, Nevada to spend a few days together while I speak at a conference. One of our routines is to take the four-hour trek around the lake that goes up into the mountains. We always enjoy stopping on the side of the road to take a few pictures of the crystal blue lake that is surrounded by the rugged terrain. In my opinion, that is truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It reminds me just how powerful God is to have created such a stunning place. It boggles my mind even further that He is desperately concerned about my specific needs. We truly serve an awesome and powerful God. The psalmist said, “Be still and know that I am God.” 

That word “still” is very interesting. On the surface, it seems to mean pause and reflect as we might have done on our drive around the lake. However, in Hebrew, the word has more depth to its meaning. It means, “to sla…

Friday - October 7, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study FRIDAY
BIBLE READING:Ecclesiastes 2:18-26

Do you ever feel like you’re a little hamster, running as fast as you can on that wheel in your cage? You just run and run and run, but never seem to get anywhere? I have two jobs, a wife, and three kids who are involved in many extra-curricular activities, and it seems as though I am always working to get to the weekend. Then, when I get there, instead of things slowing down, they only seem to speed up. I often feel like that hamster, and I don’t think I’m alone. 

Solomon described this feeling when he said, “I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom a…

Thursday - October 6, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study THURSDAY
BIBLE READING:Romans 3:21-31

When we sin, we sometimes take comfort in knowing that there are people who are worse sinners than we are, who have committed far greater sins than ours. There are “worse” sinners, right? The Bible tells us about the people in Sodom and Gomorrah, about Ahab and his evil wife, Jezebel, not to mention Judas Iscariot and many others. In the more modern world there are Hitler, Charles Manson, and terrorist organizations, just to name a few. We may think, “I’m no saint, but at least I am not a terrorist!” 

There it is. That is our problem! We are constantly comparing ourselves to those around us, when, in reality, the only comparison we need to make is to Jesus Christ. When we hold our life up to His, we all come up short. Incredibly short. John writes, “All wrongdoing is sin.” If the book of Romans teaches us anything, it is that we are all sinners (Romans 3.23). When we compare our life to someone other than Jesus, we are comp…

Wednesday - October 5, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study WEDNESDAY
BIBLE READING:John 8:1-30

In John 8, we find the story of a woman caught in the act of adultery. In the story, the Pharisees plotted to put Jesus between the proverbial “rock and a hard place.” They tried to trick Jesus, hoping He would mess up, which would allow them an opportunity to get rid of Him. We see in the text that they brought this woman to Him. However, that passage is very vague. There is no description of her, nor is there a record of anything she said in her defense, even though he had a reason to be upset. She was probably dragged into the square and accused of committing a sin that requires two people. However, she says nothing about her partner in crime. In fact, neither does the text. Where is he? Is he not just as guilty? Doesn’t he deserve to be punished as well? Why doesn’t she say something about him? 

We can only speculate about her equally guilty partner. However, we can learn a valuable lesson from her silence. Was this woman…

Tuesday - October 4, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study TUESDAY
BIBLE READING:Genesis 32:22-32

Do you want to be blessed? That sounds like a rhetorical question, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to be blessed? I guess it really depends on your definition of “blessed.” Many people desire blessings that will make them wealthy or, perhaps, material goods. However, being blessed is not limited to those physical things. In fact, sometimes we can be blessed in the most unusual ways. For instance, in Genesis 32:26, we find Jacob wrestling with what we often call an angel. Within the story, Jacob is overtaking the angel and holding him down; refusing to let go until the angel gives him a blessing. The angel obliges Jacob, but not in the way he might have imagined. The angel changed his name from “Jacob” to “Israel,” but he also did something else. He put Jacob’s hip joint out of socket, causing him much pain and difficulty walking. In part, his blessing had to do with him walking with a limp. How is that a blessing? Perhaps it…

Monday - October 3, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:1 Samuel 30:1-15

Imagine that you have been out of town on a business trip, and as you pull onto your street you see smoke coming from the direction of your house. As you pull into the driveway, you see a large pile of ash and soot where your home once stood. Devastated, you jump out of your car desperately trying to find your family, but they are nowhere to be found. You later speak with a neighbor who explains that a stranger came into the neighborhood, set fire to your home, and kidnapped your family. You are at loss for words and faced with a decision: what do you do? 

This may sound like a dramatic illustration, but this story is similar to what happened to David and his mighty men in 1 Samuel 30. They came home to find their city destroyed with fire, and the women and children were taken captive. When David heard the news, the Scripture tells us, “David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” How was he even able to function well e…

Saturday - October 1, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study SATURDAY
BIBLE READING:1 Corinthians 10:13; Luke 12:48

MAIN IDEA:  “Family”

DISCUSSION
Unlike friends, we don’t choose our parents. When children come into their parent's life, both have a major change to their entire world. It is a wanted change and necessary to become a family. In the family, parents have a responsibility to love, train, discipline and set good examples. Children also have a responsibility to honor and obey their parents.  Are parents going to make mistakes? Yes. Does this give children the green light to not honor and obey? No. Are children going to mess up boundaries and need help from their parents? Yes. Do parents get to ignore when children exceed boundaries? No. Silent approval is still approval. Does God ignore it and give us a mulligan when we sin, without repentance? 
Remember that as parents, we need to train our children to be successful, responsible adults. For this to happen, sometimes working through their own problems witho…