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Showing posts from June, 2017

Friday, "4 Steps to Good Bible Study"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 6.1-9
DISCUSSION: In this passage God gives commandments to the Israelites regarding his law. They are to teach the law, and how can they teach it to their children if they themselves do not know it? In order for us to learn Gods word, we must study it. Use these 3 tips by Richard Foster when studying God’s word. 1.Repetition – who can’t recite a good ol’ James Sokolove, Geico, or cheesy lawyer commercial? It’s because we see and hear them all the time. The same is true for both bad and good things. Repetition works – teach it both day and night! 2.Concentration – our minds have the incredible ability to both focus on one singular task or many at one time. In our world we are constantly multitasking, but this isn’t always a good thing. How many times have you seen someone driving, drinking or eating and talking on the phone all at once? You can’t tell me their focus is on the road! We need to turn off the phones, T.V.s, and distraction and focus on God’s word. …

Thursday, "Praying About Bankruptcy"

BIBLE READING:  James 4.2-8
DISCUSSION: This week we have been talking about Spiritual Bankruptcy – or being out of God’s Spirit. Praying is another practical way to invest in growing with God. Talk with your family about ways to prayer differently. Maybe you always pray before a meal – what would it look like to do this differently? Being open and honest is a huge part of growth. Marriages cannot grow without honesty. For our relationship to grow with God we must first be honest with ourselves so we can be honest with God, after all he already knows the truth.
APPLICATION: Be honest with yourself and your family and talk about something you need prayers for.
Prayer Requests: ____________________________________________________________

Wednesday, "Thinking About God"

BIBLE READING:  Psalms. 119:97, 101, 102
DISCUSSION: Thinking about God – sounds like a great thing to do right? On a daily basis, do we think about God? I understand that most decisions we make should be based on our relationship with God, but outside of our Bible readings and prayer times – do we spend time just thinking about God. One great method of this is memorizing scripture. Find a Bible verse and work on memorizing it for the next day or so. When you get frustrated at work or home – see how much of it you can recite. When you feel anger towards others, go back to that verse. Meditation doesn’t have to take place on a hilltop somewhere with your head shaved – it happens in between your ears. This is a practical way to get out of spiritual bankruptcy.  
APPLICATION: Memorize at least one Bible verse in 24 hours. Recite it tomorrow with your family.
Prayer Requests: ____________________________________________________________

Tuesday, "I Declare Bankruptcy!"

BIBLE READING:           Galatians 6.7-10
DISCUSSION: Declaring bankruptcy is way more than just a statement. It involves understanding that you cannot fix the problem on your own. Richard Foster describes it as Paul did with sowing and reaping. In order to sow and reap we must first break up the ground. This is our hearts. We have to understand that we are broken and need God’s spirit in our lives. Next comes putting God’s spirit in our lives. So the question comes – what does this look like. What does it look like to have God’s spirit in us? Here are some tips: 1.Getting into God’s word 2.Getting into God’s work 3.Getting into God’s will Think about farming – even after planting the seed it is still up to nature to allow the plant to grow.  This force in our spiritual lives is God’s grace. We can’t grow by ourselves – but with God’s grace we can. He will water that spirit of growth allowing us to grow closer to him.
APPLICATION: Discuss how, as a family, you can accomplish these 3 tasks.

Monday, "Spiritually Bankrupt"

BIBLE READING:           Psalm 42.1-2
DISCUSSION: In his book, Celebration of Discipline, minsterRichard Foster tells the story of the first church that he worked with. He describes how for the first three months he was there he worked and worked pouring out his soul into his ministry and at the end of the three months – there was barely any change. He attributed this to the fact that he and the church were spiritually bankrupt. There was a lack of deep spiritual growth and the spirit working in their lives. For the problem to be fixed, and Foster to lead the congregation to growth, he himself had to grow first. This week we will be looking at spiritual disciplines that can help us grow deeper to appreciate and love God on a new level. That’s what David was talking about when he wrote the 42nd Psalm – growing deeper with God! Whether you are 5, 50, or 105 we can all learn to fill up more on God spirit and less on the things of this world. So this week our goal is to fill up on buckets o…

Saturday, "Using Our Weaknesses"

BIBLE READING: 2 Corinthians 12.9,10
2 Corinthians 12:9,10“……….Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecution, in distress for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Struggles are an essential part of our wellbeing. A young man decided that a struggling emperor moth needed help to get out of the cocoon.  He snipped off the end, making it easy for the moth to crawl out. He didn’t realize that the added struggle was necessary for the further development of the small creature.  Its body was swollen and its wings shriveled. It could not fly when it emerged.  Our own struggles are often essential to preparing us for life’s challenges. Life’s struggles force us to look to God and depend on Him instead of ourselves.  Think of them as character building opportunities.  Paul said, “but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulations produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 they also help …

Friday, "Draw closer to God through His Word"

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 4. 13-16 Spend time alone with God’s Word.  Besides the spiritual growth we will gain from study, we will also come to know Him better.  Reading His word brings us in touch with Him.  Jesus tells us in John 14:7 – “If you had known Me, you would have known my Father also.”  Just studying the life of Jesus will help us to know God better. In seeking God’s help, we can draw closer to Him through prayer, meditation, nature, and study.  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doeth he meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:2  I Timothy 4:13,15 - “Give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine… meditate on these things; give yourself wholly to them.” Regardless of our circumstances we can rely on God’s unchanging character.  God is good. God loves me. God is with me. God knows my problems. God cares.
Romans 8:31(b) tells us, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Thursday, "Draw closer to God in nature"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 19.1 Spend time communing with God through nature.  Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Observe the beauty in the world that God has made for us.  To see a glimpse of His power in the expanse of the ocean and its relentless waves that pound the seashore; to breath in the sweetness of the majestic mountains with their laurels, so breathtakingly beautiful that we, like Jacob, will say, “Surely the Lord is in this place.”   Feel the spider web’s strength.  Listen as the songbirds serenade.  Smell a newborn baby.  Watch the floating clouds and the beautiful sunset.  Stand in the summer’s shower and taste the rain.  By observing God’s creation, our faith in Him and in His power is reinforced.  Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.”
Stop and smell the roses.

Wednesday, "Draw closer to God in meditation"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 4.4 Besides prayer, another way we can spend time alone with God is in meditation.  “Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.”  (Psalms 4:4)  Meditation gives us opportunity to look into our lives and profit from our mistakes.  We can also reflect and meditate on all the things God has done for us.  Meditate on the record of God’s goodness to His people.  This will help us to focus our thoughts on God’s ability to help us rather than our inability to help ourselves.  Read the Bible’s accounts of God’s goodness and meditate on them. Don’t get caught up in the pace of life established by our society because of greed. Get the world issues out of your mind. Meditate on the things that are important in your life that will make you a better Christian.
When do you usually feel closer to God?

Tuesday, "Draw closer to God in prayer"

BIBLE READING: James 4.8 In seeking God’s help, we need to spend time alone with God.  James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”            Knowing God and being able to talk to Him will give meaning and purpose to our existence.  God truly loves us. (Romans 8:38-39)  He is always there, his hand outstretched, waiting for us to seek Him.  He has so much to give us and wants the opportunity to do so. Matthew 7:11 tells us, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.” Spending time in prayer is one way to be alone with God.   Our Lord spent much time alone in prayer communing with God.  Many times He withdrew into the mountains to pray and rest.  Read the following verses: Matthew14:23; Mark 6:46; Luke5:16; 6:12; 9:18 and 9:28.  In prayer we can communicate to God our innermost thoughts, needs, desires and thanksgivings.  We are to “Pray without ceasing.…

Monday, "What am I here for?"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 143. 8b Self-acceptance and being accepted by others is vital to maintain our self-worth and a positive attitude.  While we know this is true, at times we still have feelings of little or no self-worth.  Studies have brought out that one step in developing one’s self-worth is the need to excel in something; to feel successful; to experience growth.  If a person stops growing, he begins to decline.  Often times, especially as we get older, we may feel that our usefulness is declining.   We may find ourselves wondering, “Where am I going?”  “Who is the real me?”  “What is my purpose in life?” “What Am I Here For?”    Perhaps we have put in years of service to the Lord; teaching God’s Word, ministering to the sick, conducting Bible studies, doing mission work and other works in the church.  At the same time, we were raising our families and trying to live an example for them.  Then, sooner than we realized, they had their roots and they had tested their wings.  They …

Saturday

Bible Reading: Matthew 18. 21-35
While Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, you know He could hear them coming. In Matthew’s account he says that when they came they brought with them a legion of soldiers, which could have amounted to sex thousand men (Matthew 26.52-53). When they seize Jesus and I think we can use that word loosely, they “bound him” according to John 18.12, and they bound Him” as they sent Him to Caiaphas. Funny isn’t it? They are trying to tie us the hands of the Son of God with mere threads or at the most, weak chains. It is almost laughable for us to try to imagine someone thinking they can limit the ability or suppress the power of the King of Kings with something so small. The strange thing is we can “bind up” the hands of Jesus and limit Him in this world. When Jesus sent to his home town, the Bible says “He did not do many mighty works there, because of their u unbelief” (Matthew 13.58). Was it that He was just weak? No, their unbelief was preventing …

Friday "Did God create evil"

At first it might seem that if God created all things, then evil must have been created by God. However, evil is not a "thing" like a rock or electricity. You cannot have a jar of evil. Evil has no existence of its own; it is really the absence of good. For example, holes are real but they only exist in something else. We call the absence of dirt a hole, but it cannot be separated from the dirt. So when God created, it is true that all He created was good. One of the good things God made was creatures who had the freedom to choose good. In order to have a real choice, God had to allow there to be something besides good to choose. So, God allowed these free angels and humans to choose good or reject good (evil). When a bad relationship exists between two good things we call that evil, but it does not become a "thing" that required God to create it.

Perhaps a further illustration will help. If a person is asked, "Does cold exist?" the answer would likely be…

Thursday "Where/How do you draw the line between helping someone and allowing someone to take advantage of you?

BIBLE READING: Luke 6.30, 35-36
These verses and many others in the Bible teach us that Christians are to be loving, merciful, and self-sacrificing. As we see the needs of people all around us, our hearts should be full of compassion just as our Heavenly Father has compassion towards all people. "The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made" (Psalm 145:9).

It is right to have a heart that would continually give to others, and it pleases God to see this wonderful characteristic in our lives. However, in this area of giving and helping, the Bible also teaches that we must have wise discernment (Matthew 10:16). God gives us certain standards that we must take into account when it comes to giving our time and money to others. When the Bible tells us we are to help others, the purpose is never for us to do this to the point where it becomes detrimental. It's good to do what we're able to do, but 2 Thessalonians 3:10 also reminds us, "If a man will no…

Wednesday "Are We a Runner or a Stander?"

BIBLE READING: Proverbs 17.17
Award winning, Western author and novelist, Stephen Bly, writes that in the days of America’s Old West, there were two types of friends — “runners” and “standers.” At the first sign of trouble, the runners would bolt, abandoning their so-called “friends” to whatever peril they were facing. The stander would stand beside their friend no matter what the circumstances.
While awaiting death, some “friends” who had ministered with the apostle Paul, turned into runners and abandoned him to face execution alone.
In Paul’s last letter, he lists Demas as one of those “friends” who had abandoned him for the temporary allurements of this world (2 Timothy 4:10), and then sadly states, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11).
Obviously, Luke was a stander. While undoubtedly disappointed by Demas who had deserted him, Paul must have been greatly comforted, knowing he was not alone.
The Proverb writer tells us that “a friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17) — even in tim…

Tuesday "Reasons to Rejoice"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 118.24; Philippians 4.4
The Bible speaks a number of times regarding rejoicing. David once stated, “This is the day which the Lord has made,” and then he added, “We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Why isn’t that just as true today as the day David wrote it? A celebrated writer once wrote, “Every new day is a miracle.” The point: “the Lord did not owe us another day, but He gave it to us.” In the days of Nehemiah, when the people of God had combined their efforts in a great cause, they were coaxed to rejoice, and were reminded: “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:9-10). Then the people responded with great rejoicing “because they now understood the words that had been made known to them (Nehemiah 8:12). Even in the shadow the hideous cross, Jesus told the disciples, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Of course, they were not glad that Jesus had to suffer so, but were to rejoice at the happy results — their redemp…

Monday "Feeding the Wolf"

BIBLE READING: 1 Corinthians 9.27
In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the inspired apostle Paul wrote, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” The Holy Spirit’s teaching of “self-control” in the life of the apostle Paul can be further illustrated in the following story:
An old grandfather counseled his grandson who was angry at a friend who had done him an injustice. “Let me tell you a story. I too, at times have felt a great hate for those who have taken so much with no sorrow for what they do; but hate wears you down and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking a poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.”
He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all those around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to so, and in the…

Saturday - "What Would You DO, If You Could Do It All Over Again?"

Most of us have regrets in our lives.  Maybe you made a bad financial decision or maybe you treated someone badly.  It is so easy for us to dwell on the past and how badly we messed things up.  We sometimes think our lives would be better if only we hadn’t made that poor choice.  Some people would just like to have a life “DO-OVER.”    If that is you, I have good news.  When you become a follower of God, you become a new creature and you get the DO-OVER you so desperately seek.  I’m not saying you will forget your past, but I am saying that God does.  As a Christian, we get a chance to do what Tim McGraw sang about…. We get to do it all again!   Only this time, we have an awesome co-pilot to keep us on the right course.  I’m reminded of what Paul says in Philippians 3:13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in C…

Friday - "Be A Friend, A Friend Would Like to Have"

If I had you write down a list of things that you looked for in a friend, what would that list look like?  That list might look a little like this: Someone that makes me laugh, someone that helps me when I need help, someone that is unselfish, and someone that just enjoys being around me.   We get so caught up in our own lives that often times we forget to be a friend to our friends.   A wise man once said, if you want friends, you have to be a friend.  Proverbs 17:17 tells us that A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Friendships need nurturing and can never live on a one way street.  Are you a friend that you would want to have?  If you are not, change that today.  Call up a friend and spend some time with them today!

Thursday - "Give Forgiveness You Have Been Denying"

Forgiving someone who says they are sorry is something most of us can do relatively easy.  But, what do you do when someone has wronged you and doesn’t say they are sorry and is unrepentant?   The way I see it, we really have no choice. Either we forgive or we slowly poison our mind and heart. If we hold on to unresolved bitterness it will destroy us.   Matthew 6:14-15 says for if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.
I recently read an article that gave 6 reasons to forgive people that are not sorry: ·It frees you ·It stops them from affecting the rest of your life ·It speaks volumes of your strength , character and faith ·It keeps your heart where God wants it ·It slams the door in Satan’s face ·It brings glory to God
If you choose not to forgive, you only hurt you.  Forgive someone today that you’ve denied forgiveness to in the past.











Wednesday - "Speak Sweeter"

The world we live in today is often impatient, selfish and rude.   If you have ever worked in retail, especially during the Christmas season, you know exactly what I mean.  The way some people degrade and belittle others over small things is very discouraging.  The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom and provides awesome guidance to us on how to live our lives.  Proverbs 16:23-24 says the heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips.  Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.This proverb reminds me of a business lesson I learned from a supervisor I once had.  He always told me that you can give bad news without causing chaos, it just depends on HOW you give the news.  His favorite phrase was, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” 
Our tone, inflection and word choice really affects the reactions we get from others.  Tim McGraw understood this lesson in his hit song we discussed yesterday where he tells us he “SPOK…

Tuesday - "Love Deeper"

Today, we continue to look at lessons I learned from Tim McGraw’s song, “Live like you were dying.”  That now infamous chorus starts out, “Man, what'd you do?"  We all know what comes next don’t we….. skydivin’, Rocky Mountain climbin’ and 2.7 seconds on a bull whose name sounds like a dish at PF Changs… Fumanchu..  
But, the lesson I want to talk about today is the next line…. I Loved Deeper!  In 1 Peter 4:8, we are told to maintain an intense (or deep) love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.This is not the huggy, kissy kind of love, but more taking care of one another as Jesus did for us.  To be hospitable to each other and to serve others without complaining.  We need to look for ways to make someone else’s day a little brighter. 
Application:
Today, show love for someone outside your family in some small way.

Monday - "Live Like You Are Dying"

Tim McGraw and I have had a love/hate relationship over the years.  You see, once I had a serious illness and my sickness came at the same time as Tim McGraw’s hit song, “Live Like You Were Dying.”  It seemed like every time I turned on the radio that song was on and just reminded me of the scariness of being sick.  Lucky for me, I had less than serious but always sarcastic, co-workers that never miss a good opportunity to get a laugh, no matter the situation. Before I left work for a week of treatment, my work friends gave me a little party.   I had told all of them how much I despised the song, “Live Like You Were Dying.”   That was my first mistake, letting them see a weakness.  So, when I was opening get well soon cards from them, two of them were grinning like raccoons at a campsite.  I opened their card and immediately, Tim McGraw belted out… “I went skydiving, I went rocky mountain climbin.”   I closed the card, song stopped and my friends were literally rolling on the floor wi…

Saturday

BIBLE READING: Hebrews 13. 1-19
DISCUSSION
When we look at leadership in the Bible, what strengths do we see? Moses was very humble, to the point of not even believing he was the man for the job God planned for him to do. Joshua was strong and brave. He also drove his people to be strong and brave. Caleb stayed ready all his life. He was ready when he was 40 as a spy and at 80 as a man taking the land God promised. David had a heart for God. His relationship with God seems so close, even though he made many mistakes. Noah had amazing obedience. All of these heard what God said and eventually obeyed. Everyone has strengths that are different from other people. Even great leaders have different strengths. You have them also. Use them for God!

Friday

BIBLE READING: I Samuel 16. 1-13 DISCUSSION

I had knee surgery a few years ago. On the way home, I was really hungry. The problem was, I had taken a lot of medicine and it was hard to stay awake. I asked my wife to stop on the way home and get me a hamburger from my favorite place. When she went in to order, there was a knock on the window of the car. I remember rolling the window down and talking to someone. I cannot remember to this day who it was. I know that I did not make any sense. I was babbling about this and that, slurring my words and just making an idiot of myself. The problem is, I still do not know who it was. There is no one I can apologize to. I feel embarrassed for my actions but who do I tell? There have been many times also, that I have sinned against others that I will never be able to find. How do I make that right? I have to pray that God will forgive me and give me opportunity to ask them for forgiveness. If I never see them again, I have turned it over to God. He…

Thursday

BIBLE READING: Psalms 57. 1-11
DISCUSSION

In recent years there seems to have been an outbreak of public shootings against the innocent. Whether it be at a government building, a movie theater, or a school, the question has been raised is, are we safe? The thought behind the question is had there been protocols, legislations, or other things in place ahead of time would that protect us or even prevent these things from happening to us where we live? I may not be able to thwart a terrorist attack, nor am I able to accurately predict the mindset of a lunatic, but I can offer you safety. At least sixteen times in the book of Psalms, David says that in the LORD we can find refuge and almost every time the word used for “refuge” means “a cliff or another lofty site that offers safety.” However, there is at least one time in the Psalms that it is translated as “to flee for protection” and that is found in Psalms 57.1; “…in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destru…