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Showing posts from July, 2017

Monday, "Seek Peace and Ensue It"

BIBLE READING: Romans 8. 18-30 DISCUSSION:                   “Seek Peace and Ensue It” Our constantly changing world is controlled by a constant and unchanging God.  His love and purpose for us never change.  No matter how chaotic the world around us may become, we can move through it with an inner calm or peace, with the assurance “that all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord.”  (Romans 8:28)  We need to develop an inner calm like that promised in Philippians 4:6-7.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”                 In John 10:10(b) Jesus promises a more abundant life.  But until we have learned to live at peace with ourselves, then we cannot be fully successful in living with others.  It is up to us, each individually to seek that life and to incorporate …

Saturday, "Humility Test"

BIBLE READING: Matthew 5.3 DISCUSSION:
Humility Test
James 4:6 says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (ESV). God recognized the humble, and according to James, will extend grace to them, probably because the humble tend to extend forgiveness to others. Humility is often misunderstood and even viewed as a weakness. But it is the exact opposite. By practicing humility, we position ourselves to receive God's grace and become everything He's called us to be. Humble people are the happiest people. They accept their life and what God has called them to do, not being concerned what world thinks about it. Our importance exists because God loves and values us. Our worth comes from the fact that Jesus died for us, and paid a dear price.  I challenge you to read the lyrics of the song, "Who Am I?"  So many of us live a life of misery because we constantly compare ourselves to others who are we perceive to be more attractive, more intelligent, and more…

Friday, "Humility in Leadership"

Bible Reading:Matthew 27. 32-56 “Humility in Leadership” Perhaps the most helpful and effective characteristic of a good leader is Humility.  We have all seen Tyrants in the work place, and we have most likely seen humble leaders as well.   In fact, it is so important that the Bible lists this as a qualification to be an Elder of the Lord's church.  Titus 1:7 states that an elder must be "not self-willed, not quick tempered".  As a leader on the job, in our businesses, or at home, there are some actions we can take to develop humility as a leader. 1.Admit when you are wrong.  Everyone makes mistakes. One measure of your success is how well you recover from mistakes. Let others know you’re human, you don’t have all the answers and you will partner with them to solve problems. 2.Put yourself in others shoes, and allow them to offer suggestions. 3.Recognize others for a job well done, or a good deed done. 4.Acknowledge when others have a skill or strength that you don't and a…

Thursday, "Compassion"

Bible Reading: James 5.11 “Compassion” Eckart Tolle is credited with saying "If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as human beings. No Humility, No compassion".   We all know that when we suffer from something in our lives, we develop a special compassion for those who have suffered the same thing.  It is awesome to see when someone uses a negative event in their life, to help others.   I know of a family who lost their son to depression many years ago, and have committed over 30 years to helping others cope with similar deaths.  This is an amazing example of someone using a personal struggle to help others, and allow Christ to live in them.  We all know of examples where something similar has happened.  When we struggle, it humbles us, and thus compassion is often the result.  James 5:11 says "As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about…

Wednesday, "Pride"

Bible Reading: Proverbs 16.18; Mark 9.35 “Pride” “Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”(Proverbs 8:13b)  “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord.  Be assured, he will not go unpunished.”(Proverbs 16:5)  These verses really gripped me.  God hates it when we are proud.  Why does God hate pride?  God hates it because it comes from inside of the heart.  A proud man thinks of himself as higher than someone else.  Are you too busy to hold the door for someone?  Is your circle of friends too classy to go and help feed the homeless?  Is your car too clean to give someone a ride somewhere?  Do you avoid people that you don’t want to associate with?  Believers in Christ are called to be servants (Mark 9:35) and if our lifestyle prevents us from serving in any capacity then repentance must be made with God.  You may have to give up some things in order to really fight the temptation of pride. Jonathan Edwards identified 7 sneaky symptoms of …

Tuesday, "Humble and Kind"

Bible Reading:Philippians 2.3 “Humble and Kind” We often hear songs which have a great message.  Recently, Tim McGraw released a song that really struck a chord with me.  I am sure you have heard the song "Humble and Kind".  The song includes lines like "Hold the door, say please, say thank you, Don't steal, don't cheat, and don’t lie. I know you got mountains to climb, but always stay Humble and Kind......". ...When the work you put in is realized, let yourself feel the pride, but always stay Humble and Kind....." The last line of the song says "When you get where your going don't forget turn back around and help the next one in line.....".  When listening to this song, I have often thought what a different world we would live in if everyone adhered to these principles.  Unfortunately, it seems very few do.  The song was written by Lori McKenna simply as a message to her five children, never envisioning that the song would become a Number …

Monday, "The Kite"

Bible Reading:John 6. 35 “The Kite”     Who is John Newton? Well, a recent John Newton played Clark Kent on the show Superboy! However, I am speaking about the English sailor and clergyman who wrote the song "Amazing Grace".  Recently, I heard a sermon by Ray Reynolds about the poem written by John Newton in 1770 titled "The Kite". In the poem, the Kite says "Were I but free, I’d take a flight, And pierce the clouds beyond their sight,  But, ah! like a poor prisoner bound,  My string confines me near the ground....". Filled with pride on how high the Kite was flying, he felt that he could soar even higher were he not tied to and constrained by the string and the one who held the string.  After tugging and pulling, the kite broke free. However, he realized he could not fly without the string, and he plunged into the tide.  What a great illustration of how our pride, and lack of humility, can result in our own demise. How often have we been proud of our "…

Saturday

BIBLE READING: Matthew 28. 16-20
DISCUSSION: Do you realize that almost all the original apostles were killed? We think that being close to God will keep the evils of this world away. God is always with us. He will not give us more than we can handle. Please realize there is a better place for us and evil abounds in this world. God did not promise us peace on earth. He promised us a home in heaven.


Friday

BIBLE READING: Hebrews 11. 1-40
DISCUSSION:
Some chapters in the Bible stand on their own. The chapter number is synonymous with what is actually in the chapter. For instance, if I were to say Genesis 1, you might say “The Creation”, I Corinthians 13, “The love chapter” and finally the topic of our thought today, Hebrews 11 is “The Hall of Faith”. As you read through the chapter you find yourself taking a stroll down through history; Cain and Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and so on and so forth. What if this were an actual “Hall of Fame” you could visit? Maybe you even put on a set of those special headphones that would make the stories come alive as you came to the exhibit. Now what would happen if we came to an exhibit with your name on it? Would the recording stop and say that they were having some “spiritual difficulties? Would you hear “I’m sorry but this person’s faith is unavailable at this time?” Or would you hear some incredible story of how your faith affected those people around…

Thursday

BIBLE READING: Acts 3. 1-8 DISCUSSION:
I wonder who saw him first, Peter or John, as they went up to the temple to pray? He was being carried along by some do gooders, getting ready to sit him down at the gate. He was lame and had been since birth. They did this every day to give him an opportunity to beg for some gifts or donations as people left the temple. When he saw Peter and John he asked them the same question he had probably asked a million times before. He had no idea that his life was about to change forever. “I don’t have any money” Peter said, “but what I do have I give to you: IN the name of Jesus Christ the Nazerene- walk!” (Acts 3.6) Are you serious? He must have thought, because it looks as though Peter has to grab his arm to lift him up. As Peter pulled him, he felt a bit of strength begin to grow within his feet an then his ankles; and then it happened, he jumped! He gained his composure, stood upright, and walked right into the temple praising God. This man had been h…

Wednesday

BIBLE READING: Genesis 35. 1-5
DISCUSSION:
In Genesis 34, Jacob’s only daughter Dinah had been defiled by Shechem. Her brothers Simon and Levi take matters into their own hands and slaughter all the men of the city. Jacob, being afraid of what will become of his family when the other nations hear about what had happened, receives instructions from God in Genesis 35.1 “Arise and go to Bethel and dwell there…” Jacob knew Bethel that was the place where he had a dream when he had fled from Esau after stealing the blessing in Genesis 28. When he gets there he wants him to make an altar and offer up a sacrifice. Okay, so what does this have to do with me in the twenty-first century? Well, maybe a lot. You see, we all have at some point in time needed somewhere to go. I remember as a kid I accidently broke one of my mother’s lamps. After I hid my mess I immediately asked to go to Mamaw’s who lived right beside us. I stayed at Mamaw’s house for what seemed like days, because I was afraid of wh…

Tuesday

BIBLE READING: Proverbs 28. 1-13
DISCUSSION:

Solomon once wrote “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28.13). But what exactly did he mean by “conceals”? Women use “concealer” on their faces as they apply their makeup. Auto detailers may use a little touch up paint to “conceal” any scratches on a car. Just like these analogies the Hebrew word for “conceal” is very similar in that it means to cover or hide from view, but with an added twist. The word also means “to plump” or “to overwhelm”. That added twist indicates that Solomon is addressing the person who not only is trying to cover or hide his sin from view, but also the person who is trying to do more good deeds to outweigh the bad. This person who thinks he can continue committing this sin because he does so much good or has overwhelmed himself with good deeds elsewhere. Just because we do a lot of righteous, holy, and acceptable acts, does not me…

Monday

BIBLE READING: Job 16.1-22 DISCUSSION: Tragedy plays no favorites does it? It preys upon all of us, and it can happen anywhere at any time. If it is not us, it is someone we know. How we handle a tragedy that might happen to us is one thing, but how we handle it when it happens to someone else is a whole different story. Many people don’t know how to deal with tragedy when it happens to someone they know. They are so afraid that they might do something wrong, they simply do nothing. What should be the Christian’s response to tragedy? Don’t we have a role to play in offing them comfort? Paul said that we are to comfort those with comfort with which we ourselves have received from God. Job was a man who had tragedy hit like the world had never seen. He lost his entire wealth, his sons and his daughters, and lost his health. When his three friends came to visit to offer their sympathy, the Bible said that they didn’t even recognize him. They all three tore their clothes, placed dust on the…

Saturday

BIBLE READING:Matthew 13.44 DISCUSSION: Following Jesus is not something that could be considered as easy. The rich young ruler expressed his disappointment when Jesus told him to sacrifice all he had and give to the poor. Others stopped following him when some of the statements of Jesus became too difficult for them to understand or obey following John’s account of the feeding of the five thousand. Regardless of our situations, following Jesus requires that we have to take risks. It requires that we make sacrifices now that will pay off for us in the future. Jesus describes this type of commitment in this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13.44). Once we discover just how valuable it is to have Jesus in our lives, we should all be willing to sacrifice everything we own to have Him. In today’s world, people want to have Jesus, but they don’t…

Friday

BIBLE READING: John 6.63 DISCUSSION:
Words are a powerful tool.  God created us to respond to the power of words.  Through His words we learn how to have a live our life following God.  God’s words are powerful enough to change lives.  Each time you open your mouth you can choose to speak words that will help others know how valuable they are or how worthless you think they are.  If we are children of God he has given us the mission to build others up with our words and not tear others down.  With our words we can bring others to get to know Christ.  Are you using your words wisely?

Thursday

BIBLE READING: Galatians 1.10 DISCUSSION:
Have you ever been in the people pleaser pit?  Many times we are so caught up in pleasing man than pleasing God.  We get so worried about the opinions of others we constantly want to please them.  God hasn’t given you the impossible task of making everyone like you.  But he has asked you to follow him, paying careful attention to what he has called you to do.  When you seek to please God instead of people, your happiness and sense of purpose grows deeper in God, no matter what others may do or say.

Wednesday

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 2.7 DISCUSSION:
Imagine being able to watch the apostle Paul in action.  How did he treat people, especially those who often failed?  In 1 Thessalonians, Paul gives us a glimpse of how he treated others:  “We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.”  The apostles also reminded the early church of Jesus’ gentleness: “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you”   (2 Corinthians 10:1).   Gentleness means being kind, tender, mild- mannered towards one another.  We should always strive to have that gentle spirit as Jesus and the apostle Paul did.

Tuesday

BIBLE READING: Philippians 4.4 DISCUSSION: Where do you find happiness?  What determines your happiness every day?  True happiness isn’t found in having something, doing something, or being something.  Being happy is a choice.  Every day you have to choose if you’re going to let problems and stressful situations you face get you down.  If you wait till all your problems and stress go away to be happy, you’ll be waiting a long time.  You can choose to enjoy your life.  Jesus died so we could have a good life.  So why not choose to be happy?


Monday

BIBLE READING: Colossians 3. 15-17 DISCUSSION: They say that how you spend the first ten minutes of your morning sets the tone for the entire day.  Looking for God in these first few minutes has the power to open our eyes to His presence as we walk through each hour of our day.  It doesn’t take long to realize how many blessings he has given us and we should always be thankful.  I challenge you to take the 10 blessings in 10 minutes challenge each morning when you wake up.  What are the blessings that you find as you start your day each morning?

Prayer Requests:___________________________________________________________


Saturday

BIBLE READING: Psalms 122.1 DISCUSSION: Today’s devotional is simple.  It is this single verse.  “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”  What a wonderful thought!  This can be the single, most wonderful thing at the end of a long week.  Tomorrow we get to start a new, fresh week by worshipping the Creator of the universe.  We get to start a new, fresh week by fellowshipping with our Christian family.  As Matt would say, “I love this church!”
Prayer Requests:___________________________________________________________



Friday

BIBLE READING: Judges 16. 21-31 DISCUSSION:
No one plans to be a failure.  Samson didn’t know that God had departed from him.  He had left God a long time ago.  The redeeming thing is that Samson turned back to God.  This is the only recorded time that Samson prays to God.  And, this is a lot of the reason that he’s found in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11.  “And what more shall I say?  For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:” (Hebrews 11:32).  No matter what all we have done in our lives, even if God has “departed from” us, we can always turn back to Him and walk in His light.  What a wonderful, comforting thought!

Thursday

BIBLE READING: Judges 16. 15-20 DISCUSSION:
Carelessness weakens our lives.  The strength of Samson wasn’t in his hair.  It was in his commitment to God.  His hair was a representation of his commitment to God.  He forgot his Nazirite vows.  He toyed with temptation.  Delilah, in verse 16, “…pestered him daily… so that his soul was vexed to death.” (Biblical proof that spousal nagging works?)  She simply agreed with the Philistines to try to find out his strength for 1100 shekels (that’s 25,000 to 30,000 of today’s dollars).  Three times Samson gets closer to the truth and then finally tells her the truth.  When we compromise our convictions, we are playing with fire… eternal fire.

Wednesday

Bible Reading: Judges 14:19-20; 15:3; 15:7; 15:11
Bitterness will weaken your life.  Samson lived in bitterness, anger, discontentment, and rage.  Look at the selected verses for today’s devo.  Samson was not an act-or, he was a re-act-or.  They hurt me first, so I did this to them.  Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:38-39: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I tell you not to resist an evil person.  But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”  Revenge robs us of our energies, sleep, creativity. To be a strong person, we have to learn to restrain our reactions.  Use the following verses for inspiration today: Proverbs 29:22: “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.” Proverbs 16:32: “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Proverbs 29:11: “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”

Tuesday

BIBLE READING: Galatians 6. 7-9 DISCUSSION: It has been said that a person with great strengths also has great weaknesses.  Samson is the epitome of that statement.  Judges 13:24 says, “So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.”  Samson had the potential to be a superstar.  But, he let little things creep in and take over his heart.  Self-indulgence will weaken your life.  Anything left out of control will weaken you spiritually.  It doesn’t matter if it’s money, food, sex, emotions, time-management, etc.  Think about what’s said in Hebrews 12:1 “… the sin which so easily ensnares us…”  We all have a self-indulgence that we struggle with.  Samson’s was women.  He was sensuous and impulsive.  Look at his first encounter with a woman.  In Judges 14:2, he tells his parents about a young woman he saw in Timnah and tells them “… ‘Get her for me as a wife.”  After appealing to him to find a woman among God’s people, he reiterates to them…

Monday

BIBLE READING: Judges 13. 3-5 DISCUSSION:
The decision was made before Samson was born that he would observe the Nazirite vow (Numbers 6:1-21).  He was to separate himself from certain things and aspects of everyday life.  Now, even though, a Nazirite was to separate themselves from these things, they were all around him (i.e., grapes, wine, dead bodies, etc.)  Much like when Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17:15: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”  We have a responsibility with the “vow” we take as Christians to obey God, but still live in the world that surrounds us.  We must make sure that we don’t let the world into our heart, however.  It is said that a boat is made to be in the water, but water is not made to be in the boat.  We are made to be in the world, but not the world in us.

Saturday, "Reflection"

BIBLE READING:  Proverbs 27.19
DISCUSSION: Our hearts are reflected by the lives we live. This week we have spent time talking about getting out of spiritual bankruptcy. Reflect back on your week and think about the steps you have taken to work on growing spiritually. The week is not over yet! If you have missed any devos, go back and study them now. Remember, we can’t do it by ourselves and focusing on God is key!
Prayer Requests: ____________________________________________________________