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Showing posts from September, 2017

Saturday

DISCUSSION

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”(James 4.17). So, what are you going to do today? That is all!

Difficult?

BIBLE READING: John 6. 22-71

One of the saddest passages in the Bible is found in John 6.66. John writes, “After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. “ Why? What would cause a group of believers to turn away from Jesus, never to return again? The reason for their exit was based on a statement from Jesus that was difficult for them to understand or accept. During His ministry, Jesus made several statements that were difficult to follow: “Sell all your possessions and give it to the poor,” “Deny yourself”, and “Love your enemies” are just a few that come to mind. But what makes this statement so much more difficult for them to follow?  I think what caused their exit was when Jesus said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life..”(6.54). Surely Jesus is not expecting them (as well as us today) to become some type of cannibalistic vampires, eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Of course not! Jesus seems to be using symbolism as He…

Save Me

BIBLE READING: Psalms 69. 1-36

Do you know the feeling of anxiety when you’re overwhelmed with projects, problems, and other issues? You feel as though you are doing everything you can do to keep your head above water. Whether you believe it or not, you are not the only one to ever feel this way. David describes that exact feeling when he cries out, “Save me, O God! For the water have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is not foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me” (Psalms 69. 1-2). I have often wondered, what was the problem to which David was referring. Was it his hiding from Saul, who sought to kill him? Was it the guilt of his relationship with Bathsheba? Could it have been the disappointment and mourning over the sins of his son Absalom? In reality, it doesn’t matter why David felt this way. The real reason for the writing of this psalm could have been for us to find comfort in knowing that we are not alone in our troubling circumsta…

Thank You

BIBLE READING: 1 John 1. 1-10 I don’t know Dennis Jernigan and chances are neither do you. He is a noted songwriter of many of the songs that we sing in our churches and devotionals. What you also don’t know is that prior to 1981, Dennis was a practicing homosexual who was in a committed relationship with another man. Someone introduced him to Jesus and he became a believer. Today he is married and has nine children. I am not sure exactly when he penned the lyrics to the song “For All That You’ve Done I Will Thank You”, but something about the words in the chorus “thank You for loving and setting me free” led me to understand this song on a deeper level than once before. God’s word has the power to set us free from the bondage of sin, no matter the sin. I have provided you the words to this song. Feel free to read them out loud to yourself or sing them with all of your heart. We truly are blessed to have a God that loves us go genuinely and deeply….Thank You, Lord! “For all that You’ve…

Faith

BIBLE READING: John 4. 46-54

The Gospel of John tells the story of a young boy who was dying in Capernaum. I assume his father had exhausted every medical mean at his disposal, but he had one option left. There had been talk of a physician named Jesus who was, using a strange new type of medicine, but Jesus was a least twenty miles away. Nevertheless, he had no other options; the father goes to Jesus. As he meets Jesus, he explains his son’s situation, and pleads with Him to come back to Capernaum before his son dies. Jesus’ response was “Go, your son will live” (John 4.50). “Is that it?” might have been our response, but the father believed and rushed home. What trust! What peace! What faith! This father believed and left knowing that Jesus had said something in Cana of Galilee that affected his ill son at his home twenty miles away. We have no indication in the Scriptures how the father left, or if he showed appreciation. But since no reaction is recorded, it allows me to envision th…

Masterpiece

BIBLE READING: Ephesians 2. 1-10
Have you ever been to a museum? It has always been a dream of mine to visit the famous Louvre in Paris. It was built in 1792 and contains nearly 35,000 items including the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and many other works that are considered “masterpieces.” What if I told you that you didn’t have to travel all the way to Paris to see a masterpiece? In fact, you visit lots of masterpieces every day at the grocery store, at a red light, at your workplace, and even at your church. Paul tells us “we are His workmanship..” (Ephesians 2.10). Another word for “workmanship is “masterpiece.” The Almighty carefully crafted every person in this world. Today, there are more than 7 billion people on this planet and no two people are exactly alike; each person is God’s masterpiece, and the world is His museum. What do we do with these masterpieces? We admire them, gaze at them, and even learn from them. Today, as you come into contact with dozens of people, take not…

Saturday

BIBLE READING: Luke 17. 11-19

There is tremendous power in showing gratitude. Francesca Gino, an Associate Professor at the Harvard School of Business, conducted a study and published it; It was called “Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and How We Can Stick to Our Plan”. Gino found that “Receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people, too”. That just means that when we receive words or acts of gratitude, we feel so good about ourselves we are more likely to pass along other positive expressions. In Luke 17.11, we see the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Friday

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 1. 27-28
 Has there ever been anything that you wanted so badly that you thought your heart would burst?  When you read of Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel about how she longed for a child you can almost feel how badly she wanted to have a baby of her own.   But she didn’t give up.  Instead, she prayed to God for the gift of a baby and promised that she would dedicate the child’s life to God’s service.  True to her word, that’s exactly what she did.  Not only did she have a baby, love him, nurture him, and raise him to an age where he could go live with Eli, she faithfully took the young boy to his new home.  In essence, she was paying God back for her blessing.  She even praised God and gave that to Him for the special gift of her son, Samuel.  Always remember, when you are struggling with something you want or need, trust that God knows what is best for you.  Pray about it and let God take care of you. 

Thursday

BIBLE READING: Psalm 19. 1-4
 You can see it every day, feel it, even taste it.  What am I talking about?  God’s creation.  God’s creation testifies that we serve an almighty God.  Everything that God made reveals his power, goodness, wisdom, and salvation.  The scripture in Psalm 19 says they have no excuse for not knowing God.  His power is all around us every day.  We get so caught up in our daily lives we forget to look at the beauty that God has created for us and be thankful for it.  God has blessed you with today so stop, take a look around, and say thank you. What are some of the most amazing things “you” see each day that shows the awesome wonder of God’s creation?

Wednesday

BIBLE READING: John 15.18, Romans 12. 1-2
Gods love for us is unconditional.  His values have nothing to do with money, personal comfort, pleasure, and “things.”  He does the impossible.  Jesus even reminds us, how even the world hates he who loved the world.(John 15:18). Sadly, many times when you make comparisons to those who are supposed to be representing Him, we just don’t come close.   We, on the other hand, have trouble forgiving, have trouble seeing beyond earthly treasure, have trouble believing the unseen, and enjoy the approval of men. God understands these shortcomings, but desires us to strive to be godly and strive to be like his son.  That’s why we need to transform our minds in order to understand God’s will (Romans 12:1-2).  We can transform our minds by studying God’s word daily and striving to be like Jesus Christ.  Our time with God is the most important aspect of our lives.  We all need to strive to transform our lives.  Remember His love is unconditional!

Tuesday

BIBLE READING: Galatians 1.10
Are you a people pleaser? You know what I’m talking about, always trying to make everyone else happy, wanting everyone to like you.  We read in Galatians1, as the apostle Paul is writing to the church in Galatia, telling them he is trying to please no one except God. He goes on to say in verse 10 that if he were trying to please men he would not be a servant of Christ. It can be difficult at work, school, or in our families to get caught up in pleasing others. We must work daily to focus our attention on things above and being servants of the Most High God on this earth.  Are you a servant of God? Or,   Are you a people pleaser?  Instead of constantly trying to please the world and be liked, we should please God and truly be Christ’s servant.

Monday

BIBLE READING: Ruth 1
When I think about all the pain and sadness Naomi must have felt after losing her two sons and her husband, I am amazed she found the strength to keep going.  Of course, she wasn’t alone. Ruth, the widow of one of her sons, decided to stay with Naomi instead of leaving her alone. She basically told Naomi, “No way am I leaving you!  I want to be a part of your people and to worship your God.  We’ve got to stick together!”  Ruth’s determination to stay loyal to God and Naomi ended up changing their lives.  They ended up back in Israel where God gave Ruth an amazing husband, then a baby, and all that she and Naomi ever needed.  In fact, further down the family line came King David, and eventually Jesus!  Whenever you get tired of doing the right thing or feel like giving up, think about Ruth.  She stayed firm in her faith even when it was tough and God blessed her so much. Think about some hardships you or your family has faced. What was the response? Did you appeal …

Saturday, "Look Again and Think"

BIBLE READING:       Matthew 6:25
DISCUSSION: A warning which needs to be repeated is that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,” and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.
“I say to you, do not worry about your life . . . .” Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing—our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not unde…

Friday, "Transformed by Beholding"

BIBLE READING:       2 Corinthians 3:18
DISCUSSION: When we talk about the call of God, we often forget the most important thing, namely, the nature of Him who calls. There are many things calling each of us today. Some of these calls will be answered, and others will not even be heard. The call is the expression of the nature of the One who calls, and we can only recognize the call if that same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not ours. God providentially weaves the threads of His call through our lives, and only we can distinguish them. It is the threading of God’s voice directly to us over a certain concern, and it is useless to seek another person’s opinion of it. Our dealings over the call of God should be kept exclusively between ourselves and Him.
The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I w…

Thursday, "Are You Fresh For Everything?"

BIBLE READING:       John 3:1-3
DISCUSSION: Sometimes we are fresh and eager to attend a worship service or Bible class, but do we feel that same freshness for such mundane tasks as polishing shoes? Being born again by the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, and as surprising as God Himself. We don’t know where it begins—it is hidden away in the depths of our soul. Being born again from above is an enduring, perpetual, and eternal beginning. It provides a freshness all the time in thinking, talking, and living—a continual surprise of the life of God. Staleness is an indication that something in our lives is out of step with God. We say to ourselves, “I have to do this thing or it will never get done.” That is the first sign of staleness. Do we feel fresh this very moment or are we stale, frantically searching our minds for something to do? Freshness is not the result of obedience; it comes from the Holy Spirit. Obedience keeps us “in the light as He is in t…

Wednesday, "God's ways are higher than my ways"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 13.4 DISCUSSION:    God’s ways are higher than man’s ways.  It is presumptive of man to think that we will always understand His will. God wants us to love and serve Him and always put our faith in him.
     Visualize this: the time is April 1945.  The place is the Pacific Ocean around the island of Okinawa.  A small navy ship, the USS Cross, a destroyer escort, is participating in support of an invasion of the island.  The crew of the ship is at battle stations.  Suddenly, numerous sailors see the terrifying sight of a torpedo coming straight for their ship. Unexplainably, there is no explosion. Whether the torpedo was too deep, or whether the small ship rode up on a large wave at just the right time, nobody knows.  But the men of the USS Cross say a silent prayer of thankfulness that their ship and their lives have been spared.  I know this story because my father was one of the sailors on that ship.      I think about this story from time to time, and am alw…

Tuesday, "Put your trust and your life in God and His inspired word"

BIBLE READING: Psalm 119.117
Are there times when you don’t like what the Bible says? Are there times you wish it would say more? Are there times when you just have to admit that, from your point of view, the pages of Scripture seem unfair? If that is the case, how do your feelings translate to how you deal with your reading? The Bible is no fairy tale. It’s not Disney. It’s not absolutely permissive. Its truths are striking and transforming. The law of the Lord challenges us to be holy. The love of God motivates us to be holy. Christianity is not a pie in the sky experience all the time. If you are going to take God at His word then there are going to be some moments when you will not initially like what the Bible is calling you to do. When we read something that troubles us, our respect for the authority of God’s inspiration is going to matter a great deal. Biblical exploration takes on a great journey towards truth. It’s a never-ending voyage which turns and twists throughout our live…

Monday, Put your trust in God and store your treasures in heaven"

BIBLE READING: Matthew 6. 19-21
Where were you when the world stopped turning?   This popular song by Alan Jackson comes to mind for many of us each year on this date.  We can probably all remember where we were and what we were doing when the terrorist attack came on that day in 2001.  Now 16 years later, the world still has an abundance of evil people committing unspeakable evil actions.  When I watch or read the news, I often just want to shut it out of my mind.  Wouldn’t it be uplifting if there were a news source readily available which exclusively featured stories of good news and people helping other people?      We read in the Bible that Jesus went about doing good.  He also instructed his disciples not to be overly concerned about the affairs of this world.  Before his crucifixion, he acknowledged his kingship, but clearly stated that his kingdom is not of this world.       As long as the Lord allows this world to continue until His return, there will always be wars and rumors …

Saturday

BIBLE READING: Isaiah 40.18-31 Discussion:

We talk about being a good Christian almost every time we go to church or hear a lesson from the Bible. There is nothing wrong with talking about Christianity, but we need to concentrate on things that are emphasized in the Bible. You can find the word Christian three times in the Word. Perhaps the thing we need to concentrate on is the thing that is mentioned 109 times in the Bible. ENCOURAGE! If we encourage, maybe we will be better Christians.

Friday

BIBLE READING: Titus 2.1-15 Discussion:
It seems that in the religious world today we hear a good bit of the word “doctrine” thrown around. For instance, some say we need to do away with our doctrines and focus on the love that God has for all of his people. But what is doctrine? Is it important, or is it just the thing that divides believers? According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, the word “doctrine” simply means “teaching” or “that which is being taught”. The Bible is very clear that this “doctrine” or “teaching” is that of God, and not our personal way of thinking. In Matthew 7.28, the word is used to describe the teaching or doctrine of Jesus. In that same passage, His teaching is noted as being one with authority. In fact, in at least nine passages in the Gospels it is referred to as Christ’s teaching. In Titus 1.9, Paul urges Titus to “hold fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching”. Also in Romans 16.17, Paul warns them con…

Thursday

BIBLE READING: Jonah 1. 1-17 Discussion:
How dumb can a person be, a prophet of God, nontheless? How could Jonah have ever thought he would be able to outrun God (Jonah 1) How did that thought even enter his mind? He knew who God was, he was aware of His omniscience, His power. He knew that resistance to God’s will was and is futile. He was a prophet! These were the kinds of things that prophets prophesied about! Evidently, he had a lapse in judgment as he hopped on that boat to Tarshish, a city that was roughly 2,500 miles away from the place that God wanted him to be. He ran from God! How critical are we of Jonah? How much do we scold him in our sermons and classes for his open defiance to the will of God? Hint: this is a trick question! Most of us openly try to defy God every day of our lives. We know that there are opportunities for us to serve Him, opportunities that He has placed within our paths. Yet, how often do we avoid them? We often lift up prayers to God and ask Him to gran…

Wednesday

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 26. 1-25 Discussion:
It must have been very difficult for him to control himself that night. There he lay-the man responsible for bringing him to the wilderness, forcing him to sleep on the hard ground away from his family. All he had to do was take his spear and run it through Saul’s chest and everything would be right with the world. But Abishai refrained (1 Samuel 26. 6-10). Why? Maybe it was out of fear of disappointing his king, David, the fear of David punishing him, or maybe it was because Abishai simply understood his role. David was his king, and Abishai’s place was in subjection to his king. Many times during our daily struggles with our faith, we are faced with a similar situation. We may not have a spear in our hand ready to pin down our mortal enemy, but we do struggle to submit our wants and desires for the sake of our King. When we obey the Gospel, we must deny ourselves, along with our wants and desires, no matter how strong they might be, and all…

Tuesday

BIBLE READING: Psalm 63. 1-11 Discussion:
As a child, I remember on Friday night I would sit as close as I could to the television while watching my favorite show: “The Dukes of Hazard.” One of my favorite characters was Sherriff Rosco P. Coltrane. In almost every episode, he would jump into his squad car, pick up his CB radio, and say”I'm in a hot pursuit!” He certainly wanted to catch the Duke boys! Have you ever wanted something so badly, that is was all you could think about? You went after it with everything within your power. Maybe it was a new job, a promotion, a spot on the team, a new contract, a person, a vacation, or a weight loss goal. Did you give it your best? Focus all your energies on it? Think about it day and night? Talk about it to whoever would listen? Devise a plan to get what you wanted and GO AFTER IT? These are the kinds of things that we live for; they make life worthwhile. They provide for us a sense of accomplishment. What if we put that same amount of ene…

Monday

BIBLE READING: 2 Timothy 4. 1-8 Discussion:

How is your health? Overall, most people consider themselves to be fairly healthy. They do think that they could stand to lose a few pounds, probably because they enjoy occasional fast food lunch; but overall..healthy! If we were totally honest with ourselves, most of us are not in as good of health as we could be. Also have you noticed that people even go in denial when the doctor says they have health concerns that need to be addressed? No one likes to be told that they ear poorly or that they are overweight. So why is it that an unhealthy person would consider themselves healthy when they just aren’t? Don’t we do the same thing with our spiritual life? If a survey were to be conducted most people believe they are going to heaven. Oh, they could stand to read their Bible more, attend a few more worship services, and they do dabble in few things that may be considered sinful; but overall…YES, WE ARE GOING TO HEAVEN! How is it possible that th…

Saturday, "The Epic Destruction of the Flood"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 7. 17-24 Some teach the false doctrine that all men will be saved by God, regardless of rebellion or righteousness. This section of scripture continues God’s teaching with regard to the consequences of disobedience. I realize that the death and destruction portrayed here are physical but they are a shadow of judgment to come (implied by Peter in 1 Peter 3:20-21). Moses shows the children of Israel that when God says he’ll punish, that punishment is sure. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 gives a promise of future destruction and vengeance on the disobedient. Matthew 25:46 warns that this punishment is eternal. We must stand in awe of the absolute power of the Almighty in our passage. His resources are unmatched, His destructive power is matched only by His creative power. His will is unbeatable. Yet puny man chooses to challenge His law. As the rebellious are crushed in the depths of the water in our passage, so the rebellious of all time will be cast in to a vast lake of fir…

Friday, "Which Direction Are We Growing?"

BIBLE READING:1Thessalonians 1. 1-10
From life’s experiences, we know that some folks grow old gracefully, while others become grouchy and ill-tempered. Knowing this, it’s important for us as Christians to know which direction we’re growing, spiritually speaking. People don’t get irritable and short-tempered merely because they’re getting older. Aging has very little to do with folks being hypercritical and cranky. No, it’s more likely that we’ve become what we’ve allowed ourselves to become through various habits that we’ve acquired through the years, whether good or bad. Paul gives us an eternal principle when he writes, “He who sows to his flesh will …. reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will …. reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:8). Folks who cater to self-interest and think only of themselves, are sowing seeds that will produce a harvest of misery — not only in themselves, but also in others. On the other hand, those who love God and demonstrate care and concern for othe…