Showing posts from October, 2017

"Hannah's Prayer/Song"

In this current society as well as the society as it existed when Hannah voiced her song, there is always a debate about the limits of big government.  Hannah’s song answers this question for us. It doesn’t matter who is ruling us in our government positions, the Lord is the true ruler; salvation is from Him, and God’s concern is often for the poor, the people at the “bottom of the heap”. Hannah’s prayer helps us to not expect all from a government. All governments are established by God (Romans 13:1-7).Ideally, governments should seek justice for all. But in the end, ones trust must not rest in the power of a centralized control, but in the power of God’s justice, mercy, and salvation.
If we keep our relationship with God where it should be, nothing else matters.


Hannah was truly a godly mother. Hannah was ridiculed daily by Peninnah for an issue she had that was not her fault. Hannah believed in the power of prayer, and the comfort it brought her. Hannah’s attitude when accused of drunkenness was that of calmness and self-control and she answered with dignity though she had been falsely accused. Hannah did not ask for vengeance on her adversary, nor did she request a son for selfish reasons. Fervently Hannah made a vow to the Lord to give up her son to Him. After Samuel was born, it had been so easy for Hannah to decide that giving up her son was too great a sacrifice, in spite of her vow. It took deep spiritual conviction for her to take her son to be raised by someone else. We can only imagine uneasiness Hannah must have felt as she left her infant son in the care of Eli and his two wicked sons (1 Samuel 2:12). She followed through with her vow because she trusted the Lord for Samuels’s future. 1 Sa…


Bible Reading: I Timothy 4. 6-16 DISCUSSION

I Timothy 4.12 says, “Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love faithfulness and purity.” Maturity is not always something you grow into. Sometimes older people do not act in a mature way. Many young people set great examples to older people. Young people are so talented and have so much energy, what a great time of their life to love for God and make a difference in this world. Timothy had that challenge to set an example. No matter what age we are, do what is right. Others will notice.


Bible Reading: Genesis 13. 1-18 DISCUSSION
The famous UCLA basketball coach and motivator John Wooden once said, “Don’t measure yourself on what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your abilities.” The children of Israel had a real problem; they could not stop focusing on where they came from and where they were. There was no way that they would ever be able to get out of their current situation and see where God had planned for them to go. At least nine times in the books of Exodus and Numbers the Israelites are bringing up how things used to be, instead of how things could be if they would just trust God. We get that way sometimes don’t we? We have resigned to the fact that this is just who we are, we are never going to change and we will never have a victory or positive thing happen to us because we will not allow ourselves to see it. We need to remember the story of Abraham in Genesis 13. 7-11. If you will remember, Abraham gave Lot his choice as to …


Bible Reading: Matthew 15. 10-20 DISCUSSION Isn’t it just awesome how God has strategically placed things within the Scriptures to give us a progression of how He was going to do things in the future? Just take for instance the similarities of the offering of Isaac that God had asked of Abraham, and Jesus. Both were led by their father to the place of the sacrifice, both involved their only son, the mountain on which they were to do the offering in the same in the OT is called Mount Moriah and in the NT it was called Calvary, both carried wood to their place of service and both were bound to wood. In both sacrifices the son lived, and the list continues. All throughout the Bible God places these types and antitypes, so that not only can we see and understand their true meaning, but also those that will follow us. One of those types is leprosy. There was no way that the men and women of the Old Testament could understand just how ugly sin was, so God used a disease to give them a vivid d…


Bible Reading: Esther 4. 1-17 DISCUSSION
 Have you ever been at that point in your life when every force in the universe seems to be going against you? It may be that you can’t catch up on your bills, your marriage is in shambles, you are hearing rumors of lay-offs at work, you are having to sit and care for your parent’s, your car needs a new engine, the doctor told you that it may be cancer and, oh yeah, someone ran over your dog this morning. If this describes you, then I am so sorry and I will be praying for you! We have to remember that just when we think things are bad and they can’t get any worse, they usually do. However, I do have some good news for you today. Are you paying attention because this is very important? God has placed you right where you are, so that He can do something amazing through you! Isn’t that awesome! God is going to use you right where you are in the midst of all of your problems. Don’t believe me? Watch this…In the book of Esther, King Ahasuerus has sele…


Bible Reading: John 14. 1-14 DISCUSSION
 As Jesus closes out His ministry here on Earth, he seized an opportunity to bond with His disciples. He had just sent Judas out of the room after washing their feet and was now giving them His final instructions before His arrest. He knew they were troubled; he could see it in their eyes. I don’t think they could help it. They had never been in a situation like this before, nor did they understand Jesus’ demeanor. After all, these men had left their homes, their families, their jobs for Jesus and if He was leaving, that left their future unknown. To comfort them, Jesus offers these words: “Let not you hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms…”(John 14. 1-2). There are other versions that use the term mansions instead of rooms. The word actually means “a staying place or residence: and it can be translated as “mansion”, but I prefer use of the word rooms. I don’t believe these disciples were interested…


Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 9.1-13
As David is now king over Israel, he must have been reminiscing about all of the good times he had with his friend Jonathan. “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”(2 Samuel 9.1). What usually happened when a new king would take the throne, his first order of business was to kill all of the family of the previous king so that no one could make a claim to the throne. David must have thought they were all gone, until one servant brought up a man; the servant Ziba had taken one of the sons of Jonathan and fled from the palace. In the process of fleeing, he dropped the young boy causing him to become lame (2 Samuel 4.4) . His name was Mephibosheth. David has him brought immediately to him and has him eat at his table and promises to restore all of the land that Saul had possessed to him. He must have told him stories of how he and Jonathan had been friends and the promise he had made to him before h…


Bible Reading: John 3. 1-15 DISCUSSION
Out of all the good men in the life of Jesus, we read in John 3 that Nicodemus was one of two men who came to claim the body of Jesus after His death. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the council. We see him beginning to believe in Jesus but, he always did his work at night. He went to see Jesus at night, he defended Jesus at night and he claimed His body at night. I think he is much like us. We want to be Christians but we do not want to push our religion on anyone. We do not want to offend anyone. Nicodemus made great strides toward believing in Christ, but I wish he would have done it in the light. We need to not be ashamed of our Savior. Let people know where you stand and who you stand for.
PRAYER REQUESTS____________________________________________________


Bible Reading: Genesis 39. 1-13 DISCUSSION Have you ever been in a place where you know you shouldn’t be? A place where the walls just reeked of temptation? A place that you know that if you do not get out of there soon there is no question you will do something you will regret? I wonder if that’s the place Joseph was when he was in Potiphar’s house. The Bible lets us know that Joseph was a handsome man, but we are not really told what Mrs. Potiphar looked like. I’ll bet she wasn’t ugly. She often made passes at Joseph and he was able to withstand them, but this time…this time must have been much harder for him to control. Instead of refusing her as he had before, the only course of action he saw possible was to run, and that is what he did. He ran out of there as fast as he could. I don’t know if this is the story that Paul had in mind when he wrote Timothy and said “flee youthful lust” (2 Timothy 2.22), but it fits perfectly well. Was Joseph tempted? I am sure he was; he was a red blo…


Bible Reading: Romans 6. 1-14
DISCUSSION One of my favorite movies of all times is “City Slickers.” This movie was a comedy about three middle aged friends who decided to go out West on the vacation of a lifetime, a cattle drive. Over the course of the movie as you see how each character develops, there is one man who finally breaks down about his life. He had made some bad choices. His marriage was in shambles and he felt as though his life was over. He had lost everything and had nothing to live for. That is when Billy Crystal’s character reminds him that he has everything to live for; he has a “do-over”. He has the chance to go back home and repair his marriage and make all the wrongs in his life right and live out the rest of his days a happy man. As Christians we should understand the concept of a “do-over” better than anyone, because that theme is a constant throughout the Scriptures. God told Isaiah to prophesy to the nation of Israel “Remember not the former things, nor consider…


Bible Reading: Matthew 23.1-36 DISCUSSION Have you ever had one of your appliances go bad? Don’t you just hate it? Now your entire day will be spent shopping around to find the right product for the right price. Then you have to take off another day so you can meet the delivery guys when they deliver it to your home. Meanwhile, you have to make sure you remove the old appliance to make room for the new one. It isn’t until then that you see it. How could you not have noticed it before? You have never considered yourself a slob, but the evidence you see before you is very compiling. It looks as though the city dump threw up behind your appliance. You see those pictures that went missing from the refrigerator, along with a few of those alphabet letter magnets, some old noodles, a dead roach, mouse poop, and some yellow looking goo that had solidified to your floor. You cannot allow the delivery man to see this mess so you have to clean it up quickly. Why is that? It’s because you are embar…


Bible Reading: Mark 14. 3-9 DISCUSSION
A few years ago I was passing through the town of Selma, Alabama and discovered a very unique cemetery. The graves were very old and there was some Spanish moss in the trees. It was just all out creepy! There was one tomb that had what I thought was a very humorous epitaph. It had the women’s name, the year she was born and the year she died; but then there was this “She did what she could”. I physically laughed out loud. “Bless her heart” was the next thought that popped into my head. I felt so sorry for this woman, that they could not find anything good to say about her. They settled with “she did what she could”. It wasn’t until a few weeks later I was reading through one of my old KJV Bibles that I came across a story of Mary and how she anointed the feet of Jesus with spikenard. There it was, how could I have missed it? It was as if a nuclear bomb went off in my brain when I read the words of Jesus when he told the others to leave her alone, “…


Bible Reading: I Samuel 8. 10-22 DISCUSSION Why is it that the grass always looks greener on the other side? Don’t we always seem to think everyone else has it so much better than we do? Take for instance the nation of Israel; they had been surviving fine under the leadership of the judges. It wasn’t perfect, but as long as there were godly judges the people seemed to follow in their footsteps. When there wasn’t good leadership the people swayed. It was getting to the end of Samuel’s reign as judge and the people began to get antsy. The elders of the nation asked Samuel to appoint for them a king who could rule over them; a king so they would be like all of the surrounding nations around them. Although it sounds a little childish, this is the way it probably sounded to Samuel “come on Samuel, every body’s doing it?” Of course, this displeased Samuel, but nevertheless he took the request to God. God appeases them, but wants Samuel to warn them of all of the problems that go along with ha…

Hiding From God

Bible Reading: Hebrews 4.13
Do you ever hide from God? Sounds kind of crazy doesn't it?  As teenagers, we may have "hid" a lot of things. We may even "hide" things today.  When God walked through the garden looking for Adam and Eve after their sin, the bible says they hid from God. He called for them, even though he knew where they were, he still called for them and allowed them the opportunity to reveal themselves.  Before their sin, they had no reason to hide from God. It would never have entered their minds.  If we have the mentality of "hiding" something in our lives, then we most likely do not need to engage in that activity.  Now, we can hide things from our parents, from our friends, our spouse, and even our minister. However, God is omniscient, meaning he knows all.  Who do we think we are fooling?  We are most effective, most happy, and most productive when we live open lives, obedient to God. Not perfect, but forgiven and doing our best to ob…

The Attraction of Sin

Bible Reading: Romans 6.23

Sin can be fun. There is now doubt, sin is very attractive. However, the joy is short-lived. After the short period of enjoyment, reality sets in, guilt appears, and we realize the price that is or will be paid for the action.  I am sure the fruit on the tree in the Garden was very beautiful to Eve. But, was it that much more beautiful than the other fruit?  Do you think that Eve thought of the consequences of her actions?  Usually, at the time we don't think of the result. That is why we need to plan and not put ourselves in that situation. Now I am sure that all of Joseph's friends would have laughed at him when he "ran" from Potiphar’s wife. However, Joseph realized that he was human, and that Satan was a powerful source. Second Timothy 2 tells us to "flee" youthful lusts.  That is exactly what Joseph did, he ran.  Can you think of a time when you were tempted, gave in, and then felt guilty?  Think of how Peter felt after denyin…


Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 13.4

Remember the time your best friend got a new bicycle in elementary school? Remember the time someone else took the girl you wanted to take to the Prom? Remember when your neighbor bought a house on the lake and you couldn’t afford to do the same? How did you feel? Were you happy for them, or were you jealous?  The funny thing about jealousy is that it does nothing to harm the person who actually got the benefit for which we are jealous. It only affects us. It makes us grumpy, unlikable, and discontent.  If we truly love others, the way that God commands us to, we will never be guilty of envy. 1Corinthians 13 teaches us that love does not envy.  As we all know, envy is what lead Cain to kill Abel.  Can you imagine killing your own brother because of envy; Because you could not be happy about something good happening for them?  If we truly believe in the teachings of the bible, we will realize that this life is temporary.  In the end, there will be no ro…


Bible Reading: Romans 14. 10-12
The recent shooting in Las Vegas is tragic.  What a senseless act of violence against innocent people who were just enjoying a concert.  It is impossible to understand irrational behavior, and what state of mind one would have to be in to do such a brutal thing.  As per usual, the media immediately began the blame game.  One said it was because of the conservative nature of the country music fans, one said it was because we need more stringent gun control laws, another blamed it on the overall political situation at this time.  Few have blamed the fact that the man was just committing a sin, and his heart was in control of Satan.  Just as in the beginning, Adam blamed Eve because she ate of it first.  Eve blamed the serpent.  One major problem in today’s society is that so many do not want to be accountable, and take responsibility for their own actions.  Romans 14:10-12 states “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. So then each of us wil…


Bible Reading: Philippians 4.11
How many times have you said, "If I just had more money?" or "If I just had that House." of "If I just had that job, I would be happy". ?? While it is human nature to want a better situation, it is not natural to be unhappy until you get it.  Adam and Eve had a wonderful situation. They had happiness, no illness, the most beautiful rivers called the Tigris and the Euphrates, fertile soil, and all of the food they would ever need. There was one thing that they could not have, and that was the fruit on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  It was beautiful fruit, but they had other beautiful fruit.  But the serpent created the thought of discontentment. He told them that if they ate of it, they would see the same things that God saw.  We live in a world where people struggle to be content.  One man wants another wife so he leaves his family.  A woman wants a nicer outfit so she lifts it from the department store.  Someone e…


Bible Reading: Genesis 3:1-7
     We all know the story of Adam and Eve.  We typically identify this story with the first sin and the "fall" of mankind.  While this is true, there are so many lessons we can learn from this story. This week, we will discuss this story and how we can use their mistakes to make us stronger today.  The topics we will discuss are temptation, contentment, blame, jealousy, the attraction of sin, and hiding from God.
   It isn't surprising how the Serpent tempted Eve. He simply made her question the commands of God.  He made Eve question whether or not God really said what he did.  "Did God really say "don't eat of this specific tree"? After she said that He said she would die, the serpent said "You will not surely die".  This is all that Eve needed to eat the beautiful fruit. Sure, it looked appealing and desirable, but she had so many other options.  Isn't this just like us?  We have so many good things, but we w…


All things are possible with God. Sarah felt that she was too old to have children and even though she had prayed for a child she did not think it would happen. She and Abraham had spent a lifetime trusting God and maybe through the years they had become bitter by not getting what they wanted and expected according to God’s promise. We must realize that we are on God’s time table and if He promises us something, it will happen. All things are possible with God.


BIBLE READING: Proverbs 13. 1-25

A truly sad side of David was his parenting skills or the lack therof. 1 Kings 1.6 says, “Now his father had never corrected him by saying, why do you do such things?”  David had sons who killed each other and tried to kill him. Why did this happen? He did not question their decision making as they grew up. We need to focus on our children and make sure they follow God. Children need to make decisions that will make parents happy and more importantly, make God happy.


BIBLE READING:Ephesians 5. 6-20
I remember some of the greatest years of my life were spent as a child, as a member of the church Bible Bowl team. We were good, no, we were very good! We went month after month after month either winning or placing second among our local churches. The winner got to keep a banner until the next Bible Bowl. We would hang that banner with pride in the front of the auditorium, knowing that our hard work and study had paid off. The banner didn’t have Bible Bowl Champion stamped across the front. In fact, it didn’t even say anything about the Bible Bowl. It was simply a portion of Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 12.1 “Remember now thy Creator in the days of your youth..” At the time the only thing those words meant to me was “we win”. However, today, they hold a great deal more value to my heart. As I get older I understand them more and more, noticing how fast time is fleeting away from me. I have been so blessed in my life to have never been able to remembe…


BIBLE READING:Matthew 4. 1-11

One of the most effective tools that Satan has within his tool box doesn’t involve cursing God, worshipping Satan or even getting us to do bad things. In fact, the most effective tool that the Devil has is distraction. He knows that any reasonable person can see that there is a God and the He is coming back to the earth to judge us according to how we have handled ourselves while here. But if he can just distract us for just a moment, we just might let our guard down, giving him an advantage. He tried this strategy on Jesus while He was fasting in the desert for forty days and nights. Satan knew if he could get Jesus to just get a little discombobulated, he might have a chance. So Satan sought to distract Jesus by appealing to His physical side. “I bet you must be hungry?” he said. “I bet you could go and make these stones bread, couldn’t you?” Any one of us would have lost our focus and made us some bread, but Jesus did not allow Himself to get distracted…


BIBLE READING:Psalm 23. 1-6

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23.1). How many times have those words flowed off of our tongue as we stood with those who had lost a loved one, just before we lowered them to their final resting place? But what do these words mean? What does a shepherd have to do with me, and why is this passage often read at funerals? As David pens this song, his goal could have been to offer its hearers some comfort- comfort in knowing that, no matter where we go or where our lives take us, the Shepherd is always with us. When we look at the roles that an ancient shepherd played, his primary job was to lead the flock into pastures that offered water, food, and protection. He was to provide for his flock all they would need to thrive in the midst of the most desperate times. When we look at our lives, the most desperate of conditions is death! Even though we may walk through “the shadow of death,” there is no reason for us to fear because He is with us t…


“I wish I had never been born,” Job said to his friends. “I wish that my birthday was just wiped off of the calendar as though it never happened.” Who could blame him? The loss that he had endured in mere moments had been catastrophic. Job had experienced a wonderful life until that day, when all he had known changed. I know that many people have endured tragic losses, but Job’s defeat seems unfathomable. Isn’t it ironic that, although Job’s comments brought him so much pain, they can bring us so much joy?
My mother always taught me that, no matter how bad I may think things are, someone else always is suffering more than I am. Not only does that help us to feel that we are not alone in our depression, but it gives us that hope for what is to come. Job’s story helps us to learn to appreciate the blessings that we have today! Job was not in control of his circumstances, but he was in control of his reaction to those circumstances. When Job was hurting, he turned…