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Showing posts from December, 2018

“I Am Coming Soon!”

BIBLE READING: Revelation 19-22 DISCUSSION
                As we read the final chapters of our Bible for the year, I hope that we now have a better understanding of making “His Story, My Story”.  I feel it is very important for us to understand what we have learned.  Out of all the lessons that we could gather from our study, I find that there are two that stand out the most.  First, we have a God who loves us more than we can ever humanly fathom.  Throughout this story we see how humanity continues to turn their back on their Creator, yet He still loves us enough to send His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  The next lesson is that one day He will return to this Earth and pronounce judgement upon His creation.  When will He come?  That answer is only reserved for God Himself, but we do have one description as to when that will be.  Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible, gives us the only real description as to when He will return.  In Revelation 22.7, then in verse 12, and fina…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Revelation 12-18

“The Great Deceiver”

BIBLE READING: Revelation 6-11 DISCUSSION                 As we get to this part of Revelation 6-1, things may begin to get difficult to understand.  One thing that we must remember is that most of the book of Revelation contains a great deal of symbolism.  Although the book can be understood by us today, much of it was intended be understood by its original audience.  However, just like any other portion of Scripture, it was placed in our Bibles for us to learn and grow.  Also, just like any other portion of Scripture, it is open to people attempting to twist these messages to say what they want it to say.  There are those that seek to deceive the believers by giving a false understanding of the book.  Make no mistake about it, any contortion of the Scriptures for a personal benefit is a sin.  The father of all sin is the Devil, whom we find described in Revelation 12.9 as the “deceiver of the whole world”.  Not one of us are exempt from the wiles and lure of the great deceiver, theref…

“Exciting News”

BIBLE READING: Revelation 1-5 DISCUSSION There was only ten seconds left on the clock in overtime and we were down by one.After throwing the ball in the defenders jumped in overdrive forcing the young point guard to pass to his teammate.The man takes one dribble in the lane and looks up at the clock, three….two…; with only a second to spare he gets his shot off.As the buzzer sounds it seems like an eternity before the ball enters the cylinder and goes in.That boy was my son, and the way I was acting you’d have thought the game was the NBA finals.I was so excited, I bet I called every single family member to tell them the exciting news of the game.I was so excited about what had happened, I could not even contain myself; and that was only a fifth-grade basketball game.Imagine what it must have been like to be the Apostle John as our Lord takes him up and allows him to see Heaven.That’s right…Heaven! John got to see a glimpse of what Heaven will be like.I could not imagine what it would h…

“Loving Ourselves too Much?”

BIBLE READING: 2 John, 3 John DISCUSSION If you go to a local bookstore, you should have no trouble finding a book that will help you learn to love yourself.Millions of people seem to struggle with having a positive self-image of themselves.Whether they have grown up in a broken home, struggled with maintaining a healthy relationship or swayed by the media’s idea about what is attractive; people seem to have trouble falling in love with themselves.It is important for us to know that God created us all in His image and that every single person has been given a significant amount of value, but there is a danger in loving ourselves too much.In the book of 3 John, we read of a man who had been causing enough trouble for the church that the Apostle felt the need to mention it in a letter to Gaius.“Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority” (3 John 9).How many of us know a modern-day Diotrephes?That person who is so proud of themselves that the arrogance j…

“God’s Finished Product”

BIBLE READING: 1 John 1-5 DISCUSSION Fill in the blank:God is _________. Take just a moment to see how many different words you could place within this blank.There are probably a million praise worthy words we could place within the empty space that would describe God, but for most of us the first word that came to mind was “love”.One of the major themes of the book of I John is love.In fact, the word love is used 46 times.Now, it is easy for us to understand that God loves us and that we should love one another, but John takes it a step farther and tells us what that love will do for us.“…if we love another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us”(I John 4.12).When we love each other, we have the very Spirit of God “abiding” (dwells, remains or tarries) in us.Not only that, but God’s love is “perfected” (complete, consummated, finished) in us.Could it be that the Creator of the universe’s most powerful attribute is His love and when I share that love He brings me to my complet…

Christmas Day

Bible Reading: 2 Peter 1-3, Jude

“The Gift of Faith”

BIBLE READING: 2 Timothy 1-4 DISCUSSION
As many of us gather with our families for this Christmas Eve night, we will share in the holiday tradition of giving and receiving of gifts.Many of us will shop for days and spend enormous amounts of money to ensure that we get the perfect gift for our loved ones.However, in all the holiday hoopla I pray we never forget to make sure we give our loved ones the gift of faith.As we come to this portion of our daily reading, we notice that Paul is commending the faith of a young Timothy.Timothy’s faith was instilled in him by the teachings and the example of his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois (2 Timothy 1.5).I pray that as we all gather around our homes with our families for this Christmas Eve, that we not neglect to share the story of Jesus with those that we love.Just as the Bible tells us, it truly is “more blessed to give, than to receive” (Acts 20.35)
Prayer Requests:________________________________________________________________________…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Hebrews 11-13

“The Book of Hebrews & Lettuce”

BIBLE READING: Hebrews 7-10 DISCUSSION                 Did you know that according to the internet there are over 87 different types of lettuce in the world?  Of course, we have the common iceberg and romaine, but there are also Butterhead, Jack Ice, Nevada and Roger (yes, there is a type of lettuce named Roger).  However, the writer of Hebrews mentions only three types of “let us” and they are found in Hebrews 10.  “…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,”  (Hebrews 10:22-24).   Just so you know, I do understand the difference between “lettuce” and “let us”.  But when it comes to our salvation, the “let us” of Hebrews is of the upmost importance for us to consider.  They are as follows: “let us draw near t…

“Hard to Understand”

BIBLE READING: Hebrews 1-6 DISCUSSION             Have you ever had something that was just too hard to explain to someone else? My wife is an accountant for a successful business in town and from time to time I will ask her what she did today at work; her response, “you wouldn’t understand if I told you”.  Now you might think I would find that offensive, but on the contrary when she does tell me what she did, I don’t understand it.  The truth is I could not tell you the difference from assets to expense reports.  If she were to try to explain to me what she did, she would have to give me a crash course on “Accounting for Dummies”.   That just may be the way the writer of Hebrews feels when he is attempting to explain Melchizadek’s role in God’s plan in Hebrews 5, “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain…” (Hebrews 5.11).  The writer would love to be able to go into greater detail concerning these issues, but he knows that they are not mentally prepared for it.  In a s…

“Rejoicing During Our Trials”

BIBLE READING: 1 Peter 1-5 DISCUSSION Why is it that we always think that our situation is much worse than everyone else’s?   Whether it is trials that we are faced with, pain that we are feeling or stresses that we are under, each person usually feels that theirs is greater than yours.  The old saying goes that we really don’t know what someone else is going through until we walk a mile in their shoes.  We really don’t have any clue what someone else is dealing with, and although our life may be difficult, there is always someone else that is living under a harder condition than I am.  Complaining about our situations do nothing to repair them or make them go away.  In fact, complaining about them usually just magnifies them into being worse.  Maybe that is why Peter tells us, that instead of complaining about our situations we need to rejoice about them.  Yes, that’s right! Peter says rejoice and he does so on at least 2 separate occasions in I Peter.  First is I Peter 1.6-7 “In this …

“Adorning the Doctrine”

BIBLE READING: Titus 1-3 DISCUSSION                 In Titus 2, we find Paul giving some simple instruction about what it means to teach “sound doctrine”.  I understand that not all of us are called to be teachers; in fact, James warns us that teachers will be held to higher standard for what they teach (James 3.1).  However, we all have some responsibility in sharing the good news about Jesus.  Paul illustrates to us that we do so by our behavior.  Like the old saying goes “our actions speak louder than our words”.  In fact, Peter encourages wives to treat their unbelieving husbands in such a way that they are won over to Christ by their behavior and not the use of words.  In Titus, Paul encourages us to do the same thing by adorning the doctrine of God (Titus 2.10).  That word “adorn” means “to garnish, to decorate, or to trim”.  It comes from the word that they would have used to describe a necklace with an amulet on it.  That tells me that when people see me, they see me living in s…

“Training Our Minds for Godliness”

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 1-6 DISCUSSION When I was in college at International Bible College (currently Heritage Christian University), I took a health class.  One of the first assignments was to discover a passage of Scripture that had to do with exercising.  Of course, in my mischievous mind I immediately thought of I Timothy 4.8 “…bodily exercise profits little”.  Now before your get your feathers ruffled, I do understand that bodily exercise has a tremendous amount of value.  However, when we compare bodily exercise with spiritual mental training, as he does in I Timothy 4, the difference is clear.  Rather than train our physical bodies, we must make every effort to train our minds in godliness.  First, what is “godliness”?   In the original Greek, the word ‘godliness” means “holiness”.  So how do we train ourselves for holiness?  Well, that sort of training is not done in a gym or at your local YMCA, but rather it begins in your mind.  Paul tells us in Romans 12.2 to “not be confor…

“What Kind of Light are you Shining?”

BIBLE READING: Philippians 1-4 DISCUSSION “I am so sick and tired of how things have been going at church lately, he preaches so long, and his illustrations are so dry. Our singing is so pathetic, and don’t you dare get me started on the elder-ship and their lack of decision-making skills. I got a good mind to move my letter to the church down the street. Oh, I almost forgot we got a special service coming up this Sunday, you wanna come with me?” I hope that is not your idea of a church invite.  I mean seriously, would you want to go and visit a church where the members are complaining like that?  As Paul writes his letter to the church at Philippi, he gives us a clear understanding of what we are to the world.  “…in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among who you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2.15).   Since we are considered these “lights”, it is very important that we portray the right kind of attitude, mindset and demeanor to reflect the True Light of Christ…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Ephesians 1-6

“How Are Your Roots?”

BIBLE READING: Colossians 1-4, Philemon DISCUSSION Even though it is the holiday season, I am always looking forward to the Spring.The Spring brings about sunshine, flowers and yard work.Yes, I said it…I enjoy working out in the yard.I love the smell of fresh cut grass, the look of fresh mulch around the shrubs and the exhausted feeling at the end of the day for a job well done.One of the tasks that seems to go along with yard work is weeding out the flowerbeds.If you don’t ignore it for weeks at a time, the weeding doesn’t take very long because they do not have a very deep root system.That means with a quick tug of the weed, they come right up.The same cannot be said for the removal of a shrub.They take a good bit more work because they have been a part of the flower bed longer than the weeds and their root system is deeper and wider than that of the weeds.Removal of a shrub may sometimes require a chain to pull it up with a truck, because the roots were so well established.However, a…

“Targeted By Satan”

BIBLE READING: Acts 27-28 DISCUSSION Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you tried to do the right thing, there was always something that would happen that would throw you off course or discourage you?Maybe you were doing well with your faith, but then you would have a tragedy, a setback, a temptation that got the best of you and sent you down a wrong path. I believe with all my heart that the Devil is either directly or indirectly responsible for those things.Now don’t get me wrong, we cannot blame him for our faults, because we are still responsible for our own actions.But Satan is a very crafty and determined individual.He has made it his mission to do whatever he can to discourage us from living for Jesus.As you notice, it seems that Satan was at work during the missionary trips of Paul as well.Whether it was his stoning in Lystra, his imprisonment in Philippi, his beatings in Jerusalem and now the storm and shipwreck while headed to Rome, Satan is doing whatever he can to di…

“Seizing The Moment”

BIBLE READING: Acts 24-26 DISCUSSION In our readings today, we are confronted with two of the saddest stories within all of Scripture.The first is the story of Felix.Felix was the Romanprocurator of Iudaea Province, whose wife Drusilla was a Jew.Felix had come from Jerusalem to bring charges against Paul because of his preaching.In the closest thing that Paul has received to a trial at this point, Paul gives his defense.Felix, maybe due to his wife being a Jew, had a “rather accurate knowledge of the Way” (Acts 24.23).As he listens to Paul’s defense, which included Paul’s conversion as well as items of self-control, righteousness and judgement, Felix was alarmed and said “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity, I will summon you” (Acts 24.25).Sadly, from what we understand of secular history, that opportunity never came.The next story involves Agrippa, who was the Jewish King.As Paul makes his defense to King Agrippa, Paul knows that Agrippa has understood and believes the m…

“Long Winded Preachers”

BIBLE READING: Acts 20. 4-38, 21, 22, 23.1-35 DISCUSSION As a preacher I try to be mindful of how long my lessons last.Of course, there is always going to be a joke about how I preached too long, or about how I put their baby to sleep, and of course my favorite “If a preacher can’t say what he has to say in ten minutes, he ought not to be preaching.”Deep down in my heart of hearts I know that they are just joking, but I also know that there is a little truth to their jabs. I wonder if the Apostles ever got that kind of criticism?I can hear it now “Paul, if you wouldn’t preach so long, we could have beat the pagans to the marketplace for lunch!”.All joking aside, in our reading today we do have an example of a lesson that lasted till midnight.While Paul was preaching, I am confident that Eutychus was doing his best to hear every word.However, at the same time, I am sure he had to get up and go to work the next morning and was tired after a long day.It would have been natural for him to b…

“The Weight of the World”

BIBLE READING: Romans 14-16 DISCUSSION Just a few days ago I witnessed an object lesson that I will never forget.Jordan Abrams was speaking in high school chapel at Mars Hill Bible School on the subject of working together.He took a concrete block and held it over an egg and asked the question “what will happen if I set this block on this egg?”Of course, the response was “Crush it!”.He then attempted to gently lay the block onto the egg and of course it did crush the egg.However, when he placed four eggs with a plastic bottle top on each of them, together they were able to hold the block securely without crushing them.It was an amazing object lesson that I will not soon forget.The point was, in working together we will be able to handle the pressures that come along in our daily Christian walk.Paul alludes to this idea in Romans 15 when he writes “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak…” (Romans 15.1).The Bible refers to us as a family, because that i…

“Learning Something New”

BIBLE READING: Romans 11-13 DISCUSSION It is a blessing to be able to study the Bible for a living.Of course, I would study it even if I wasn’t paid too, but being a minister enables me the luxury of having more time to dedicate to studying the Word.However, along with that also comes the danger of thinking that you know everything there is to know about that subject or passage.That sounds very arrogant for someone to ever feel that way, but it is very dangerous and happens a lot more often than you might think.In fact, you may have done it as well!You begin to read a passage that is very familiar to you, for example John 3.16.Before you know it, you’ve read over it so quickly thinking you already know that verse and move on to something else.See, it is so easy it can happen to anyone!That is why passages like Romans 11.33-36 are so valuable for us to read over often.Paul says, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscr…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Romans 8-10

“Rejoice in What?!?”

BIBLE READING: Acts 20. 1-3, Romans 4-7 DISCUSSION There are many occasions in our lives that give us reason to rejoice.The birth of a child, a promotion at work, obedience to the Gospel. These are all occasions in which rejoicing would be the perfectly acceptable expression of our feelings.Paul, however, gives us a most unusual reason to rejoice; our sufferings.That is right! Paul says that we have reason to rejoice because of our sufferings (Romans 5.2).The reason we can rejoice is not because of the pain that is associated with our suffering, but because of what the suffering produces… patience.Let me give you a few examples: a mother can rejoice over the suffering that is associated with giving birth because of the child it produces.An athlete can rejoice in the pain of the practice, because of the feeling that comes with a victory.You see, in a lot of cases the blessing that we receive comes from the pain in which we must bear.That is what Paul is trying to teach the church at Rome…

“The Righteousness of God ”

BIBLE READING: Acts 20. 1-3, Romans 1-3 DISCUSSION The term “righteousness” means “the character or quality of being right or just".In most cases, it is used to describe the way a Godly person is expected to live.However, in this reading for today Paul uses it to describe God’s righteousness.I think we can all agree that God is the very definition of being right, but how is God’s righteousness expressed in our lives?We know that God has expressed His righteousness by giving us grace, mercy and every other blessing that we have received from Him, but did you know that you can reveal God’s righteousness?Is it possible for a mere mortal to be able to manifest the righteousness of God? Notice what Paul says in his letter to the Romans, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it--the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe…” (Romans 3:21-22). The righteousness of God is man…

“The Difficulties of being a Christian”

BIBLE READING: 2 Corinthians 10-13 DISCUSSION You did it again didn’t you?Just when you think that you are making progress, you slip right back into your old self and sin again.We try to make ourselves feel better by saying things like “everybody does it”, or “I can’t be perfect anyway”, but the truth is you are still a sinner.It is hard isn’t it?I mean, Satan knows what He is doing, and the world today just isn’t what it used to be; it is just so hard trying to be a Christian in today’s world.Is it though?I know that we do face so many temptations, and Satan is clever, but this world was never meant to be easy for a Christian to live in.Even Paul dealt with his struggles, “Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one--I am talking like a madman--with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was…