Translate

Showing posts with label Sunday School Lesson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sunday School Lesson. Show all posts

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sunday - Called To Break Down Barriers - Acts 8:26-39 - 8/13/17

Cross-cultural(ethnic) evangelism(teaching)

The Ethiopian eunuch and Philip the evangelist.

Ethiopian eunuch ... He was an unnamed person who was returning to his homeland after having been to Jerusalem to worship. He was an official in the court of the queen of Ethiopia (today Ethiopia is Northern Sudan). As he traveled, he met Philip the evangelist. Philip had come to the desert area in response t God's call. Philip declared the gospel to the eunuch, and the eunuch received Christian baptism at Philip's hands. His conversion illustrates the Christian faith transcending national boundaries and embracing one whose physical mutilation would have excluded him from full participation in Judaism.

Candance - In Acts 8:27 the queen of Ethiopia whose servant became a believer in Christ and was baptized by Philip. The title was used by several queens of Ethiopia.

Philip was sent by God to Azotus, an ancient Philistine capital, to another ethnic group that needed to hear the gospel (Acts 8:40).

Azotus (Ashdod) is one of the principal cities of the Philistines, where the Philistines defeated Israel and captured the ark of the covenant.

The Ark of the Covenant is the original container, for the 10 Commandments and the central symbol of God's presence with the people of Israel.

Ethiopian at this time meant "Nubian." The Ethiopian eunuch was reading out loud to himself. In the book of Isaiah the early Christians found many prophecies of Christ; Isaiah 53:7-8 deals with the servant of the Lord.

Philip had a successful preaching ministry to great crowds in Samaria, but he obediently left that ministry to go to a dessert road. Because Philip went where God sent him. Ethiopia was open to the Gospel. You may not understand God's plan at first, but the results will prove that God's way is always right.

Ethiopia was located in Africa, south of Egypt. The eunuch was obviously very dedicated to God because he had traveled such a long distance to worship in Jerusalem. The Jews had contact with Ethiopia in ancient days. Because he was the treasurer of Ethiopia, his conversion brought Christianity into the power structures of another government. This is the beginning of the witness "to the uttermost part of the earth."

Philip found the Ethiopian man reading the Scriptures, Philip (1) followed the Spirit's leading, (2) began the discussion from where the man was (immersed in the prophecies of Isaiah), and (3) explained how Jesus Christ fulfilled Isaiah's prophecies.

The eunuch begged Philip to explain a passage of Scripture which he did not understand. When we do not understand the Bible, we should ask others to help us. We must never let our insecurity or pride get in the way of understanding God's Word.

Some think that the Old Testament is not relevant today, but Philip led this man to faith in Jesus Christ by using the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is found in the pages of both the Old and New Testament. Don't avoid or neglect to use the Old Testament, it too is God's Word.

Philip was suddenly transported to another city miraculous because of the urgency of bringing the Gentiles to belief in Christ.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Bible Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL; The New Annotated Bible with The Apocrypha Expanded Edition, RSV and Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Monday, August 7, 2017

Sunday - Called To Witness - Acts 6:1-7 - 8/6/17

When we read the descriptions of the early church - the miracles, the sharing and generosity - we may wish we could have been a part of this "perfect" church. No church has ever been or will ever be perfect until Christ and his followers are united at his Second Coming. All churches have problems. Do what you can to make your church better.

The twelve are the original disciples and Matthias, who was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:26).

As the early church increased in size, so did their needs. One was to organize the distribution of food to the poor. Each person has a necessary part to play in the life of the church (1 Corinthians 12). If you are not in leadership, you have gifts that can be used by God in various areas of the church's mission. Offer these gifts in service to him.

This administrative task was not to be taken lightly. Notice the requirements for the men who were to handle the feeding program: (1) good, with reputations for being honest, (2) full of the Holy Spirit, and (3) wise. We must look for honest, spiritually mature, d wise men and women to lead our churches.

Pastors should never try, or be expected, to do everything. Instead, the work of the church should be spread out among its members.

Spiritual leadership is serious business and must not be taken lightly by the church or the leaders. In the early church, the chosen men were commissioned (set apart by prayer and laying on of hands) by the apostles.

1 Timothy 4:14 (Instructions for elders. Paul gives guidelines for teaching). Timothy was a young pastor. Timothy's commission as a church leader was confirmed by prophecy (1 Timothy 1:18) and by laying on of hands by the elders of the church.

1 Timothy 3:10-13 ... Deacons means "one who serves." This position was begun by the apostles in the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:1-6) to care for the physical needs of the congregation, especially the needs of the Greek-speaking widows. Deacons were leaders in the church and their qualifications resemble those of the elders (bishops) in some churches today. Paul says men are to be tested with lesser responsibilities before being made deacons.

Some have translated wives as "women helpers" or "deaconesses." Paul expects the behavior of prominent women in the church to be just as responsible and blameless as that of prominent men. Phebe, the deaconess was mentioned in Romans !6:1.

Jesus had told the apostles that they were to witness first in Jerusalem (Acts 1:8). In a short time, their message had infiltrated the entire city and all levels of society.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible, KJV; Tyndale Publishers, Inc.,; Wheaton, IL

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday - Amos Call - Amos 7:10-17 -7/30/17

Amos was an herdman/shepherd and farmer before the Lord called him to be a prophet.

Amaziah was a chief priest that led the children of Israel into idolatry.

Amos was called by the Lord to do something that he was not trained to do. Once God calls you he qualifies you. Training is helpful, but the calling on your life from God is what keeps you going when others and everything is against you.

God protects his servants who will obey and work faithfully. The servant of God, must trust and obey, expecting God's next direction.

Amos' response to Amaziah was full of doom.

Amaziah thought Amos was a prophet for the money. Amaziah told Amos that he could earn a comfortable income in Judah. Amaziah told Amos to flee to Judah for his own safety.

Amaziah was not concerned about hearing God's message; he was only worried about his own position. Don't let anything come between you and obeying God.

Are you obeying God's word? Without any special preparation, education, or upbringing, Amos obeyed God's call to "go prophesy unto his people Israel."

Amaziah was the official priest of the royal sanctuary at Bethel.

Not only would the Israelities be taken into exile, but Amaziah's own wife would be a harlot and his sons and daughters would be destroyed.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha Expanded Edition RSV and The Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale Publishers INC., Wheaton, IL

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday - Ezekiel's Call - Ezekiel 3:1-11 - 7/23/17

Ezekiel was a priest by training, a prophet by God's call.

Ezekiel received vivid visions and delivered powerful messages.

Ezekiel served as God's messenger during Israel's captivity in Babylon.

God shaped Ezekiel character to fit his mission - a tough and stalwart man to reach a hard and stubborn people (Ezekiel 3:8).

In Ezekiel's vision, he ate God's message and found the spiritual food not only good for him, but also sweet as honey. If you "digest" God's Word, you will find that not only does it make you stronger in your faith, but its wisdom sweetens your life. You need to feed yourself spiritually just as you do physically. You must make digesting God's Word a regular part of your life.

God makes his followers strong enough to stand against anything or anyone, including those who hate what is right. Just as God gave Ezekiel tough love (a strong face) and tough faith (a hard forehead), he wants to give you stability, perseverance and insight you need to live up to the great task he has given you. Give yourself over to God's conditioning, and let him get your life in shape.

Ezekiel was to receive God's words in his heart before preaching them to others. God's message must sink deep into your heart and show in your actions before you can effectively help others understand and apply it.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible, KJV; Tyndale Publishers Inc.; Wheaton, IL

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sunday - Jeremiah's Call and Commission - Jeremiah 1:4-10 - 7/16/17

God knew you, as he knew Jeremiah, long before you were born or even conceived. He knew you, thought about you, and planned for you. When you feel discouraged or inadequate, remember that God has always thought of you as valuable and has had a purpose in mind for you.

Each Christian has a purpose in life, but some are appointed by God for a specific kind of work. Samson, John the Baptist, and Paul were each called to do a particular job for God. If God gives you a specific task, accept it cheerful and do it with excellence. If God has not given you a specific assignment, then seek to fulfill the mission common to all believers - love, obey, and serve God - until such time as his guidance becomes more clear.

Often people struggle with new challenges because they lack self-confidence. They feel they have inadequate ability, training or experience. Jeremiah thought he was too young and inexperience to be God's spokesman to the world. But God promised to be with him. We must never allow feelings of inadequacy to keep us from obeying God's call. He will always be with us. If God gives you a job to do, he will provide all you need to do it.

God's message to Jeremiah was like his message to Moses: the God who made our mouths can provide the words he wants us to speak.

Jeremiah predicted that after the destruction of the nation, God would send a new Shepherd, the Messiah.

God still restores his people by renewing their hearts. We can have assurance of a new heart by loving God, trusting Christ to save us, and repenting of our sin.

Jeremiah served God faithfully for 40 years. During that time the people ignored, rejected, and persecuted him. He remained faithful to God.

People's acceptance or rejection of us is not the measure of our success. God's approval alone should be our standard for service. We must bring God's message to others when we are rejected.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible, KJV; Tyndale Publishers Inc; Wheaton, IL

Sunday - Isaiah in the Temple - Isaiah 6:1-8 - 7/9/17

Isaiah was considered the greatest Old Testament prophet. He had powerful messages of both judgment and hope.

God is purely and perfectly holy, and just, and loving.

In Jerusalem - Isaiah was a Scribe and Prophet.

King Uzziah died of leprosy for trying to take over the High Priest's duties. Although he was generally a good king and his reign was long and prosperous, many of his people turned away from God.

The lofty throne, the attending angels, and the threefold holy all stressed God holiness. We need to rediscover God holiness. We need the Bible's view of God as high and lifted us out of our problems and concerns.

Isaiah's vision was his call to be God's messenger to his people. Isaiah was given a difficult mission. He had to tell people who believed they were blessed by God that God was going to destroy them because of their disobedience.

The seraphims are an order of angelic beings created by God. Here they functioned as God's agents in commissioning Isaiah. Isaiah could understand them when they spoke to him and when they praised God. They were awe-inspiring and powerful creatures - their singing shook the Temple!

Listening to the praise of the angels, Isaiah realized he was common and unclean before God, with no hope of measuring up to God's standard of holiness. When his lips were touched with a burning coal, however, he was told his sins were forgiven. It wasn't the coal that cleansed him, but God. No matter how difficult his task would be, he said, "Here am I; send me." Before we accept God's call to speak for him to those around us, we must be cleansed as Isaiah was. Letting God purify us may be painful, but we must be purified so that we can truly represent God, who is pure and holy.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible; KJV, Tyndale Bible Publishers, Wheaton, IL

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday - Samson's Call - Judges 13:1-7, 24-25 - 6/25/17

The Philistines lived on the west side of Canaan, along the Mediterranean seacoast. From Samson's day until the time of David they were the major enemy force in the land & a constant threat to Israel. The Philistines were fierce warriors; they had the advantage over Israel in numbers, tactical expertise, & technology. They knew the secret of making weapons out of iron. But none of that mattered when God was fighting for Israel.

Once again the cycle of sin, judgment, & repentance began. The Israelites would not turn to God unless they had been stunned by suffering, oppression, & death. This suffered was not caused by God, but resulted from the fact that the people ignored God, their Judge & Ruler. The warnings in God's Word are clear; if we continue to harden our hearts against God, we can expect the same fate as Israel.

The angel of the Lord could have been a special divine messenger sent from God or a pre-incarnation appearance of Jesus Christ. The reason for the angel's visit was to give Samson's parents the vital news that Samson would begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.

Samson was to be a Nazarite - a person who took a vow to be set apart for God's service. Samson's parents made the vow for him. A Nazarite vow was sometimes for him. A Nazarite vow was sometimes temporary, but in Samson's case, it was for life. As a Nazarite, Samson could not cut his hair, touch a dead body, or drink anything containing alcohol.

Although Samson often used poor judgment & sinned terribly, he accomplished much when he determined to be set apart for God. In this way he was like the nation Israel. As long as the Israelites remained set apart for God, the nation thrived. But they into terrible sin when they ignored God.

Manoah's wife was told that her son would begin to rescue the Israelites from Philistine oppression. It wasn't until David's day that the Philistine opposition was completely crushed. Samson's part in subduing the Philistines was just the beginning, but it was important nonetheless. It was the task God had given Samson to do. Be faithful in following God even if you don't see instant results, because you might be beginning an important job that others will finish.

Samson's tribe, Dan, continued to wander in their inherited land, which was yet unconquered. Samson must have grown up with his warlike tribe's yearnings for a permanent & settled territory. Thus his visits to the tribal army camp stirred his heart, & God's Spirit began preparing him for his role as judge & leader against the Philistines.

God uses a variety of means to develop & prepare us: hereditary traits, environmental influences, & personal experiences. As with Samson, this preparation often begins long before adulthood. Work at being sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading & the tasks God has prepared for you. Your past may be more useful to you than you imagine.

Samson's Ventures: He grew up in Zorah & wanted to marry a Philistine girl from Timnah (Timnath). Tricked at his own wedding feast, he went to Ashkelon & killed some Philistine men & stole their coats to pay off a bet. Samson then let himself be captured & brought to Lehi where he snapped his ropes & killed 1,000 people.

Reference summary used from Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday - Jephthah Answers The Call - Judges 11:4-11,29-31 - 6/18/17

Jephthah (Personal name meaning "he will open." One of Israel's judges about 1100 B.C. (Judges 11:1-12:7). A Gileadite, he was driven from his home because he was "the son of a harlot" (Judges 11:1). He lived & raided in the land of Tob with a band of outlaws, becoming known as a "mighty warrior." When the Ammonites moved against Israel, Jephthah people asked him to return & lead them. His victory over the Ammonites came about after a vow he made to offer as a burnt offering the first living thing he saw upon his return from battle. Although it was his daughter who greeted him, Jephthah did fulfill his rash vow. Considering as one of Yahweh's "chief" deliverers of His people (1 Samuel 12:11), Jephthah is hailed by the author of Hebrews, as a hero of faith (Hebrews 11:32).

For further study of the lesson "Google" Ammon; Ammonites; Human Sacrifices; Book of Judges.

Reference summary used from the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, @2003 by Holman Bible Publishers; Nashville, TN

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sunday - Deborah & Barak - Judges 4:1-10 - 6/4/17

The Bible records few women in national leadership positions, but Deborah was the best person for the job, & God chose her to lead Israel. God can choose anyone to lead his people, young or old, man or woman. Don't let your prejudices get in the way of those God may have chosen to lead you.

We don't know Barak's character, but we see the character of a great leader in Deborah, who took charge as God directed. Deborah told Barak that God would be with him in battle, but that was not enough for Barak. He wanted Deborah to go with him. Barak request shows that at heart he trusted human strength more than God's promise. A person of real faith steps out at God's command even if he or she must do so alone.

She was responsible for leading the people into battle, but more than that, she influenced them to live for God after the battle was over. Her personality drew people together & commanded the respect of even Barak, a military general. She was also a prophetess, whose main role was to encourage the people to obey God. Those who lead must not forget about the spiritual condition of those being led. A true leader is concerned for persons, not just success.

Israel's sin was not only "in the sight of the Lord"; it was also against the Lord. Our sins harm both ourselves & others, But all sin is ultimately against God because it disregards his commands & his authority over our lives. When confessing his sin David prayed, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned & done this evil in thy sight" (Psalm 51:4). Recognizing the seriousness of sin may be the first step toward removing it from our lives.

This is the only time during the period of the judges when the Israelites' enemies came from within their land. The Israelites had failed to drive out all the Canaanites, & they had regrouped & were attempting to restore their lost power. If the Israelites had obeyed God in the first place & driven the Canaanites from the land, this incident would not have happened.

Chariots were the tanks of the ancient world. Made of iron or wood, they were pulled by one or two horses & were the most feared & powerful weapons of the day. Some chariots even had razor sharp knives extending from the wheels designed to mutilate helpless foot soliders. The Canaanite army had 900 iron chariots. It was not within Israel's power to defeat such an invincible army. With such power Jabin & Sisera had no problem oppressing the people - until a faithful woman named Deborah called upon God.

After 20 years of unbearable circumstances, the Israelites finally turned to God for help. But God should be the first place we turn when we are facing struggles or dilemmas. The Israelites did things their way & got into a mess. We often do the same thing. Trying to control our own lives without God's help often leads to struggle & confusion. By contrast, when we stay in daily contact with God, we are less likely to create painful circumstances for ourselves. This is a lesson the Israelites never fully learned. When struggles come our way, God wants us to seek him first, giving him top priority in our lives.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Bible Publishers, Wheaton, IL

Monday, May 29, 2017

Sunday - God's Love for Nineveh - Jonah 3 - 5/21/17

Jonah's second call to preach to Nineveh, although reluctantly & grudgingly obeyed, results in the wholesale conversion of the heathen city. Exceedingly great city; excavations have revealed a city about three miles in length & somewhat less than one & one-half miles wide. The message of the story, not the size of the city, is of primary import.

Again Jonah is a successful missionary in spite of himself. Sackcloth & ashes, traditional signs of mourning & repentance. The pagan king sets a better4 example than Jonah. Repentance & deliverance are themes, dominating the story of Jonah & its use in the New Testament.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with The Apocrypha Expanded Edition, An Ecumenical Study Bible, RSV

Sunday - God's Pervasive Love - Jonah 4:1-11 - 5/28/17

Pervasive: Having power or tendency to persuade. To win to full belief. Plead or argue with.

Why did Jonah become angry when God spared Nineveh? The Jews did not want to share God's message with Gentile nations in Jonah's day. Jonah thought God should not freely give his salvation to a wicked heathen nation.

Jonah was angry that God had spared Nineveh. How much better it would have been if he had rejoiced that sinners had repented (Luke 15:10).

Jonah reveals the reason for his reluctance to go to Nineveh (Jonah 1:3). He didn't want the Ninevites forgiven, he wanted them destroyed. We must not forget that, in reality, we do not deserve to be forgiven by God.

Johan had run from the job of delivering God's message of destruction to Nineveh (Jonah 1:2,3); now he wanted to die because the destruction wouldn't happen. How quickly Jonah had forgotten God's mercy on him when he was in the fish (Jonah 2:9,10). He was happy when God saved him, but angry when Nineveh was saved. God's forgiveness was not only for Jonah or for Israel alone, & extends to all who repent & believe.

God ministered tenderly to Jonah just as he did to Nineveh & to Israel & just as he does to us. If we will obey God's Word he will gently lead us.

Jonah was angry at the death of the plant, but not over what could have happened to Nineveh. How easy it is to be more sensitive to our own interests than to the spiritual needs of people around us.

God feels compassion for the sinners we want judged. What is your attitude toward those who are especially wicked? Do you wish that they could experience God's mercy & forgiveness?

God spared the sailors when they pleaded for mercy. God saved the people of Nineveh when they responded to Jonah's preaching. God answers the prayers of those who call upon him. We can be saved if we heed God's warnings to us through his Word. If we respond in obedience, he will be gracious, & we will receive his mercy, not his judgment.

Reference summary used from Life Application Bible, KJV Bible, Tyndale Publishers, Wheaton, IL

Friday, April 28, 2017

4/24;4/27; &4:28/17 - Daily Sunday School Readings - Sheep & Shepherd

4/24/17 - Tuesday - God Will Rescue the Endangered Sheep- Ezekiel 34:1-10

The shepherds of Israel. The shepherd (kings) had misused the people and scattered them. This oracle applies to doctrine of individuals responsibilities to the rulers, who are also subject to God's laws. Wild beasts, Judah's attackers, especially especially Babylonia.


4/27/17 - Thursday - Pastor's Shepherd the Church of God - Acts 20:25-28

Accomplish my course ... testify, a premonition of marytdom. Overseers, Greek "bishops" the elders of verse 17. The Bishop is a Shepherd.


4/28/17 - Friday - Pastor, Tend My Sheep - John 21:15-19

The triple question is reminiscent of Peter's triple denial. According to tradition. Peter was marytdom under Nero under Nero of Rome. Each is to follow his LORD, regardless of others. Until Jesus come the second come.

Reference summary coming from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with The Apocrpypha Expanded Edition, An Ecumenical Study Bible, RSV

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sunday - God's Reconciling Love - Romans 5:6-11; 8:31-39 - 4/23/17

Christ in his death has borne the consequences of our sin & thus reconciled us to God. Note that the apostle Paul never speaks of a reconciliation of God to us; it is we who were estranged. Being now justified (& reconciled) by Christ's death, we shall ... be saved in the final Judgment by his life, through our participation in his present life as the risen Lord. Now, under the gospel.


Our confidence in God. To be a Christian in the first century was both difficult & dangerous. Neither death, nor life, whether we live or die we shall not be separated. Angels ... principalities ... powers are supernatural beings, whether evil or good, & or various ranks. Height & depth, the highest point to which the stars rise & the abyss (A deep crack or gap in the earth earth) out of which they were thought to to ascend; no supposed astrological power can separate us from Christ or defeat God's purpose for us.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha Expanded Edition,An Ecumenical Study Bible, RSV

Friday, April 21, 2017

Wednesday - Grace Abounded through Jesus Christ - Romans 5:18-21 - 4/19/17

Acquittal and life for all followed upon Christ's perfect obedience. Law ... to increase the trespass, this is explained in 7:7-13.


Romans 7:7-13: The law & sin. Though the law is holy ... and good, it not only makes man conscious of sin (Galatians 3:19), but also incites to sin (coveteousness; compare Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21). Probably a reminiscence of a thoughtless, carefree boyhood brought to an end (death) by the dawning sense of moral obligation & guilt. The real enemy is sin, which uses even what is good (the law) to make a man more sinful than he would otherwise be.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha Expanded Edition, An Ecumenical Study Bible, RSV

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday - Fruit of Justification by Faith - Romans 5:1-5 - 4/18/17

Consequences of justification. 1:1-5: When we rely utterly upon God's grace and not at all upon ourselves, we have peace, reconciliation, or a state of harmony with God. Hope of ... the glory of God, though we had fallen short of the glorious destiny God intended for us, we now find ourselves confidently expecting it.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with The Apocrypha Expanded Edition, An Ecumenical Study Bible, RSV

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Leading Up to Victory Over Death - Monday through Sunday - 4/16/17

John 19:31-37 ... Monday: High day, especially holy since it fell on the Passover. Blood & water indicate the reality of Jesus' humanity & perhaps the new covenant & baptism. Jesus fulfills the passover.


I John 5:6-12 ... Tuesday: The Spirit's witness to the water (Jesus' baptism) & to the blood (the cross). Eternal life is in (living union with) Jesus, God's Son, & nowhere else.


Psalm/Tehillim 34:15-20 ... Wednesday: The Lord Breaks No Bones (None of Jesus Bones was Broken)


John 19:23-25 ... Thursday: A Roman Custom. Providence controlled even the soliders' behavior.


John 19:26-27 ... Friday: Indicates Jesus' real humanity & concern for human values.


Luke 24:1-12 ... The first Resurrection ... Saturday: Suggests that Jesus' disciples as a group often included others than those of the inner circle.


John 20:1-10 ... Sunday: Resurrection Day - The first day, Sunday. The empty tomb indicates actual resurrection, not mere immortality. The other disciples was younger. Peter shows characteristic boldness. Jesus body escaped without the linen cloths being unwound. The napkin which had been wrapped about his head, lay apart, still rolled up. Believed, faith grasped the evidence that Jesus had not been resuscitated from a swoon, or stolen; he had been transformed without corruption into his resurrection body. The title, Teacher, & Mary's effort to hold (cling to) him, were to be abandoned for the new relation with him as the ascended Lord.


Monday - Jesus' Side is Pierced - John 19:31-37 - 4/10/17

Tuesday - The Spirit, Water, & Blood Agree - I John 5:6-12 - 4/11/17

Wednesday - The Lord Breaks No Bones - Psalm/Tehillim 34:15-20 -4/12/17

Thursday - Soliders Casts Lots for Jesus' Clothing - John 19:23-25 -4/13/17

Friday - Jesus' Final Words to His Mother - John 19:26-27 -4/14/17

Saturday - The Women & Peter were Amazed - Luke 24:1-12 - 4/15/17

Sunday - God's Love as Victory Over Death - John 20:1-10

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha Expanded Edition, An Ecumenical Study Bible, RSV

Saturday, April 1, 2017

God as our Shepherd - Psalm/Tehillim 23 - April 2, 2017

An expression of confidence in God's protection (a song of trust). The LORD is compared to a shepherd. Soul means vitality, life. Path of righteousness, or "of rightness," that is, right paths which suits the context better. Shadow of death is the reading of the scribes, but "deep darkness" is the better rendering; where the same Hebrew expression occurs. The LORD is compared to a gracious host. Dwell in house of the LORD means to worship in the temple. For ever, Hebrew "for length of days," meaning as long as I live.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. At night, sheep were often gathered into a sheepfold to protect them from thieves, weather, or wild animals. The sheepfolds were caves, sheds, or open areas surrounded by walls made of stones or branches. The sheepfold often slept in the fold to protect the sheep. Just as a shepherd cares for his sheep, Jesus the Good Shepherd, cares for his flock (those who follow him). The prophet Ezekiel, in predicting the coming of the Messiah, called him a Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23).

The life that Jesus gives is abundantly richer & fuller. It is eternal, yet is begins immediately. Life in him is lived on a higher plain because of his overflowing forgiveness, love, & guidance.

A hired man tends the sheep for money, while the shepherd does it for love. The shepherd owns the sheep & is committed to them. Jesus is not merely doing a job, he is committed to love us & even lay down his life for us. False teachers & false prophets do not have this commitment.

The "other sheep" were non-Jews. Jesus came to save Gentiles as well as Jews. This is an insight into his worldwide mission-to die for the sins of the whole world.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with The Apocrypha Expanded Edition RSV & The Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday - God's Love Manifest - John 15:1-17 - 3/19/17

The grapevine is a profilic plant: a single vine bears many grapes. In the Old Testament grapes symbolized Israel's fruitfulness in doing God's work on the earth. In the Passover meal, the fruit of the vine symbolized, God's goodness to His people.


Christ is the vine, & God is the husbandman who cares for the branches to make them fruitful. The branches are all who claim to be followers of Christ. The fruitful branches are true believers who by their living union with followers are as good as dead & will be cut off & cast aside.


Jesus makes a distinction between two kinds of pruning (1) separating & (2) cutting back branches. Fruitful branches are cut back to promote growth. God must sometimes discipline us to strength our character & faith. But branches that don't bear fruit are cut off at the trunk, because not only are they worthless, they often infect the rest of the tree.


Prayer, joy, & soul-winning are also fruit.


Abiding in Christ means (1) believing he is God's Son (2) receiving Him as Saviour (3) doing what God says (4) continuing in faith (5) & relating to the community of believers. Christ's body Jesus says to only live a truly good life is to stay close to him, like a branch attached to the vine. Apart from him our efforts are unfruitful.


When a vine bears "much fruit," God is glorified, for daily He sent the sunshine & rain to make the crops grow, & constantly be nurtured each tiny plant & prepared to blossomed. What a moment of glory for the Lord of the harvest when the harvest is brought into the barns, safe & ready for use! This farming picture shows how God is glorified when people come into a right relationship with him & begin to "bear much fruit" in their lives.


Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ. The joy of living with Jesus Christ daily keeps us levelheaded no matter how high or low our circumstances.


We are to love one another as Jesus loved us, & He loved us enough to give His life for us. Give all the love you can, & then try to give a little more.


Jesus made the first choice --- to love & to die for us; to offer us eternal life. We make the next choice --- to accept or reject His offer. Without His choice, we would have no choice.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale Publishing House, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday - Thankful for God's Steadfast Love - Psalm 40:1-10 - 3/4/17

Waiting for God to help us is not easy, but David received four benefits from waiting: God (1) lifted him out of his despair, (2) set his feet on firm ground, (3) established his goings (steadied him as he walked), & (4) gave him a new song.


The religious ritual of David's day involved sacrificing animals in the Tabernacle. Today we often make rituals of going to church, taking communion, or paying tithe. Make sure you give God the obedience & life-long service he desires from you.


Jesus portrayed this attitude of obeying & serving God (John 4:34;5:30).


God shows his righteousness & faithfulness to his people in his offer of salvation. David boldly proclaimed this to those around him. We want to tell other people what God has done for us. Since it is natural to share a good bargain with others or recommend a skillful doctor, then we should also feel natural sharing what God has done for us.


People who are faithful to us accept & love us, even when we are unloveable. Faithful people keep their promises whether promises of support or marriage vows. He loves us in spite of our constant bent toward sin, & he keeps all his promises he has made to us, even when we break our promises to him.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Friday - Loving God & Brothers & Sisters - I John 4:20-5:5 - 3/3/17

It is easy to say we love God when it doesn't cost us anything more than weekly attendance at religious services. But the real test of our love for God is how we treat the people right in front of us - our family members & fellow believers. We cannot truly love God while neglecting to love those who are created in his image.


When we become Christians we become part of God's family, with fellow believers as our brothers & sisters. We are simply called to accept & love them. How well do you treat your fellow family members?


Jesus never promised that obeying him would be easy. The hard work & self-discipline of serving Christ is no burden to those who love him. And if our load starts to feel heavy, we can always trust Christ to help us bear it (see Matthew 11:28-30).

Reference summary is used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois