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

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

Monday - Christ Died for Us - I John 3:11-17 - 2/27/17

We must love other Christians.

Cain destroyed his brother Abel when God accepted Abel's offering & not Cain's (Genesis 4:1-16). People who are morally upright expose & shame those who aren't. If we live for God, the world will often hate us because we make them painfully aware of their immoral way of living.


John echoes Jesus' words that one who hates another person is a destroyer at heart (Matthew 5:21,22). Christianity is a religion of the heart; outward compliance alone is not you is an evil cancer within you & will eventually destroy you. Don't let a "root of bitterness" (Hebrews 12:15) grow in you or your church.


Real love is an action, not a feeling. Sometimes it is easier to say we'll die for others than to truly live for them, which involves putting others' desires first.


Christians must show their love, & one way to do that is to provide money or material possession to help others' needs. How clearly do your actions say you really love others?

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

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sunday - The Source of All Love - I John 4:7-19 - 3/5/17

In reality, love is a choice & an action. God is the source of our love: he loved is enough to sacrifice his son for us. Jesus is our example of what it means to love; everything he did in life & death was supremely loving. The Holy Spirit gives us power to love; he lives in our hearts & makes more & more like Jesus. God's love always involves a choice & an action, & our love should be like his.


The world thinks love is what make you feel good, & it is willing to sacrifice moral principles & others' rights in order to obtain such "love." Our definition of love must come from God who is holy, just, & perfect. At the same time, if we truly know God, we must learn to love as he does.


"Only begotten" means God's unique Son.


Love explains (1) why God creates; (2) why God cares; (3) whey we are free to choose; (4) why Christ died; & (5) why we receive eternal life.


Nothing sinful or evil can exist in God's presence. He cannot overlook, condone, or excuse sin as if it never happened. We can be acquitted (Romans 5:18) by his atoning sacrifice ("propitiation").


Jesus is the complete expression of God in human form & he has revealed God to us. When we love one another, the invisible God reveals himself to others through us, & his love is made complete ("perfect").


John isn't telling us how many people to love, but how much to love the people we already know. Our job is to faithfully love the people God has given us to love, whether there are two or two hundred of them. If God sees we are ready to love others, he will bring them to us. God provides us the strength to do what he asks.


When we become Christians, we receive the Holy Spirit. God's presence in our lives is a proof that we really belong to him & gives us the power to love. If you lack assurance of your salvation, listen to the Holy Spirit within you (Romans 8:16).


The day of judgment is that final day when we will appear before Christ & be held accountable for our actions. We can look forward to the judgment, because it will mean the end of sin & the beginning of a face-to-face relationship with Jesus Christ.


If we ever begin to dear eternity, heaven, or God's judgment, we can remind ourselves of God's love. We can be confident of what lies ahead if in this life we have determined to be more like Jesus.


God's love is the source of all human love, & it spreads like fire. In turn, they love others, who are warmed by God's love through them.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday - Christ Creates Holy Living - Galatians 5:18-6:10 - 2/26/17

Live each day controlled & guided by the Holy Spirit. Then the words of Christ will be in your mind, the love of Christ in your actions, & the power of Christ will help you control your selfish desires.


In order for us to follow the Holy Spirit's guidance, we must deal with them decisively (crucify them). These desires include obvious sins such as sexual immorality & witchcraft.


The Spirit produces character traits, which are found in the nature of Christ. The result will be that we will fulfill the intended purpose of the Law - loving God & man. Which of these qualities do you desire to produce in you?


Because the God who sent the Law also sent the Spirit, the by-products of the Spirit-filled life are in perfect harmony with the intent of God's Law.


When you do your very best, you feel good about the results & there is no need to compare yourself with others. When you are tempted to compare look at Jesus Christ. His example will inspire you to do your very best, & his loving acceptance will comfort you when you fall short of your goals.


It would be certainly be a surprise if you planted corn in the ground & pumpkins came up. Every actions has results. If you plant to please your own desires ("soweth to the flesh"), you'll reap a crop of sorrow & evil; if you plant to please God you'll reap joy & everlasting life.


It is discouraging to continue to do right & receive no word of thanks or see no tangible results. In due time, we will reap a harvest of blessing.

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

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday - Support Ministers Generously - I Corinthians 9:3-12 - 2/25/17

The apostle Paul used himself as an illustration of giving up personal rights. The apostle Paul had the right to hospitality, to be married to bring guests, to be paid for his work; but he willingly gave up these rights to win people to Christ. When your focus is on living for Christ, your rights become comparatively unimportant.


Jesus said that workers are worthy of their pay (Luke 10:7). The apostle Paul echoed this thought & urged the church to be sure to pay their Christian workers. We have the responsibility to care for our pastors, teachers, & other spiritual leaders. It is our duty to see that those who serve us in the ministry are fairly & adequately compensated.

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday - Practice Mutal Discipline - Matthew 18:15-20 - 2/24/17

These are Jesus' guidelines for dealing with those who sin against us. Jesus' words are not a license for a frontal attack on every person who hurts or slights us. They are designed to reconcile those who disagree so that all Christians can live in harmony.

By contrast, we should go to the person first, as difficult as that may be. Then we should forgive that person as often as he or she needs it.


Ideally, the church's decisions should be God-guided & based on discernment of his Word. Handling problems God's way will have an impact now & for eternity.


Jesus looks ahead to a new day when he will be present with his followers not in body, but through his Holy Spirit. Two or more believers, filled with the Holy Ghost, will pray according to God's will, not their own; & thus their requests will be granted.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thursday - Wholeness by Prayer & Action - James 5:13-20 - 2/23/17

James refers to someone who is incapacitated physically. Thus oil can represent both the medical & the spiritual spheres of life. Jesus Christ is Lord over both the body & the spirit.


The elders should be on call to respond to the illness of any members & the church should stay alert to pray for the needs of all its members.


"And the prayer of faith," does not refer to the faith of the sick person, but to the faith of the church. God heals, faith doesn't, & all prayers are subject to God's will. That is why God often waits for our prayers of faith before intervening to heal a person.


"Confess your faults" can be translated "Confess your sins." Christ has made it possible for us to go directly to God for forgiveness, but confessing our sins to one another still has an important place in the life of the church. In Christ's Kingdom, every believer is a priest to other believers. We must help others come to Christ & tell them of Christ's forgiveness.


The Christian's most powerful resource is communion with God through prayer. Since God's power is infinitely greater than our own, it only makes sense to rely on it - especially because he encourages us to do so.


For more about the great prophet Elijah (Elias), read his Profile in I Kings 18.


Clearly the person who has slipped away is a believer who has fallen into sin - one who is no longer living a life consistent with his belief. Christians disagree over whether or not it is possible for people to lose their salvation, but all agree that those who move away from their faith are in serious trouble & need to repent. James urges Christians to help backsliders return to God. By taking the initiative, praying for the person, & acting in love, we can meet the person where he is & bring him back to God.


The book of James emphasizes faith in action. Right living is the evidence of result of faith. The church must serve with compassion, speak lovingly & truthfully, live in obedient to God's commands, & love one another. The body of believers ought to be an example of heaven on earth, drawing people to Christ through love for God & one another. If we truly believe God's Word, we will live it day by day. God's Word is not merely something we read or think about, but something we do. Belief, faith & trust must have hands & feet - ours!

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