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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, September 10, 2017

Sunday - Circumcision - Genesis 17:1-14 - 9/10/17

The Lord told Abram, I am the Almighty God, walk before me. He has the same message for us today. We are to obey because he is God - that is reason enough. If you don't think the benefits are worth it, consider who God is - the only one with the power and ability to meet your every need.

Twice before God had mentioned his agreement (Genesis 12 & 15). God was bringing it into focus and preparing to carry it out. He revealed to Abram several specific parts of his covenant. (1) God would give Abram many descendants; (2) many nations would descend from him; (3) God would maintain his covenant with Abram's descendants; (4) God would give Abram's descendants the land of Canaan.

God changed Abram's name to Abraham ("the father of a great multitude") shortly before the promised son was conceived. From this point on the Bible always calls him Abraham.

God was making a covenant, or contract, between himself and Abraham. The terms were simple: Abraham would obey God and circumcise all the males in his household. God's part was to give Abraham heirs, property, power, and wealth. Most contracts are even trades: we give something and in turn receive something of equal value. But when we become part of God's covenant family, the blessings we receive far outweigh what we must give up.

God required circumcision (1) As a sign of obedience to him in all matters. (2) As a sign of belonging to his covenant people. Once circumcised, there was no turning back. The man would be identified as a Jew forever. (3) As a symbol of "cutting off" the old life of sin, purifying one's heart and dedicating oneself to God. (4) Possibly as a health measure.

Circumcision more than any other practice separated God's people from their heathen neighbors. In Abraham's day, this was essential to develop the pure worship of the one true God.

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

Monday, September 4, 2017

Sunday - The Peaceful Kingdom - Isaiah 11:1-9 - 9/3/17

Assyria would be like a tree cut down at the height of its power never to rise again. Judah (the royal line of David) would be like a tree chopped down to a stump. But from that stump a new branch would grow - the Messiah. He would be greater than the original tree and would bear much fruit. The Messiah is the fulfillment of God's promise that a descendant of David would rule forever.

The Messiah is Jesus Christ.

How we long for fair treatment from others, but do we give it? Only Christ can be the perfectly fair judge. Only as he governs our hearts can we learn to be as fair in our treatment of others as we expect others to be toward us.

Judah had become corrupt, and now it was surrounded by hostile foreign powers. The nation desperately needed a revival of righteousness, equity, and faithfulness. They needed to turn from selfishness and show justice to the poor and the oppressed. The righteousness that God values is more than reframing from sin, it is actively turning toward others and offering them the help they need.

It is incredible to think of hostile animals living at peace. It is even more incredible for hostile people to live at peace with one another. And one day the whole world will acknowledge that Christ is Lord.

A golden age is yet to come. Not all of this was fulfilled at Christ's first coming. For example, nature has not returned to its intended balance and harmony.

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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday - Called to Be Inclusive - Acts 10:19-33 - 8/27/17

Inclusive - list is inclusive of all the items.

God prepares Cornelius and Peter.

Leviticus 11 - three times the vision came instructing Peter to break the Jewish food-laws.

Peter goeth to Cornelius.

Acts 10:19 ... While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

Acts 11:12 ... And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:


Acts 10:20 ... Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

Acts 15:7 ... That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.


Acts 10:21 ... Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?


Acts 10:22 ... And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and

Acts 10:1,2 ... (The vision of Cornelius) THERE was a certain man in Cesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band.

A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.

Acts 10:22 ... of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by a holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

Acts 22:12 ... And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,


Acts 10:23 ... Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Acts 10:45 ... And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.


Acts 10:24 ... And the morrow after they entered into Cesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.


Acts 10:25 ... And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.


Acts 10:26 ... But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

Acts 14:14,15 ... Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:


Acts 10:27 ... And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.


Acts 10:28 ... And he said unto them, ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;

Acts 11:3 (Peter accused of consorting with the Gentiles) Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

Acts 10:28 ... but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Acts 15:8,9 ... And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.


Acts 10:29 ... Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?


Acts 10:30 ... And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me

Acts 1:10 ... And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

Acts 10:30 ... in bright clothing

Luke 24:4 ... And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed there about, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:


Acts 10:31 ...And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard

Acts 10:4 ... And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Acts 10:31 ... and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

Hebrews 6:10 ... For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.


Acts 10:32 ... Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh shall speak unto thee.


Acts 10:33 ... Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

Reference summary used from The SouthWestern Co., Publishers & Booksellers; Nashville, TN

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday - Called to Preach - Acts 9:10 - 20 - 8/20/17

(Jesus Calls Saul/Shaul/Paul on Damascus Road - Saturday - 8/19/17)

Paul was an outstanding missionary, theologian, and writer of the early church.

Paul was born in a Jewish family in Tarsus. Paul's family was of the tribe of Benjamin. Paul probably came from a family of tentmakers or leatherworkers and, according to Jewish custom, was taught this trade by his father. Apparently the business thrived and Paul's family became moderately wealthy.

The true way of the Lord was one of the earliest names for Christianity. The glory of God (or Christ) is often described as the light. The street called Straight, which runs through Damascus from east to west. Saul, like the prophets, was chosen for a special purpose.

Saul's conversion marks a turning-point in the history of the early church. The encounter with Christ was followed by three sightless days: Saul was identified with Jesus in his death and three days in the grave, and identified with him too in baptism and newness of life.

The Way was the name given to the church before the people of Antioch invented the new name 'Christian.'

Damascus, a key commercial city, was located about 175 miles northeast of Jerusalem in the Roman province of Syria.

As Paul traveled to Damascus, pursuing Christians, he was confronted by the risen Christ and brought face to face with the truth of the Gospel.

Paul refers to this experience as the start of his new life of in Christ. At the center of this wonderful life was Jesus Christ - Paul did not see a vision, he saw the risen Christ himself (Acts 9:17).

Anyone who persecutes believers today is also guilty of persecuting Jesus because believers are the body of Christ on earth.

Paul opened his eyes - but could not see - he was temporarily blinded.

Ananias was sent by God to Paul. He greeted Paul as "Brother Saul." Ananias feared this meeting because Paul had come to Damascus to persecute believers and take them in chains to Jerusalem. But in obedience to the Holy Spirit, he greeted Paul lovingly.

Immediately after receiving his sight and being with the believers in Damascus, Paul went to the synagogue to tell the Jews about Jesus Christ. Paul took time alone to learn about Jesus before beginning his worldwide ministry, but he did not wait to witness. Although we should not rush into a ministry unprepared, we do need to wait before telling others what has happened to us.

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

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