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

Parenting For The Launch - Book Review

Raising Teens To Succeed In The Real World.

The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility & the wings of independence. Denis Waitley

It's not easy raising teenagers, especially in our cultural climate that sends so many mixed messages (many destructive), offers innumerable distractions, & poses any number of potential perils for young people.

Are you ready, to release an eagle to soar?

Keep Your Eyes On The Goal: If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. Lawrence J. Peter

Our "destination," in this case, is the millstone launch into adulthood & the knowledge our children will require to do it successfully. This involves:

1. covering the bases with the wisdom our children need for "real world" independent (i.e., what do they need to know?)

2. instilling the principles & values for honorable living (i.e., how they should live?)

3. helping our children discover their unique assets they bring to the world (i.e., "who am I, what do I have to offer, & what are my opportunities?")

Try This: A Parenting Mission Statement

To inspire, equip, & empower our future adults who are admired for their character, respected for their gifts & talents, & remembered for the love & service they gave to others.

We will raise future leaders of excellence who will purposefully & honorably, who will understand & passionately offer their unique assets, who leave a legacy of significance & joyful service, who will value relationships & faith, who will exude gratitude & courage, & who will live with the confidence of knowing they are loved unconditionally & believed-in emphatically.

During this time, it pays to get to know the other voices in your teens life, both the good & potentially not-so-good. Some "voices" you want to be paying attention to are:

Other adults



Your home

Their inner voice (conscience)

Other Adults: have been especially valuable during the teen years, when our children didn't want to hear so much from Mom & Dad. These voices have included:

their grandparents & extended family members,

long-time family friends,

friends from our faith community; youth group leaders/mentors,

teachers & coaches who took a special interest in our kids & invested in them, &

parents of some of their friends.

Try This:

1. Consider having a "No Screen/No Tech Day" in your household once in a while. (This can be as difficult for parents as it is for teens!) Make an effort to lesson the influence of the technology & entertainment on all of you.

2. Make a list of the five most influential people in your teen's life.

3. Do they align with your family values?

Moving From Driver To Passenger:

The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them. Frank A. Clark

What They Need From Us

In order to accomplish a successful launch, we need to provide them with:

our unconditional love & understanding

our belief & encouragement,

preparation & practical wisdom,

our perspective of their uniqueness & value,

full acknowledgement that it's their live & their dreams, not ours

a healthy & enduring relationship based on trust,

an open door 24-7, &

realistic expectations.

The authors are Dennis Trittin & Arlyn Lawrence. Authors/Publishers/Writers. Dennis penned "What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead.

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday - Gifts that Lead to Faithfulness - I Peter 1:3-9 - 2/22/17

The term "begotten again" or "born again" refers to spiritual birth - the Holy Spirit's act of bringing believers into God's family. Jesus used this term when he explained salvation to Nicodemus (John 3).

Our hope is not only for the future: eternal life begins when we believe in God & join his family. No matter what pain or trial we face in this life, we know it is not our final experience. One day we will live with Christ forever.

Christians now look forward to a family inheritance in the eternal city of God.

God will help us remain true to our faith, whatever difficult times we must face.

Peter mentions suffering several times in this letter 1:6,7,; 3:13-17; 4:12-19; 5:9. When he speaks of trials, he is not talking about natural disasters or God's punishments, but the response of an unbelieving world to people of faith. All believers face such trials such trials when they let their light shine into the darkness. Trials teach us patience & help us grow to be the kind of people God wants us to be.

As gold is heated, impurities float to the top & can be skimmed off. Likewise our trials, struggles, & persecutions strength our faith & make us useful to God.

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