Weekly Devotional

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Each person should desire to grow closer to God, understand His will for their lives and do this by a deeper study in God's Word. Study tools provide a way to supplement personal Bible study.  Each week, the devotional posted will focus on a section of Scripture. We encourage you to make daily Bible reading and study a part of your daily routine.

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"...but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" 2 Peter 3:1

Industrious

Posted in Weekly Devotional

A person's "industry" is the diligent and hard working aspect of using one's abilities. As industrious individuals we can accomplish success and honor among those in our community and our household. There is no doubt that our spiritual lives require a departure from slothful living. (Hebrews 6:12; Romans 12:11) It would be a contradiction of Godly living for a Christian to be fervent and diligent in spiritual matters while at the same time slothful and dependant upon others in daily life. We know that Jesus lived a life of action, hard work and diligence for fulfilling His Father's will and was not slack in caring for those around Him.

Paul brings up the observation that a man who does not work should not eat. The point of his statement is that no one should be idle and troubling to others. For the Godly to practice an honorable degree of accountability and works is a teaching in Harmony with God's expectatons for man since creation when Adam was set to tend the garden and later to till the earth. God has given each of us talents which are important in various ways, but they are useless without being our being industrious toward the use of those talents we possess. We seek to honor God in everything we do and cannot please him by living a life dripping with slack indifference and void of the industrious spirit that stands pinnacle to the blessings brought through His Son.

Bill Girrier, in his book "Fruition" made the observation "action is life; inaction, death" which resonates with Proverbs 21:25 regarding a sluggard's demise. This week spend a period of each day reflecting on how to focus more on actions that bring and sustain all aspects of our Godly lives.

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

1 Thessalonians 4:11

Proverbs 22:29

2 Corinthians 8:3-7

John 5:17

Revelation 3:16

Adoption of Children

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Ephesians 1:5

Ordinarily in the writings of Paul at the very beginning of each letter he inserts a prayer for those to whom he is writing. However, in the letter to the Ephesians he does not do so. That prayer does not occur until the 15th verse. There is obviously such an important theme to be discussed that the prayer will wait until later. But what is that theme.

It is first of all the blessings of God, “all spiritual blessings the in heavenly places in Christ.” It was for these blessings that we have been chosen. And as a consequence of having been chosen then “we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Obviously it was in love that God determined “before the foundation of the world” that obedient believers should be adopted into his family as His sons. It is as if God decreed before He ever built the world that those who accepted Jesus as the Savior of the world in full obedience to His will would be God’s chosen people and should receive the adoption as His children.

Please remember God does not predestine individuals but classes. He does not choose you and you and you, without any action on your part. He determined ahead of time that whosoever obeys His will will be saved and whosoever disobeys His will will be lost.

The adoption of sons is an interesting reference... Paul uses it several times, in Romans 8:15, 23; In Galatians 4:5 and then in Ephesians 1:5 as we have noted. As sinful as we have been, it would be a favor to us if God just let us scrub floors in Heaven. But God in love honors us by adopting us as His children.. what more could he do for us?

Think about this in another way. This is a twofold adoption. We by obedience to the Gospel of Christ are born again, John 3:5, New children, 1 Peter 2:1.... New creatures, 2 Corinthians 5:17. We are born into God’s family. But as if that was not enough we area also adopted by God as His children, and “if children then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” Romans 8:17.  

To think that God chose all who would humbly obey Him as His children is a fabulous thought.

Ephesians 1:5

Romans 8:15, 23

Galatians 4:5

John 3:5

1 Peter 2:1, 2 Corinthians 5:17

I’ll Love You No Matter

Posted in Weekly Devotional

Love is a word that’s misused a lot...I love my car, but not the same way I love my wife.  Leo Buscaglia once urged us to say this to each other:  “I’ll love even if you slip and fall or make a mistake.  I’ll love you regardless.”  What a great concept, but what a difficult task.  It’s easy to love someone when they’re perfect, or on the same wavelength.  It’s another matter when they’ve wronged us, or hurt us in some way.  If my car broke down this afternoon, I wouldn’t love it anymore.  But if my wife broke down, if she hurt me, I pray that I could forgive and not lose the love we’ve so carefully built over the years.  In First Corinthians 13 Paul tells us a lot of the qualities that love, true love, should have.  If you’d like to find out a little more about love, grab you’re Bible and search God’s Word.

 

1 Corinthians 13:3

1 Corinthians 13:4-6

1 Corinthians 13:7

1 Corinthians 13:8

1 Corinthians 13:13

Self-Reliance

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Self-Reliance

Galatians 6:4-5

When we are very young dependence on others is vitally important. As dependents we spend our waking hours soaking up information and being influenced by other "wiser" people, but time brings about growth and maturity. In every phase of our life we learn the importance knowledge and maturity play in every day interaction with other people and in self reliance. A definition of self reliance is "reliance on one's own powers and resources rather than those of others." As Christians we need to be careful that we are growing into mature people that can "carry our own weight". Of course we should not reach the point where we begin boasting about ourselves or assuming it is our own doing that makes salvation work. We will always rely on God's mercy and the sacrifice His Son suffered for us on the cross.

Self-reliance is a quality of the mature. In the scriptures Paul continually exhorts Christians to strive toward maturity so that we will be able to relay the truth to others with boldness. The fact that we will be tested and debated is the sobering reality of those that believe that there is a God and that Jesus, His Son, came to earth living a perfect life and giving up that life as a sacrifice granting us the hope of salvation. We cannot rely on others to win our place in heaven for us, for us to be sure of our salvation we will need self-reliance.

Philippians 2:12-13

Philippians 4:11-13

Hebrews 12:10-13

Proverbs 14:26-27

Peace and the blessings of Christ

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Some have called the Ephesian letter the “Queen of Epistles.” Many suggest that it is the highest reach of New Testament thought. It was forged from the prison cell in Rome and borne by Tychicus “who will make known all things unto them,” Ephesians 6:21. It is centered on the thought of gathering “together in one all things in Christ.” Ephesians 1:10 and is a beautiful compilation of great thoughts on the body of Christ and it’s essential unity.

There are two thoughts that seem to stand out here.

First, Grace and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Now Grace is from the Greek word “charis”, in the English dictionary it could mean charm... there is something lovely, a certain charm, a certain attractiveness in the Christian life. Grace always describes a gift.... that is impossible for man to provide for himself. Thus grace brings to mind the sheer loveliness of the Christian life.. and the underserved generosity of God’s great heart toward us.

The the word “Peace” us used. It is from the Greek word “eirene” which translates the Hebrew word Shalom. It is never a purely negative word.. Never simply the absence of trouble or difficulty. Shalom means everything which makes for man’s good, everything which is calculated to make him a man in the highest sense of the term. And something quite independent of outward circumstances. There is only one source of this peace and that is God. We know quite well in life when we are doing something that we ought not to do... or evading something that we should be doing there is always a haunting uneasiness and a lack of peace at the back of our minds. And if we are doing something very difficult even something we don’t want to do if it is right and we know it, there is a certain contentment in our hearts

Then secondly, notice the spiritual blessings and where they can be found. Be sure an consider the bounty of those blessings. The word “all” describes that extent of the blessings of God. He hasn’t withheld from us any of those we need. All spiritual blessings are in Christ. And notice as well that those blessings are in one place, in Christ. And it is obvious that if I am to obtain those blessings I must be where they are....In Christ.

Spiritual Cleanliness

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 As a child, I had to be FORCED to take baths, brush my teeth, and wash my hands. I simply didn’t think it was necessary, and it took away valuable time that could have been spent climbing trees, playing in the yard, or hitting rocks with a tennis racket.

 As adults, however, what do we do when our bodies are dirty? How long will we allow ourselves to be physically filthy before we wash our hands, take a bath, brush our teeth, etc.? Most of us are highly uncomfortable when we are physically unclean, aren’t we? We are keenly aware of how we look, feel, and smell in these situations, and we place a priority on taking care of these issues as soon as they come up.

 What about spiritual “cleanliness”? Are we as aware of our spiritual condition, especially concerning the “filthiness” of sin in our lives? How long will we allow sin to go on in our lives before we confess and repent of it? Are we more tolerant of spiritual “dirt” than we are of physical dirt? If other people could see/smell our spiritual condition, would we be more likely to address those issues sooner?

 God’s Word challenges us to “cleanse ourselves”, spiritually. We would all do well to take a few moments to look into the mirror of God’s Word this week and give some attention to those things that we find that might need to be addressed. Will you do that this week? Let’s all take a look into God’s Word, pick up a bar of soap, and get cleaned up! 

SCRIPTURES:

 

  1. 1.James 1:23-25
  2. 2.Psalm 51
  3. 3.James 5:16
  4. 4.I John 1:5-10
  5. 5.Romans 6:16-23

Loving the Word

Posted in Weekly Devotional

The Bible opens with the word, "God" (Genesis 1:1) and closes with the name, "Jesus Christ." (Revelation 22:21). In between those two verses lies the message of salvation from God that points mankind to eternal life through Jesus Christ. From Paradise given (Genesis 2) to Paradise lost (Genesis 3) to Paradise found (Revelation 21-22), the Bible's focus is clear. The Father wants us to be with Him forever. His Word is our guide to that heavenly home.

How precious is the Book Divine to you? Do you crave its faith-building truth like a newborn baby cries for milk (I Peter 2:2)?

Is concentrated study of the Bible a part of your daily schedule (II Timothy 2:15)?

Would you say that you are now more or less knowledgeable of the Word of God than you were one year ago (Hebrews 5:11-14)?

Are you more or less capable of defending the faith today than you have been in the past (I Peter 3:15)?

Are you diligently building up a wall of protection against Satan's attacks through the study of God's Word (Psalm 119:11)?

May each of us ask ourselves these questions and provide honest answers in an effort to be stronger in the Lord and more effective in His service. Thanks be unto God for His written Word, the Bible.

The Faith Which He Once Destroyed

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The Faith Which He Once Destroyed


Paul had been through Judea to Jerusalem, but he was sent hastily out of Jerusalem because of persecution Acts 9:28--30. This was necessary because he was unknown to the churches of Judea. All they knew about Paul was that he had persecuted the churches. They did not know of his meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus.They had heard of the killing of Stephen. They had heard of his plans to carry persecution to other places...especially Damascus. In fact this news beat Paul to Damascus. Acts 9:13,14. Now they were hearing that the persecutor had been converted; that the one who once persecuted them now preached the faith which he once destroyed. And as you can imagine that was difficult for them to accept.

Paul’s efforts to destroy the faith actually spread the faith. Acts 8:4. Faith cannot be destroyed by persecution. It is only sin in the church that can destroy faith.
All the water in the world
However hard it tried,
Can never, never sink a ship
Unless it gets inside.
All the evil in the world,
The wickedness and the sin
Can never sink your soul’s fair craft
Unless you let it in.

It is strange that faith brings persecution. But that’s because it is a singular faith. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” When Philip preached Christ to the Ethiopian Eunuch he obviously preached that one way, Acts 8:12 “But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” The Ethiopian obeyed the gospel immediately. The apostles did not preach different ways of salvation. It comes only through Christ.

It is an everlasting faith. Jesus said that the apostles were not only to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” But He also said, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” And then that “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Thus it is an unchangeable faith. Galatians 1:8,9.

The only way this faith can be destroyed is when we depart from it, or when we do not work for it, or when we do not serve in love.

Verses for further study:

Galatians 1:21-24

Acts 9:28--30

Acts 9:13,14

Acts 8:4

John 14:6

Acts 8:12

Galatians 1:8,9.

 

Opportunities

Posted in Weekly Devotional

"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." (Galatians 6:10). There are two types of opportunities in this life; those we meet and those we make. Those we meet are the ones that present themselves while those we make are the ones that we create. If someone comes up and offers you a job, you are meeting an opportunity.

If, on the other hand, you go out and start your own business, you are making an opportunity. Regardless of the way in which we encounter them, opportunities of all types surround us every day. Have you ever stopped to consider how many opportunities there are to serve God daily? We meet these opportunities when someone asks us a Bible question or when we learn of someone who is sick or in need.

We make these opportunities when we go to a friend and invite him or her to study the Bible or when we talk to our children about spiritual matters. The examples of opportunities to serve God are endless. Here's the key to taking advantage of these opportunities though. We have to have our eyes and hearts open to them. We have to be soul conscious. We generally find that for which we are looking. What opportunities to serve God will you see today?

Verses for daily study

Matthew 10:42 - even the smallest act of service is important in God's eyes

Luke 10:30-36 - the Good Samaritan saw an opportunity to serve

John 4:35 - the fields are white unto harvest

Colossians 4:3 - Paul asked for prayers that a door of opportunity to preach God's Word would open

James 4:17 - we are to do the good that we can do now and not wait

Questions:

What can I do to be more observant of the needs of others today?

How does it benefit me spiritually to think about ways that I can serve others?

In what ways did Jesus serve others?

What is the meaning of Philippians 2:4?

Why should we "do good" today and not put it off?

Salvation by Grace - Galatians 1:3-5

Posted in Weekly Devotional

The basic fact behind the situation of this epistle is this: Paul’s gospel was a gospel of Grace. He believed with all his heart that nothing a man could do could ever win the favor of God. He believed passionately that no one could ever earn the love of God. He therefore believed that all that was left for a man to do was to fling himself on the love and mercy of God in one great act of faith that leads to obedience to all that God has commanded.
 
We can only take in wondering gratitude what God offers; What we could not do for ourselves God has done for us. That is what Paul had preached to the Galatians and that is what he now wished for them and for all who read this letter.
 
He held up the cross saying God loved you like that. Religion then becomes a matter not of satisfying the demands of the law...but of meeting the obligations of love.