April 24, 2017

Unity: April 24, 2017

TODAY’S WORD FOR MONDAY APRIL 24, 2017.
UNITY

DEFINITION:

The state of being one; harmony among elements; agreement; absence of strife and diversity.
SCRIPTURE:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Psalm 133:1.

Being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:2-5


KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

Unity does just not happen. It takes work. Just ask any married couple. None of us are ever going to be perfect here on earth so we must accept others, both believers in Jesus and non-believers, as they are in spite of their faults. This does not mean we should compromise in our obedience to God’s commandments.

Jesus and His Father were in perfect unity. In John 10:30 Jesus said of their relationship, “I and My Father are one.” It was the desire of Jesus that there would be unity among His disciples and believers when He said, as recorded in John 17:20-21, “My prayer is not for them alone (His disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.”

We all have differences of opinion and ideas but believers in Jesus must not let their differences divide them. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to build unity among believers, but we as individuals must be willing to be led and let the Holy Spirit do His perfect work in us.

If Jesus was concerned about unity among believers in those days, just think how much more so He is now. The whole world is in a state of turmoil and division. God is not the author of turmoil and confusion. His desire is for us to dwell together in unity.

Unity must begin with the body of believers and in the homes of these believers. This is a real challenge for parents today because of the corruption and negative influences of our society today. It is everywhere and television and social media brings it right into our homes. Unity in the home begins with love, love that is Christ-like and love that is unselfish. This love will bring harmony and a desire to work together to accomplish common goals.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians chapter 2 that as believers the way to bring unity to our family is through humility and a Christ-like attitude. He tells us that we must be like minded and be united in spirit and purpose. We are not to do things out of selfish ambition or conceit. We are to put others before ourselves. Paul’s last but most important word of advice is concerning our attitude. He says, “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ.”

Take time now to evaluate your priorities. Do you love your family? Do you have a Christ-like home? Do you esteem others better then yourself? Is your family in one accord on issues you face together? Is your attitude the same as Jesus Christ?


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in Proverbs 16:3.

Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.


PRAYER:

Help me to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life so that I will be a peacemaker in my home, my workplace, my church and my community. May I encourage others to live in unity governed by a Christ-like attitude of love and humility.


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April 21, 2017

Worry: April 21, 2017

TODAY’S WORD FOR FRIDAY APRIL 21, 2017
WORRY

DEFINITION:

To feel uneasy or anxious; to fret; to torment oneself or suffer from disturbing thoughts.
SCRIPTURE:

Therefore I say unto you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more important than food and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25.

Therefore do not worry, saying, what shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or what shall we wear? For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Matthew 6:31.


KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

No one knows us better than the one who created us. When Jesus was on this earth He spoke to issues that He knew we all will deal with in life. He taught the disciples and the people that came to listen to Him these issues in what we know today as “The Sermon on the Mount.”

He began His sermon with the “Beatitudes.” The eight beatitudes are traits or inward qualities of a true follower of Jesus. Jesus was teaching what it means and looks like to be a believer.

Jesus knew that even believers who were faithfully following Him would have cause to worry.

In Chapter six, Jesus instructs us on the subject of worry and why we should not worry.

Just as today, many people sitting on that mountain listening to Jesus had reasons that they believed were valid to worry. Jesus made it very clear as He began by saying not to worry about one’s life. In other words --- DO NOT WORRY!

Jesus did not infer that we should be lazy and thoughtless with a no care attitude about life. He wanted us to prepare properly for issues that would come our way and not be slothful with a lack of initiative, effort or planning. He expects us to look after our own responsibilities. We are to work in order to eat plus to work harder so we can give to others.

Jesus warns us in this sermon about getting so wrapped up in securing the THINGS in life that it becomes a worry to us. Worry causes us to become anxious, disturbed and sleepless. Our concern should be about heavenly values and not earthly values. Worry is not necessary when we are trusting God for every detail in our life.

People today worry about issues that never come to pass. Someone once said that, “WORRY IS THE INTEREST YOU PAY ON BORROWED TROUBLE!” In Matthew 6:27, Jesus asks us, “Who of you by worrying can add a simple hour to his life?” Doctors tell us that more than 60% of all illnesses relate to worry.

One of the reasons so many worry today is because they are not happy about what they are doing in life. People are living with guilt and a fear that at any moment their world will come crashing in on them. This means that our own actions give us the major cause of worry. Unfortunately, this is true for those who believe in Jesus and those who are not believers. The big question becomes, what do you value in life. Are you in touch with Jesus daily? If not worry will become an issue for you.

Possibly you are thinking now that we just do not understand. But we do. The scripture tells us very clearly in the Sermon on the mount what we need to do so that we do not worry.  For reassurance take time to read Matthew 6:33-34 now.

Real life issues like a loss of a job, a home foreclosure, unpaid bills, and troubled family relationships all are often the cause of worry. The answer to your problems in life is to take them to the Lord in prayer. He does not want you to worry.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious (worry) about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests to God.”


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in II Timothy 3:16.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
PRAYER:

Thank You that I can give my worries to You with the assurance that if I seek You first that You will provide what I need. Thank You that I can be assured that You know better than I as to what I need. Help my family to understand this as well. Help me to turn my worries into prayers and seek Your guidance by reading Your Word faithfully each day.


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April 20, 2017

Faithfulness: April 20, 2017

TODAY’S WORD FOR THURSDAY APRIL 20, 2017.
FAITHFULNESS

DEFINITION:

True to one's word, promises and vows; firm in adherence; worthy of trust.
SCRIPTURE:

Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
Genesis 5:24

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. I Corinthians 9:24


KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

Life is full of reversals, and we as Christians are not excluded from disappointments that make us want to give up. This is not what God wants from us. He wants faithfulness, a spirit of never quitting, to dominate our lives.

Paul challenges us in the race that is the Christian life to keep running (above verse). He gave these words to the believers in the church at Corinth. We are to run faithfully the race God has given us and should be driven by the knowledge that we run to honor our King and to receive from Him an eternal crown at the end of our race.

We have never been a couple that was faithful in exercising. But for several years we committed to walk about two miles every day. It was tough for us to stay committed in doing this but Ken will admit that Dottie was the faithful one. Now it is difficult for us to walk like we did because all the aches and pains of maturing are setting in. Walking with someone leads to conversing with each other. It is through conversation that relationships are developed.

This comment about walking made us think about a man in the Bible named Enoch. There is not much written about him but in a short narrative in Genesis it says that "Enoch walked with God." Walking with God requires faithfulness and commitment. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has been given titles such as “Faith’s Hall of Fame” and “Heroes of Faith” because it is a list of Old Testament saints along with a moving account of their faithfulness. We can be sure Enoch was faithful because he is included in this list. In Hebrews 11:5 it is written about Enoch that God rewarded him for his faithfulness. Enoch did not have to experience death. God just took him to be with Him because he walked daily with God and had an unswerving obedience to God in the midst of a corrupt culture.

We urge you to be challenged by the faithfulness of Enoch, as we are, and to renew our commitment to walk faithfully with God today in all that we do. You are headed in the right direction when you walk with God and faithfully serve Him.


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in II Timothy 3:16.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
PRAYER:

Help me to be faithful to walk with Jesus and to also talk with Him. May these words from the old song, “In the Garden,” serve to remind me to be faithful to walk and talk with You. “He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known.”


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April 19, 2017

Christian Life: April 19, 2017

TODAY’S WORD FOR WEDNESDAY APRIL 19, 2017.
CHRISTIAN LIFE

DEFINITION:

The condition of having faith in God and Jesus Christ and being obedient to God’s commandments and conforming to Jesus’ teachings in the way we live.
SCRIPTURE:

To know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19.

KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

We decided on this word today because it is very noticeable that many who claim to be Christians are not committed to living a Christian life. The reasons are many but none of the reasons are acceptable in God's sight.

The culture of today’s society demands one to be politically correct and not Biblically correct. As a result, Christians are yielding to the pressures of society to be accepting and inclusive and politically correct and as a result they compromise their Christian standards. In a society where anything goes, out goes Judeo-Christian values. Society becomes evil and godless.

Living a Christian life today is not easy, but God never promised us that it would be easy. God has given us a wonderful beginning to a Christian life when we accepted His salvation. At the time that we accepted Christ as our Savior our Christian life begins. Our Savior expects us to live our Christian life daily from that point on, a life fully given to God, and a God-centered life.

In the 1800's there was a town in Texas named TEXLINE that was a thriving center with several thousand residents. It was built because of the commerce that came to them as a result of a railroad line. But then came along industrialization and things changed. People left the small towns for the big cities that sprung up around the new factories.

By the year 2000 most of the shops in Texllne were closed and the population had dwindled to less than 400. Today Texline is just a place on the map with a city limits sign at both ends of the town and a few houses in between. It bears small resemblance to what it once was. It had no means to grow.

This reminds us of what kind of waste our Christian life can be if we choose not to give God our whole life to serve Him. From the time of our salvation (the "now entering" city limits sign) till we go to be with the Lord (the "now leaving" city limits sign) we determine what is in between. For many people their Christian life is like a town that has dwindled to nothing. They have never sought to grow in their knowledge of the Lord. They are missing out on all that God desires to give them and all that God could do through them.

A rich and full life is available to all who believe in Jesus and serve Him. In the verse we have put above, the Apostle Paul prayed that all believers would "be filled with the fullness of God." Paul lived an abundant life and Jesus said while He was here on this earth that He wanted us to know life "abundantly" (John 10:10).

There is a two-sided reality to the Christian life. The minute we accept Jesus as our Savior we are justified through our faith and made right with God. Our salvation is complete through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Through our salvation, we have peace with God.

But the second side of the Christian life is that we still must face the temptations of this evil world and the problems of life. God uses the trials and temptations we face daily in life to help us grow spiritually. It is through our troubles that we learn to call on God and to depend on the power available to us through the Holy Spirit sent by God to live in us. It is through this growing process that we are drawn closer to God and filled with the fullness of God.

When we have the fullness of God we have everything we need. We have all we need for our salvation and all we need to live right. God's fullness enriches our life and brings grace and peace to us in abundance. Jesus came not just to give us life but that we might have life abundantly. The life Jesus gives us is richer and fuller and most importantly it is eternal.

Here is the big question for us today: How many of us experience even a small part of the abundant life Jesus promised to those who are faithful to Him? We must ask ourselves if we are missing out on God's best in our lives.

God desires to give us a marvelous beginning with our salvation and a great ending in Glory. But what our life (our city) is like in between is our choice. Is your Christian life today all that God expects of you?


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in II Timothy 3:16.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
PRAYER:

Thank You Lord for the salvation You have given me and the sure hope of spending an eternity with You. I commit myself this day to making the most of my spiritual journey as long as You leave me on this earth. Help me to grow in my knowledge of You so that I can experience as much as I can from You and be prepared to share Your love with those I meet today.


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April 18, 2017

Power: April 18, 2017

TODAY’S WORD FOR TUESDAY APRIL 18, 2017.
POWER

DEFINITION:

The capability to do, act, or accomplish something; the control or command over others; a Deity; physical and mental strength; influence; might.
SCRIPTURE:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the world. Acts 1:8.

KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

The machines and mechanized devices we use today in our daily lives make life so much easier for us. All of these devices have something in common. They need a power source. Some come equipped with a fuel tank, others an electrical plug or a solar cell that provides a power source. Modern devices are useless unless they have power. We all know that a vacuum cleaner needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet and an airplane cannot fly without fuel.

Those who have been through a severe earthquake, tornado or hurricane know what it is like to be without power. Everything shuts down. Without power businesses, stores, gas stations, restaurants, lights and schools cannot function.

People today are searching for a power source for their lives. Some look to money and others look to education, others look to a power position or a political office. These sources of power are acquired by our own methods. Political leaders want power to control governing policies. Parents want power to control their children. When the power source is our own limited human abilities it is doomed to failure over time.

God is all powerful and has provided a power source for us that is greater than all other sources because it comes directly from Him. Jesus tells us in the above scripture that the Holy Spirit is that source for our power. It is important for all believers to remember that for power in our lives we need to stay connected to our power source that God provides for us.

When the disciples were with Jesus during His ministry on earth, Jesus was right there with them to be their power source. Jesus knew that when He returned to His Father in heaven His disciples would be left powerless.

The words spoken to His disciples in Acts 1:8 were the last words of Jesus to His disciples before He ascended into heaven. Jesus was placing a huge responsibility on the disciples. They were to be His witnesses. He knew that the disciples could not do this in their own power so He tells them that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit would come upon them.

In Acts 1:4 He told them to wait in Jerusalem for a few days until the Holy Spirit came and baptized them. During those few days, they must have felt powerless. Perhaps Jesus purpose in this was to help them recognize their need for the power of the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus told the disciples to be witnesses first in Jerusalem, we are to be witnesses in our Jerusalem. This is our family, our home and our friends. Is your home considered by all that live with you a God-honoring home? Is Christ the head of your home?

Then we are to reach out beyond our home to our Judea and Samaria. This is to our neighborhood and city. And finally, we are to reach out to the end of the world. The world is our mission field. God has given us the responsibility to be witnesses of Him wherever we go and has given us power to accomplish this.

As believers, we are to be His witnesses. The disciples could not witness in their own power nor can we. We can only do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. This power is freely given to us today but we must be willing to plug into the source. God through His Holy Spirit empowers us to live a God-fearing life and to speak out with authority about our faith.

The power is there for us through the Holy Spirit and is only limited by our lack of faith or lack of vision. The Lord has important work for every believer to do as His representative on this earth.  It is time to dream big dreams and then act by asking God through the power of His Holy Spirit to work through you. Do not limit what God wants from you.


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in II Timothy 3:16.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
PRAYER:

Thank You that You are my strength, my rock, my protection and my Savior. Thank You for the strength You give me to serve You. Thank You for being my rock and protection who I can run to for safety. Thank You for giving me power through Your Holy Spirit to be a witness for You this day.


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