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Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

joy

 

Did you know that God commands us to be glad?

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

 

1) God created us for his glory.

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth,… whom I created for my glory” (Isaiah 43:6-7)

God made us to magnify his greatness – the way telescopes magnify stars. He created us to put his goodness and truth and beauty and wisdom and justice on display. The greatest display of God’s glory comes from deep delight in all that he is. This means that God gets the praise and we get the pleasure. God created us so that he is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

 

2) Every human should live for God’s glory.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

If God made us for his glory, it is clear that we should live for his glory. Our duty comes from his design. So our first obligation is to show God’s value by being satisfied with all that he is for us. This is the essence of loving God (Matthew 22:37) and trusting him (1 John 5:3-4) and being thankful to him (Psalm 100:2-4) It is the root of all true obedience, especially loving others (Colossians 1:4-5).

 

3) All of us have failed to glorify God as we should.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

What does it mean to “fall short of the glory of God?” It means that none of us has trusted and treasured God the way we should. We have not been satisfied with his greatness and walked in his ways. We have sought our satisfaction in other things, and treated them as more valuable than God, which is the essence of idolatry (Romans 1:21-23). Since sin came into the world we have all been deeply resistant to having God as our all-satisfying treasure (Ephesians 2:3). This is an appalling offense to the greatness of God (Jeremiah 2:12-13).

 

4) All of us are subject to God’s just condemnation.

“The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

We have all belittled the glory of God. How? By preferring other things above him. By our ingratitude, distrust and disobedience. So God is just in shutting us out from the enjoyment of his glory forever. “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

The word “hell” is used in the New Testament twelve times – eleven times by Jesus himself. It is not a myth created by dismal and angry preachers. It is a solemn warning from the Son of God who died to deliver sinners from its curse. We ignore it at great risk.

If the Bible stopped here in its analysis of the human condition, we would be doomed to a hopeless future. However, this is not where it stops…

 

5) God sent his only son Jesus to provide eternal life and joy.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Timothy 1:15)

The good news is that Christ died for sinners like us. And he rose physically from the dead to validate the saving power of his death and to open the gates of eternal life and joy (1 Corinthians 15:20). This means God can acquit guilty sinners and still be just (Romans 3:25-26). “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Coming home to God is where all deep and lasting satisfaction is found.

 

6) The benefits purchased by the death of Christ belong to those who repent and trust him.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19). “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

“Repent” means to turn from all the deceitful promises of sin. “Faith” means being satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Jesus. “He who believes in me,” Jesus says, “shall never thirst” (John 6:35). We do not earn our salvation. We cannot merit it (Romans 4:4-5). It is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is a free gift (Romans 3:24). We will have it if we cherish it above all things (Matthew 13:44). When we do that, God’s aim in creation is accomplished: He is glorified in us and we are satisfied in him – forever.

 

Does this make sense to you?

Do you desire the kind of gladness that comes from being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus? If so, then God is at work in your life.

What should you do?

Turn from the deceitful promises of sin. Call upon Jesus to save you from the guilt and punishment and bondage. “All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Start banking your hope on all that God is for you in Jesus. Break the power of sin’s promises by faith in the superior satisfaction of God’s promises. Begin reading the Bible to find his precious and very great promises, which can set you free (2 Peter 1:3-4). Find a Bible-believing church and begin to worship and grow together with other people who treasure Christ above all things (Philippians 3:7).

 

The best news in the world is that there is no necessary conflict between our happiness and God’s holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus magnifies him as a great Treasure.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)

 

Source: Desiring God Ministries (www.desiringgod.org)

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godly man

 

Matt Chandler once said, “We’ve got a lot of boys with beards these days,” and I believe these words speak powerful truth.

Our world is constantly throwing out ideas of what it means to really be a man. The reality is that everyone has their own opinion, but as a Christian the only blueprint men should mimic their life after is that of the Bible. To know what a true man is, we need look no further than the life of Jesus Christ himself. Makes sense doesn’t it? As the Son of God, Jesus is the epitome of manhood, manliness and what we should strive for in our attempt at being a reflection of true maturity in Christ.

Jesus was completely full of the Holy Spirit, not to mention he lived in complete dependence and obedience to the will of God. It’s a beautiful testimony. Easier said than done, but the strive for this lifestyle is one that will set apart men from the boys. Christ fully displayed the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and he did it with a righteous swagger. A true man of God will show evidence of these works.

Here are 10 other disciplines of a godly man.

1. Humility

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2:3-5

2. Purity

“We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.” (2 Corinthians 6:6)

3. Kindness

“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3)

4. Patience

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” (Galatians 5:22)

5. Forgiveness

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13)

6. Understanding

“Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.” (Proverbs 2:2)

7. Integrity

“People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.” (Proverbs 10:9)

8. Faithfulness

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:2)

9. Sacrifice

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

10. Love

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 14:16)

 

A true man, like Jesus, is obedient to the Father’s will and is about His Father’s business (Hebrews 10:9). This is such a powerful truth, and it’s one that Christian men cannot look past.

 

Source: Jarrid Wilson (www.churchleaders.com)

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good

God is good because of who he is.

He is not good because we like our circumstances.
He is not good because we deserve his goodness.
He is not good because we have good health.
He is not good because we may live in apparent safety compared to others.
He is not good because it is a beautiful day.

God is good simply and profoundly because his own being and character defines goodness. God is good even when our lives are torn by despair. God is good when a storm brings destruction. God is good when those we love become sick and we see the awful plague of death. God is good in ravages of war. God is good when the car doesn’t start. God is good when your child’s favorite toy breaks.

God was good when his son hung on the cross for my sins.

The unshakeable truth that God is good is cornerstone of our lives. Whether our experience confirms it or not, God is good. This truth will orient our lives to praise God for who he is. He alone is good. He alone is God.

Your hope is not tied to the pleasantness of your circumstances. Your hope is rooted in the eternal goodness of your God.

For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Psalm 100:5

 

 

Source: Shepherd Press

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Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave to some passing traders (37:19-21), who in turn sold him to Potiphar in Egypt (37:36), where he was falsely accused and imprisoned (39:11-19). While in prison, Joseph earned the favor of Pharaoh, who appointed him Prime Minister (41:39, 40). At this time, a famine forced Joseph’s estranged brothers to Egypt (42:1, 2), where Joseph dutifully cared for them (42:4-7). Joseph’s father and brothers moved to Egypt and lived under Joseph’s provision (47:11).

After the death of their father, Joseph’s brothers are concerned that Joseph will seek revenge (50: 15). But Joseph reassures them saying, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (50:20).

I have often heard this verse interpreted to mean, “You meant it for evil but God turned it around for good”, or even “You meant it for evil but God was able to work it out for good”. However, that is not what Joseph meant when he said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good”. “It” refers to the evil action of his brothers, their “transgression” and “sin” against him (50:16). According to Joseph, God meant for him to be sold into slavery. God intended, planned, purposed, and plotted for His servant Joseph to be sold as a slave by his brothers. But while his brothers meant it for evil, God meant the same event for good. The word translated “meant” here is a Hebrew word that literally means “to weave.” God masterfully wove together every detail of Joseph’s life, including his brother’s wicked hearts, to accomplish His own divine purpose.

The second half of the verse explains God’s purpose. He had Joseph sold into to slavery, in Egypt, by his brothers, in order to “bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today”. Joseph explains it this way:

…do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life (Genesis 45:5).

And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry (Genesis 45:7-9).

God’s plan for Joseph culminated with Joseph being a ruler over Egypt and being in the position to deliver his brothers when the famine came. Looking back over Joseph’s life, this means that God orchestrated more than his slavery. God also meant for Joseph to be falsely accused, and imprisoned. All of these details contributed to Joseph’s position, and God infallibly wove them together. God meant it, every detail.

God meant good for Joseph and Israel, but He accomplished it through suffering. It is the same for you, dear Christian. God means good for you, and He will accomplish it through suffering. Indeed, the greatest good that was ever meant for you was purchased by suffering. Jesus said, “it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46-47). God meant it when Joseph suffered, God meant it when Christ suffered, and God means it when you suffer.

-Rick Appleton

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advent

Please be sure to save or download John Pipers free book (PDF ) “Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent” (Click here to download)

“Advent is an annual season of patient waiting, hopeful expectation, soul-searching, and calendar-watching marked by many churches, Christian families, and individual followers of Jesus. There’s no biblical mandate to observe Advent. It’s an optional thing—a tradition that developed over the course of the church’s history as a time of preparation for Christmas Day. Many of us find observing Advent to be personally enjoyable and spiritually profitable.

The English word “Advent” is from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” The advent primarily in view each December is the first coming of Jesus two millennia
ago. But Jesus’s second coming gets drawn in as well, as the popular Christmas carol “Joy to the World” makes plain:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends Christmas Eve. This means the earliest it begins, depending on where that Sunday falls, is November 27, and the latest it starts is December 3. Whereas Lent (the season of preparation for Easter) is 40 days, Advent ranges in length from 22 to 29 days.

Christians throughout the world have their different ways of celebrating Advent. Some light candles. Some sing songs. Some eat candies. Some give gifts. Some hang
wreaths. Many of us do all of the above. Christians have developed many good ways of extending the celebration of Jesus’s coming beyond merely the short 24 hours of December 25. The incarnation of the Son of God, “for us and for our salvation,” as the old creed says it, is too big a thing to appreciate in just one day. Indeed, it’s something the Christian will celebrate for all eternity.

Our prayer is that this little devotional might help you keep Jesus as the center and greatest treasure of your Advent season. The candles and candies have their place,but we want to make sure that in all the December rush and hubbub we adore Jesus above all.”

-David Mathis (Desiring God)

 

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IMAG0102

I was cleaning out my garage recently and found some old high school pictures. They immediately brought back memories of how consumed I was with the way I looked. It was so bad that I kept a detailed daily journal of what I wore to make sure that I didn’t repeat the same outfit within a two month period or more. Talk about vanity. I wanted to make sure I had the perfect outfit and that I never repeated it too often, lest I get criticized by my peers. Maintaining my image was important. Talk about living for man’s approval (Prov 25:29). That was before God saved me.

As Christians, we still can get caught up in the web of the world and buy into what the world says a woman should be. If we’re not careful to keep a watch on our life and on our doctrine, we can be quickly swept away into the current of ungodly philosophies which rob us of our time and energy—things which aren’t eternal and are quickly fading away (Prov 31:30).

I love to surround myself with ladies that are rich in good works and not focused on themselves. I’m reminded of the ladies at the Tuesday night Bible study I attend. They are full of encouragement and desire to be women of the Word. After I leave the teaching, I’m inspired to be a more godly Christian, wife and friend. This results in me conjuring up ways to bless my husband and those around me. The Bible explains to us that “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor 15:33). If you surround yourself with ladies that are focused on vain things, more than likely you will find yourself becoming vain. So choose your friends wisely.

The Bible also gives very stern warnings against both conceit and putting too much focus on our outward appearance. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Phil 2: 3-4). When we focus on ourselves, our vision is blurred and our life is sapped. But when we focus on the Lord and plunge our self in the daily reading of the Word of God and spend our time doing good works for His Kingdom, we have a purpose that is clearly eternal and brings us joy. It’s what we’re made for: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Let’s be ladies that bring meals to those in need, who visit the orphan and widow during their time of distress, who make a phone call and pray for the sister who is having a tough time, who send an encouraging email to the person God laid on your heart this morning. There are so many ways we can look out for the interests of our brothers and sisters.

I’ve been to the nail salon less than a hand full of times and half of those times were gifts. It’s such a nice treat to get pampered and have someone else do your nails. The ladies at the salon do a good job of painting them to perfection. Since I’m a penny pincher, I buy a .99 cent bottle of polish and do them myself. As I write this, I have the remnants of silver polish on my fingers (see pic above). It’s probably been a month since I’ve painted them. So much for keeping my nails maintained.

Some ladies go to the salon twice a month and pay good money to maintain their fingers and toes. Others go once a week because they want them to look perfect all the time. The Bible says that women who profess godliness will be careful to maintain “good works” (1 Tim 2:9-10). Maintaining good works should be a greater priority than maintaining our nails, our wardrobe, our hair or our image. The Bible says to be careful to maintain good works for the glory of God. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with getting your nails or hair done or wearing nice clothes, but let’s be ladies that are known for our godliness rather than our large variety of outfits. Let’s be ladies that are more concerned about maintaining good works than maintaining our nails.

If the Son has set you free than you are free indeed (John 8:36).

 

Source: Trish Ramos  (www.fishwithtrish.com)

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equipped

It’s a typical Sunday morning, the saints have gathered, corporate worship has been exhibited, the Word has been preached, the Lord’s Table has been served, and now everyone is ready to depart from this gathering.

What’s next?

For some the next step may be to tell the Pastor something like “thank you for the sermon” or “great job” and then off to Bob Evans we go. However, if it simply stops with the Pastor we have witnessed nothing more than a performance. We sat in the audience, enjoyed the show and then on our way we go. But is that all there is? Does it really end there?

In Ephesians 4:12, the Apostle Paul tells us that the goal of Pastoral ministry (the preaching and teaching of the Word) is to “to equip the saints”. The King James Version says that God gave the gifts of Pastoral ministry for the “perfecting” of the saints. In the original language we see that the word “katartismos” has to do with “complete furnishing”. It means to make someone completely adequate or sufficient for something.

What is this something?

Paul goes on to tell us that the goal of Pastoral ministry is equip the saints for this reason “the work of the ministry”. One of the functions of the preached word to the saints is to make them completely adequate or sufficient to do the work of the ministry. To supply the church with that which is necessary to labor in the service of the King.

Implied in this thought is that all saints are to be involved in the work of the ministry. God has given each of us unique gifts and individual contexts in which to utilize them. So often we think that the local church is the only place that we can serve. Although serving other believers in the local assembly is a wonderful thing, we should not make it the only thing.

The practical outworking of this text is pretty straight forward…take the sermon and do something with it. Pastors and teachers are God’s gift to the church for the purpose of perfecting or equipping believers to carry on the work that they should already be engaged in. As one author stated “It is vitally important to understand that the bulk of the work (ministry) in the church is to be accomplished not by the paid staff but by the men and women in the pews. They are not there to just sit and soak but to hear and grow and serve!”

How does this affect you?

You tell me! Seriously, only you can answer this. How did the Holy Spirit apply yesterday’s sermon to you? How were you furnished for the ministry you are planning to engage in? How did God use the preached Word to change you, to sanctify you, and equip you?

Perhaps you are reading this and concerned because you don’t have a specific ministry. You have never set up a non-profit organization, you don’t have time to go join a group of believers to serve in an “official ministry”. If that is you, please consider the following:

Where are you today?

What are your plans this week?

What vocation has God called you to?

With who and where will you spend your time?

 

The answers to these questions will reveal the outlet for which you were “equipped to do the work of the ministry”. Take the preached Word and use it to “edify” others. You have been equipped to serve!

Source: Pastor Gary Chaffins

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