So That No One May Boast

Scripture: But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NIV

Observation: Paul explains how God uses the weak to humble the strong.

Application: This is how Jesus conducted his ministry. He always went to the wretched. He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor…” Mark 2:17a NIV Jesus made the point that the weak in spirit need the Lord just like the elites. By ministering to them as the “high and mighty” leadership looked on he illustrated God’s plan to be all inclusive and to bring all men to himself through Christ.

Prayer: Father, thank you for wanting me so much that you sent Jesus. I pray that I am worthy of you and of Jesus’ sacrifice for me. Amen

Doug

Don’t Cause Others to Fall

Scripture: Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” Acts 15:5 NIV
Scripture: He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? Acts 15:9,10 NIV

Observation: Paul and Barnabas discuss with the Jewish leaders whether or not the Gentiles should be required to be circumcised. It is decided that by requiring the Gentiles to be circumcised they would be demanding them to fulfill a need that they, themselves, could not uphold.

Application: This is an interesting set of passages when read with Acts 16:3, “Paul wanted to take him (Timothy) along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.” Acts 16:3 NIV Why? Why would Paul argue against circumcision in Acts 15 and then circumcise Timothy before they left on their missionary journey? I believe that he did it so that the uncircumcised Timothy wouldn’t be a “stumbling block” to the very people to whom they were going to minister. Certainly circumcision isn’t necessary for salvation but I really don’t think that circumcision was even the issue to Paul. The issue was winning souls. If the fact that Timothy wasn’t circumcised was going to close the ears of those to whom Paul was going to minister–then Timothy was going to be circumcised. We should learn from Paul. Our actions and inactions can and will affect people. We must take care to guard our speech, control our emotions and attitude, and be careful with our choices. We must care that what we think, say, and do can hinder our witness to others. Otherwise, we will become a “stumbling block.”

Prayer: Lord, don’t allow me to be a “stumbling block” to others. I know that my behavior and what I say can harm my witness to others. Amen

Doug

Be Like Moses

Scripture: Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3 NIV

Observation: Miriam and Aaron began complaining about Moses as the only one that God would communicate through.

Application: Moses was once a son of Pharoah; a ruler of Egypt. He was called by God to lead the Israelite nation out of slavery. This was a man destined for greatness in Egypt and yet when called by God he said, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10 NIV Moses was such a great man God told Miriam and Aaron after they were caught grumbling against him, “…When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face,clearly and not in riddles…” Numbers 12:6-8a NIV We should make an effort to humble ourselves and be like Moses. That humility just may make a difference to someone to whom we are sharing Christ.

Prayer: Father, help me to be humble in all that I do so that people see you when they look at me. Amen

Doug

Daily Priority

The following blog entry is compliments of Pastor Leon Hiebert, Community Care Pastor of Generations Church, Andover, KS

Scripture: Numbers 28:23 Prepare these in addition to the regular morning burnt offering.

Observation: Nothing could replace the regular morning burnt offering. Those offerings offered on the special days were always in addition to the daily burnt offering. This verse is speaking of the Passover offerings. And as is repeated over and over in this chapter, the offerings for each special day were not to take the place of the daily offering.
How we need to understand that success lies in our daily habits. It is the daily routine that sets the priorities and pattern for our live. The special event should support the daily pattern, not take its place. Too often the opposite is true. We fashion our daily lives to support the special event rather than vice versa.

Application: I do not believe I can survive by eating only one meal each week; neither should I think I can get by on what I get on Sunday in church. It is being faithful in my daily prayer and Bible reading that brings growth and strength in my spiritual walk. I make time to feed my physical body each day, how much more should I make time to feed my spirit.

Prayer: Lord, Thank You for allowing me to live in a time and country in which the Bible is so readily available. Forgive me for the days I ignored You and Your Word. Amen.

Judgmental? Not Me…

Scripture: Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”   The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?  Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?  Luke 13:14-16 NIV

Observation: The Church leaders, Pharisees, and people in the temple that day were quick to accuse Jesus of “breaking rules” or  not doing things acoording to what they thought was right.

Application: This really saddens me.  This truth is still one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the church and believers today.  We spend way too much time being critical of what other Christians are doing.  The way is narrow and scripture tells us that many will be left behind, read Luke 13.  Only the Father has the authority to judge and correct us.  Therefore set your sights on knowing and sharing all about our Savior;  let the Father do the judging.

Prayer: Heavenly father look within me and show me the areas of my life where I am judgmental instead of encouraging.  Lord teach me how I can affect your kingdom by loving and encouraging others to seek and know you.  Amen

Laurie

 

The Teacher

The following blog entry is compliments of Pastor Leon Hiebert, Community Care Pastor of Generations Church, Andover, KS

Scripture: Mark: 4:1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. …
2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:…
38 …The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

Observation: In this chapter of Mark we see the teaching ministry of Jesus emphasized. Jesus was a teacher. He helped people understand. He answered questions. He asked questions. He gave examples. He gave object lessons. He had his students/disciples participate in ministry while he watched. He sent them out and had them report back. Teaching was His way of laying a foundation for their ministry after he was gone.

Application: Having been taught, and still being taught by Jesus and His ministers, prepares me to teach also. He wants to use me to help others understand.

Prayer: Lord, you bless us to be a blessing. And You teach us to enable us to teach others. Show us the opportunities around us to pass along what you have planted in our hearts. Amen.

Guide My Steps

Scripture: Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. 1Corinthians 8:13NIV

Observation: We have an obligation to those around us to not do anything that may cause them to sin. If our behavior causes another to fall we need to reconsider our behavior.

Application: We must defy our flesh and allow the Spirit to guide our behavior.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, guide my steps. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Jesus

Scripture: For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 1 Corinthians 1:17 NIV

Observation: Paul was charged with sharing the truth of Christ. I believe that he may not have been a well-spoken man. A stutter or slow speech may have been the thorn in his flesh. 2 Corinthians 12:7 says, “…or because of these surpassingly great revelations, [Paul’s revelations]. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, [and taking the focus off of Christ], I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” Paul was highly educated and well versed in the scriptures. I believe that he had exceeding wisdom and with that wisdom he knew that if he excelled verbally in preaching and teaching he could become the focus–not Jesus. So that he would not be the object of worship I believe God may have given him his “thorn.” Paul had one ministry and that was to preach the gospel of Christ and he excelled at doing that in his writings. Of course, this is just my opinion but given today’s scripture it makes perfect sense to me.

Application: When we share Christ we need to be certain that he remains the focus–not us!

Prayer: Father, help me to share Christ and make sure that he is the object of worship. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

God’s Chosen

Scripture: If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. Romans 11:17&18 NIV

Observation: Paul is teaching the Gentiles that they, through the Jews, are part of God’s kingdom. Paul reminds the Gentiles and us that without God’s Chosen, Christianity wouldn’t be possible. The Jews are the root onto which we are grafted. We aren’t Christians without them. We aren’t better than them, we are just saved through Christ. We need to love the Jewish people. We need to protect them and we need to share Christ with them.

Application: We must pray for the Jewish people and we must share Christ with them.

Prayer: Father, please help me to be a good steward of your blessings. The Jews are special to you and they are responsible for my Christianity. Don’t ever let me take them for granted. When given the opportunity allow me to witness of Christ’s sacrifice. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Depression Found David Too

Scripture: I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding. Psalms 119:25-32

Observation: Depression and sin go hand in hand for the believer. Recently I found myself in this state. David, who the Lord proclaimed to have a “Heart for God,” suffered from the same. The Lord loved David yet that didn’t keep him from sin. However, in this bit of scripture we see David finds and shares the answer to fighting depression and sin. God’s precepts, his ways, and God’s Word will keep sin at bay and bring us out of darkness. “Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.” We must go to his Word continually seeking, learning, and asking allowing Him to set us free. Speaking freely with our Lord for he already knows our sin and pain. We must acknowledge it to him before he can begin to repair us.

Application: Get back to it! Read His Word everyday and listen to worship music each day, do whatever it take to keep the Lord in sight and out in front leading you. Take captive any thought or action that don’t line up with the Lord and his ways. Relief will come so don’t give up! Use church and other Christians as accountability in your life.

Prayer: Thank you for sharing David with me. His love for you and your love and forgiveness of him keeps me going. Thank you for putting so much honesty and truth in the Bible. Thank you for showing me my sin can be forgiven and I can receive your grace and a fresh start. Lord continue to guide me and help me overcome the darkness within me. Amen

Laurie