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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Quiet Time: Thanksgiving Abounds

Thanksgiving Abounds
For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. 
– 2 Corinthians 4:15

I was watching a program the other night where the network's stars from all of the sitcoms and shows sat around a table filled with traditional Thanksgiving chattel. As the camera panned out from a close up of the person seated at the head of the table, she began praying the perfunctory universally acceptable thanksgiving prayer. I wondered out loud, “So, who’s she praying to?”   

The Corinthians had an intimate understanding of the cause for thankfulness. They'd seen their spiritual father, Paul suffer much at the hands of those who opposed the gospel (2 Cor. 1:6). Paul understood that his persecution was for the betterment of the new believers (2 Cor. 4:15; Rom. 8:28). 

The Corinthians had accepted with joy the good news Paul had preached to them, that their sins were wiped away by the blood of Jesus the Messiah, but now they were seeing the price Paul paid for delivering that message to them; his affliction, persecution, and physical torture (2 Cor. 4:7-12). 

Paul’s example of confidence and joy, regardless of the circumstances, inspired the Corinthians to get involved through prayer , giving, and in sharing the Gospel with more fervency (2 Cor. 1:11; 2 Cor. 9:11-12). As a result, many people came to accept salvation through Christ and both old and new believers rejoiced together with hearts full of thanksgiving and praise to God.

Without Christ what’s the point in praying, or being thankful for that matter. 

With Jesus, thanksgiving abounds from here to eternity.

I am thankful for:
·         Church leaders who inspire confidence in following Christ
·         My sins being washed away by the blood of Jesus
·         New believers who experience the joy of their salvation
·         Things not seen eternal and beyond anything I can imagine

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quiet Time: What Verses to Memorize

What Verses to Memorize; 
Part I 

One of our small group bible study members asked me what bible verses she should memorize first. I thought that was a great question and went to work the next day on developing a list of important memory verses. During this process I thought it would be a good idea to include lists of verses that other, more experienced Christ followers, found to be helpful.

Here's a list of verses from the Navigators ministry: If you want to memorize Scripture, but aren't sure what to memorize or how, this system is exactly what you need to begin hiding God's word in your heart.

  • Christ the Center 2 Corinthians 5:17 Galatians 2:20 
  • Obedience to Christ Romans 12:1 John 14:21 
  • The Word 2 Timothy 3:16 Joshua 1:8 
  • Prayer John 15:7 Philippians 4:6,7 
  • Fellowship Matthew 18:20 Hebrews 10:24,25 
  • Witnessing Matthew 4:19 Romans 1:16 

  • All Have Sinned Romans 3:23 Isaiah 53:6 
  •  Sin's Penalty Romans 6:23 Hebrews 9:27 
  • Christ Paid the Penalty Romans 5:8 1 Peter 3:18 
  • Salvation is not by Works Ephesians 2:8,9 Titus 3:5 
  • Must Receive Christ John 1:12 Revelation 3:20 
  • Assurance of Salvation 1 John 5:13 John 5:24 

  • His Spirit 1 Corinthians 3:16 1 Corinthians 2:12 
  • His Strength Isaiah 41:10 Philippians 4:13 
  • His Faithfulness Lamentations 3:22,23 Numbers 23:19 
  • His Peace Isaiah 26:3 1 Peter 5:7 
  • His Provision Romans 8:32 Philippians 4:19 
  • His Help in Temptation Hebrews 2:18 Psalms 119:9,11 

  • Put Christ First Matthew 6:33 Luke 9:23 
  • Separate From the World 1 John 2:15,16 Romans 12:2 
  • Be Steadfast 1 Corinthians 15:58 Hebrews 12:3 
  • Serve Others Mark 10:45 2 Corinthians 4:5 
  • Give Generously Proverbs 3:9,10 2 Corinthians 9:6,7 
  • Develop World Vision Acts 1:8 Matthew 28:19,20 

  •  Love John 13:34,35 1 John 3:18 
  • Humility Philippians 2:3,4 1 Peter 5:5,6 
  • Purity Ephesians 5:3 1 Peter 2:11 
  • Honesty Leviticus 19:11 Acts 24:16 
  • Faith Hebrews 11:6 Romans 4:20,21 
  • Good Works Galatians 6:9,10 Matthew 5:16 

Well this should be enough to keep us all busy for quite a while, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quiet Time: Our Calling Our Purpose

Our Calling – Our Purpose

21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;… - 1 Peter 2:21-22

This Thursday, our small group bible study will continue to work through "Living Victoriously in Difficult Times". Our focal verse is 1 Peter 2:21 which speaks to the Christian’s call to suffer. Now, we know that there is a time to stand up against the evil in the land (Psalm 82:4; Proverbs 24:10-11; Isaiah 58:6-7). However, there are also occasions when we must submit to suffering in Jesus name and for His glory.

(1 peter 2:21) tells us that believers have a calling, an invitation to suffer or be acted upon in such a way that our passions are aroused. It is at that moment, in the heat of our desire to strike back in righteous indignation for a wrong committed against us that we decide who’s servant (literally: slave) we really are (James 1:1). 

First century disciples understood that a Christ follower must be fully engaged in the hardships of the cross (Matt. 16:24; Acts 14:22). However, they also knew that Christ had secured their future (1 Pet. 3:9& 18) and that Jesus was their example of how the righteous respond to wrong (Matthew 11:29; 1 Pet. 2:21). 

Ironically, the benefit of being mistreated was the personal experience of a more holy walk for the believer (1 Pet. 4:1). 

The early church had first-hand experience of walking in such a way that the world was pushed aside in view of the greater glory of walking in, and anticipation of, Jesus name and soon return (1 Peter 4:13). We can walk with them in this day and age if we so choose.

Sometimes, it seems like believers today are looking for a hyper spiritual experience that will confirm the reality of God’s active participation in the now. We want to be “moved” in the spirit. I see no real harm in this; but, if we really want to experience God in our day to day walk, perhaps we should simply begin to act upon the truth of His word as we learn it. In this case, we are encouraged to respond to wrong with righteousness which will cause us to draw near to Jesus and away from worldliness. 

This is our calling –our purpose, to follow in His steps.