Monday, April 30, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
We ended our Bible study last night with a challenging discussion about personal evangelism, and each of us agreed to pray for opportunities and boldness to share the Gospel with those around us. Several Scriptures from today's reading speak directly to the charge of personal evangelism:
2 Timothy 4:2, 5, 17 - Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. ... 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. ... 17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.
Titus 1:1-3 - ... I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. 3 And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.
Heavenly Father, thank you for stirring my heart to listen to your Word. Lord, please give me opportunities and boldness to share the Gospel Message. May I be prepared to speak by spending time in your Word each day. Lord, help me be aware and discerning of spiritual opportunities, and may I be faithful to plant the Gospel seeds. I pray in Jesus's Name. Amen.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
13 My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. 14 In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. (Prov. 24:13-14)
34 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. 35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” (Luke 11:34-36)
3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. ... 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. (2 Timothy 2:3-4, 21-22)
You know that feeling you get when you are studying the Bible and God reveals something to you (e.g., the light bulb comes on in your brain)? That is "sweet" wisdom, and the great thing is that it isn't limited to your brain (Romans 12:1-2). As you continually search the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit metamorphosizes your eyes and the rest of dead sinful darkness into a spiritual floodlight. This elemental change of state induces an immiscibility with the world (Hebrews 12:1-2) . The question is, how sincere are you about dissociating from the world? Are you going to refuse to watch any television program that has even a hint of sexual immorality, or are you just going to pretend to be different and let Satan seduce you?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the Scriptures which are the breath of your immediate presence. Thank you for the sweetness of your wisdom and grace through Christ Jesus. Lord, make my life a floodlight that shows others the way to salvation by faith in Jesus. Father, please sanctify me by scraping off every crumb and smell of wordliness as I pursue you with committed Brothers. I ask these things in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, April 23, 2007
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don't be ashamed of me, either, even though I'm in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. 12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:7-14)
Heavenly Father, I praise you for being gracious and holy. I praise you for being fearless, powerful, loving, and self-disciplined, and I thank you for giving me your spirit. I praise you that you are able to guard what I have entrusted to you, and I thank you for revealing yourself to me. Lord, I pray that I would not be ashamed to tell others about Jesus Christ, and I pray that you will grow my trust in you and be bold in sharing the Gospel. Lord, please teach me to carefully guard the Truth you have revealed through the power of the Holy Spirit. I pray this in Jesus's Name. Amen.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
There is a guy that occasionally rides the same bus I do and works in the building adjacent to mine. One time he saw me reading my Bible on the bus, and we had an interesting conversation about the authority of Scripture. Since then I have tried to be nice to him and call him by name when I see him. Well, today we rode the same bus, and as we were walking toward our buildings, I felt the Lord prompting me to ask him where he goes to church. So I did; it was a little abrupt (almost out of left field). He said he didn't go anywhere, but that he was a member of a Presbyterian church. Then he said, sort of jokingly, that he was a "closet Baptist," to which I chuckled. As we were separating ways, I quickly invited him to join me and my other friend who was walking with us because we just so happen to attend a Baptist church that is on our bus route. He smiled and said, "We'll talk about it."
I was amazed, first of all, that it seemed like I had a clear prompting from the Holy Spirit. Second, I was amazed that I had actually obeyed the Spirit and asked him where he went to church. Third, I was amazed at how simple it was - simple to obey, simple to tell, and simple to show Christ's love to this man. I think we Christians tend to sensationalize what it means to live an open lifestyle here in the States; we think it means we're going to get persecuted for saying anything religious. Well, I'm at one of the most atheistic and liberal schools in the country, and I just asked a guy where he goes to church, and he responded warmly to my invitation. How easy is it to ask someone where they go to church and invite them to join you? Easy, very easy. Myth Busted.
2 Thess. 3
1Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.
1 Tim. 1
15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Heavenly Father, thank you for being active in my daily life and relationships, and thank you for teaching me to obey the Holy Spirit's prompting. Lord, I ask that you help me pay attention to the opportunities you give me to show your love to people around me. Lord, I pray that your message will spread rapidly and be honored, and I pray that we will be delivered from wicked and evil men. Thank you for strengthening and protecting us from the evil one. Lord, continue to direct my heart as you use me as a testimony that others can believe you and experience eternal life. I pray that you will receive honor and glory for ever and ever. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God's tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace."
31 which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!"
Saturday, April 14, 2007
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can't see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God's servant to proclaim it.24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God's people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. 28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That's why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ's mighty power that works within me.
Friday, April 13, 2007
a mocker refuses to listen to correction.
opening your mouth can ruin everything.
the wicked cause shame and disgrace.
but the evil are misled by sin.
but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
those who take advice are wise.
those who respect a command will succeed.
those who accept it avoid the snares of death.
if you accept correction, you will be honored.
but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.
associate with fools and get in trouble.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
In Mark 13, Jesus tells us about the end times. When I read this passage, I have a great sense of urgency - we need to share the Gospel with those around us! We need to be living holy lives! It is easy to become complacent and distracted with worldly things, so we must remember Christ tells us:
32 "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don't know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! 34 "The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don't know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don't let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!" - Mark 13:32-37
One of my favorite passages:
1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. - Ephesians 2:1-10
I pray that from Your glorious, unlimited resources You will empower us with inner strength through Your Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in our hearts as we trust in him, and our roots will grow down into Your love and keep us strong. And may we have the power to understand, as all Your people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Your love is. May we experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then we will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from You. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21)
Monday, April 9, 2007
Sunday, April 8, 2007
and receives favor from the Lord.
I once was fatherless,
a stranger with no hope;
Your kindness wakened me,
Awakened me, from my sleep
Your love it beckons deeply,
a call to come and die.
By grace now I will come
And take this life, take your life.
Sin has lost it's power,
death has lost it's sting.
From the grave you've risen
Into marvelous light I'm running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way
My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I'm free. Now I'm free!
Saturday, April 7, 2007
always treasure my commands.
2 Obey my commands and live!
Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.
3 Tie them on your fingers as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
Friday, April 6, 2007
Proverbs 6:23 - For these commands and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you. The correction of discipline is the way to life.
Why didn't Jesus, when driving out all evil spirits, command the evil spirit leave that person "and never enter him again" like He did in Mark 9:25? Was it just implied in all the other cases, or did this boy get an extra special blessing when Jesus drove the demon out of him?
Sometimes we give the Jews (particularly the Pharisees) a hard time about not realizing Jesus was the Messiah. However, in Mark 9:31, Jesus tells His disciple's plainly that He will be betrayed, killed, and raised on the third day. But in Mark 9:32 we see that even His own disciples didn't understand what He meant. Wow, it is scary how much we can know about Christ and even be around Jesus without really knowing Him and His Will. How then, are we able to understand Him? It is only by His gracious self-revelation coupled with His promise in Jeremiah 29:
12 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
14 'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD
Paul's conclusion of 2 Corinthians has several strong statements:
3 I will give you all the proof you want that Christ speaks through me. Christ is not weak when he deals with you; he is powerful among you. 4 Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was, but when we deal with you we will be alive with him and will have God's power. 5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
8 For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth. 9 ... We pray that you will become mature. ... 11 Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. ... 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Paul's introduction to Galatians has a wonderful summary of the Gospel that is fitting for this Good Friday:
3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 4 Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. 5 All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.
As I think about Christ's betrayal and crucifixion, I am reminded of Isaiah 53.
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you, Jesus, for paying the debt that I could not pay - a debt that you did not owe. May I be overwhelmed by your incredible mercy and grace - the love that you have so benevolently demonstrated. May I live in response to this immeasurable gift you have given. May I live to glorify your Name, because all glory belongs to the One True God, forever and ever. Amen.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
"Don't let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
24 But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the L ord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord , have spoken!
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
"They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever."
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the [people you give to] will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. 13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.