December 6, 2007

Christian Disciplines- The “What to Do’s”

Posted in DEVOTIONS, THOUGHTS tagged , , , , , , at 10:39 pm by graceabounds

Christian disciplines are the “what to do’s”.  If you are like me, then you like to know what is expected and how to go about doing that.  I like list and checking them off.  Let’s learn what these disciplines are and begin to check them off; beginning a new lifestyle.   Christian disciplines are area’s that will guide us to grow closer to the Lord.  Disciple and discipline are words that are very similar.  As we are Disciples of Christ, we become disciplined and obedient to His calling.  These areas of Christian disciplines will enhance your walk with the Lord. They are better than any self help book or self-remedy.  In fact, putting these disciplines in our lives is showing that we are no longer living for self, but for Christ. Since we are set free, we should want to do things that will draw us to Him. 

BIBLE STUDY 

My prayer is that after you read this you will have a hunger for God’s Word. Often, new believers are terrified of reading the Bible.  They believe it is too hard; they think of it almost as a different language.  In addition to their fears they believe it is boring, unimportant, and outdated.  The list could go on and on.  I don’t want to fuel these beliefs but rather help you to see what you are missing. Let’s get to the good stuff.  If you only knew what you possess in your Bible, it may change your thinking and your life.  Read this passage below: 

John 1:1-14 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 From this section of passage we learned that Jesus was the Word, and that the Word was God.  Let’s look deeper into who Jesus was. 

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 Here he said he was the way, the TRUTH, and the life. In this next verse Jesus is praying to God before He is betrayed.  

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth 

Jesus was praying to God that the Word of God would sanctify, which means to set apart and make holy.  He calls the Word truth.  Let’s gather all we have learned.  The Word is Jesus and the Word is God and the Word is truth.  Jesus is truth and He is the Word so He is then God.  We have God, Jesus, Truth, and the Word all in one!  Isn’t that exciting?  I am very excited as I write this.  In front of me, in my Bible (the Word) I have Jesus.  I can at anytime come to Him as I read.  I can turn to Him and His guidance, truth, and what He has for me at anytime.  Isn’t that enough reason to read your Bible?  If you knew that tomorrow Jesus was coming to your house, you’d go crazy with excitement.  Well, He is there right now waiting to speak to you.  Are you ready to listen? 

Psalm 118:89Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. 

Isaiah 40:8The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Scripture, the word of God, tells us there is power in it and it’ll endure forever. 

Hebrews 4:12-13 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 

The Bible is alive, just as God is alive!  It isn’t out dated or out of touch.  It is so powerful it can cut through to our motives and thoughts.  The word of God has the same power as when he made creation.

Psalm 33:6 KJV, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”

Wow, doesn’t that just stir your heart?  Aren’t you ready to begin reading your Bible, having time with God alone allowing that power into your life?  It just gets me all excited just telling you this! 

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 

God’s Word is directional.  It will guide you and help you as you go about your day to day life. Here’s a little food for thought. Do you ever forget to eat? Do you miss a meal because you were too busy? I rarely miss a meal due to my hypoglycemia.  If I go without eating I get shaky, lightheaded, and cranky. It is the same with Bible study.

 John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” 

We now know that reading God’s Word is His will. We should be like Jesus; where we desire to do His will more than eating food or the other fleshly pleasures.  I am not saying we should never eat or have pleasure.  My point is we hardly deprive ourselves of nourishment nor should we deprive ourselves of our spiritual food.

Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Proverbs 8:7,” I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” 

I have a friend whose view on Bible study drastically changed her life.  Reading her Bible use to be a chore, she did it because she knew that is was what God had commanded.  While doing a Beth Moore Bible study, she saw how Beth Moore was excited about the Word of God. Beth said that if you don’t have something, you ask for it.  If you want to desire God’s word, then you ask for it.  Needless to say, she asked for it. That was over two years ago.  The growth in her is almost immeasurable.  She lives to do her Bible study and walk with God.  She is happier and more content with her life than before. We, too, can experience that same intensity and blessings from God’s Word. Don’t you want to hunger and thirst for Him and His Word? Seek Him with all that you have.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Take a few minutes and re-think your previous list of reasons keeping you from reading your Bible. 

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November 29, 2007

The Beginnings- Genesis 1-2

Posted in DEVOTIONS tagged , , , , , , at 3:23 pm by graceabounds

Although Adam and Eve fell into the temptation of sin, we should remember God will help us to overcome temptation if we ask for His help. Read Genesis 3. The Serpent, Satan, began by questioning what God had told Adam. Eve was then tempted (in verse six) when she saw that the tree was good, desirable, and the fruit would make her wise. As Christians we need to check every thought we have, and see if it goes along with God’s Word. Satan deceived Eve by telling her the truth as well as a lie. It was true that they would know the difference between good and evil, but if they disobeyed God there would be a penalty, death. They were allowed to eat from all the trees except one. Eve believed that by disobeying God it would make her happier than obeying Him. Sin was brought into the world because they ate from the tree going against God. Look at verse seven “they now knew they were naked.” There would be consequences because they had sinned. God was coming to spend time with them but now there would have to be a penalty for their sins. Jesus would later pay that price. They were no longer allowed to be in the Garden of Eden due to their sins.There is no point in trying to hide your sins from God, it is impossible. In turn, she and Adam suffered the consequences, yet God still loved and cared for them. He made them clothes from animals, which seems a lot more comfortable than fig leaves! That is God loving us and caring for us despite how we hurt and disappoint Him.

In the garden they were allowed to eat from every single tree but one. Notice in verse two that the word “trees” is plural. The other trees were also pleasant to the eyes and good for fruit. God didn’t put the tree there and say, “Okay, it is here to tempt you.” No, God had given them plenty of good things, because He is good. God created us with a free will to worship Him. Many of us have struggled with why God would create something He knew would mess up and choose to sin. God desires true worship and praise from us. He wants us to praise Him as God because we have come to the realization that He truly deserves it. Remember, He wants a true intimate relationship with you.

Take a few minutes and examine your heart. Is there any sin you are trying to cover up with the fig leaves? Do you pretend you are okay and that you don’t need Him? God is waiting for us. Whenever we are open and naked by confessing our sins it restores our relationship with Him. He is ready to remove the uncomfortable fig leaves and cover us in fur. Why don’t you say or write out a prayer confessing any sin in your life, and allow God’s forgiveness to wash over you.

Genesis 3

Posted in DEVOTIONS tagged , , , , , , at 3:21 pm by graceabounds

Although Adam and Eve fell into the temptation of sin, we should remember God will help us to overcome temptation if we ask for His help. Read Genesis 3. The Serpent, Satan, began by questioning what God had told Adam. Eve was then tempted (in verse six) when she saw that the tree was good, desirable, and the fruit would make her wise. As Christians we need to check every thought we have, and see if it goes along with God’s Word. Satan deceived Eve by telling her the truth as well as a lie. It was true that they would know the difference between good and evil, but if they disobeyed God there would be a penalty, death. They were allowed to eat from all the trees except one. Eve believed that by disobeying God it would make her happier than obeying Him. Sin was brought into the world because they ate from the tree going against God. Look at verse seven “they now knew they were naked.” There would be consequences because they had sinned. God was coming to spend time with them but now there would have to be a penalty for their sins. Jesus would later pay that price. They were no longer allowed to be in the Garden of Eden due to their sins.There is no point in trying to hide your sins from God, it is impossible. In turn, she and Adam suffered the consequences, yet God still loved and cared for them. He made them clothes from animals, which seems a lot more comfortable than fig leaves! That is God loving us and caring for us despite how we hurt and disappoint Him.

In the garden they were allowed to eat from every single tree but one. Notice in verse two that the word “trees” is plural. The other trees were also pleasant to the eyes and good for fruit. God didn’t put the tree there and say, “Okay, it is here to tempt you.” No, God had given them plenty of good things, because He is good. God created us with a free will to worship Him. Many of us have struggled with why God would create something He knew would mess up and choose to sin. God desires true worship and praise from us. He wants us to praise Him as God because we have come to the realization that He truly deserves it. Remember, He wants a true intimate relationship with you.

Take a few minutes and examine your heart. Is there any sin you are trying to cover up with the fig leaves? Do you pretend you are okay and that you don’t need Him? God is waiting for us. Whenever we are open and naked by confessing our sins it restores our relationship with Him. He is ready to remove the uncomfortable fig leaves and cover us in fur. Why don’t you say or write out a prayer confessing any sin in your life, and allow God’s forgiveness to wash over you.