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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jesus Take the Wheel


According to the Willow Creek Reveal Study there are mainly 4 kinds of people at you church on Sunday. There are those that are:
 Exploring – looking to meet Jesus
- Growing – Accepted Christ and learning more about Him
- Close – Allows God to give direction to their lives
- Christ Centered – Jesus makes the decision for them in all areas of life

We can look at this like driving a car with the auto representing our lives.
-         We see Jesus through the window but no contact
-         We ask Jesus in to the car but put him in the back seat
-         We have Jesus move to the front and let Him be our “co-pilot”.
-         We let Jesus take the wheel and control our lives

Matthew 16:24-26 - Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Be wise today and always – hands up!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Going up?


When we open up – Jesus shows up,
You must make Jesus Christ Lord and Savior of your life.
All who call on the Name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13

When Jesus shows up – we will grow up.
We will want our lives to change and that means getting rid of the junk!
The bible supports this in 1 Peter 2:1-3 - Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

When we grow up, the church will be built up!
It’s not about us! When we do it God’s way great things will happen.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Be wise today and always – keep looking up!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Please God


Here's our application of Matthew 5:3-10 And Matthew 23:13-31 :

1. Don't do anything to keep people out of God's kingdom. Evangelize!

2. Don't take advantage of anyone, regardless of our rationale.

3. Don't mislead people into eternal destruction. Share the truth of the Gospel.

4. Don’t be covetous of physical, material, temporal, worldly things, but of spiritual.

5. Be compassionate, merciful, and gracious.

6. Be inwardly pure first, then you'll be outwardly pure automatically.

7. Don't make the lives of the righteous more difficult than they already are.

The more you know what God says, the more you’ll know about God’s will. - Warren

Be wise today and always – know how to please God.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Righteous vs. Unrighteous


We see The Right and Wrong Ways to Please God in Matthew 5:3-10 and Matthew 23:13-31.

Jesus called the unrighteous leaders seven things—hypocrites, children of Hell, blind guides, fools, whitewashed tombs, murderers, and snakes. Look at the contrasts with the Beatitudes.

RIGHTEOUS VS UNRIGHTEOUS #1
THE RIGHTEOUS……enter the kingdom of God, 
THE UNRIGHTEOUS…… keep people out of the kingdom of God.
RIGHTEOUS VS UNRIGHTEOUS #2
THE RIGHTEOUSare comforted,
THE UNRIGHTEOUS …are condemned.
RIGHTEOUS VS UNRIGHTEOUS #3
THE RIGHTEOUS…inherit the promised land, 
THE UNRIGHTEOUS ……are doomed eternally.
RIGHTEOUS VS UNRIGHTEOUS #4
THE RIGHTEOUS…hunger for holiness,
THE UNRIGHTEOUS ……are greedy for gain.
RIGHTEOUS VS UNRIGHTEOUS #5
THE RIGHTEOUS..…obtain mercy, 
THE UNRIGHTEOUS ..…are merciless.
RIGHTEOUS VS UNRIGHTEOUS #6
THE RIGHTEOUS…are pure in heart,
THE UNRIGHTEOUS ……are defiled in heart.
RIGHTEOUS VS UNRIGHTEOUS #7
THE RIGHTEOUS…are children of Heaven,
THE UNRIGHTEOUS ……are the children of Hell.

Be wise today and always – be righteous.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Right and Wrong


There are right and wrong ways to please God. Jesus shows us both ways in the book of Matthew.

We see seven blessings on the righteous in Matthew 5:3-10:
1. Theirs is the kingdom of Heaven (3&10)
2. They shall be comforted (v. 4).
3. They shall inherit the land (v. 5).
4. They shall be filled (v. 6).
5. They shall obtain mercy (v. 7).
6. They shall see God (v. 8).
7. They shall be called sons of God (v. 9).

We see seven woes on the unrighteous in Matthew 23:13-31.
1. They kept people out of God's kingdom (v.13).
2. They took advantage of widows (v. 14)
3. They misled men to eternal destruction (v.15).
4. They were covetous of worldly things (16-22).
5. They refused to show compassion (vv. 23-24).
6. They were inwardly corrupt (vv. 25-28).
7. They afflicted the righteous (vv. 29-31).

While the beatitudes express the true way to please God, the woes express the wrong way to please Him.

Be wise today and always please God in all you do.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hypocrisy


In Matthew 23 Jesus gives the church a Warning against hypocrisy.
 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
   5Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries  wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
   8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

He then gives a tongue lashing to the teachers of the law and Pharisees, the church leaders. Seven times He says Woe to you! There are two ways to live our lives - according to the World or according to the Word. You can’t keep a foot in both worlds.

The greatest among you will be your servant.

Be wise today and always exalt Christ in all you do.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Money


Studying God’s Word and applying to your life is not so difficult if you are willing to accept what it says. Look at Malachi 3:6-12:

6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty. 

People turned away from God’s Word and were neither faithful nor obedient. They robbed Him by not giving their tithes and offerings, so they were cursed. The Lord says to bring the “whole tithe” to the church, and test Him to see how much blessing you will receive. Even nonbelievers will call you blessed.

That’s not so hard to understand, but we have to take a stand! If you don't stand on the Word you'll likely fall for anything.

Be wise today and always – obey the Word.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Connection


One of the top things left behind in hotel rooms are power cords for cell phones. laptops, tablets, etc.. We have to have these gadgets plugged in and powered up so we can press on through our busy days. When we don’t have our energy source cords we are in a serious communication crisis.

God wants us to Plug In, Power Up, and Press On as well; through His Spirit and His Word. When we’ve lost our connection to the ultimate power source we are in serious trouble. Praise God we can always turn back to Him and get reconnected!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

And then we can claim:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12

Be wise today and always – plug in, power up, and press on for God.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Value


The same message can be read from God’s Word but with two very different results. Hebrews 4:2 - For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

God’s Word is powerful but it has to be accepted by faith in order to change you in to the person God desires for you to be. I love this statement from Rick Warren, The Bible can keep you from sin, but sin can keep you from the Bible.

It is so true! The only verse in the Bible that promises prosperity and success is Joshua 1:8 - Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Do you what is necessary? Knowing and obeying God’s Word! It takes time and dedication but the rewards are out of this world.

Be wise today and always – bring the value of God’s Word alive in your life.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nourishment


When we come to church and go to our small groups we feast on the Word of God. Just like with real food, eating two times a week is not enough. We need to be fed everyday. God provided food called manna for Israel when they were wandering in the wilderness. Every morning they just had to go out and pick it up. We need to pick up our Bibles everyday and put it in ourselves through hearing, reading, studying, meditating, and memorizing Scripture.

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3

Think of it like this. If Jesus was in front of you and wrote something down specifically for you, would you want to know what it said? Of course! He has written something down especially for you. It’s His Word! Feast, dine, and be fed everyday from it. You’ll be healthier, wiser, and closer to Jesus.

Be wise today and always – be nourished through His Word to you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Call to Faith

God will save all who place their faith in Jesus but gives people the freedom to receive or reject salvation. Look at this call to faith found in Romans 10:1-21

1. We cannot save ourselves. (10:1-4)
How does understanding Paul’s great passion for the Jews to be saved through faith motivate you to have a similar passion for all people?

2. We can be saved by faith. (10:8-13)
What are some opportunities we have during the week to share our faith?
What causes us not too? What should our actions be?

3. We can encourage others.  (10:14-18b, 21)
How can we overcome objections to evangelism?

What responsibility has God given to believers?

Be wise today and always - share your faith. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Your Sword


Ephesians 6:17 tells us to: Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This is part of the armor God provides for us to put on every day. The sword is the only offensive weapon we need.

Remember a sword needs to be sharpened if it is to remain useful—and it certainly won't sharpen itself. We need to set aside some time every day for regular Bible study. Through 40 Days in the Word we have learned marvelous techniques to study the Bible. Pick a topic you don't know as well as you'd like or a character trait you would like to improve and delve into it. Through continuous practice, we will keep our blades razor sharp and always be ready to defend the hope that lies within us.

Be wise today and always – handle your sword wisely

Monday, March 19, 2012

Making Revival Real


Jesus calls us (His church) to be salt and light. We understand the “light vs. darkness” part, but what does it mean to be salt?

Matthew 5:13 - You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

Salt adds flavor.  It enhances, spices, improves the taste, and it permeates what it is put on.

Mark 9:50 - "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."

Salt is a preservative.  Used with all kinds of meat, fish, etc. to keep it from spoiling.

Luke 14:34 - "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

Salt has worth.  Over the centuries it has been used for currency and trading.

This week let’s use the attributes of salt to guide us in how we should live for Christ.

Be wise today and always – Be salt to the world around you.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Passionate Servanthood


We all have experienced discomfort, rejection, conflict, obstacles, and feel no one cares. In 2 Timothy 4:1-12 gives instructions to Timothy how to deal with these, but they are for us as well.

1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

We need to be passionate about servanthood!
Here’s 5 Keys to remember in serving Christ:
1. Fulfillment - you have job to do
2. Fight is on - Expect tough times
3. Finish strong - Remember nothing else matters
4. Faith in the living God - Strength and hope comes from Christ
5. Future promise - Keep your eye on the prize

Surround yourself with people who want to be challenged and obedient.

Be wise today and always be passionate about your service to God.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Whatever


The 40 Days in the Word experience has been wonderful. Rick Warren reminded us recently about the words of Jesus found in the Gospel of John.

John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you!”

Remaining in Christ produces answered prayers! Prayer can do anything God can do! But don’t expect a $1000 answer to a 10cent prayer! Pray according to God’s will and Christ’s plan for your life. By knowing the Word you will live for His purposes.
                            
Look at the word “Whatever” in the text. Does Jesus really mean this?
Sure he does, but that is for those who are In Him. If God doesn’t give you what you ask for don’t worry He always has something better for you.

Here is the key to your prayer request. Don’t ask God for what you think is good for you. Ask God for what HE thinks is good for you! Be ready to be amazed.

Be wise today and always – do whatever the Lord tells you.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Light


When I graduated from college I shared an apartment with a friend of mine. We were two typical guys that didn’t pay a lot of attention to what was going on around us. One day someone came in to our place and ask why it was so dark. At first we weren’t sure what they were talking about. It didn’t seem dark to us. Upon further inspection we discovered half of all our light bulbs were burned out! We hadn’t noticed because they didn’t go out at once, but one at a time. Our eyes had adjusted over time, so we couldn’t tell the difference.

Sin is that way sometime. It can creep up on us, and before we know it we have pushed God out of our lives. That is why it is so important to keep the light of God shining on our lives. Jesus is called the Light of the World, and he does bring light in to darkness. We are also told, Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path. – Psalm119:105. Stay in the Word! It brings clarity to your world, and guides you in truth.

Be wise today and always – keep the lights on!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Heart


Psalm 119:11 gives us great advice about what to do with God’s Word; I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Heart is a word used in Scripture to describe not an organ pumping blood, but the essence of who we are as God’s people. Just in Psalms in speaks of; the desires of your heart, the meditation of your heart, your heart being stirred, sin in your heart, having a broken and contrite heart, a pure heart, an undivided heart, a free heart, and God knowing our hearts.

We say to little children that they need to invite Jesus in to their hearts. We need to trust God with all of our hearts. Jesus tells us in John 14:1; Do not let your hearts be troubled. It’s pretty obvious that the heart is very important to God. We can lead good clean lives, but without the Holy Spirit and the Word in us we are open to attack from the enemy.

When you accept Jesus as your personal savior we are told in Ephesians 1:13 that the Holy Spirit comes to live in us to guide and direct us. By putting God’s Word in our hearts we will know how to be obedient and live a life that glorifies the Lord.

Be wise today and always – hide God’s Word in your heart.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Less Stressed


We heard in one of the 40 Days in the Word video devotions that with Christ we can sleep, Happy and blessed and a whole less stressed. I like that, don’t you? The problem is how to achieve it. Through the Word of course!

Everything starts with a relationship with Jesus. We are promised that the Holy Spirit will come and live in us to help, counsel, and guide us. But it is through His Word that we can read it and understand it.

Look at Psalm 119:25-32: 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.

God is able to give you all these things. Take Him at His Word.

Be wise today and always – be strengthened through the Word.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Stumbling


1 Corinthians 8:1-13 is Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols, but I believe it speaks to us today as well. Look what Paul has to say.
 1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God. 4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
 7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 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.

The key is in verse 9. Even though we have freedom in Christ to do many things we do not have the right to do them if it could cause someone to sin. That means changing our habits and things we do if we place it under this Scripture. We are warned in James 1:22 not to just listen to the Word, but do what it says. Are there things you do that might cause someone to stumble and fall?

Be wise today and always – consider your example.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Law


I heard an interesting and disturbing comment from someone recently concerning a memory verse from 40 Days in the Word. It is Psalm 119:18, Open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in your law. The commit was that it was a silly verse to memorize in a study about the Bible because the Law was Old Testament and we live under the New Testament.

Last time I checked the Bible is the Old and the New Testament! While is true we have a new covenant with God through Jesus’ sacrifice, Jesus spoke and the other NT writers wrote about the value of Scripture. The only Bible they would have had at that time was the OT.

Psalm 119 is a wonderful passage about the Word of God. Sometimes it is called Scripture, or precepts, or statutes, or decrees, or commands, or promises, or laws. God wants to give us a clear and complete picture of who He is through this love letter to us – the Bible. So I ask for my friend and all of us that our eyes will be opened to God’s wonder-filled Book. Amen?

Be wise today and always – keep your eyes, ears, and heart open.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Interpretation


According to this week’s 40 Days in the Word study there are:   
Four BASIC RULES OF BIBLE INTERPRETATION

1. CONSIDER THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT:

WHO is being spoken to, and why?
What did it mean to them?
                            
2.  Define the key words

 Remember: CONTEXT AFFECTS THE MEANING OF WORDS
                  
3.  Interpret unclear verses with clear ones!
 
Look at the verses surrounding it.

4. Look for the most obvious meaning.
           
 The Purpose of God’s Word” to reveal, not conceal!
Don’t try to force a meaning. Let it speak for itself.

Applying these four rules can open up a new understanding for you when you study Scripture.

Be wise today and always – let the Word be revealed.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reflection


Thanks to mirrors we can see ourselves as others see us. Scripture is a mirror for us. It helps us see ourselves as God sees us, He wants us to respond to what we see in that reflection.

James 1:22-25 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

 Sometimes it is possible to completely miss seeing a problem in yourself, even if the mirror is right there in front of you. How can that happen? It can if we choose not to remember what we saw or keep our eyes closed!

Do you avoid looking in the mirror of Scripture? It time to open your eyes to see wonderful things in God’s Word. Remember what He shows you through it.

Be wise today and always – do what the Word says.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Encouragement


We all need to be encouraged. I picked these helpful sayings at The Global leadership Summit last year.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
 
"Believe you can and you're halfway there."
 
"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."
 
"The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything."

Those are good words but here are better ones:

1 John 4:4 - Greater is He that is in me, then he that is in the world

Philippians 4:13I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Be wise today and always – be encouraged by the Word

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Word Comfort


During storms in our lives, confusion, and times of grief it is good to remember that Jesus is right there through it all. The problem is we forget and we think we are on our own.

Remember these promises from the Word of God:

1.     Jesus promises He’ll never leave you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:20

2.     Jesus promises peace – even if we can’t understand it. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

3.     God’s Word will illuminate our paths even in the darkest times.
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. – Psalm 119:105

During trials in your life remember the Word will always guide you in truth and in love.

Be wise today and always – use the Word.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Be Filled


There is a warning Jesus gives to all of us in Matthew 12:43-45: “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Jesus is speaking to the crowd of unbelievers about their future fate. I also believe the warning here is very real today. I’ve seen it to many times. A person has an “experience” and gives up things that are not good, and cleans up his life. Now that’s a great thing to do, but there is a problem. If you haven’t experienced salvation your body may be clean, but it is not occupied. It is empty, therefore allowing the evil to come back.

If you truly believe in Jesus as your Savior, you will clean up your life, and fill it with the Holy Spirit and God’s Holy Word. They’ll be no place for demons or evil because Christ has taken up residence!

Be wise today and always – be filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Be Open


God is serious when it comes to the illumination of His Word. We see a great example of this in Mark 7:31-35: Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

A number of great things are happening here.
1. Jesus is intimately involved with the care and healing of this man. There is no doubt where the healing came from.
2. Jesus tells where to look for help (looked to heaven).
3 Jesus sighed. He had compassion and empathy for this man and His human condition.
4. Jesus said the word “Ephphatha” which is from another language, but one the man could understand, and was healed.

How are we impacted when Jesus says to us, Ephphatha?

Maybe we need to be open to doing things His way and not our own. To have open ears to what He wants us to hear. Open minds to give us His wisdom. Open eyes to see His illumination of the Word in our lives.

Be wise today and always – Ephphatha.

Monday, March 5, 2012

More Application


When you are trying to figure out how to apply Scripture to your life, use the acrostic: S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S. This is a great way that Rick Warren has used in his study to make the Word come alive and be part of who you are.

There are nine useful questions to ask yourself about a passage, given in this acrostic:

S – Is there a sin to confess?
P – Is there a promise to claim?
A – Is there an attitude to change?
C – Is there a command to obey?
E – Is there an example to follow?
P – Is there a prayer to pray?
E – Is there an error to avoid?
T – Is there a truth to believe?
S – Is there something to praise God for?

Which question is God leading you to focus on this week?

Be wise today and always – focus on the truth.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Your Testimony


Sometimes we have to clarify what we are not, before people will allow us to testify to the truth of the Good News.

What do you say about yourself?

We see in John 1:19-28 a great example of how to testify:
1. Listen to what they are saying.
2. Answer their questions.
3. Use the Word of God
4. Tell them about Jesus

Consider this Word wisdom:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. - Colossians 4:6

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, -1 Peter 3:15

How do you answer the world’s questions?

Be wise today and always – be ready to testify.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Are You Hungry?


We should desire to be Christ-like in all we do.  John 6:1-8 is a story of giving a 100%, and being hungry for the things of God. 

1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4The Jewish Passover Feast was near.
5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Look what the Word says about our relationship with Jesus:
Follow Him – (“Followed Him”) – Be close to Christ
Sit down with Him – (“sat down with His disciples”)- Learn from Christ
Look at others for Him – (“Jesus looked  up”) – Ask for Christ’s eyes
Have Him in Your Mind – (“He already had in mind”) – Have a Christ-like attitude 
Give all you have to Him – (“A boy with …” )- 100% Commitment  

Be wise today and always – apply the Word to your life.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Application


After we study a passage we should ask ourselves: What will I DO about it?

Our culture idolizes shallow celebrities living shallow lives. You know the sun is setting on a culture when small men cast long shadows. Our world desperately needs caring, consistent, cooperative, considerate, and courageous Men of God & Women of God!

In 40 Days In The Word, Rick Warren teaches you must make Bible study:
          Personal – must apply it to myself
          Practical & Possible – something I can DO
          Provable – set a deadline!

Think and meditate on the Bible today.
     
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
-          Psalm 119:11

Be wise today and always – be and example to the world live God’s Word.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Content


At first glance some Bible verses may seem to not be a deep passage. Ask yourself:   Why did God include it in the Bible?  You might want to skip over it quickly, but remember what God says in…
         
2 Tim. 3:16(NLT)ALL Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.

And

Rom, 15:4(NIV)For everything was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

God wants us to get something out of all of His Word!

Be wise today and always – dig deep in your Bible study.