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nChrist
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« Reply #1920 on: August 09, 2013, 06:33:52 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 5, 2013
Topic: Other

Peace for Troubled Hearts

According to the U. S. Census Bureau's "Population Clock," the world's population is ticking closer and closer to seven billion.

How many troubled hearts do you suppose there are in the world?

There appears to be no end of thoughts that can trouble people. They are troubled about their past: Wrecked relationships, failures, lost opportunities, sinful habits and bad decisions are some of the old, haunting concerns. Then, they are troubled by their present: Where will the next meal come from? Family frictions, health problems, financial woes, uncertain jobs, aging and uncertainties about a myriad of other things that disturb minds everywhere. Finally, people are troubled about their future: How and when will I die? Do I have the right religion? What lies beyond the grave? If there is a God, am I prepared to meet Him? Will I go to hell?

It would seem that peaceful, untroubled hearts are pretty rare among the world's seven billion. Is there a way to cure troubled hearts? Jesus offers a solution.

Receive

The angels introduced Christ's birth to the world with the wonderful announcement of peace on earth among men with whom God is well pleased (Luke 2:14, NASB). That peace was to come, not through human negotiations, but through the person of Christ Himself.

Shortly before He was put to death, Jesus assured His disciples that their hearts were not to be troubled--that He was the sole source of lasting peace that could free them from the troubles of their past, their present and their future. He said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27, ESV).

Peace for troubled hearts comes from having a right relationship with the person of Christ. It's not found in drugs, alcohol, religion or any other human solution.

Reflect

Much personal suffering, anxiety and lack of peace may be related to your past life. How does Jesus give you peace if you are troubled by your past? Find the following Bible verses and answer the related questions.

    Isaiah 53:5. In this prophecy of Christ, what do you see that He has done to make peace possible for you?
    Acts 10:43. What does the person who believes in Christ receive?
    Colossians 2:13-14. What was your past condition? What does Jesus do for the believer?

Is your present life troubling you? What does being rightly related to Christ do to alleviate these issues?

    Romans 5:1. What act of God assures the believer of peace with Him?
    Galatians 5:22-23. What does this passage say about the source of present peace for the believer?
    Isaiah 26:3. Who is kept in perfect peace by God?
    Philippians 4:6-7. How is the peace of God obtained? What does this peace do for you?

What about the future?

    Isaiah 55:12. How does God describe the future peace of His people?
    Revelation 1:4. What promise of Christ's eternal presence and peace do you see in this verse?
    Hebrews 13:8. What assurance do you see in this verse that the peace which Christ gives a believer today will last forever?

Respond

Consider the things that may be troubling you today. Have you accepted God's forgiveness of your past? Are you resting in the peace Christ gives in this present hour?

Based on His Word, are you confident that the Lord has a peaceful, perfect future for you?

Memorize Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV), which has not only one of the greatest prayer promises in the Bible but also a promise of peace that only God can give:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
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« Reply #1921 on: August 09, 2013, 06:34:52 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 6, 2013
Topic: Jesus, Christian Living/Situational

Secret of Strength

What's the biggest frustration for people who want to live godly lives? For many (including me), it's the inability to do just that. Do you ever feel that way? Well, the Bible has a solution.

Receive

First, let's look at the problem. Below are the words of the apostle Paul:

"I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate....For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing" (Romans 7:15-19, ESV).

Now, let's look for answers to this problem. Look up John 15:5 and answer the following questions:

    Whose words are these?
    What does He expect you to be able to do on your own?
    Which words in that verse stand out to you?
    Why do those words make such an impact on you?

The Bible teaches that only through Jesus can a person have a relationship with God (see John 14:6). And now we see that there is a parallel truth--the only way to have the strength to live a godly life is through Jesus.

Let's read a bit more of the passage in John 15 so we'll have a better understanding of what Jesus is teaching.

"'I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.'

"'Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned" (John 15:1,4-6, NLT).

Reflect

Take a few moments and write down what you think Jesus wants you to know about the source of your strength and ability to live for Him.

Why is it so critical that a Christ-follower know this truth?

Respond

Listen to the apostle Paul as he affirms this truth.

"May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation--the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ--for this will bring much glory and praise to God" (Philippians 1:11, NLT).

What difference will it make in your day and your life to know that good things are produced in your life, not by your effort, but by the presence and power of Jesus? That's worth praying about and praising Him for!
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« Reply #1922 on: August 09, 2013, 06:35:50 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 7, 2013
Topic: Faith/Trust, Christian Living/Situational, Obedience/Discipleship

All About Abiding

"Abide in Christ": It's one of those classic Christian phrases we like to toss around to explain how to live as a believer. But what does it mean for us in practical terms? In His parable of the Vine, Jesus shows us what it means to "abide."

Receive

During His last teaching session with His disciples, Jesus talked about abiding in Him. In John 15, Jesus says He is the vine and God the Father is the vinedresser or caretaker of the vine. Then, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, ESV).

Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. He is the core, the source, the root that feeds us, connects us, and helps us grow to fruitfulness. Without Him, we're just dried-up twigs. Abiding means we're connected to His life. John 15:4 underscores this, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me" (ESV).

The root meaning of abide is "to dwell" or "to take up residence." It has a sense of moving in and settling down--you're at home. And with Jesus, it works both ways: We take up residence in Him and He lives in us. As branches on the vine, we need Him to live in us, to pour His life through us. Without Him, we can do nothing. It's that connection at the core that brings us life and fruitfulness.

Reflect

Go back and read through John 15:1-11.

    What is the Father looking for from us as the branches of the vine (15:2-4)?
    What happens to those who do not abide (15:2,6)?
    What's the blessing for those who do stay connected to the vine (15:5-7)?
    How do we prove we're disciples (15:8.)?
    How does love fuel this "abiding" (15:9-10)?
    How does Jesus demonstrate abiding (15:9-10)?

Respond

There's a lot of good stuff that comes with abiding: love, growth, fruitfulness, answered prayer, glory for God. But it's the daily-ness of abiding that we stumble over. We often let the cares and busyness of life crowd out our connection with Jesus.

Would you say Jesus is "at home" in your life? Or do you treat Him like someone who just drops by once in awhile? Do you find yourself thinking that you just have to "go it alone" most of the time? Or are you drawing on all the strength and hope and purpose He offers? Do you find your life and joy in Him? Is it a matter of love?

The best way to stay connected or plugged into Jesus is through the Word of God. The Bible offers all the words of life we need; it's how we see, listen and learn from Jesus. It's how we know that God loves us and how we can respond to Him in love as well. When you make daily connecting with Jesus your focus, you're on your way to a fruitful life of abiding.
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« Reply #1923 on: August 09, 2013, 06:36:57 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 8, 2013
Topic: Christian Living/Situational

Pruning for Eternity

"Our rose bush looks so weak and scraggly," my wife said. "It has beautiful blossoms, but somebody needs to prune it."

"No problem," I assured her, as I visualized a splendid crop of big, pink roses blooming the next year. "I'll take care of it."

I did take care of it. I pruned the bush so it was much shorter than it had been and, lo and behold, the next year there were flowers on it--very small, unattractive, pale ones that didn't resemble our beautiful pink blooms at all.

As it turned out, I had pruned the rose bush below the spot where it was originally grafted into a wild rose root. All I had left was an unsightly wild rose plant and an unhappy wife.

This all goes to show that correctly pruning a vine, bush or tree requires some expertise which I apparently lacked.

God, however, is an expert in pruning--both physical and spiritual.

Receive

Jesus says in John 15:1-2 (ESV): "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit."

    Who does the pruning?
    What is the expected outcome of pruning?

Reflect

What are some of the fruits that God wants to see in your life? See the following Bible verses; jot down the fruit that is mentioned and answer the questions.

    Colossians 1:10. The fruit ____________. What lifestyles do you see that go along with bearing fruit?
    Hebrews 13:15. The fruit ____________. How is this spiritual fruit described?
    Hebrews 12:11. The fruit ____________. What produces this fruit? (See also Philippians 1:9-11).
    Ephesians 5:9. The fruit ____________. In what three things is this fruit found?
    Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit ____________. Name the nine aspects of this fruit.

Respond

Consider the different spiritual fruits you listed in the "Reflect" section above. Do you see any areas where your life isn't producing those fruits? Can you identify specific twigs He needs to prune away?

Here is a helpful verse to commit to memory: "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples" (John 15: 8, ESV).
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« Reply #1924 on: August 09, 2013, 06:38:46 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 9, 2013
Topic: Jesus, Christian Living/Situational

Friend of Jesus

Have you ever had someone dislike you because of something you've said or done? Most of us have experienced that. Have you ever had someone dislike you because of one of your friends? If you're a Christian, that has happened--or will happen someday. Why? Jesus explains.

Receive

"'I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name'" (John 15:15-16, NLT).

Jesus reminds us that as Christ-followers we are not just His servants, but we are His friends. Being a friend of Jesus is one of the privileges of being a Christian. But Jesus makes a prediction for His friends.

"The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you" (John 15:19, NLT).

    What kind of prediction did Jesus make for His friends?
    According to these verses, why will the world hate you?

Read the following verses and answer the questions.

Matthew 12:14

    Why did the Pharisees call a meeting in Matthew 12?

Luke 4:28-30

    Who was furious with Jesus in Luke 4:28-30?
    What did they do to Jesus?
    What did they intend to do?
    How did Jesus get away?

John 8:57-59

    Who was upset with Jesus in these verses?
    What did they use to express their anger?
    How did Jesus get away?

After reading the above verses, what do you learn about the relationships Jesus had with others (especially the religious leaders) during the last three years of His life?

Reflect

Do you understand why as a Christ-follower you will be disliked or hated even though you have done nothing to deserve it?

Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Bible Teacher, clarifies: "When you live a life that pleases the Lord, you are a problem to people who don't please the Lord. So, is it any wonder, then, that the world hates you? When I say to you, 'Have a good and godly day,' I am saying to you, 'You do that, and you're going to be hated because of it.' Why? Because the world doesn't know God."

Randomly scribble any words that express how you feel when you consider that you will be hated and perhaps even persecuted someday because of your faith.

If "fear" or a similar emotion is on your list, take your list before God and tell Him how you feel. Then think about this.

    How does Jesus expect you to respond to hostility and perhaps even persecution? (Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:14).
    Who will give you the strength to respond appropriately? (Ephesians 3:16).

Respond

Are you a friend of Jesus? If so, you can expect some people to have a very negative reaction to you.

Ask the Lord to strengthen you by the power of the Holy Spirit and to give you the character of Christ, in particular His courage and compassion. See Acts 6 and 7 for Stephen's example.
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« Reply #1925 on: August 12, 2013, 05:07:35 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 12, 2013
Topic: Jesus, Joy, New Life, Holy Spirit

Sorrow into Joy

When you're dealing with grief and sorrow, there are times when you feel like you'll never be happy again, when the idea of joy is just a joke...and not a funny one. But if you keep going, there's another moment you will eventually reach: You will realize the worst is over and joy is still possible.

Receive

In John 16, Jesus prepared His disciples for those moments. In a few hours, He would be arrested and crucified, and they'd grieve over His death. He knew the loss they'd feel when He returned to heaven after His Resurrection. But Jesus told these friends, "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy" (John 16:20, NLT).

Jesus promises that joy will be restored, and He illustrates that in John 16:21, "It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world" (NLT). The process of birthing a child is painful and hard but once that baby's in his mother's arms, she rejoices.

The reason for joy is that Jesus gives new life and promises His return. First, from the grave, and later--the one we look forward to--from heaven to take us home with Him. He says, "So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy" (John 16:22, NLT). No one can take away that joy! It's the real deal, and it lasts.

Reflect

What else produces joy? See what you can find in these passages:

John 15:7-11

Acts 11:20-23

Romans 4:6-8

Romans 15:13

Galatians 5:22-23

Philippians 2:16-18

Respond

So, where are you right now? Lost in sorrow, grieving or feeling hopeless? Or have you begun to see that joy is possible? Joy is more than feeling happy; it's a positive confidence that God is faithful to His promises and working on your behalf. It's a quiet trust that the Holy Spirit is carrying the load and filling you with all that you need.

Ask God to show you how to move forward; pray that the Holy Spirit would fill you each day with that sense of joy. Psalm 30:5 promises "Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning" (NLT).
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« Reply #1926 on: August 16, 2013, 08:32:00 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 13, 2013
Topic: God's Care, Prayer, Obedience/Discipleship

Authority for Prayer

Have you ever been given special treatment because of someone you know? Ushered through a crowd of waiting people because you know the owner of a restaurant? Allowed behind the scenes of a play because you know the manager of the company? Given a discount on a car because you are friends with the owner of the franchise?

You have that kind of access to God the Father, and you get that kind of special treatment because of someone you know: His Son, Jesus.

Receive

In the following verse, Jesus was preparing the disciples for the future. He was telling them that soon things would change. He would go away. (He was preparing them for the time He would die on the cross and later ascend to heaven.)

"At that time you won't need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name" (John 16:23, ESV, italics added).

    Until Jesus left, where would the disciples take their needs or questions?
    Where would they take them after Jesus was gone?
    Whose name would they make requests in after Jesus was gone?
    Why would God grant their requests?

Jesus was God's Son and His death on the cross would ensure that His disciples--including us--would have access to God because we could go to Him in His Son's name.

"You haven't done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy" (John 16:24, ESV).

Reflect

Jesus isn't promising a blank check in these verses. But He is promising you the resources you need to carry out His plan for your life.

    What are some requests God probably wouldn't honor (see James 4:3)?
    Think about what God wants you to do? Do you need to ask Him for anything to help you accomplish His plan for you?
    What does it mean to you to know you can ask God for anything in Jesus' name?

Respond

Write down any requests you make in Jesus' name this week and attach them to your refrigerator with a magnet. Then note the answer and the date "you receive" what you've asked for. With "abundant joy," give God the glory each time you note an answer.
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« Reply #1927 on: August 16, 2013, 08:33:23 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 14, 2013
Topic: Salvation

What Must I Do?

Twice in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is approached with very similar questions: "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25, ESV); "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18:18, ESV). Each time, the questioner left dissatisfied.

Let's look at these passages to find out why.

Receive

The first time this question was asked, the questioner was a lawyer--someone who was an expert in interpreting the Jewish law. Read Luke 10:25-29.

    Jesus turns the question back to the "expert." What does the lawyer say?
    What is Jesus' response to the lawyer's answer?
    How did the lawyer react to Jesus' response?

The second time this question was asked, the questioner was a rich young man. Read Luke 18:18-23.

    How does Jesus respond to the young man's question?
    What does the young man's answer indicate about his heart attitude?
    What flaw in the young man's character does Jesus reveal?
    What was the young man's response?

Reflect

If you look carefully at both of these questions, you'll find that the lawyer and the young man had three important words in common. The first word is "I." Each was focused on himself. "What can I ...?" The second word is "do." They were both seeking a salvation that came from doing something. And the third word is "inherit." An inheritance is something you receive in the future based on your relationship with the one who died. No wonder the lawyer tried to justify himself and the young man went away disappointed. Neither understood the way to eternal life.

Let's contrast this with Jesus' version of eternal life. He told His Father, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me" (John 10:28, ESV).

    Who is the source of eternal life?
    How does a person gain eternal life?
    When does this eternal life begin (notice the tense of the verb "give")?

Respond

Are you looking to "inherit" eternal life or to receive eternal life? Are you seeking to "do" or to be given? If you've never received this special gift, why wait? Visit our "Meet Jesus" page, and begin your eternal life right now.
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« Reply #1928 on: August 16, 2013, 08:35:01 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 15, 2013
Topic: Obedience/Discipleship

Mark of Discipleship

Being from Nebraska, I'm automatically expected to be a devoted follower of Nebraska football. But if anyone asks me, I say, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, "I'm a fan, but not a fanatic." What I mean is that while I enjoy watching the games, I can't, for instance, name any player on the roster let alone his stats for the last two seasons.

When it comes to being a Christian, I would hesitate to call anyone fanatic--that word has a negative connotation. Fortunately, the Bible has a much better, more positive word to describe a devoted follower of Christ: disciple.

Receive

What does it take to be a disciple? Let's look at Jesus' description. In John 17, Jesus prayed specifically for the disciples. "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you" (John 17:6-8, ESV).

To be a disciple you need to know Jesus. That's the first step; but, unfortunately, many people never get beyond that step. They recognize Jesus and even put their faith in Him, but they never take the next step towards being a disciple (kind of like me and Nebraska football).

To be a real disciple, you not only need to know Jesus, you need to know and keep His Word. Jesus said, "and they have kept your word." This is where a lot of us stumble. There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians and probably have made a genuine confession of faith, but they know next to nothing about the Bible.

And to be a really effective disciple, you have to read God's Book.

Reflect

Start by reading the rest of John 17 and think about the following questions.

    What challenges did Jesus know the disciples would face in following His Word?
    Why was Jesus confident the disciples would be able to overcome these challenges?
    What does Jesus pray for the disciples that would come later?
    Why is it worth it to be a disciple and not just someone who knows Jesus?

Respond

The Bible's not as intimidating as you might think. Instead of one large book, think of it as 66 smaller books--and almost half of them (27) can be read in less than 15 minutes. As you read your Bible, ask God how He would have you apply what you read. Ask Him to show you how to be a true disciple.
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« Reply #1929 on: August 16, 2013, 08:36:55 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 16, 2013
Topic: Jesus, Obedience/Discipleship

Denying Jesus

In Durrenmatt's radio play, The Double, Diego tells Pedro (his double) that he [Pedro] will be executed for murder. Pedro protests: He never killed anyone and never would.

Diego confesses that he committed the murder but informs Pedro that, had he been in Diego's circumstances, he would have done the same. Pedro vigorously denies he would ever commit such a crime. But before the play is over, Pedro commits murder--not once but twice.

Receive

The apostle Peter was positive that he would never deny Jesus; yet, Peter's denial of his Lord is one of the most poignant narratives in the Bible. Jesus told Peter about his soon-to-occur failure during the Last Supper:

"Jesus said to him, 'Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.' Peter said to him, 'Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!' And all the disciples said the same" (Matthew 26:34-35, ESV).

    What in this exchange between Jesus and Peter stands out to you?
    Why was Peter so sure of himself?
    Which of the disciples made the same claim?

After Jesus and His disciples finished eating, they went to the Garden of Gethsemane so Jesus could pray. It was there Judas betrayed Him. Read about it in Matthew 26 verses 47 and 56. Then answer the questions below.

    Approximately how much time elapsed between Jesus' encounter with Peter and the time that Judas and the crowd arrived to take Jesus?
    What was the crowd carrying?
    How did Jesus' disciples respond?

Now, read Matthew 26:57-72.

    Where did the crowd take Jesus immediately after they left the Garden?
    Where was Peter while Jesus was being taken from the Garden to the residence?
    Where did Peter remain while Jesus was taken inside?

"A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, 'You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.'

"Peter swore, 'A curse on me if I'm lying--I don't know the man!' And immediately the rooster crowed.

"Suddenly, Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind: 'Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.' And he went away, weeping bitterly" (Matthew 26:73-75, NLT).

    What was happening to Jesus while the bystanders were speaking to Peter?
    What did those in the courtyard accuse Peter of?
    What was his response?
    How did Peter feel when he heard the rooster crow?

Reflect

Do you think you will ever deny Jesus?

What warning does the following verse give?

"If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12, NLT).

Note the words or phrases in the following verse that will help you stand for the Lord.

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are" (1 Peter 5:8-9, NLT).

Respond

Take time to pray now and ask God to help you live for Jesus--when you're alone, at school, with family, at work, with your friends and even when there could be ridicule or danger.

*Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.--George Duffield, Jr.

*Public Domain
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« Reply #1930 on: August 19, 2013, 05:21:05 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 19, 2013
Topic: Salvation, Jesus, Hope, New Life

Jesus in the Middle

It's just a small detail recorded in John 19:18. "They crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center" (NKJV). Jesus is in the center, right in between two criminals--in the middle. That one little detail underscores a significant truth. Jesus is always in the middle of things; at the center of the action and the plan of God. Let's look at just a few examples.

Receive

First, Jesus is in the middle of the Godhead. It's God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each equally God and fully God. And Jesus is right there at the center.

He was also right in the thick of things at creation. Genesis 1 doesn't mention Jesus by name, but we know that He was very much involved. Colossians 1:16 tells us, "For by him [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him" (ESV).

From the beginning, Jesus has been at the center of God's plan for man's salvation. He was the one who would crush the head of the evil one (Genesis 3:15); He would be the ultimate Passover Lamb to save His people from death (Exodus 12); He was the King for the throne of David (2 Samuel 7:16); He is the Savior who would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Everything God wanted to do for us, to give us a hope and a relationship with Him, came through and because of Jesus.

Here at the cross, Jesus is at the middle of our greatest choice. Do we choose life or death? Salvation or condemnation? A personal relationship with God or eternal separation from Him?

God's future plan is also centered on Jesus. The final battle against Satan, the glorious new earth and new heaven, the eternal kingdom we'll be part of--it's all built around Jesus. Just take a look at Revelation 20-22.

Reflect

Colossians 1 offers a rich portrait of Christ that puts Him at the center of things. Read 1:13-23. How do you see Jesus in the middle of:

    Creation?
    Authorities?
    Time and space?
    The Church?
    The work of God?
    Your relationship with God?

Respond

Seeing Jesus at the center is not just for the great cosmic plan of redemption and history. He's still "in the center" for your life today. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus promised, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them" (ESV). He is among us as believers. Just before He returned to heaven, Jesus promised "And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20, NLT).

That's Jesus...right in the middle of your life. What confidence does this give you for facing your daily walk with Him?
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« Reply #1931 on: August 20, 2013, 04:23:06 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 20, 2013
Topic: God's Love, Salvation, Evangelism, Heaven

Open Invitation

Dad asked who I wanted at my birthday party and I replied, "All my friends." He hesitated and my heart dropped--who would I not be able to invite? Then he looked at mom and back at me indicating it was okay. All my friends could be invited. Yes! You think I was excited? You bet!

Even more exciting is the invitation God extends to His heaven.

Receive

"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' Let anyone who hears this say, 'Come.' Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life" (Revelation 22:17, NLT).

    Who is included in this invitation?
    Who is excluded?
    What is the invitation to?

Read the following Scriptures and see if the invitation becomes even clearer.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21, ESV).

    How do we qualify for this invitation?

"This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:3-4, NASB).

    Why do you think that God has given us an open invitation to His heaven?

Read the following Scriptures and identify one reason in each.

2 Peter 3:9

Isaiah 30:18

Ezekiel 18:23

Ezekiel 33:11

Reflect

In the watershed event of the Bible, the Crucifixion of His Son, the truth that God loves every person and wants them to come to Him jumps out at you and catches your heart.

Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Bible Teacher, explains it like this: "When Jesus was on that cross, His arms were stretched out as if He is reaching to everyone around. This is the position of invitation, of welcoming with open arms. That's where Jesus is on the cross; He is gathering people in from all sides to Himself."

Jesus died so that God's love and forgiveness could be experienced by all. One of the most inclusive words in the English language is "whoever."

"WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED" (Romans 10:13, NASB).

Respond

"Whoever" means you. Have you accepted God's gracious invitation? You can, right now. You can trust Christ as your Savior, as God's open door to His love, His salvation and His heaven. Here's how.

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.' Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For 'Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved'" (Romans 10:9-13, NLT).

Do it now. And then tell your family and friends the exciting news--that God has given them the same invitation!
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« Reply #1932 on: August 21, 2013, 10:30:36 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 21, 2013
Topic: Salvation

An Eternal Watershed

The Great Divide (also called the Continental Divide) causes the water on one side of this ridge to flow to the Pacific Ocean, while water on the other side flows to the Atlantic or Arctic Oceans. It runs from the Seward Peninsula in Alaska, through western Canada and then along the crest of the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico. From there, it follows the crest of Mexico's Sierra Madres and extends to the tip of South America. It is the longest continental divide or watershed in the world.

But this is nothing compared to the divide created by the cross of Christ. This divide is measured not in miles but in eternal destinies. Let's see what the Bible has to say.

Receive

Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 5:10-12, ESV).

    If we refuse to believe what God says in His Word, what does that mean we think about God?
    What do we have to do in order to have eternal life?
    What happens to those who don't have the Son?

Reflect

What does John mean when he talks about having (or not having) the Son? In John 1:12, he says, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." Christ becomes the watershed of eternal life. Those who receive Him (have the Son) will have eternal life. This means they will spend eternity in the presence of their Savior. Those who reject Christ (do not have the Son) will live for eternity as well, but it will be apart from God in a place called hell. Revelation 20:15 says, "And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

Respond

So, what side of the watershed are you on? Do you have the Son? Have you received Him as your Savior? Or are you rushing down the other side to a Christless eternity? Unlike the watershed in nature, there is something you can do. Visit the "Meet Jesus" page to find out how you can have the Son.
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« Reply #1933 on: August 22, 2013, 10:19:26 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 22, 2013
Topic: Sin/Temptation, Christian Living/Situational, Evil

Satan's Lies

One afternoon the members of a health club assembled for a meeting on nutrition and exercise. The dietitian leading the discussion asked each member to describe his or her daily routine. The first participant admitted to a number of excesses, including overeating. Others joined in agreement. But one seriously overweight member reported, "I eat healthfully and moderately; I drink moderately and I exercise frequently."

"I see," said the dietitian. "Are you sure you have nothing else to tell us?"

"Well, yes," said the man. "I also lie extensively."

So, does Satan! Jesus called him a "liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). Unless we know God's Word, we can fall victim to those lies. Look what happened to Eve.

Receive

Look at Satan's first words to Eve in Genesis 3: "He said to the woman, 'Did God actually say, "You shall not eat of any tree in the garden"?'" (v. 1, ESV). Satan surely knew what God had said. But he was testing Eve to see what she knew.

Eve's response, unfortunately, indicated her knowledge was faulty. Genesis 3:2-3 (ESV) tells us. "And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die."'"

That was not what God had said. But it gave Satan a green light to tell the biggest lie ever told. "'You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil'" (vv. 4-5, ESV). In other words, "Eve, God doesn't have your best interests at heart; He's just trying to protect His own turf." Eve believed his lie, and you and I are living with the consequences to this very day.

Reflect

1. How could Eve have responded differently to the serpent's challenge?

2. Read through chapter 2 of Genesis. How does Eve's memory of God's words compare to what God actually said?

3. How can you respond to the lies that Satan slips in every now and then? What can you do to prepare yourself ahead of time?

Respond

Satan is still lying about God. And many people believe those lies. What lies might Satan be telling you today?

Our one sure defense against Satan's lies is the truth of God's Word. If you aren't regularly reading the Bible, you're leaving yourself open to believe Satan's lies. Begin today to spend a daily time in the Scriptures. If you would like a daily Bible reading guide, please visit backtothebible.org .
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« Reply #1934 on: August 23, 2013, 06:42:09 PM »

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Aug 23, 2013
Topic: Pride/Humility

Problem of Pride

Pride is a hazardous condition. The side effects are definitely unpleasant; it can result in anger, disappointment, humiliation and even the judgment of God. The problem with pride is--we all have it. And because of pride, we can't be the people God wants us to be.

Receive

Pride begins with how we see ourselves. And it essentially says, "I know better than anybody else, and even better than God." It was this attitude that led Satan to fall from the angelic hosts of heaven to become the enemy of God.

It also appeared when Eve sinned. Look at Satan's subtle appeal to Eve that she would know better than God in Genesis 3:4-6, "But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate" (ESV).

You find another example of the "I'm better than God" attitude in Exodus 5. Pharaoh responded to Moses' plea to free the Israelite slaves with this arrogance, "'And who is the Lord? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don't know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go'" (Exodus 5:2, NLT). In the following chapters in Exodus, you see the hardness of Pharaoh's heart as he refused to submit his own pride to the greatness of God. Yet God was working this for His own purpose. Romans 9:17 tells us, "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth'" (ESV). But pride was also Pharaoh's downfall; it brought great heartache both to him and his people (see Exodus 7-12).

When we set ourselves up against God's supremacy; when we think we know better, can do a job better or that our way is preferable, when we let pride direct our choices, we're walking a destructive path.

Reflect

God has a lot to say about this troublesome problem. In the following verses, what does pride lead to? What's the antidote or cure?

Proverbs 11:2
Proverbs 13:10
Proverbs 16:5,18
Proverbs 29:23

Jesus told a parable about pride in Luke 18:9-14. What's the biggest difference between these men? Who had the better relationship with God in the end?

Pride is at the heart of many sins. How do you see pride at the root of jealousy, anger, coveting or greed, sexual immorality, unfaithfulness, lying, gossip, etc.? What part has it played in your life and struggle with temptation?

Respond

So, what's the solution? Well, a little healthy humility doesn't hurt! However, one core concept can make a difference, and it's found in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body" (ESV).

The idea that "you are not your own" changes everything. You are not in charge; you belong to God and were bought with a price--the life Jesus Christ gave up for you on the cross. It's God who is in charge. He is the Master, the Father, the Creator, the Supreme God--not us.

    What can you do today to acknowledge, even rejoice in the fact "you are not your own"?
    How will you express the appropriate humility before Him?
    What needs to change in your life if you're to set aside your pride?
    How do you think it will affect your relationship with God and with others?

You'll want to start with prayer--if you need to, borrow from Luke 18:13.
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