Spiritual Sensitivity Wed, 26 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT "I was so mad that I turned off the TV!" the mother said to me. It got me thinking. How many of us turn off violence or bad language we see and hear? Recently, we discussed this issue in our Bible class at church. Most in the class admitted that their standard of moral sensitivity towards judging the contents of television programs had gone down in the past ten or twenty years. Our parents would have been shocked to view some of today's sex-oriented programs if they had been aired in the 60"s or 70"s. God says to us, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." In other words, God promises that He will bless us for being spiritually sensitive. Don't conform to the world, Paul warned the congregation at Rome. But, all these outside influencessuch as TV or the movies or the people at my place of work or the magazines I readcertainly can and do influence me. Do they conform me to the world's ways? Have I become comfortable with sin or the world's low standard of morality? When I was younger, my mother told me that if something dulled my desire for God, it was sin. Afterwards I learned the Scripture verse of Hebrew 12:1, "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Notice the action needed by us, "running the race." It is not the comfortable action involved in "walking, standing or sitting with the wicked" as Psalm 1 warns us. Running the race means to be living Christ's way. There is no mystery what way that is. It's told us in the Bible. In fact, the power or strength to live our lives for Jesus also comes in and through the Word of God. Jesus' love for me and His promise to share eternal life with me motivates me to use Scripture, think about it, apply it, and pray over it. We can't maintain our spiritual sensitivity if we spend only one hour of worship with the Lord on Sunday and then spend the other 167 hours on the world. What we need is Bible study, family devotions, Christian friends and wholesome entertainment. That will sharpen our spiritual discernment or sensitivity, so that we can say "no" to walking with the wicked
Prayer Tue, 25 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT I remember one time that I needed to return a walkman to Best Buy. I had no way to get there and the warranty expired the next day. Luckily, I finally convinced my brother to take me there, and I got my walkman fixed. I remember how thankful I was that God gave me my brother. Have you ever been helped by someone so much that you thanked God for them? I'm sure you have. Let me tell you another story. I never liked Bill Clinton. I don't believe that he was a very good president, and I wonder why our Christian pastors wanted us to pray for him. Have you ever thanked God for someone you do not know, or even someone you may not like, because God wants you to? In I Timothy 2:1, God says to make prayer for everyone. Now you can think that He can't honestly expect you to pray for everyone. After all, it doesn't make sense to pray for someone you do not even know. But it does! The rest of the Scripture lesson states that God wants all men to be saved and that Jesus died for everyone. Consequently, we should pray for them and their souls. So, next time you pray to God, pray not only for those people you know and like, but pray for everyone. THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: How can I improve the way I pray? How do these verses affect me? How do these verses affect those around me? PRAYER SUGGESTIONS: Thank God for the gift of prayer, and thank Him for hearing your prayers. Also, thank God for the people of the world, asking that their sins will be forgiven. Make special intercessions for those who especially need God.
Here I Am! Mon, 24 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT Here we have heard about how God has made himself known to us and to many others. God says that He is always there for us with waiting arms to take the world to Himself in heaven. He states that His Word is out among the hearts of believers and unbelievers alike, but it is not taking hold in some of their lives. We should help those struggling to turn to God's outstretched arms. We must help them to realize that the only way to heaven is to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and to come to Him. We are also to encourage our friends in their faith. That is what the purpose of the church is, to serve as a place for believers to gather and let their faith be strengthened. It also serves as a base for Christians to go out and spread the truths about Jesus to others and help it to grow in their hearts. We should go out and talk with those who have heard the word but do not understand it. THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: Discuss your faith and beliefs with another Christian. Share God's Word with someone you know that doesn't believe. Strengthen the faith of a struggling friend. PRAYER SUGGESTIONS: Ask God to give you a stronger faith so that you may help the spread of His Word. Ask for patience to deal lovingly with the obstinate person. Ask for courage to say, "There's something really important in my life that I've got to talk to you about someday."
God Provides for Us Sun, 23 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT Our text talks about Jesus and the disciples' fishing trip where the boat overflows with fish. Think about all of the things that you have at home. Think about all of the luxuries that you have, but just let sit around. What about all of the things that you really do need, but just take for granted? All of your expensive jewelry, your warm comfortable bed, even your refrigerator just sits there with you never even giving it a second thought. I am not trying to make all of you feel guilty; I'm just trying to prove a point: Why does God give us so much in life? We take for granted the fact that God provides us with all of the things that we need, our staples in life. He gives and keeps on giving us food, water, shelter, and warmth. God goes much farther than that, by giving us those things that we don't necessarily need in life: expensive jewelry, hi-tech computers, fast cooking microwaves, CD players, VCR's and camcorders (just to name a few). God's love is just the same way. It goes much farther than someone simply saying to you, "Oh, I love you." God loves us so much more than that. He loved us so much that He gave up His one and only son for us on the cross. God will provide for us! THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: What has God given me that I really do not need? How can I show God that I am thankful for all the things that He has provided me? PRAYER SUGGESTIONS: Thank God for all the things that He has provided for us whether we need it or not. Pray that God keeps on providing for us even though some times it may seem that we are not too thankful.
Forgive and Forget Sat, 22 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT There was a girl who was very mean to everyone. She would rant on others' hair, clothes, life, jobsanything and everything. No one understood why she was doing this, so they just kept all their hurt feelings bottled up inside. After a while, they were sick and tired of putting up with her, so they decided to play a prank on her to teach her a lesson. She did end up learning her lesson, but they got in trouble. After it all happened, they found out that this girl had some major family problems, and that's why she acted the way she did. That's no excuse for her behavior, but the situation should have been dealt with differently. As Christians, we should not want to get back at others for things they have done. It might be a hard thing to do, but we are to live from Christ's example. You need to analyze the situation, and consider what Jesus would do in the same situation. The best thing to do in this situation is to approach this girl and inform her that she is hurting you. Maybe she'll stop. If not, that's a sign that she needs some serious help. Right there is your chance to be like Christ, and help her out. It may be tough, but we need to be understanding and patient with them and look to God for guidance. THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: How would you handle the situation? What would you do to pay for damages the prank caused? Would it be easy to forgive and forget? Do you think you could be a good Christian friend to her? PRAYER SUGGESTIONS: Pray for patience, tolerance and understanding.
Clothing Yourself With Jesus Fri, 21 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT Life in high school is all about material things. What we wear, what we look like, and what we possess. How important is it for us to wear the right clothes and do the accepted things? Most people would have to admit that it is important to be accepted. But how do we obtain acceptance from our peers? The verses preceding the Scripture reference states one of the main themes of the Bible: "Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbor." Love is referring to having a general respect for everyone. People will respect and accept you only if you do the same. Verse 11 tells us to wake up from our slumber. Wake up from sinful desires and coveting. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. At any moment God could take us from this earth. Would you want God to see what is in your heart at any given time? "Put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." (verse 12) Fight sinful human desires with the strength God fives us in faith. The Bible commonly speaks of itself as "armor" so use it! In verse 14, it says to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. What does this mean? Let it be known for all to see that you are living in Jesus' light. Clothing is something that everyone sees, and Jesus should be shown to all. So, instead of living in sin, show to all your love for Christ. THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: What priority do we really give God? How does our faith show on the outside? PRAYER SUGGESTIONS: Ask God to forgive sins, and ask for strength to resist temptation.
Attitude Problems Thu, 20 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT Attitude. Just the word makes us cringe. When we think of attitude, don't we mostly think of people who act like they're too good for everyone else and leave a green line on the ceiling of every room they walk through? Or is it the short-tempered, ill-mannered guy who sits next to us in chapel and sneers at anyone who sings the hymns? Or is it the athlete who can do everything and makes sure everyone knows it? Or is it that girl who sits next to us in religion that kisses up to every teacher? Or is it the one that "everyone" likes - the one who has al the dates? All these are attitudes taken by many of us, even though we many not realize it. Did Jesus have any of these attitudes? If He had, would He have given His life for us? I think not! Philippians 2:5 tells us, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..." and then goes on to explain what exactly that attitude did for us. What exactly was that attitude? It was one of humility, love, compassion, generosity, caring, kindness, selflessness and giving. He didn't have to do any of that for us. We didn't even deserve Him to consider it with our "attitudes." Because of His attitude we should see that not only is it right because God commanded it, but if everyone had this attitude, we would all be able to handle our problems with the help of others instead of killing ourselves, killing someone, hurting someone's feelings or misusing God's gifts. Let us hop that one day we will all share a united attitudethat of Christ. THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: Where are the flaws in my attitude? Am I willing to change even if it means giving up something? Can I trust God to help me? PRAYER SUGGESTIONS: Ask God for Christ's attitude. Pray for everyone to realize that we all need attitude changes.
A Special Baby Tue, 18 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT I am good friends with a couple from my church. They just had their third child. They named him Michael. Michael was brought home from the hospital on August 22, 1993. I went over to his house that night. When I got to hold him, I looked at his face and then I felt the warm and soft skin of that brand new baby boy. While I was holding him, I saw the sparkle in his eyes, and then I was trying to imagine how Mary must have felt when she was holding the brand new baby Jesus in her arms. It must have been a wonderful feeling for Mary to know that she was holding the Son of the Most High, a son that would save us from all of our sins. Because of God sending His Son down to earth to be born of a woman, and to die for everyone, we will no longer be enslaved to sin. We are free from sin, and we can look forward to a place in heaven. A place where there will be no sin. A place where no one will pick on us or make fun of us. From the moment we are baptized, we are heirs of that wonderful placeheaven. I know that Michael will be in heaven some day because of the "Special Baby"JESUS. THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: What was Jesus' main purpose on earth? How did it affect our lives? PRAYER SUGGESTIONS: Thank and praise God for sending a Savior to us so we can be free of sin, knowing that we have eternal life in Him.
Where's the Christian Thu, 13 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT READ: Romans 12:9-21 On a cold day in the middle of January, there was a little boy named Jason. Jason was about 4 years old. Jason and his family lived upstairs from his grandmother. His grandmother wasn't a very kind personin fact, she was rather mean. Never the less, Jason was going to visit her to show her a picture he had just drawn of her. Jason was in such a hurry, he ran out the door without his jacket. He ran to her back door and was yelling, "Grandmother, it's me, Jason." However, she did nothing and walked into the next room and turned up the TV. The next door neighbor was just coming out from the garage and saw Jason out in the cold and brought him inside. The love from the neighbor helped Jason back home to the warmth and safety of his family. THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: How can you help people open their hearts and show the love they need? As you reread the text, note how you have fulfilled each verse, or could have. PRAYER SUGGESTIONS: Ask for patience and understanding. Pray for __________ Who doesn't seem to be living the Christian life.
Trusting the Expert Wed, 12 Sep 2007 00:00:00 CDT READ: Job 42:1-6 Often times in people's lives, when things go wrong, they look to place the blame somewhere. Sometimes, they blame God. They might ask, "God, how could you do this to me? I thought that you loved me, but now I just don't know." Then they might sulk and complain about things that are beyond their control, as if it will change things. They despair of hopeseeing nothing good to come. This is what leads some to suicide; they see that they have nothing left to live for, and may as well just die. However, human beings, like you and me, lack both the knowledge and the foresight to see what will happen in the future. How can we know that things won't turn around for us, even tomorrow? Like Job in his sorrows and sicknesses or a man in a dark pit, all we can see is the darkness of our present situation. God has, however, given us His promise many times that all will turn out for our good; that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. God's plans for each of our lives are too complex by far for us to grasp. Only He knows exactly how the pieces of our lives will fit together to form the masterpiece that He has designed. Therefore, we should place our lives in faith into God's loving and merciful hands; forgetting our troubles, and trusting in Him to lead us through our lives on His path. THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: What is my knowledge compared to God's? Will God's good plans always win through? What will God's plans lead me to do? PRAYER SUGGESTIONS: Thank God for the faith that trusts Him today. Pray for strength to handle the trials that come your way, and the faith to trust in God's plan.