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March 3, 2021: God Calls a King

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13.
“And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, ‘Arise, anoint him: for this is he’” (v. 12).
  With the spiritual departure and downfall of King Saul, the LORD was sanctioning David to be anointed as the coming king of Israel.  David would be a spiritual example and inspiration for the people; his demonstrations of mercy, love, and obedience to God constituted an about-face from the practices of King Saul.  David’s psalms reveal his inner dependence and longing for God’s guidance and fellowship, as well as the LORD’s intervention in times of conflict.
  Conversion brings such a turning for us as well!  Penitents turn away from the old life where they flagrantly carried out their own will in violation of God’s commandments.  Jesus Christ becomes the King in our life; our allegiance and affection is focused on Him, and we pledge our loyalties to Him.  We have neither the ability nor the power to save ourselves from sin; our only hope is to surrender all governing powers to Jesus Christ as King of kings and convert to His rule in our hearts and lives. (Rodney B. Stearns)
“Proclaim him King, pronounce him blest;
He’s your defense, your joy, your rest:
When terrors rise and nations faint,
God is the strength of every saint.”
— Isaac Watts
Conversion is an about-face,
Preparing our hearts as God’s dwelling place.
2021-03-04T15:25:53+00:00March 3rd, 2021|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

March 1, 2021: Conversion Means “About Face”

FOCUS TEXT: Acts 9:1-16

CENTRAL TRUTH: God's grace saves us and equips us for His service.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to clearly and logically explain the plan of salvation.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. A Rebel Persecutor (Acts 9:1, 2)

II. A Humble Penitent (Acts 9:3-19)

III. A Bold Preacher (Acts 9:20-31)

2021-03-01T15:48:18+00:00March 1st, 2021|Categories: Front Page, Weekly Lesson Summaries|0 Comments

February 24, 2021: Punishment for Failure


  • Read Matthew 25:41-46.

    “Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me" (v. 45).
       It was in the 1800s when Charles Dickens faced a difficult situation. His father had mismanaged the finances of the household and, in accordance with English law, was sitting in a debtor's prison. Charles was only ten years old but had no alternative. He had to go to work to support the family. At this young age, he saw much poverty and injustice. The powerful, famous, and rich exploited the powerless with impunity. From these painful experiences, Dickens found the basis for many of his novels. He spoke to the issues of the day. Living in the British Empire during the industrial revolution, he knew from first-hand experience the ugliness of that age.
       Possibly his story, which has been most read, is "A Christmas Carol." In this account, the infamously stingy Ebenezer Scrooge in his own greedy, selfish, and calloused manner runs roughshod over the lives of others. Scrooge sees no need to feel any moral responsibility for the welfare of his fellowman. Through this account, Scrooge tries to convince his readers that love and benevolence can change lives. The ghost of Jacob Marley conveys the understanding that eternal punishment awaits people like Ebenezer Scrooge.
       Jesus pushed this message to a greater extent. The church has a moral obligation to minister to those in need. By our demonstration of love, compassion, and generous assistance in Jesus' name, we, in some spiritual way, are not only ministering to those in need but also to our Lord. The good works that are an expression of our relationship with Jesus Christ bring glory to God. (L.Gayle Woods)

    The good works of a Christian are to be an expression
    of our relationship with Jesus Christ
    designed to bring glory to God.
2021-02-22T15:07:40+00:00February 24th, 2021|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

February 22, 2021: Anticipating Christ’s Return

FOCUS TEXT: Matthew 25:1-13

CENTRAL TRUTH: The possibility that the Lord may return at any time should determine the priorities of our daily living.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my pupils will be able to tell others how they can be ready for Christ's return.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. The Waiting Virgins (Matthew 25:1-5)

II. The Coming King (Matthew 25:6-9)

III. The Just Reward (Matthew 25:10-13)

2021-02-22T14:54:34+00:00February 22nd, 2021|Categories: Front Page, Uncategorized, Weekly Lesson Summaries|0 Comments

February 17, 2021: Requirements for Entry

Wednesday, February 17

Read Luke 13:23-30.

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (v. 24).

Perhaps the person who asked Jesus, "Are there few that be saved?" had heard Jesus' teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven was found in small things. Maybe he was present when Jesus rebuked the leaders of the synagogue for trying to keep him from healing on the Sabbath. He probably had accepted the idea that the Pharisees, with their outward displays of holiness, were the ones who had the way to Heaven figured out, but Jesus showed this view to be false.

Jesus isn't warning people who were considered to be sinners.  To them, he regularly offered mercy and forgiveness. However, He was talking to the religious leaders of His day when He said that many will not be able to enter through the door and gain salvation.  He is also talking to us, the ones who read and write devotionals. We are standing squarely in the  path of his words.

The question for all of is this: have we begun to become like the Pharisees? Are we looking down on sinners? Are we proud of our own righteousness? The Prophet Isaiah reminds us that God doesn't break a bruised reed. Instead, throughout the Bible, we see that God is against those who are proud.  We should examine our hearts to see if pride has taken root and do whatever it takes to dig it out. (Randy Joe Bland)

 

Has pride taken root in your heart?

2021-02-17T15:55:30+00:00February 17th, 2021|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

February 21, 2021: Anticipating Christ’s Return

FOCUS TEXT: Matthew 25:1-13

CENTRAL TRUTH: The possibility that the Lord may return at any time should determine the priorities of our daily living.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my pupils will be able to tell others how they can be ready for Christ's return.

LESSON OUTLINE:
I. The Waiting Virgins (Matthew 25:1-5)

II. The Coming King (Matthew 25:6-9)

III. The Just Reward (Matthew 25:10-13)

2021-02-17T15:35:26+00:00February 17th, 2021|Categories: Front Page, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

February 10, 2021: The Joy of the Righteous

Wednesday, February 10
Read Psalm 84:1-12.
"Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah" (v. 4).
   At the time of this writing, many of us have not been in the building, which houses the group with whom we affiliate, which we call the church. We know that the church is not made of brick and mortar. 1 Peter 2:5 says, "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Christ indwells believers, and His presence is always with us.  Those who live close to Him are aware of His presence.
  As a missionary-teacher, I was often in the Mercer home, where Sis. Mercer made cooking and hospitality her ministry. But that was not all of her ministry. She lived in the presence of God. Though she spent a great deal of time in her kitchen, her well-worn Bible was never far away. Further, she was almost constantly in touch with her Heavenly Father.  She often could be heard praying as she worked. Once I stepped to the front porch and just to my left was the open kitchen door, and there Sis. Mercer's brown face was glowing with tears streaming down her cheeks.  Her hands were raised in praise. I felt I was an intruder into her private worship, but that was her life.  Perhaps praise was the secret ingredient in her delicious meals.
  It has been my blessed privilege to be with God's saints in all kinds of situations – worship services, sorrow, serious illness, and the list could go on. What is interesting and wonderful is that in those situations, God is present, praise is practiced, and the countenance of those praising is lightened.  (Lonnie R.Witt)
Joy-bells, joy-bells, ringing in my soul;
Joy-bells, joy-bells, I am free and whole.
Jesus sought and found me,
Placed His arms around me,
Set the blessèd joy-bells ringing in my soul.
— James Rowe
2021-02-03T17:02:25+00:00February 10th, 2021|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

February 14, 2021: Wickedness Punished

TITLE: The Folly of Opposing Christ

FOCUS TEXT:  Matthew 21:28-42

CENTRAL TRUTH: The work of the Lord may suffer reverses at the hands of opposers, but His  cause will ultimately triumph.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my pupils will be able to list at least three results of opposing Christ.

LESSON OUTLINE:

    I. Opposition Illustrated (Matthew 21:28-32)

  II. Opposition Exposed (Matthew 21:33-39)

  III. Opposition Punished (Matthew 21:40-46)

2021-02-03T15:14:09+00:00February 8th, 2021|Categories: Front Page, Uncategorized, Weekly Lesson Summaries|0 Comments

February 7, 2021: Justice in Judgment

FOCUS TEXT: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-40

CENTRAL TRUTH: Christ the righteous Judge will reward us according to our works.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to explain why God allows the wheat and tares to grow together, and to tell what will happen to people who are not ready to meet God.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. An Evil Deed (Matthew 13:24-26)

II. A Wise Decision (Matthew 13:27-30)

III. A Certain Destiny (Matthew 13:36-43)

2021-02-03T15:50:42+00:00February 3rd, 2021|Categories: Lesson Highlights, Uncategorized, Weekly Lesson Summaries|0 Comments

February 3, 2021: The Righteous and Wicked Separated

Wednesday, February 3

Read Matthew 13:47-52

"So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just" (v.49)

Standing in the barn, peering at the feed barrels, I was struggling with identifying which one contained catfish feed, horse pellets, or chicken feed. I had not et learned the characteristics of each type of feed. I soon discovered that catfish feed is little balls. Horse pellets are longer. Chicken feed is smaller pellets. It is no longer a problem to fill the feed bucket with the desired food for the correct animal.

At the end of the world, the characteristics of the wicket and the just will be easy for the angels to distinguish. The just have been transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Their lives are filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

It will be too late for the wicked to accept God's gift. Their lives have not been changed. Their lives will be recognized by the sins of lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy, and pride. Prepare today to be identified with the just! Jesus paid the price, accept His gift. (Tamara M. Crawford)

There's a great day coming, 

A great day coming,

There's a great day coming by and by,

When the saints and the sinners shall be parted right and left

                                                                                                                                      -- Will L. Thompson

Does your life emanate righteousness or wickedness?

2021-02-03T14:47:59+00:00February 3rd, 2021|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments
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