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Nov. 23, 2022: There Is a Way!

                                                                          "And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press,
they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay" (v. 4).

    A labyrinth of cardboard boxes zigged and zagged through the fellowship hall of the church. There was one way in and one way out. Dark passages with bewildering dead ends and unexpected surprises awaited the excited youth group poised at the entrance. They strained forward, waiting for their youth pastor to sound the signal.
    Some ran into the maze entrance, darting this way and that in excitement. Some were more cautious. They studiously considered the options. They were excited but wanted to be the first to find the only way to the exit. Then there were the timid ones. It was as if they were afraid even to enter the maze. What if they got lost in there? How would they get out? What if there was no exit?
    For many, this is a picture of life. Some are ambitious, skeptical, and timid, but all want to make it safely through life. We all need someone who knows the answers to the puzzle of our lives. We need One who has made the journey successfully and can lead us safely through to the end. At times, it may seem that there is no way, but once you have met the Waymaker, the One who IS the Way, the apprehension and uncertainty about the journey are dispelled. (LGW)
                                                                        The One who is the Way can lead us safely through the maze of life.

2022-11-22T16:39:43+00:00November 23rd, 2022|Categories: God's Word for Today, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Thanksgiving Meditation

Motivations of a Thankful Heart

Psalm 147:1

Thankful people can be found in every walk of life; in every economic level. Thankful people can be found on almost any job, and in almost any set of circumstances. The difference between a thankful person and an unthankful person is not so much what life has done to them, as what they have done with life.

Unfortunately, human nature, left to its own devices, finds its way to the lowest and easiest ground. And it is certainly much easier to find fault and complain than it is to compliment and give thanks. But the Bible repeatedly urges the Christian to a higher plane of living. Christians are people who are marked by a spirit of praise and thanksgiving.

In Psalm 147:1 the psalmist supplies three motivations for this spirit of praise.

MOTIVATION #1    Praise is GOOD.

  1. Because it is the fulfillment of our duty.
  2. Because it transforms our spirit, granting us an opportunity to practice doing the work of angels.
  3. Because it is a means of paying our debt to God.
  4. Because it is a means of keeping an open line of communication between ourselves and God.

MOTIVATION #2    Praise brings PLEASURE.

  1. Because praise springs from the heart.
  2. Because praise gives us an opportunity to do what we were created to do.
  3. Because by so doing we please the One who loves us most.
  4. Because praise has a way of calming pain.

MOTIVATION #3    Praise is beautifying.

  1. Nothing tarnishes beauty like a bitter, haughty, ungrateful spirit.
  2. On the other hand, a spirit of thankfulness adds charm and grace to any character.
  3. It gradually replaces the lines of worry.
  4. It relaxes the mind to concentrate upon other, more worthwhile, pursuits.
  5. Jesus taught us to pray, “Lord, forgive the debt my neighbor owes me, just as you forgive the debt I owe you.”
  6. That prayer flows from a spirit of thankfulness and praise. It surely helps to create a more beautiful person.

CONCLUSION

There are many ways to express praise and thanksgiving. But however it is expressed, thankfulness and praise is a choice.People know you by the light and cheer you radiate, or by the gloom and despair you spread. Thanksgiving is the time of year when we assess which kind of person we are.

Praise is good, pleasant, and beautifying. I urge you to choose it as the trademark of your life.

2022-11-21T19:58:17+00:00November 21st, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Winter 2022-23: The Miracles of Jesus

Studying the miracles of Jesus should be an interesting and thrilling study this quarter. Miracles covering a wide spectrum of problems and miraculous solutions are considered, and it is quite likely every teacher and student will identify with some special need, since we still have this treasure in an "earthen vessel." Several benefits can arise from this study.

One advantage is that our own faith will be encouraged as we read of those receiving miracles who had come to Christ with just a little faith. Perhaps the Lord can use these studies to challenge the increase of our faith to the point of seeing new and thrilling miracles around our own churches and homes. Another benefit is that we can recognize that with God nothing is impossible. Some of the cases He dealt with seemed so totally beyond human help -- and indeed were -- but did not exceed the divine power. May we realize afresh that we, as children of God, have access to our Heavenly Father's divine power for the needs that face us in these momentous days.

Important, also, is the recognition that the miracles performed by Christ had a tremendous effect on the outside world. Many became His followers as a result of these demonstrations of His power and authority. Those of us who have seen unusual miracles also know that they have had great effect, both within and without the church. Our young people need to see these divine manifestations; so does the Church; so does the world.

May we this quarter learn anew to pray simple, believing, powerful prayers that move mountains in providing mighty miracles.

2022-11-21T19:32:33+00:00November 21st, 2022|Categories: Quarter Topic|0 Comments

Nov. 27, 2022: Cultivating a Positive Attitude

FOCUS TEXT: Philippians 4:4-13

BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: Isaiah 41:8-10; Romans 5:1-5; Ephesians 5:19, 20; Hebrews 10:32 – 11:2

DEVOTIONAL READING: 1 Timothy 6:6-8

KEY VERSE: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . . pure . . . lovely . . . of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

CENTRAL TRUTH: The Christian family should be marked by its positivity.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. The Expression of Positivity (Philippians 4:4-7)

II. The Encouragement of Positivity (Philippians 4:8, 9)

III. The Example of Positivity (Philippians 4:10-13)

2022-11-21T19:22:35+00:00November 21st, 2022|Categories: Front Page, Uncategorized, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

Nov. 13, 2022: Demonstrating Fairness

FOCUS TEXT: Leviticus 19:9-15; Exodus 23:1-9

KEY VERSE: It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment (Proverbs 24:23).

CENTRAL TRUTH: The Christian family treats everyone fairly in light of God's justice.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list several principles that should guide their interactions with others.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. Fairness With the Poor (Leviticus 19:9, 10)

II. Fairness With Neighbors (Leviticus 19:11-14)

III. Fairness in Judgment (Leviticus 19:15)

IV. Fairness in the Community (Exodus 23:1-9)

2022-11-10T19:18:09+00:00November 10th, 2022|Categories: Front Page, Lesson Highlights, Uncategorized|Tags: , |0 Comments

October 30, 2022: Practicing Careful Stewardship

FOCUS TEXT: 2 Kings 4:1-17

BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: Genesis 1:26-28; Matthew 25:14-30; 1 Timothy 6:11-21

CENTRAL TRUTH: The Christian family views life as a stewardship entrusted by God.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list several ways they can be better stewards of the resources with which God has entrusted them.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. Confidence in Trusting God's Heart (2 Kings 4:1-7)

II. Concern for Enabling God's Ministry (2 Kings 4:8-10)

III. Contentedness in Receiving God's Blessing ( 2 Kings 4:11-17)

2022-10-27T17:02:29+00:00October 27th, 2022|Categories: Front Page, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

November Banner Editorial: Truths from the Harvest

Originally, Thanksgiving Day was a time to celebrate the harvest of grain, fruits, and vegetables. As the United States became more urbanized, the emphasis shifted to a general time of expressing gratitude to God for His goodness. And while this change may be fine, it may also be helpful, at this Thanksgiving time, to return to the original meaning of the day – the harvest.

This Thanksgiving Day can be enhanced if we consider some Scriptural truths about the harvest. For the average person, the harvest just means having enough to eat. But a survey of Scripture suggests that the harvest has a greater meaning.

 

TRUTH #1 Harvest is an EXPRESSION of God’s MERCY.

I think you would all agree that humans are naturally very vain. We consider ourselves very important. We love to take credit for success, even if we had little if anything to do with the success. I do understand that there is a human element to the harvest. Without the work of the farmer, very little food would be available. But here lies the danger.

Jesus illustrated it well when he told about the farmer who had harvested an excellent crop. So great was the crop that he did not have a place to store it. And one night, Jesus heard the old farmer talking to himself. And he was saying, “Look what you have done!” And what did Jesus say? “Thou fool!”

According to Jesus’ definition, there are a lot of fools in our world – people who think that the harvest's success is all to their credit. They forget that harvest is an expression of God’s mercy - the fulfillment of God’s promise. Notice the context of the promise that there would always be a harvest - Genesis 8:22.

The harvest does not come because we are so good - just the opposite. It comes even though humanity is so flawed. Jesus declares in Matthew 5:45 that God sends sunshine and rain on the just and the unjust. I know you worked hard for your fruits and vegetables. But don’t be deceived into thinking that you deserve them. They are an expression of God’s mercy. Through them, God has given us a few more days in which we may prepare to meet Him.

Let us give Him thanks.

 

TRUTH #2 Harvest is an EMBLEM of God’s LAW

We often talk about the laws of nature as though there was a person by that name. We talk about the laws of science as though they existed due to their own effort. And some people criticize the Church for being too full of laws. But may I remind you that the laws of nature and science are just as surely the law of God as are the laws found written in his Word.

Our God is a God of order. And we like that, as long as it allows us to do as we please. But when God’s law reprimands us for stepping out of order, the natural man becomes upset. Jesus asked the question in Matthew 7:16, “Do men gather grapes from thornbushes?” The harvest illustrates the law that declares that you receive what you give.

The harvest reminds us that what we receive back from God is related to what we gave Him. That is both a comforting and frightening thought. There will be abundant results for those who have sown a little faith. Jesus said that even mountains could be moved with just a little faith. But for those who have sown selfishness instead of selflessness, there will be an abundant harvest of pain. God will give us what our lives ask for, even if it is to our hurt.

The harvest always yields more than was put into the ground. The harvest forces us to ask an important question. What kind of seed am I sowing in my life?

 

 

TRUTH #3    Harvest is a PICTURE of God’s PLAN

Throughout Scripture, the harvest is used as a figure of speech. The New Testament refers to the resurrection as a harvest.  Jesus is called "the first fruits of the dead." Harvest is also used to refer to the results in our lives. In Galatians 5, Paul talks about the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. But probably, the dominant idea of harvest as a picture of God’s plan can be seen in Jeremiah 8:20, where the prophet cries, “The harvest is past; summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

The harvest we celebrate at Thanksgiving reminds us that a greater harvest day is coming. It is the day that God will reap the fields of the earth, taking the wheat to His barns, but burning the chaff with unquenchable fire. As Christians, we have a part in this harvest. We are to pray for reapers. We are to prepare the ground. We are to plant the seed. We are to respond to the call to reap.

It is sad to see grain, fruits, or vegetables waste because there is no one to gather in the harvest. But there is something infinitely sadder. And that is, souls lost forever, because the Church did not respond to the call to harvest.

 

Connecting Thanksgiving Day with the harvest takes Americans back to their roots. Harvest time is a time to rejoice for the abundant food supply from God. But it is also a time to ponder the truths that the harvest teaches us.

Harvest is     a REFLECTION of God’s mercy.

an EMBLEM of God’s law

a PICTURE of God’s plan

 

2022-10-27T15:57:49+00:00October 27th, 2022|Categories: Banner Editorial|Tags: , |0 Comments

October 3, 2021: GET READY!

FOCUS TEXT: Matthew 3:1-12

CENTRAL TRUTH: Christ's soon coming should compel our careful preparation.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to develop a checklist of ways they need to prepare for Christ's return.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. The Welcome God Deserves (Matthew 3:1-3)

II. The Way of Life God Demands (Matthew 3:7-10)

III. The Work God Does (Matthew 3:11, 12)

2021-09-03T18:47:24+00:00September 27th, 2021|Categories: Front Page, Lesson Highlights|0 Comments

Sept. 22, 2021: Clear Guidance

Read Isaiah 30:19-26.

“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (v. 21).

I am thinking about a young man who was hired to do oil changes in a mechanic’s shop. Excited to be working on cars, he did his work well. When he was caught up on his work, he spent his time first watching, then helping a mechanic. Before long, he was doing minor repairs. A few years later, he was the lead mechanic for a dealership that sold multiple lines of new and used vehicles. He grew in his knowledge, understanding, and abilities involving auto repair.
From the moment of conversion, Christians begin experiencing spiritual growth. We learn a lot about serving God as we read His Word, pray, and listen to Bible-based preaching. Regardless of our strength or maturity, we sometimes face questions or issues in life when we don’t know the answers. In those times, as we seek God’s guidance and will, God leads us.
The Holy Spirit, who lives in every born-again person, seldom uses an audible voice. Instead, He reminds us of what the Bible teaches, what we have learned through preaching, Bible reading, and study. Sometimes we find what seems to be a “new truth” in the Bible when in reality, it has been there all the time. (MDA)

Following Jesus produces spiritual growth and maturity.

2021-09-03T19:03:02+00:00September 22nd, 2021|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Sept. 26, 2021: THE SERMON TO WHICH NO ONE LISTENED

FOCUS TEXT: Jeremiah 42:7-22

CENTRAL TRUTH: God faithfully reveals His will to those who seek Him.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to explain ways we discern God's will from false voices in the world.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. An Insincere Request (Jeremiah 42:1-6)

II. A Clear Choice (Jeremiah 42:7-17)

III. A Certain Judgment (Jeremiah 42:18-22)

2021-09-03T18:43:57+00:00September 20th, 2021|Categories: Front Page, Lesson Highlights|0 Comments

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