Opening the Word

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The Power of God

Read Psalm 29:1-11

“The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty” (v. 4).

One way the power of God is displayed in nature is through thunder. The psalmist calls it the voice of the Lord. There is no sound like it on earth. It originates in the heavens above us, and with great might, it crashes and shakes the earth. It is how we would expect God to sound if He would audibly speak to us. Let us not only be awed as God’s power is displayed in nature, but also as it is seen in the lives He saves and changes. A man attends our church who had been bound in the chains of sin for many years. He had tried on his own to break free but failed time and time again. Giving up his efforts and turning to Jesus, he was saved and has been faithfully serving the Lord. Looking back at what God has done for him, he told the writer “I didn’t know God could do what he could do.” He had found the power of God was more than just a doctrinal point or a lofty idea but a practical reality that he has experienced in his life. The power of God can change your life. (Robert C. Blankenship)

He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free; His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me. — Charles Wesley

Our greatest resource is access to God’s power.

2019-04-23T14:40:25+00:00August 21st, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Confidence in Praying

Read Psalm 77:1-12

“I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me” (v. 1).

I know from personal experience that an urgent, silent cry can be heard by Almighty God, and the answer be just as effectual. Lying on my bed in the middle of the night with my head covered with a bath towel and having my hands and feet tied, I cried unto the Lord, and He graciously responded. My predicament, posture, and presentation may not have been natural or normal, but God knew my heart. Thank God for His care and protection! We can know that our prayers are being heard any time, anywhere, and under any circumstances. (Shirley J. Gordon)

All you may need He will provide; God will take care of you. Nothing you ask will be denied; God will take care of you. — Civilla D. Martin

“I have proven Him true; what He says He will do” (W. J. Henry).

2019-04-23T14:35:33+00:00August 14th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Life’s Greatest Moment

Read Job 19:21-27

“And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (v. 26).

Job’s testimony was, “In my flesh shall I see God.” Three times Job says “I shall see God, . . . I shall see for myself . . . mine eyes shall behold [Him]” (vs. 26,27) Job’s testimony was, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” (v. 25) The greatest moment in life is when we shall really see Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). In the original language, this meant more than just looking at a person. Thayer, in his Lexicon, says it means “to be admitted into intimate and blessed fellowship with God.” Some commentators place Job seeing God when we shall see Jesus at His second coming. However, careful study shows that Job is referring to when his own body shall decay and in his soul and spirit, he shall see the Lord. This is Job’s assurance of eternal life! (Richard A. Grout)

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! I in my Savior am happy and blest; Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love. — Fanny J. Crosby

Because we have fellowship with God here and now, we can have the blessed assurance that when we are absent from this body, we shall be present with the Lord.

2019-04-23T14:18:26+00:00August 7th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

The Value of Wisdom

Read Ecclesiastes 9:11-15

“Now there was found in [a little city] a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man” (v. 15).

In today’s passage, the Preacher turns to something that troubles many people, the apparent randomness of life on earth. As verse 11 notes, the fastest doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest doesn’t always win the fight. In the key verse, the Preacher concludes his sketch of a miniature drama, where a poor man’s counsel delivers a small city from a powerful king’s siege. Wisdom has greater value than power or wealth either one! But although he saved them, the townspeople forget all about the poor man. For some, these realities suggest that there is no God or that God is remote from our lives or that God is malicious. Otherwise, surely the world would make more sense! The wise response differs. God gives us freedom and a brief time on earth; He lets us choose how we use our time and resources. It should not surprise us that, aside from grace, human choices are topsy-turvy, often distributing rewards erroneously. But wisdom delivered the poor man, as well as his city. Wisdom delivers us also, from meaningless living. And wisdom, best of all, delivers our souls into the deeper reality of eternal life! (Aaron D. Profitt)

Wisdom divine! who tells the price Of Wisdom’s costly merchandise? Wisdom to silver we prefer. And gold is dross compared to her. — Charles Wesley

Wisdom brings meaning to life on earth, where folly sees only emptiness.

2019-04-23T13:41:33+00:00July 31st, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

The Search for Happiness

Read Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (v. 14).

Are most people happy? Are you happy? Dennis Wholey, author of Are You Happy?, reports that “According to expert opinion, perhaps only 20% of Americans are happy.” He goes on to say that these experts would probably agree with the wry definition of happiness offered by a psychiatrist, Thomas Szasz, who said, “Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children and by children to adults.” The writer of Ecclesiastes had the opportunity and the means to look for happiness in every possible experience, and yet his despondent conclusion was that it was “all vanity and vexation of spirit.” Like Solomon, the British poet, Lord Byron, lived a dissolute life of wine, women, and song. And yet as he lay dying at the age of thirty-six, he wrote, “the worm, the grief, and the canker are mine alone.” This is absolutely true of life — without a vital relationship with Jesus Christ. However, it is altogether true that “Jesus is the joy of living!” Amy Carmichael who poured out her life as a missionary in India serving God and others said it well: “There is nothing dreary and doubtful about life. It is meant to be continually joyful. We are called to a settled happiness in the Lord whose joy is our strength.” (Michael R. Williams)

“Let us leave sadness to the devil and his angels. As for us, what can we be but rejoicing and gladness?” (Francis of Assisi).

2019-04-23T13:30:32+00:00July 10th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Example of Temperance

Read Daniel 1:5-17

“Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink” (v. 12).

Psychologist Walter Mischel performed an experiment which seems very similar to that proposed by Daniel. Preschool children were told they could have one marshmallow immediately. However, if they would wait while Dr. Mischel ran an errand, they could have two marshmallows at his return. Some preschoolers grabbed the marshmallow immediately. Those who waited struggled with self-control by covering their eyes, resting their heads on their arms, talking to themselves, singing, or sleeping. Those who persevered received the two-marshmallow reward. The experiment, however, was not complete. The participants were monitored in a follow-up study. It was discovered that those who waited for an extra marshmallow were, as adolescents, still able to delay gratification. They were more socially competent, self-assertive, and better able to cope with the frustrations of life. On the other hand, those who demanded instant gratification were, as adolescents, more likely to be stubborn, indecisive, and stressed. Edmund Burke, author, orator, political theorist, philosopher, and member of the English Parliament in the 1700s made a pertinent statement which concisely states the necessity of practicing personal self-control when he said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” (L. Gayle Woods)

“It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters” (Edmund Burke).

2019-04-23T13:20:29+00:00July 3rd, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Clear Counsel

Read Proverbs 18:23 — 19:3

“A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (v. 24).

As I write this devotional, our church is making a special effort to invite people to church. This morning, while walking and praying around our community, I saw a man on his front porch. Stopping to hand him a brochure, I learned that he attends another church in town. His first question was about salvation by grace. We were very much in agreement. We stood on his sidewalk and visited, and he shared his testimony with me. He did not emphasize some outlandish experience; instead, he talked about how God dealt with him until he finally realized that he could not save himself. Only God could do that! We prayed together, wished each other a blessed day, and I walked away. Friendly people find friends. Not everyone is as outgoing as I try to be, but a friendly attitude does open the door to sharing our testimony. Most of us also know people whose attitude is very different from this man. Instead of friendliness, they exude anger, hatred, and bitterness. You don’t have to be around them for long before you discover those traits. Today, let’s demonstrate the character and attitude of our best friend, Jesus. As we reflect Him, others may be drawn to Him. (Mark D. Avery)

Be friendly.

2019-04-23T13:16:22+00:00June 26th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Protection for the Godly

Read Psalm 91:4-10

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings, shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (v. 4).

This scripture passage is often misused by people to support the belief that Christians will never be ill or suffer loss in a physical sense. To understand how to live these verses requires one to be surrendered to the absolute will of God. We must recognize that God’s ways are indeed higher than our ways. That we are looking at the happenings of this life from Earth’s point of view while He is allowing events to transpire based on heaven’s purpose. The fact that some of the negative events described here may happen to us does not mean that His care for us is any less, nor that we have “fallen through the cracks” of His consideration or become a disposable commodity. It does mean that He is using us to see His will accomplished. It is through these times that we learn to run under His wings and take strength from His truth. Understanding the deeper truths of God’s love for us enables us to see that he truly does care for us as individuals as well as a creation of never dying souls. (Tim J. Brubeck)

“The flames shall not hurt thee, I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine” (John Rippon).

2019-04-23T13:04:39+00:00June 19th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

The Challenge of Wisdom

Read Proverbs 9:1-8

“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee” (v. 8).

Those who fear the Lord are teachable. Ouch! Refusing to tell a commercial pilot that he is off course could result in the demise of many innocent passengers. When we embark on a journey, we have a destination in mind. The highway to heaven passes through deep valleys and dark tunnels. Treacherous mountains lurk at us; tsunamis threaten our souls! God’s Positioning System (GPS) will correctly guide us heavenward if we will but seek His counsel. Thank God for Christian friends who are honest and loving. Reading God’s Word and fellowshipping with God’s family, our brethren in Christ, will ensure a safe landing on the heavenly shores. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). The trumpet could sound at any moment, as Christ’s return appears to be imminent! The Captain of our soul will guard and guide us. There is not a nanosecond that He is asleep or taking a much-needed break! Listen to that still small voice that guides you throughout your busy day. Get quiet before our Heavenly Father and ask for His divine leadership in your life! He will safely steer us homeward. (Beverly K. Tatum)

Pressing more closely to Him Who is leading, When we are tempted to turn from the way; Trusting the arm that is strong to defend us, Happy, how happy, our praises each day. — Eliza Edmunds Stites Hewitt

“Labor to keep alive in your heart that little spark of celestial fire — Conscience” (George Washington).

2019-04-23T12:57:53+00:00June 12th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Preservation

Read Proverbs 4:1-6

“Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee; love her, and she shall keep thee” (v. 6).

I enjoy how Solomon gives a persona to Wisdom, picturing her as a woman standing in the busy intersections of life, crying out her message in the marketplaces, pleading with all to seek her.  The wise man urges us to clasp Wisdom to our hearts and to cling to her as to a treasure. If we do not forsake godly wisdom, it will preserve (keep, defend, protect) us; if we love wisdom, it will keep (guard) us. How many of us have yearned for this wisdom as we face decisions, disappointments, disasters, and death?  And we have found that as we ask God for wisdom and humbly await His response to our request, He has ultimately provided the direction we need. We need wisdom in the home and with the family, in the schoolroom and the market, on the road and in solitude, in the choices large and small that we must make.  And God is the giver of wisdom without reproaching us for the asking; He gives liberally when we ask Him. (Leonard L. Sankey)

Higher, higher in the school of wisdom, More of grace to know — Charles P. Jones

God is pleased when we turn to Him and ask for His wisdom and understanding.

2019-04-22T22:12:49+00:00June 5th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments
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