Sept. 9, 2020: Hope in God

Read Psalm 33:18 – 22.

 

“Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee” (v. 22).

    If you have time, read this entire psalm, which is a tribute to God in His offices of Creator, Controller, Consummator, Counselor. David exalts His mighty works and calls the entire earth to His worship.

But when we step away from the Divine Superintendency of all things, the world is a bleak and empty lowland, whether in politics, religion, economics, education.  What a distressing view! And even in our personal lives, whatever we may trust in this life…good health, material comfort, a strong system of support, years of Christian living - all are false confidences unless they are buoyed up by our trust in God.

Let us, also, call out for the mercy of the Lord to be upon us as we hope in Him. (Leonard Sankey)

“My hope is renewed, my faith becomes strong,

The closer I walk to Him.”    -  Haldor Lillenas

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” but hope achieved makes the heart sing.  Proverbs 13:12

2020-09-08T16:28:16+00:00September 10th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: |0 Comments

Justified By Faith

Read Romans 5:1-8.

“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 1).

          She shot her boyfriend!  He was beating her up; she feared for her life.  She claimed it was self-defense. Time and again, we justify our decisions and actions, the things we say and the way we respond to what is happening to us.  At times it seemed like a raw reflex; it was spontaneous, but nevertheless, it was what caused us to draw on our resources and what we felt were our strengths.

What about when you turn the other cheek, when you go the extra mile, when you give your cloak as well as your coat, when you use a soft answer in responding to anger, when you endure hardness as a good soldier?  Do you justify those times by your faith in God who gives you grace and strength and wisdom?  The hope we have is because of the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts. Thus our actions and reactions are to be justified by our faith!  As Christians, let us act the way we do because we are who we are through Jesus Christ, our Lord! (Rodney Stearns)

“My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus blood and righteousness;

…………………….

On Christ, the solid rock I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.”

 

Justify your faith by living out the Lord Jesus within you!

2020-08-31T18:15:35+00:00September 3rd, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Aug. 26, 2020: The Master’s Commands

Read Matthew 10: 9-16

                        The Master’s Commands

          “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:  be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (vs.16).

 

  Jesus was our perfect example.  His preaching and teaching were sometimes pointed, and at other times couched in stories and allegories. He knew his audience and how best to speak to them.  We do not have His wisdom! But we need to seek a measure of His wisdom when approaching others.  Some will dismiss you immediately, some will be curious, and others will scoff and seek to argue.  Others, prepared by God, will seek to know more.  In any case, a gentle wind will leave a pleasant breeze, where pontificating may leave a fretful scar.

 

Will it stir the stormy waters or bring a peaceful calm;

speak as Jesus did and breathe a restful balm?

Will it greet the wayward son, or heap on bitter shame;

mend the broken fences, or seek to assess blame?

Will it lift a lowly spirit, or drag it farther down;

bring joy to others, or let them slowly drown?

Will it fuel an angry conflict, or give the gift of peace;

trifle with their feelings, or bring a sweet release?

Will it wound without a cure, or remind of God’s great love;

taste of empty words, or fill with joy above?

 

Take caution every day, that blessings flow from what you say

                                                                                    -Jan Hamilton

 

 

2020-08-24T15:29:26+00:00August 26th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Christ Serves the Hungry

Read Luke 9:10-17

Christ Serves the Hungry

“Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them,

and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude” (v. 16).

   Have you ever served in a shelter house for the homeless? I have not, but I know people who enjoy the ministry of helps. Three people come to mind. Our church honors those who help others, so my son-in-law has served meals at a downtown mission a few weeks before Christmas. My hairdresser goes one day a month to the same mission. She began this service with hesitation, but now it’s her sweet blessing to serve. My sister leads a Bible study for inmates at a prison, and she’s done this for many years. What impresses the women is that they can count on her being there; her faithfulness is appreciated.

The crowd who gathered to hear Jesus that day could not be called homeless, but they would have missed a meal and more of Jesus’ teaching if not for the miracle of feeding the 5000 (not counting women and children). With no grocery store nearby, Jesus took what was available – five loaves of bread and two fish – and turned these into a banquet for the multitude. With His blessing, all were satisfied. (Ann Coker)

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,

Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;

Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,

Cords that are broken will vibrate once more.

–Fanny Crosby

Taking one’s turn to serve others is no chore.

2020-08-19T16:34:39+00:00August 19th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Waiting for Christ’s Coming.

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13‑18.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (v. 14).

 

From 1955-58, my father was pastor of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in the little town of Dublin, IN. There were not many men in that church. I can only think of three. One of them was Donnie Day. This brother carried his guitar and songbook from revival to revival in our area. The song that he sang that sticks in my mind said, “Wait a little longer, please Jesus…A few more days to get our loved ones in.”

Waiting is usually not much fun, at least not for me. I often find myself counting from 1-100, over and over, while I wait – just hoping the event will happen before I finish. For me, waiting is associated with inactivity – wasted time. But Donnie Day’s song reminds us that not all waiting is time wasted. Waiting may mean the difference between a loved one being saved or lost.

But how can we redeem the time while we wait? A retired missionary from Alaska, Sis. Honeycutt had a different perspective. For her, waiting on Jesus is like a waitress “waiting” on you at a restaurant. That person’s goal is to meet all your needs as best they can so that you will have a good experience.

How are we waiting on Jesus? Counting to 100 over and over again, wishing He would hurry up? Or are we busy meeting HIS needs? (Gordon L Snider)

 

“While I am waiting on Jesus to return, I will focus my mind on pleasing Him and meeting His needs.”

2020-08-10T19:58:25+00:00August 12th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: |0 Comments

Flee Hypocrisy

Read 1 Peter 2:1-5.

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (v. 2).

“I do not feed my children spoiled burgers…” Years ago, I was privileged to hear Attorney David Gibbs II illustrate the meaning of the Scripture, “Train up a child…” (Prov. 22:6a). He explained that to train a child is to reach back and touch the palette with wholesome food, because, once the palette senses the taste, it will remember it moving forward. Therefore, should spoiled meat touch the tastebuds, the partaker will instantly sense that the substance is not genuine, and will be able to reject it, thus preventing illness.

The best way to flee hypocrisy is to stay away from the company it hangs out with – malicious, envious, backbiting, disingenuous, selfish, criticizing people. Hypocrites love to add members to their cast, creating drama to deceive everyone around them. Removing oneself from their influence – in other words, “resisting the devil” – is a step that leads to spiritual growth. The sincere milk of the Word is nutritious, edifying, and whole; it is not watered down to 2% by distorting the truth.

Stay away from the drama in which Satan delights.

He’s a master at causing turmoil and strife.

Instead, search the Word – truth God wants you to know,

And feast on His promises so in wisdom you’ll grow. (R. B. Kuhn)

 

Acquire a taste for the good things of God; that’s the best way to avoid succumbing to the devil’s false food.

2020-08-03T16:21:03+00:00August 5th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Better in Love

Read 1 Corinthians 13:9-13.

Better in Love.

“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (v. 10).

 

This week we are focusing on God’s Better Plan. The world talks and sings a lot about love. So it is very evident that love is also a part of the world’s plan. So what makes the love that is in God’s plan better than the love that is in the world’s plan? To answer that question, read back through 1 Corinthians 13 – the chapter that describes God’s plan of love.

From this chapter, we can see the superiority of God’s love first because that love never ends. God never says, “I just cannot love that person anymore.” His love “never fails.” God’s love is also superior because it is not self-centered – it “seeketh not her own.” Further, this love is not based upon a fantasy, but upon truth – “rejoiceth in truth.” Verse 7 emphasizes that God’s love motivates us to positive action in the worst of times.

In comparison, the world’s love often ends, is often selfish, is based upon feeling rather than truth, and often turns to hate when circumstances change.

God never met a person He could not love! He has a better plan! (GLS)

 

Make my love like yours, dear Lord,

Unending, selfless, and true,

So that when others see my love,

They will quickly think of You. (GLS)

2020-04-24T14:36:50+00:00April 29th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Importance of the Resurrection

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are still in your sins” ( v. 17).

Toolbox, check. Parts all over the garage floor, check. Instruction manual, check. You’re ready to put that new cabinet together. You get through steps 1 and 2 like a pro. Then you turn the page and realize there's a problem; the next step in the manual is 8. Part of the manual is missing. We need all of the Bible.  We can’t skip to the ending and miss out on the beginning or middle. We need each and every word and truth.

Some reject the doctrine of man's sinfulness and only want the hope of resurrection.  Others ignore the life of resurrection in favor of the sinfulness of man. But it is an error to emphasize Calvary to the exclusion of Gethsemane and vice-avers.  We cannot separate the cross from the empty tomb.  They are one.

At the cross, we died with Christ; out of the tomb, we are made alive with Christ (Romans 6:3-4).  At the cross, we resolve our past; at the tomb we gain our future (Romans 6:11).

At the cross, the power of sin is broken; at the tomb, the power of righteousness is released. (Romans 6:13);

In the cross, we taste mercy; at the tomb, we drink grace (Romans 6:22). (Don Callaway)

In the Cross of Christ I glory

Towr'ing o'er the wrecks of time;

All the light of sacred story

Gathers round its head sublime.  -John Bowring

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

2020-04-08T14:53:11+00:00April 8th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Access Through Christ

Read John 10:1-9

“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep” (v. 7).

During the summer, our four children spend hours outdoors nearly every day, playing with friends, riding their bikes, and climbing nearby trees. While they play outside, our back door remains unlocked, giving them easy access to the amenities of home--snacks, drinks, and the occasional bandage. At night, though, our children stay inside, sleeping within the security of locked doors and under the care of their parents.

Similarly, our loving shepherd Jesus grants us access to all the delights of His caring presence, security, direction, and nourishment. Indeed, Jesus gives us abundant life as long as we follow Him. After all, Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10b).

As the “door of the sheep,” Jesus stands ready to welcome sinners into the sheepfold, where His flock enjoy His loving care and watchful protection. (Lyle Witt)

 

Seeking the lost, He is seeking today,

Seeking His sheep that have gone astray;

Up in His arms, and safe from the cold,

He tenderly bears them back to the fold.

-- J. A. Lee

 

Jesus still opens the door for all who will follow.

2020-03-13T15:44:04+00:00March 18th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: |0 Comments

Greater Than Abraham

Read John 8:48-59.

“Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (v. 58).

Every faith traces their history back to outstanding figures of the past. Abraham was often considered the “father” of the Jewish faith. Indeed, his willingness to heed God’s call (Gen. 12), his intimate intercession with God (Gen. 19), his obedient dedication to God (Gen. 22), were among the examples that caused him to be revered by the Jews. In the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Fame,” Abraham is mentioned for his faith. Although Abraham’s sacrifices and intercession were exemplary, he could not atone for “Adam’s fallen race.”

Renown and reputation does not make a redeemer! While the Jews sought and looked forward to a “rescuer,” Jesus Christ came to be the Redeemer. He came to provide the atonement needed to bring “whosoever will” into an “at-one-ment” relationship with God. In many respects Abraham provided an example of faithful service, but Jesus Christ offers us living faith so that we can be a part of “the family of God!” While remembering Abraham may be inspirational, turning to Jesus Christ is transforming! Truly the Son of God has no equal! (Rodney Stearns)

“Great God, how infinite art Thou!
How poor and weak we are!
Let the whole race of creatures bow,
And pay their praise to Thee.”
Isaac Watts

“Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”(I John 4:4).

2020-02-25T20:18:42+00:00February 26th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments
Load More Posts
Go to Top