April 26, 2023: Parental Instruction

Read Proverbs 1:7-19.

"My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother" (v. 8).

Most of us want to look good in the eyes of others. For sure, some will go further to make that happen than others, but most of us want it. And the proverb writer seems to suggest that feeling is not all bad. Our text verse is combined structurally with verse 9. "For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck."
Jewelry, whether a crown on your head or chains around your neck, is designed to signify dignity. But the proverb says such signs of dignity can be achieved in different ways. One of them is by obeying the instruction of parents. In well-trained eyes, submission to parents moves a person to the head of the class!
How are you trying to look good in the eyes of others? Again, the Bible does not condemn that, so long as the motives and methods are godly. (Gordon Snider)
"I would be true, for there are those who trust me."
--- H. A. Walter

2023-04-26T14:45:49+00:00April 26th, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word, Uncategorized|0 Comments

April 20, 2023: Responsibility for Wealth

Thursday, April 20
Read Matthew 25:14-30.

Responsibility for Wealth
"Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury" (v. 27).

In the Parable of the Talents, the master conveys a certain amount of money to three servants. The funds represented both an opportunity and an obligation. Nowhere are the funds viewed as being intended for personal pleasure. The two "profitable" servants used the opportunity with an eye to their obligation to the master. Both were rewarded with more significant opportunities for investment, not a life of ease based on the investment or the profits. The third servant is condemned because he failed to seize the moment to enhance his master's holding but was contented to "manage" his holdings with an eye to not losing. Possessions are the Father's investment in His children with which they are to extend His kingdom. Doing so brings His commendation. Failure to do so brings His condemnation.
Contrary to the opinion of the unprofitable servant, our Father is not a demanding taskmaster. God's bounty is strikingly evident in our daily lives. But the ultimate purpose of such gifts provides both opportunity and obligation. Failure to understand these underlying purposes for His investment in us justifies the Master in removing the investment He has made in us. Blessings bring responsibility. (William Snider)

2023-04-20T13:50:46+00:00April 20th, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word, Uncategorized|0 Comments

April 5, 2023: The Suffering Servant

Wednesday, April 5
Read Matthew 27:26-37.

The Suffering Servant
“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” (v. 29).

The cross of Jesus had to be carried to Golgotha. Another person around the crucifixion after Jesus was before Pilate and crowned with thorns and carrying his cross was Simon of Cyrene. He was “compelled to bear his cross” (v. 32). Dr. Ralph Earle comments: “Jesus started out carrying His cross. But weakened by all He had gone through, He was unable to carry it far, so the soldiers picked out a passerby and placed it on his shoulders.”
When we are saved or born again, we have a “cross” to bear, identifying with Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Our “cross” includes dying to our selfish ways, identifying with His mission, and being His witness to others. Jesus told us, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). (David Fruth)
Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for ev’ry one,
And there’s a cross for me.
--- Thomas Shepherd and others

Are you bearing your cross daily?

2023-04-05T16:14:51+00:00April 5th, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word, Uncategorized|0 Comments

March 29, 2023: Return Blessing for Reviling

Wednesday, March 29
Read 1 Corinthians 4:11-16.

"And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it" (v. 12).

Recently in my reading, I was reminded of the principle of turning contention and trouble into a time of blessing. The author suggested the reader keep a notebook listing the names of those who had cursed, criticized, or attempted to destroy their ministry. That little hand-written book of names was marked by notes of prayer times, its pages stained with tears, all representing the petitioner's intentional prayer for God's intervention and blessing on others.
There is a deep peace and joy in smiling politely at a person whose intent is to destroy your reputation and ability to minister grace. But smile, when you know you have that morning lifted that person to the Lord, asking for His help, there rises a sense of peace and joy.
Paul said, "we bless," even when he was being reviled and persecuted. It reminds me of the Lord's words, "Father, forgive them." (Pastor Clair Sams)
Blessing and honor and glory and power,
Wisdom and riches and strength evermore
Give ye to Him Who our battle hath won
Whose are the kingdom, the crown, and the throne.
--- Horatius Bonar

Asking the Lord's intervention and blessing on others always strengthens the petitioner.

2023-03-29T14:00:12+00:00March 29th, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

March 15, 2023: Proper Stewardship Rewarded

Read Matthew 10:40-42.

"He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward" (v.41).

Accepting responsibility is usually serious business. Failure brings consequences; successful completion has its rewards. When God entrusts something into His people's hands, He always stands ready to reward them for being faithful administrators of His resources. He doesn't do this to incentivize nor bribe them, but rather to let them see that there is great reward in loving service and joyful compliance.

God's promised rewards are sure, but so are the consequences of failure. Those consequences are often magnified by the knowledge that we had an opportunity for something great, but we failed to grasp the opportunity. One of the greatest torments of hell will be knowing we could have gone to heaven with all the beauty and presence of God, but, through poor choices, we chose a different route. I do not know that this is an accurate depiction. But I do know that I do not want to exchange the presence of God in my life now for anything that is being offered by this world. (TJB)

God, may our actions and heart be in line with your will.

2023-03-15T14:13:15+00:00March 15th, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Feb. 22, 2023: Spiritual Vision

Read 2 Corinthians 3:12-18.

Spiritual Vision
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (v. 18).

Probably everyone who reads this has visited one of the stores, which is a part of the world’s largest retailer, but not everybody has had the privilege to be greeted by Wesley. His radiant smile shines beautifully from his brown face. It is very evident that his smile is backed by internal joy. He’s the brightest spot in the store and he does his best to brighten the day of every shopper he greets.
In today’s text, Paul speaks of the transforming power of the glory of the Lord. He declares, what we already know, that those who spend time with God reflect His image and glory.
How do we do that? When we read and study God’s Word, we should not be driven by a desire to have fodder to win spiritual arguments, to find support for doubtful behavior, or to merely say we read our daily quota. We should let God speak through His Word. Time spent in His Word is transforming! As well, other means of grace are transformative. Without question, meeting humbly before God in prayer beautifies the believer, as does the outflow of joy from a praise-filled life. (Lonnie Witt)
Tho’ like others, you’re not gifted, You can shine;
Every cloud can soon be lifted, You can shine;
Jesus promised grace to aid you, You can shine;
Trusting all to Him who made you, You can shine.

When your heart with love is glowing, You will shine;
When His love you’re daily showing, You will shine;
When this saddened world is brightened, By the rays of light divine,
If you really have the blessing, You will shine.
--– Charles Tillman

God help me to walk with you in obedience,
so my countenance bears witness of God’s glory.

2023-02-22T14:52:47+00:00February 22nd, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Feb. 15, 2023: Christ’s Concern

Read John 11:31-37.

“When Jesus, therefore, saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.”

(v. 33),

   Jesus turns sorrow into JOY! Two-word scriptures? Quickly we answer, “Jesus wept.” Because “Jesus wept” we can “Rejoice evermore” (1 Thess. 5:16). This Thessalonians scripture is a perfect two-word synonym for JOY.
God’s people have a history of leaving ripples of joy. Think about the relief and joy Moses caused when he used his staff to divide the Red Sea. Vicious, pursuing Pharaoh along with his supercharged and competent army were swallowed by the seething sea. Instead of a watery tomb, the Israelites experienced a tidal wave of joy.
   Can you imagine the joy experienced by the Shunamite mother when her dead son sneezed seven times? Usually, sneezing brings concerns of Illness; in this case, it brought immense joy. When dressmaker Dorcas was brought back to life, the whole village let out a relieved sigh! Dorcas was a joy broadcaster using her creative designs to provide much-needed clothing for the poor.
Sowing seeds of joy among others will minimize idle time to dwell on troubles. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” is not just a dreamy, idyllic phrase. Laughter has been proven to increase oxygen intake and lower blood pressure. Once again, the Bible is supported by scientific evidence. Exodus decreed handwashing; now medical science has agreed it is good for our health. God handed us a manual for our trek to heaven. His Holy Word has not left out even the minutest details for a joyful journey! In the wake of your travels, leave behind smiles and joy. (Beverly Tatum)
Joyful news to all mankind,
Jesus is mighty to save;
All who seek shall surely find
Jesus is mighty to save.
--- Charles Coller

It takes 72 muscles to frown — only 14 to smile!

2023-02-15T20:56:29+00:00February 15th, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Feb. 1, 2023: Calmed by the Word

Read Joshua 1:1-5.

"Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people,

unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel" (v. 2).

Today people seek inner peace through various means: self-actualization, positive thinking exercises, transcendental meditation, the practice of non-attachment, finding an inner light, chakras (spiritual powerpoint), seeking a spiritual guide, and using crystals, herbs, and so forth. The problem for those using these methods is that the result is never completely satisfying and quickly disappears. Besides these, Satan has many other options for those foolish enough to use them.
The Word of God, however, has a calming effect on troubled souls who look to God for peace of heart and mind. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” This suggests that we have control over whether our heart is troubled or not. Jesus is telling us not to allow it to become troubled.
The question we face then is, “How do I exercise control over my spirit, so it is not troubled?" A foundational truth that must be accepted for this to be possible is understanding that peace is not the absence of trouble. True inner peace is only found in the presence of God. Peace comes from knowing that circumstances are temporary and that God is eternal. Peace comes from exercising faith in the character of the eternal God and His Word. Therefore we choose peace rather than fear or worry. In faith, we lean upon God and His promises instead of leaning on our own ingenuity. (Gayle Woods)

True inner peace is only found in the presence of God.

2023-02-01T20:29:13+00:00February 1st, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Jan. 18, 2023: The Lord Gives Sight

Read John 9:1-7.

“And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is, by interpretation, Sent.)

He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing” (v. 7).


   There is no promise in Scripture that God will remove all our trials. After all, God is the Creator of the Universe – all-wise, all-seeing, all-knowing…but NOT a vending machine. We glean from today’s passage that God does what He does for reasons more important than our comfort. He desires to build character and prepare us for the next life, not to grant us ease in this one. God acts in ways that best bring glory to Himself, not us. Sometimes the “sight” He gives is the ability to see Him above our circumstances.

That said, while on earth, Jesus did choose to provide physical healing for many. In today’s reading, yet another man’s sight was restored. Jesus did not just hand this man his healing, though. The afflicted man was given instructions. He obeyed, and only then did he receive his sight.

I take from this account two thought-provoking insights. One is that when we ask for healing, we should also make sure we are living in line with God’s Word. Obedience is one of God’s “love languages,” so to speak. Is your will aligned with His?

A second point is that Jesus handled each situation differently. He did not use mud on every blind person’s eyes. My story will not look like your story. God is God. His methods are His business; obedience is mine. Of one thing, I am sure – ALL healing comes from Him! (Shawna Wright)


"It is truly wonderful what the Lord has done!

Glory to His name!"

--- Barney E. Warren

2023-01-16T20:58:10+00:00January 18th, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Jan. 11, 2023: Satisfied With God’s Goodness

Read Psalm 65:4-13.


Satisfied With God’s Goodness

“Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple” (v. 4).


I have to believe God ordered my life even before I knew Him. Several examples of God’s goodness to me over my lifetime flood my mind. At the age of 3 months, my mother was no longer physically able to care for me, so I was placed not in an orphanage but in another family home. When I left that home, I was far from God. I had had good principles taught to me, for which I am still very grateful. They have helped to make me who I am. I was taught to take care of the things I owned so they would last. I never had an allowance, so had little concern about money. At Bible school, I learned to take spiritual struggles to God, not others, so now, as I draw near to Him, He draws near to me.

Truly, I am satisfied with His goodness. Dissatisfaction seems to be rampant in our world today. Dissatisfaction with home, parents, and siblings. With spouses, children, and income. With teachers, bosses, jobs, our have’s and have not’s, our church or pastor, our talents, or the talents of others, and beneath it all, dissatisfaction with God.

Gratitude is one of the stepping stones to satisfaction with God. The more the Israelites complained, found fault, and blamed Moses, the more God regretted making man. (Margaret Heilman)


An attitude of gratitude goes a long way.

2023-01-10T15:55:52+00:00January 11th, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments


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