Faith That Rewards

Read Romans 16:25-27

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (v. 25).

“I have a secret, but no one will know what it is until Christmas!” Perhaps you’ve been told that or told someone else. It creates a sense of anticipation, looking forward to the revelation of that secret! From the beginning of time, God promised His people a Savior. He didn’t tell them when they would receive this promise, but left them with the anticipation, even the longing, for this revelation. Down through the ages, the prophets spoke of it, dreamed and planned for it, but they passed before He came to earth. We have been privileged to have the Scriptures to verify that Jesus did, in fact, come to earth,and lived and died to purchase our eternal inheritance. We have the conditional promise of eternal life and a place in heaven. If we walk with Him and allow ourselves to become established in the gospel of Christ, we can enjoy that reward! Aren’t you thankful for that? (Sue Colburn)

After pain and anguish, after toil and care, We shall see the King some day; Through the endless ages joy and blessing share, We shall see the King some day. — Lewis Ellis Jones

Our Faith will have eternal rewards!

2019-04-22T22:02:10+00:00May 22nd, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Hope for the Pure

Read 2 Peter 3:13-15

“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (v. 14).

Parenting teen-agers and now having teen grandsons there have been frequent conversations about living godly lives. In a world filled with impurity, immorality, indecency, violence, vulgar language, and selfishness, what does godly living look and sound like and when should it start? This world scoffs at purity in any form, yet God expects His people to make a determined effort to live blameless lives and to bring every area of our lives (including our recreation or entertainment) under His guidance in this matter of purity. Living a pure life is not just for teen-agers, or even just young men. It is an issue every believer faces daily. Purity of life starts in childhood with the way we dress our children and how we allow them to talk and play. It applies to even the silver-haired saint in the latter years of life. Are our attempts to live godly lives bringing honor to God? Are those efforts enabling us to reach out to others or building walls to keep us from reaching out to those around us who don’t know the Lord? (LeeAnn Davison)

Do no sinful action, Speak no angry word; We belong to Jesus, Children of the Lord. There’s a wicked spirit Watching ’round us still, And he tries to tempt us Into harm and ill. List not to the tempter, Tho’ ’tis hard for you To resist the evil, And the good to do. — C. F. Alexander

“There is no doctrine that holds a stronger incentive to purity of living, than does the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ” (Robert Neighbour).

2019-04-22T21:51:33+00:00May 17th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

The Preciousness of Truth

Read Proverbs 23:22-26

“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (v. 23).

“Invest in truth and wisdom . . . and don’t part with them,” says a modern Bible version. I occasionally read investment advice from a successful brokerage. The writers tell their readers what stocks they should purchase — they are considered good investments. The desire, of course, is that the investment will gain in value, increasing the investor’s wealth. However, the advisors also tell their readers how to calculate a “trailing stop” — the price at which to sell the stock if it begins to lose value. The idea is for the “trailing stop” to rise along with the stock value but provide for a selling price to lock in most of the gains when the stock falters. They offer such advice, of course, because investments rise and fall in value, companies lose money or go out of business, and investor confidence sours. No one wants to lose money, so everyone is poised to sell his investment at the most advantageous moment. God’s advice about truth and wisdom, though, does not include a “trailing stop” or a selling price. Rather, He urges us to purchase, or invest in, truth — and then keep it! We should even add to it. Truth is an investment that will never lose its value. Our greatest advantage is to keep it, for truth will take us to heaven. (Steven E. Hight)

Truth is a valuable investment for eternity.

2019-04-22T21:35:37+00:00May 8th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Growth in Fellowship

Read Acts 2:41-47

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (v. 42).

What is your favorite type of bread? Whole wheat? Sourdough? French? Italian? Banana? Pumpkin? Zucchini? The old saying is that “bread is the staff of life” meaning that it is one of the basic components of food in almost every region of the world. All over the globe, people are enjoying some type of bread today. When the writer of Acts wrote about the early church “breaking bread,” it probably referred to sharing the Lord’s Supper or Communion. But right before, he references the idea of fellowship — camaraderie, support, friendship, encouragement. This is one of the important ways the first-century believers connected with one another. And it could very likely have included food. Maybe those church dinners we love are biblical, after all! As members of Christ’s body, the Church, we are called by Him to develop deep relationships that help us live His way and enrich us as people created in His image. We are to keep growing in this area, always adding to our ability to host others and to accept others’ invitations graciously. You don’t have to serve bread — after all, some are gluten intolerant or eating fewer carbs these days. But you do need to share what you have. That’s a menu option we can all agree on. (Valerie A. Quesenberry)

Let us break bread together on our knees, (on our knees) Let us break bread together on our knees. (on our knees) — Traditional

Fellowship is about breaking bread to form unbroken relationships.

2019-04-22T19:33:50+00:00May 1st, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Courage in Suffering

Read Acts 7:54-60

“Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (v. 56)

When Stephen was falsely charged before the Sanhedrin, he courageously used the opportunity to confront the religious leaders about their historic persecution of the prophets and their recent rejection of Jesus. Such an affront to their reputation and authority angered the council members, who were “cut to the heart” and “gnashed . . . their teeth” (Acts 7:54). Stephen’s proclamation that followed, however, triggered immediate action. His claim that Jesus was standing at the right hand of God led the council to abandon all further discussion, preempting justice to deliver the immediate judgment of stoning for alleged blasphemy. In light of the council’s ability to mete out capital punishment, what inspired such courage in Stephen? Acts 6:8 reveals that Stephen was so “full of faith and power” that he “did great wonders and miracles.” Stephen believed so much in God and drew so much strength from God that even mortal danger did not shift his focus from his Savior. Even as the stones pummeled his body, Stephen — being filled with the Spirit — followed the example of his Savior by praying for his persecutors, by offering forgiveness with his final words: “Lay not this sin to their charge.” (Lyle A. Witt)

Tho’ I falter, His arm will hold me; I can rest on His strength and grace; Tho’ the darkness of night enfold me, Soon I know I shall see His face. — Civilla Martin

Stephen’s courage came from knowing and trusting Jesus.

2019-04-18T19:54:50+00:00April 24th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

Matthew’s Story of the Resurrection

Read Matthew 28:1-10

“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it” (v. 2).

Kansas, where I have spent most of my life, is not known for its earthquakes. They are not all that rare, but they are generally too faint to be felt over a wide area. They do not usually cause any damage. The region of the world where Jerusalem sits, however, averages one major earthquake every eighty to 100 years, according to the Jerusalem Post. Since the last one was in 1927, I doubt there are many people either in the Holy Land or reading this book that can remember it. My grandparents were not even alive yet! I can just imagine what it might have been like to be on guard duty the morning the world shook, an angel appeared, and an enormous rock rolled out of place. There would have been no childhood stories to relate this to, no social context to surround it. The earth moved, a heavenly warrior materialized, and the last line of defense obediently got out of the way. (Michelle D. Avery)

No wonder the soldiers fainted.

2019-04-18T12:50:49+00:00April 18th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

The Great Guide

Read John 16:7-15

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (v. 13).

We were traveling off the beaten path. The trip that could easily have been done in one day had been divided into two days, simply for our enjoyment. We knew that our general direction was west, and rather than follow the main routes, we chose some highways that were just little lines on the map. Driving through some very sparsely inhabited country, our GPS somehow lost contact with the satellite. Thankfully, our compass still worked, and we found our way through. This road of life goes through some challenging terrain, too. It is easy to get off course and lose our way. Except that the Holy Spirit has come and He guides us through the maze we call life. Our Sunday school teacher recently referred to the Holy Spirit as God’s Positioning System. He has the ability to lead us through the challenges of life. When we listen to the instructions given in the Bible and maintain sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, He guides us in, through, or around the pitfalls of life. (Mark D. Avery)

Holy Ghost, with light divine, Shine upon this heart of mine;
Chase the shade of night away, Turn my darkness into day. — Andrew Reed

The Holy Spirit living in us helps us stay on course.

2019-02-20T10:00:49+00:00February 20th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Yielding Good Fruit

Read Luke 6:39-45

“For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (v. 43).

I once heard a story about a man who was attempting to launch a homemade rocket into the sky. In his hurry to get away after lighting the fuse, he bumped the rocket, causing it to launch sideways into the church he attended, which subsequently burned to the ground. His wife, surveying the carnage, shook her head and said, “Oh, this is the worst thing you’ve ever done.” The husband replied, “Honey, you say those words to me so often that they no longer have any meaning.” In our reading today Jesus reminds us that we are to be far more critical of ourselves than we are of others. In fact, Jesus reminds us that if we are overly critical of others, we are a corrupt tree bringing forth corrupt fruit. He says that when we do this, we have a beam in our eye. Basically, we are spiritually blind and have no business trying to fix someone else’s faults. Yet, there are times when people need to be corrected. I’ve discovered that when I really want to tell someone what they are doing wrong, then I’ve almost certainly got a beam in my own eye. However, if I don’t want to correct the other person, then the Holy Spirit is probably leading me to do so. This is my own standard though, so it may not work for you. (Randy J. Bland)

Are you overly critical of those around you?

2019-02-13T10:00:07+00:00February 13th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Support for the Meek

Read Psalm 37:8-13

“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (v. 11).

Sometimes as we look around and see what is going on in the world, we are tempted to be discouraged, and overcome with hopelessness. It seems like evil prospers. The powerful get more powerful even though they arrogantly reject God. At times we wonder — why doesn’t God do something about it? Psalm 37 is the answer to that type of thinking. David tells us that God has a plan that is bigger and longer than our ability to grasp sometimes. Though in our minds the wicked seem to never go away, from God’s perspective they are like grass on a hot summer day. As you read through the psalm, you can see how David gives us the solution for dealing with discouraging problems around us. We are to “commit our ways to God.” He tells us to trust in God; He knows what is best. David tells us to delight ourselves in God. In other words, God is in control; we aren’t. And then in verse 11, he gives us a promise, it will be those who are meek that will inherit the earth. God isn’t caught off guard by the evil. He is aware, and He is keeping track of the righteous! (Robert W. Booth)

God has a solution for all our problems!

2019-02-06T10:00:21+00:00February 6th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Christ’s Victory

Read Luke 4:1-13

“And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season” (v. 13).

We have all been in situations where it seemed like the best thing that could happen is for someone — the troublemaker — to leave. Jesus was there! Of course, Jesus could simply have commanded Satan to leave, but that was not the plan. Instead, the plan was for Jesus to withstand everything Satan could throw at Him until, in the end, Satan left by his own choice. Perhaps to the human side in Jesus, it seemed that Satan would never leave. And it often seems that way to us as well. But Jesus just kept parrying Satan’s thrusts until Satan decided it was no use to try anymore. There is an old adage that “he who turns and runs away, lives to fight another day.” And it is true; some things are just not worth fighting for. But when we are up against Satan, as Jesus was, the best strategy is to keep using the Word of God until Satan realizes that continued fighting is useless. Jesus must have felt relieved when Satan turned and walked away. But He must have also felt grateful that He had learned to trust in His Father’s Word. (Gordon L. Snider)

If we are in Christ, we are always victorious.

2019-01-30T10:00:42+00:00January 30th, 2019|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , , |0 Comments
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