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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

Jesus’ Touch Raises a Child

Read Luke 8:40-42, 49-58

And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat” (v. 55).

Jairus’ daughter was just entering into young womanhood, and now she was dead.  Mocking Jairus for bringing Jesus to his home to heal his daughter, the mourners were loudly scornful of Jesus.  They had no respect for the Lord or His power. The mockery did not hinder Jesus’ power.  Out of the public eye yet in the presence of her parents and the disciples Peter, James, and John; Jesus touched the maiden’s hand and called her to arise.   Jesus honored Jairus’ faith and restored life to his daughter.

 

According to established Jewish traditions, Jesus should have been considered “unclean” and to have lost His spiritual power because of being touched by the woman with the issue of blood.  Yet Jesus had not lost any of His spiritual power; He remained undefiled, the pure and sinless Son of God able to raise Jairus’s daughter from death by the touch of His hand.   (LeAnn Davison)

The crowd laughed at Him in their unbelief
wallowing in their deep sorrow and grief.
Then touching her hand as she lay on the bed

….. a resurrection miracle took place.
The life-giving Spirit quickened her soul
and she stood before them alive and whole.

Taken from Talitha, cumi by Royston

 

When the world says all is lost, and there is no hope, Jesus says, “Have Faith and believe.”

2020-02-10T14:47:00+00:00February 12th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Day of Decision.

Read Joel 3:11-14

Focus Verse: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (v. 14)

 

Without doubt, making decisions can be difficult. But waiting for someone else to decide for you can be equally difficult. For a job applicant, the wait can seem forever — the same for an accountant undergoing an audit, or a defendant waiting for the jury’s decision. Yes, waiting for a decision can be very painful.

Usually, the true reason, however, is that we do not know for sure what the person/people making the decision are looking for. But for multitudes  Joel saw, that was not the case. God has made it very clear what He is looking for in us – repentance and faith.

Fortunately for those still waiting for God’s decision, the Bible makes it clear that He is waiting for a reason. 2 Peter 3:9 makes that reason clear – God does not want any to perish. So God has done two things to make the day of decision easier for those in the valley of decision: 1) He has told us clearly how He will judge us, and 2) He is giving us all extra time.

If you are still in that valley, you can leave it today! Make this your day of decision. (Gordon L. Snider)

 

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

 

 

2020-01-31T19:09:18+00:00February 5th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: |0 Comments

Repentance Brings Life

Read Jonah 2:1-10.

Focus Verse: “And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land” (v. 10).

Have you ever had a bad day? Maybe two of three in a row? After three days and nights in the belly of a great fish, the prophet Jonah had probably never been so glad to see dry land in all of his life even though it meant lying in a puddle of whale vomit! Although the rest of his story raises some serious questions about his continuing attitude towards the job that God had given him, he clearly experienced a miraculous deliverance. This began when his affliction made him remember the Lord and cry out to him. He knew the only source where he could find salvation and made his petition, which was followed by God’s answer to his prayer.

Hopefully, none of us find ourself in this type of situation, brought on by our own refusal to obey God’s clearly revealed will. But if we do, like Jonah, we will discover that our only hope for salvation is to cry out to the one who can control the great fish of our lives with just a word. (Stephen Smith)

“Before Thy throne, O God, we kneel;
Give us a conscience quick to feel,
A ready mind to understand
The meaning of Thy chastening hand;
Whate’er the pain and shame may be,
Bring us, O Father, nearer Thee.” (William B. Carpenter)

2020-01-31T14:51:08+00:00January 31st, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Spirit Brings Liberty.

Read 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (v. 17).

He stood during the Sunday morning worship service and asked Pastor for permission to testify. The testimony went like this, “I just realized this week that I am free.” “For twenty-some years, I thought my addiction to alcohol was what I wanted, but now I know I was captive.” He went on, “but now because of Christ’s forgiveness and new life, I am free.”

For years his life had been under the authority of Satan, but some two years earlier Larry had, through the Holy Spirit’s drawing, found forgiveness and new life.

Being released from the restraint of sin is the sweet blessing of the redeemed. The Gospel liberates a person from the authority and power of the enemy of the soul. That freedom enables one to enter into a life of spiritual confidence, to live daily with the Spirit’s smile. (G. Clair Sams)

Now we are free, there's no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation.
"Come unto Me," O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.”
Children of God," O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call;
Blessed salvation once for all.
Phillip Paul Bliss

Biblical liberty is to pass from the authority of Satan to the authority of Christ.

2020-01-15T16:49:24+00:00January 15th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|0 Comments

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
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