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

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
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