Feb. 12, 2023: Faith Rewarded

FOCUS TEXT: John 4:43-54

KEY VERSE: Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is (Jeremiah 17:7).

CENTRAL TRUTH: Great things await those who trust Christ.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. Faith Challenged (John 4:43-48)

II. Faith Exhibited (John 4:49, 50)

III. Faith Rewarded (John 4:51-54)

2023-02-06T19:07:47+00:00February 6th, 2023|Categories: Front Page, Lesson Highlights, Weekly Lesson Summaries|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. 29, 2023: God’s Word for Today

*THE NEED
I remember as a child reading about the life of Abraham Lincoln. The story recounted the time when his oldest son, Bobby, was bitten by a rabid dog. After reading the story, I imagined that every dog I encountered might be inflicted with rabies. Now imagine what people must have thought when they saw a wild demoniac roaming about the tombs. This is not just a scary nighttime story that teenagers tell around a campfire. The authorities had attempted many times to bind him in chains (today we would try handcuffs), but he always broke the chains into pieces! Attempts had been made to tame him, to reason with him, and to domesticate him. Not only had others tried to help him, but he had tried to help himself. He cried and even attempted suicide, but the evil in him seemed unstoppable and incurable until Jesus appeared. Our need to see God’s power over evil spirits is addressed in this lesson. There are many people who believe that God and Satan are equal forces, but this story makes it plain that God’s power is infinitely greater.

Discussion: *Why do you think people struggle to accept or believe in Jesus’ power over evil?
Discussion: What do Legion’s actions tell us about Jesus?

Discussion: How can the Church demonstrate such decisive power over sin so that people will be drawn to God?
Discussion: *Why does freedom from evil draw people to Jesus? Furthermore, why are some people fearful of God’s power over evil?
Discussion: What do you think keeps people from embracing Jesus as Sovereign over the powers of evil?

Discussion: How does God use us as His witnesses?
Discussion: How important is it for our own communities — people who knew our old lives — to see the power of God changing us? What does this accomplish that a stranger cannot accomplish?
Discussion: How did Jesus equip this man to be an effective witness for Him?

 

2023-01-23T18:02:12+00:00January 27th, 2023|Categories: God's Word for Today|Tags: , |0 Comments

Jan. 29, 2023: The Demoniac Released

FOCUS TEXT: Mark 5:1-15, 19, 20

KEY VERSE: Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee (Mark 5:19).

CENTRAL TRUTH: Christ has power to deliver those bound by Satan.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. The Picture of a Demoniac (Mark 5:1-9)

II. Delivering the Demoniac (Mark 5:10-15)

III. Instructing a Follower (Mark 5:19, 20)

2023-01-23T17:40:09+00:00January 23rd, 2023|Categories: Lesson Highlights, Weekly Lesson Summaries|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. 22, 2023: The Blind See

FOCUS TEXT: John 9:1-17

KEY VERSE: One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see (John 9:25).

CENTRAL TRUTH: Faith in Christ brings understanding to the spiritually blind.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. Preparation for the Miracle (John 9:1-5)

II. Performance of the Miracle (John 9:6, 7)

III. Proclamation of the Miracle (John 9:8-34)

2023-01-16T20:49:50+00:00January 16th, 2023|Categories: Front Page, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

Jan. 15, 2023: The Nets Filled

*THE NEED
Ecclesiastes 4:9 tells us that “two are better than one,” that is, teamwork is better than working alone. If this is the case, who better to partner with than God himself? Romans 8:31 says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” But God doesn’t do everything. We rely on His strength and grace, but He places a certain responsibility upon us as well. In this story Jesus gave the instruction; the disciples did the work. Our need for God as our Helper is addressed in this lesson. As finite humans we are limited in our ability and resources. We must have God. But we must also discern what our responsibility is. This is not always easy to discern. God had a solution to the disciples’ problem, and He has one for yours, too. The good news is that success always comes when we partner with God.

Discussion: What responsibility has God given you in your partnership with Him?

Discussion: What attitude should a Christian have when experiencing failure?

Discussion: *Why does God allow us to fail sometimes?

Discussion: When is the best time for God to demonstrate His power in our lives?

Discussion: When is God’s help most apparent?

Discussion: *What is true success? What does Jesus do to help us succeed? What does He leave for us to do toward our own success?

2023-01-10T15:49:50+00:00January 13th, 2023|Categories: God's Word for Today|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

Jan. 15, 2023: The Nets Filled

FOCUS TEXT: John 21:1-14

KEY VERSE: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).

CENTRAL TRUTH: True success comes through the abiding presence of Christ.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. Human Failure (John 21:1-4)

II. Divine Assistance (John 21:5-11)

III. Divine Provision (John 21:12-14)

2023-01-10T15:42:46+00:00January 10th, 2023|Categories: Lesson Highlights, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

Jan. 8, 2023: The Paralyzed Restored

*THE NEED
There is something God cannot do — He can do no wrong. But within the scope of what is right and good, there is no limit to God’s power. When Jesus declared a sick man to be forgiven of his sin, some of the scribes wouldn’t believe. Jesus was claiming to do something only God could do. So, in turn, Jesus healed the man from his outward disease. Unbelievers often find it difficult to accept the intangible or spiritual results of prayer. To them, Christians make a lot of claims that don’t really correlate with their experiences. But that is not the way God intends it to be. As in the case of the paralytic, God wants His power to be very visible to unbelievers so they may come to accept the inner, spiritual transformation He provides. There is a need for unbelievers to see God’s power in a tangible, life-changing way.
Many people doubt the existence of miracles today. Yet God is still as active as He has ever been. Perhaps this lamentation is more indicative of our preoccupation with physical health than spiritual health.

2023-01-04T20:11:15+00:00January 6th, 2023|Categories: God's Word for Today|Tags: , |0 Comments

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