Showing posts from February, 2017

Chapter 21: Love -- Does Love Motivate You?

If you could summarize all of Christianity into one word, I believe it would be the word LOVE. If we would just love God and love others, we would fulfill Genesis through Revelation. Paul said without love, all that we do and all that we are would be worthless.
     Not only does the Bible say we should love God and others, love also is the one word that describes God. Love motivated God to give His one and only Son. 

     Love is not a feeling. Love is not a merely a verbal profession. Love in theory or love in mind only is not Biblical love.  No one spoke more about love than the beloved disciple John in his gospel (39 times, more than the other three gospels combined) and in his letters, 1-3 John, (33 times). Even John explains that “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 

    As you read today’s devotional, ask yourself, as I did myself, “Does love for God and love from God motivate me?” A few months ago when I wrote this, I was working on the FBC Kill…

Key To Being Christ-Like: Being Filled With The Spirit

Read Eph. 5:18, Acts 2:1-21; Acts 4:13-31; Gal. 5:1-6
That circle we described yesterday works best when we are open at the top to be filled up with God. But if like a glass we are ever turned over, even slightly, we are never able to be fully filled with the fullness of God. Our vertical relationship must always be aligned underneath God’s Holy Spirit faucet, flowing through us and then out into the world. We must never turn off the inflow of God’s power through us.
You probably have heard of the Dead Sea. The reason why it is dead is because it only has an inlet from the Jordan River, but since it is at the lowest part of the earth, there is not outflow. It only receives and as a result virtually nothing lives within its waters.
A Christian who only studies the Bible, attends church, prays, but never impacts the world may be filled with God, but that filling is to have a purpose: to pour out into the world.
Read Eph. 5:18 and describe how being filled with the Spirit is similar to be…

Know Ye Not? Your body is a Temple!

The Body, Presenting Yourself to God Read 1 Cor. 6:19-20; James 3:1-12;Acts 16:25-34; and John 20:1-18; Phil. 1:19-26
Five times in one chapter (1 Cor. 6), Paul says "don't you know?" or in King James "Know ye not..." Talk about making someone feel ignorant! (see verses 3, 9, 15, 16, and 19). Not only that, but back in Chapter 3, verse 16, Paul again asked, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
What we do in our bodies impacts our soul and our spirit. Paul seems to be befuddled that the Corinthians do not grasp some of these most obvious truths. I can only imagine what Paul would think about the state of Christianity today!
In BELIEVE, we have just finished ten lessons, discovering how to act like Jesus. Our behavior in Christ is who we are in the Body of Christ, culminating last week with "Sharing My Faith." It sure is easier to share our faith when we have a body of believers who live like C…

Not My Will But Your Will Be Done

Read Rom.7:14-25; 1 Peter 4:1-6; Gal. 5:16-21; Luke 22:39-45; Phil. 2:12-18
More powerful than our mind and more powerful than our emotions is the act of our will, or in the case of the Christian, the submission of our will to the will of God.
Nowhere do we see that battle better than in Romans 7, where Paul acknowledges the war raging in his soul, “to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good, I do not find.” Although he is writing in the present tense, it is a victory that he will explain in chapter 8, and obviously he knows it in chapter 7 but is allowing the readers to journey with him into the solution.
He also alludes to this fight in Galatians 5, describing the flesh lusting against the spirit and vice versa, with the field of combat waging in his soul. Peter also speaks of doing the will of the Gentiles (that is, those who are not led by the Spirit). Paul discusses that the mind of Christ submitted to the will of God, and that gave Him and us the victory over the …

Letting God get the best of our emotions

The Emotions and The Will
Read Psalm 42; Matthew 21:12-16; Gal. 2:11-21
Don’t you wish your emotions were a little more under control? The psalmist in Psalm 42 seems to have his act together and all under composure.
The writer didn’t give up on God when bad times came. He was emotionally “cast down” in his soul, but not in his relationship with God. His response was “Yet shall I praise Him.” (Ps. 42: 5, 11; 43:5). He knew that “the Lord will command His lovingkindness” (42:8). We should “pant” after God like deer pant after the water in times of distress.
I say should because many times our emotional and hardships do not drive us to yearn and thirst for God.  Avery Willis in MasterLife Book 2 talks about how to take “action” over your emotions. Granted, trying to control your emotions needs to first presume that you are in a rationale state of mind to begin with! Often times, our emotions run roughshod over our mind and even our will.
The solution? Willis lists six actions steps to deal…

The Mind; The Basis Of The Soul

Read Romans 12:1-2; Rom.7:15-20 and Rom. 8:1-14; Eph. 2:1-10; Phil. 2:4-12; Luke 4:14-21; and Gen.50:15-21.
 Often times our mind is like a recorder/player, playing and replaying what we have put into it. For the Christian however, Rom. 7:25 is a wonderful re-record: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Our mind is the decision maker for the soul, the part of our essence which also includes our emotions and our free-will. With our mind we can make right or wrong decisions but even then it is hard to get the victory. That is why we must put on the mind of Christ (Phil 2:4-12). Our battlefield is fought, won and lost in our soul, not in our flesh or our body. That is why BELIEVE began with ten sessions on How to Think Like Jesus.

Read the passages this week and see how the lead us to think like Christ would want us to.

Have you ever thought about how your physical senses are portals or gateways into your soul? What you see, hear, smell, taste and touch will impact what you t…

Review/Preview Take a look back and then look ahead

All this week, Feb. 19 through the 25th, I encourage you to take a breath from BELIEVE (the book not your faith) and review what we've studied. The first ten weeks, we studied theology of what we think about God, or "How to Think Like Jesus." 

    During the second ten weeks, we studied the practicality of how we put into action the things of God, or "How to Act Like Jesus." We studied last week how to tell others, and before that, we had a three week trilogy of how to give of our resources and of our time and of our giftednesses. We also saw how we need to be involved in a Biblical community, the church. That ten week series began with a focus first inwardly as we saw in week 11 how to worship, then pray, study our Bible, be single-minded on God and be totally surrendered to Him.

    This week, as you pause, reflect on how you can be a trinity within yourself. In MasterLife, Book 2, Avery Willis taught six sessions of five days a week on how our human tri-u…

Evangelism Conference is Today, Feb. 7th

Today is the Evangelism Conference at Taylor's Valley Baptist Church. It begins at 4:30 p.m. with Breakout sessions, a 5:30 meal ($7 for adults, free for kids) and worship with Randy Frazee and Rief Kessler at 6:30 p.m. 

Today's devotional was originally posted on Aug. 31, the day we first distributed the BELIEVE books. 
     Today's devotional ends a trilogy of sorts about giving: giving of your time, giving of your resources, and today, giving of your faith story through evangelism. It also goes right along with Pastor Randy's message from Sunday, Aug. 28, "Lost or Found. "

     In fact, take a look at a portion of Randy Frazee's book Think, Act, Be Like Jesus(I know it is not until week 20, but take a sneak peak at it below from pages 152-153).

     The other Randy, Dr. Randy Wallace, said Sunday, "Which road are you on? If you keep going on the way you are going, where will you go?" Jesus did not say there was a traffic circle (reincarnation unt…

19. From pillow to pillar

Imagine using a rock for a pillow. In Gen. 28:11, Jacob went to bed with a stone under his head, and then dreamed his famous “ladder to heaven” dream, realizing that he was at the “door to heaven.” When he awoke, he took the same stone that had been his pillow and made it a pillar for an offering to God, saying “Surely, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.”
What is unusual about this story is not that Jacob made a stone into an altar. He did the same thing later in Gen. 31:45. But using a rock to rest his head? Now that is weird.
Is there something in your life that is bringing a poor comfort to yourself because God wants to use it to worship Him? Specifically, look at the tithe. Jacob was the first person who specifically said he would take one-tenth of his possessions to give to God and the rock pillow was his inspiration. “This stone which I set as a pillar shall be God’s house and all that You give me, I will surely give a tenth to you,” (Gen. 28:22).

Could God use y…

Believe Chapter 19 Giving of My Resources

The broad road Jesus spoke about could easily describe the American Dream. People want to get more things, and yet they find the more they acquire, the less they are satisfied. When people give to a cause that they believe in, they receive the truest satisfaction. 

     Ask yourself this, “Have I made a purchase that immediately made me dissatisfied?” Was that restaurant meal with the family really worth $50? Think about the testimonies of people who gave of their time and money to go to on mission or to help the less fortunate. Think about people who gave to help missionaries go. Or those who helped give a backpack for a needy school student. Or sacrificially gave to the general offering, so that churches can keep going.
    As you think this week about Giving of Resources, remember that “God so loved the world He gave…”
The following devotional comes from Zondervan.
KEY QUESTION: How do I best use my resources to serve God and others?
Jesus said more about money than the topics of hea…