Joy, Pure Joy

It’s been a few years since Sherry had seen Annette. Sherry was in better health then too. The providential encounter at the restaurant was a moment of pure joy.

We were walking to our seat when Annette called out to us. Sherry immediately recognized her and as approached each other they just embraced each other. After standing and just looking they sat down and it all started again. The love of seeing an old friend erupted from their hearts. The tears flowed as they looked deeply into one another’s eyes. It was pure joy.

I think about how reunions will be in heaven. I believe Jesus will embrace us in a warm, long welcoming hug. We won’t know what to say as we will be so overwhelmed by His presence and love. And then we will see our family members and friends who have passed on before us. The hugging, laughing and pure joy will start all over.

We experienced a little bit of heaven the other day. And is because of Christ that we experience joy, pure joy.

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Be the Blessing

We all want the blessing. You have it. You have given it. You want it.

Kids especially want the blessing of their parents. Some wait all their life for it while others grow up with it. In Genesis 27 Esau and Jacob both desired the blessing from their father. This was a formal event in their culture that changed the trajectory of families and certainly did in this case where one brother deceived the other. The deception ended in exile and continued the dysfunction of the family.

Be the Blessing today to someone. Say a kind word. Lift up the other person, especially a child and encourage them with your words. Speak truth in kindness and love. Share a godly expectation. Speak hope into someone’s life.

You can do this. Be a Blessing!

The Father gives His blessing to you!

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He is With Us—A Promise

When God declares in His Word that He is with us…He means it. You can count on Him.

Genesis 28 is the story of Jacob’s ladder or stairway. In that passage God tells Jacob that He with him and will watch over him wherever he goes. While that promise was fulfilled to Jacob, I believe it is true for you and me as well.

Today, trust God’s promises to you that He will not leave you and that He is ever present. Ask Him for direction. Seek His advice. Remember that you are not alone and that Christ Himself cares about you.

Since He cares, so should we.

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Tips on Discerning the Will of God

will-of-god

We all are looking for ways to know God’s will. What does He want us to do? Does our will match His purpose for our lives? How can we know for sure?

These are just some of the questions that we ask ourselves as we seek to follow God. Throughout the Bible we are told how we can know God’s will. One such example is in 2 Samuel 7 where David is wanting to build a place for the Ark containing the Covenant and other sacred items. The Ark of the Covenant had been in a Tent since the time of Moses. In contrast David was occupying his new palace as King of Israel.

David sees the obvious and decides to do something! As we read through this passage we find David sharing his plans with Nathan, the prophet, who at first agrees. But as Nathan rests that evening, the Word of the Lord came to Nathan instructing him to tell David not to build a temple but to wait. Instead God had other plans for David according to 2 Samuel 7 11, where we read, “The Lord Himself will make a house for you.” It is is out of this revealed will of God that Christ would ultimately trace the human side of His heritage.
Tips on discovering the will of God:

  1. Look for the obvious! God wants us to help, serve and witness to people. The Scripture is clear in this area. (2 Samuel 7:1)
  2. Seek out others who love Jesus. David told his thoughts to Nathan who encouraged him in his plans. (2 Samuel 7:2-3)
  3. Consult with someone who is abiding in Christ. Nathan ministered to David on multiple occasions. God spoke through Nathan to let David know of His will. Nathan was not afraid to tell this earthly king what the Eternal King had revealed. (2 Samuel 7: 4-17)
  4. Spend time with God yourself. So often we leave prayer out of the equation. Get alone with God, the Scriptures and talk to Him about the direction He would have you take. ( 2 Samuel 7: 18-29

As you read 2 Samuel 7, you will find many insights into knowing how to discern God’s will(s) for your life. He wants to reveal Himself to you more. Spend time seeking Him.

“Because of Your word and according to Your will, You have revealed all these great things to Your servant.” 2 Samuel 7:20

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6 ways to Embrace the Needs of New Believers in our Groups

I have many discussions about this. Ken Braddy in his daily blog gives a great perspective.

Ken Braddy

I recently had a conversation with a group leader. She asked a tremendous question embraceabout having new believers in her group, versus having them in a separate group for newer believers. How are we to care for the needs of new believers when they are placed in groups with maturing believers? Challenges abound. So do opportunities.

I’ve been noodling on her question to me about this issue. Is it better to have newer believers mixed into groups with more mature believers, or is it better to separate those newer believers into their own groups?

I believe having new believers in our Bible study groups is the right way to make disciples. Here are few reasons why combining new believers and maturing believers is a good idea, and how we can embrace new believers and their needs

  1. Embracing new believers means embracing evangelism. Groups exist to make disciples. This means…

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Do this each time you teach the Bible…

Ken Braddy has some excellent ideas that will help you as you lead your group.

Ken Braddy

Tuesday’s teaching tip is a practical one for all you group leaders. When you teach your group and guide them through a study of Scripture, do you point to Christ? Every time?

Our tip today is courtesy of a friend of mine, Trevin Wax. Trevin has been instrumental in launching The Gospel Project, a line of Christ-centered curriculum created by my team at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is also an excellent communicator and preacher, whose messages always point the audience to Christ. Listen to the challenge that Trevin issues in regard to finding Christ in each Bible study you lead. He has several examples in his book, Gospel-Centered Teaching, but this one in particular relates to the times when you find yourself teaching from the Old Testament:

Is there anything about my treatment of this Old Testament text that a faithful Jew could not affirm? Why is this…

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5 Differences Between Teachers and Disciple-Making Teachers – Ken Braddy

Ken Braddy is spot on with this blog about teaching for changed lives.  It is well worth the read.  Even more so think about how you can help disciple people.  We all are learners…we all are teachers. Let’s stay busy sharing the Truth of Christ.

Source: 5 Differences Between Teachers and Disciple-Making Teachers – Ken Braddy

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