Tag Archives: understand

Living and Teaching

 

A modern proverb states, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." However, for followers of Jesus, a lot of the "doing" is teaching. The Lord has directed His people to share His message of love with the world.

Written by Hope on 15/12/2013
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Evangelism, Living, Teaching
"Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." Matthew 28:19-20

A modern proverb states, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." However, for followers of Jesus, a lot of the "doing" is teaching. The Lord has directed His people to share His message of love with the world.

Right Living
While leading others in their faith, we must keep an eye on our own lives, making sure that we are living what we are teaching. Jesus said, "Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye" (Matthew 7:3-5). You will harm your disciples if you display a lifestyle of saying one thing while doing another. "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did" (I John 2:6).

Bible-based Teaching
The Apostle Paul wrote to his disciple, Timothy, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right" (II Timothy 3:16). To properly lead another in godly growth, our foundation must be God's Word. "Those who obey God’s Word truly show how completely they love Him" (I John 2:5).

Follow Up Faithfully
When you commit to helping a new believer, don't give up on them. Many of the books of the New Testament exist because God didn't let His Apostles abandon the churches they'd planted throughout the region.

Instead, they wrote to them and visited them to ensure that they learned and obeyed God's Word. St. Paul called his fellow Christians in Philippi "…my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it" (Philippians 1:5). The Apostles' follow-up contributed to the amazing growth of the Early Church, and when you help a new believer, you are walking in the Apostles’ footsteps.

Prayer, Care, and Share Jesus
“Teaching How to Share the Gospel”
Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20

People who have recently become believers are often in the "first love" stage of their relationship with Christ (Rev 2:4). They are in a good position to tell others about the gospel. As their spiritual leaders, we should teach them as soon as possible how to share their faith with others.

We suggest that you start by teaching your disciple some simple methods to share the gospel:

A proven tool for sharing the gospel verbally is the Four Spiritual Laws, which you will find at www.godlife.com/gospel.
To share Christ visually, consider using a simple diagram that explains Jesus as the "bridge" to life: http://www.navigators.org/Tools/Evangelism Resources/Tools/The Bridge to Life
A personal and powerful way for your disciple to share the love of Christ is through their personal testimony. (Rev 12:11) This will be fresh on their hearts, and we encourage you to have your disciple write out their testimony and practice sharing it with you.

A concise testimony that can be shared verbally in 3 to 5 minutes should follow this simple outline:

How was your life before you met Christ?
How did you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? (Give a brief summary of the gospel message)
How has your life changed since you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Encourage your disciple, after presenting the gospel, to bring the person to a point of decision. Have them ask, “Would you like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior right now?” If they are ready, lead them in a prayer acknowledging that Jesus died and rose from the dead, asking God's forgiveness for their sins, and inviting Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.

Teach your disciple not to lose heart if someone does not respond to the gospel right away. Your disciple should realize that their responsibility is just to share the gospel, and the Holy Spirit who brings understanding that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

Pray this week:
You will teach Bible-based truths.

What does it mean 'to live for Jesus?' If you're not sure, talk to a Christian and find out.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is Worship?

It's Not About Us

Written by Jim Denison on 15/11/2015

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: GloryPraisePurityPurpose


 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

 

This verse describes true worship. Do you worship your Maker? We need to know what worship is, what it isn't, and why it matters so much to our God and to our souls.

What Worship Is

God defines worship as "love": "Love the Lord your God." Love is a verb, an action word. It requires doing, not just attending church, listening to a sermon, singing hymns, or giving money. You've only worshipped when you've loved, adored, and honored. And it is about loving God in every way a human can love.

With all our hearts: our emotions and senses.

With all our souls: the life force itself, that which gives our bodies life, our essence. Worship involves a passionate love for God.

With all our minds: We are to have no ungodly thoughts, or songs, or movies, or television shows, or books in our minds (see Psalm 101:3). We are to think about our faith, to study God's word, to engage intellectually in the worship of God.

With all our strength: We love God with our actions, not only on Sundays. God is looking for Monday Christians, Monday worshippers, Monday disciples.

How to Worship

You can love God the same way you love anyone else. You can spend the day with him—talking to him, thinking about him. Ask him for what you need, and thank him for what he gives. Spend the day with Jesus. Love him. Worship him. This is his first commandment for every day.

Worship is not performance, entertainment, therapy, or even evangelism.

Worship is not about us. It is about loving God, every moment of every day.

We were created for worship. He gave us free will so we could choose to worship him. Nothing else fulfills us.

Worship provides the power to serve God. If you want God's power for your life, you must worship God every day.

Why Do We Worship?

Because God deserves our worship. “We love him because he first loved us“ (1 John 4:10). He created and redeemed us, and made us a place in his perfect heaven forever. He watched his Son die on the cross, to save our souls and purchase our salvation. He gave everything for us. He deserves our worship.

When last did he receive yours?


Pray this week:

Lord, help me understand what it really means to worship. Take away my wrong ideas, and teach me how to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.


Is this a new idea for you? Do you need help knowing what it means to worship God?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

3 Ways the Coming of Jesus was Foretold

There are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus (the Messiah) in the Old Testament.

Written by Joy on 07/12/2014

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: JesusJesus BirthProphecy


 

“For to us a child is born, …. and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.” Isaiah 9:6-7

 

There are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus (the Messiah) in the Old Testament. Jesus fulfills every prophecy! Since it’s the Christmas season, let’s take a look at 3 ways the coming of Jesus was foretold.

1. The Miracle of His Birth

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). God uses His supernatural power to give us evidence that He, and He alone, is doing something amazing. The foretold virgin birth is only possible by God. It is important that Jesus is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Jesus is unique because he is a man, or a “seed of woman” (Genesis 3:15), and the Son of God (Matthew 3:17).

2. The City of His Birth

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2) Jewish scholars agreed that Jesus would come from the descendants of King David (Isaiah 11:1-2), and be born in Bethlehem.

How amazing that God arranged for a pagan Roman emperor to take a census, causing a pregnant virgin to travel to Bethlehem at just the right time! “And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary and while there, the time came for her baby to be born.” (Luke 2:3-6)

3. The Purpose of His Birth

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus had to suffer as the prophets foretold (Luke 24:26-27). He died in our place so we could have peace with God. This is why the Angels sang at His birth: “Glory to God in the Highest! And Peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)

“Without Faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6) Have you received the peace that Jesus died for you to have? Click here to learn how to please God by having faith in Jesus Christ.


Pray this week:

To help you understand Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy.


Are you surprised about these prophecies? If you want to learn more, talk about it with a caring Christian.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How to Avoid Misusing the Bible

Go deeper in your walk with the Lord

Written by Dan Lee on 30/10/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BibleReadingVerseStudying


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Today, we start a two-part devotional on how to avoid misusing the Bible. But first, let’s start with a story about some blind men who encountered an elephant. One of the blind men wrapped his arms around the elephant’s leg and said, “An elephant is like a tree!” Another touched the elephant’s trunk and declared, “No, it’s like a large snake.” They touched the ear or the tail and said, “a fan” or, “a rope” – and so on. Each one came up with a different and incomplete conclusion about how the elephant looked like. 

It’s the same when we interpret the Bible. When we quote Bible verses without considering what the rest of the Bible says, we are just as foolish as those blind men. If we don’t consider verses in their context – at least the surrounding paragraph or chapter, we risk coming to completely wrong conclusions about what God’s word says. 

1. Be careful of taking the Bible out of context

That’s why Paul warns Timothy – and all who believe in Jesus and study His word – to “rightly handle the word of truth.”

Here are a couple verses that are often taken misused.

“By his wounds, you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24

Some people believe that Christians can claim physical healing because of this verse. But, if you read 1 Peter 2:24 in full, it reads, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed.” 

The first part of this verse tells us that it is our sins, our spiritual wounds, that have been healed by Jesus Christ. The verse refers to Isaiah 53:5:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds, we are healed.”

This verse refers to our “transgressions” and “iniquities” – in other words, our sins. There are seven other references in Isaiah 53 to sin, guilt, or transgression, but physical healing is never mentioned in the chapter. 

So the next time you read, “By his wounds you have been healed,” thank the Lord that your most deadly wound – your sin and resulting separation from God – HAS been healed, for all eternity. But don’t use it to claim physical healing for yourself or others.

2. Meditate on the Word and apply it to your life 

Now, let’s look at Matthew 7:1, where it says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Even people who don’t believe in Jesus love to quote this verse! They, and sadly many Christians, think it means we should leave others alone and let them do whatever sinful act they want.

But if you continue reading, you find out that the problem is not with pointing out the faults of others. It is looking at their faults without acknowledging our own sin. 

Verse two says, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” and it continues to verse three by saying, “ Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:2-3

Sadly, we tend to see the sins of others as huge, and our own as tiny (or not to see them at all). Jesus is saying, in effect, “Look in the mirror – look into your own heart and deal with the wickedness there, before you stand in judgment of someone else!”

Several Bible passages instruct us, to help our Christian brothers and sisters by gently pointing out where they are going wrong, especially in matters of serious sin. Take these verses as an example:

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

In conclusion, don’t just look at fragments of God’s holy Word. Look at ALL of it. Commit yourself to read the Bible, one book at a time. Don’t build your whole Christian walk around one or two isolated verses. Strive to find the meaning of every verse in the context of the paragraph or chapter around it. If you do this in the power and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, you’ll be well on the way to becoming “. . . a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2: 15


Pray this week:

Lord, I ask you to give me understanding and wisdom as I study your Word so that I follow your instruction and not mine. Amen. 


Is there anything in the Bible you have a difficult time understanding? Talk to a caring Christian friend! 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Do You Always Understand the Bible?

The Bible as a unified portrait of the Savior

Written by GodLife on 09/01/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Prophecy, Reading, Evangelism, Confusion
Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’

Luke 24:44
Have you ever felt confusion when reading the Bible? What does it mean? How does it help you know God and His plan for your life?

On a trip to Jerusalem, a court official from Ethiopia read aloud from the Scriptures. He was getting more and more confused as he heard a voice coming from beside his chariot:

“Do you understand what you are reading?” “How can I, unless someone guides me?” the Ethiopian Eunuch responded, inviting Philip the evangelist to be seated. (Acts 8:30-31)

All of us have felt like the Ethiopian official at some point in time. Sometimes reading the word of God can be difficult to understand without guidance. Here are some ideas to help you get more out of God’s Word:

1. Each Book Has An Approach
What parts of a speech or book do you usually remember best? The stories? The Bible is full of exciting, true stories: The Creation and Fall. The Flood. The offering of Isaac. The Exodus. All of these help us know ourselves better as we get to know the people in them. When I see their limitations, it makes me think about, and admit, my own. Their stories also work together to give background to the biggest story of all. They tell us why Jesus had to come to earth. They tell us what His family tree was like. They tell us what the world was like when He came.

For me, another thing that makes part of a speech stand out is when a speaker suddenly switches to a different approach. God has done this throughout the Bible. He said, “I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions, and through the prophets gave parables.” (Hosea 12:10). The prophets made predictions that came true, proving God’s eternal knowledge. The Bible’s preachers acted things out, giving the hearers and readers a clearer picture of God’s view of things. They used comparisons, called “parables,” getting to the eternal truth behind the personal struggles everyone faces. (God knows we tend to miss the truth because of our feelings.) They answered their own questions, like a lawyer in a courtroom moving the argument along. Through these writers, God explains how hard He has worked to reach the people who were turning away from Him. (Jeremiah 7:13-26 is an example.) When you read the Bible, ask yourself what God was trying to do with the people to whom it was originally written.

2. Each Story Fits Into His Story
A turning point eventually came in the bigger story. God showed up, in person. As Hebrews 1:1-2 puts it, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” The four Gospels are a faithful record of Jesus’ life and ministry. Although three Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are very similar, they each give a slightly different angle on Jesus’ ministry. They do this even while using most of the same events and sermons. The fourth Gospel (John) is very different from the other three. It begins in eternity, with God, the Creator of all created things, taking humanity upon Himself. (John 1:1-3, 14) It is written so that readers will believe Jesus is the Son of God, and have eternal life through Him. (John 20:21) The rest of the New Testament shows Jesus’ earliest disciples carrying on His mission, gathering followers as they spread the Good News, and writing to help the churches they began live out their faith.

3. Each Part Fills In a Detail of the Savior’s Profile
To help listeners get the point of a message, a speaker uses time wisely, building to the end. The Bible likewise explains that the most important part, the coming of Christ, took preparation. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.” (Galatians 4:4) By giving us the detailed story of His family history and their successes as they trusted in God, their failures as they did not, God prepared readers for the story of Christ. World conditions were also ripe for Jesus’ coming in a number of specific ways, as described in this GotQuestions.org page.

Jesus told Nicodemus that, as “the teacher of Israel,” he should have already known that a person had to be born from above in order to see the Kingdom of God. (John 3:10) He challenged the religious teachers of his day who were arguing with Him by telling them the scriptures all testified about Him. (John 5:39) He specifically said Abraham foresaw His day (John 8:56), Moses wrote about Him (John 5:46) and complained that his followers were “…foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” (Luke 24:25)

Because he understood this truth, Philip the Evangelist was able to use the passage Ethiopia’s Treasurer was reading in the book of the prophet Isaiah, (Isaiah 53:7-8), written about 650 years before Christ was born, to tell him the good news about Jesus. (Acts 8:35) Would you be able to do something like that? Ask God to help you understand the Bible’s big picture as you read it all the way through this year.

Pray this week:
God, thank you for a new year. Will you show me what the Bible is all about this year as I commit to reading it through?

Do you have questions about how the Bible fits together?

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member