Jesus, the Son of God, through whom the universe was made, opens the door in John 15 for everyone to become His friend. But what does it mean to be Jesus' friend? What blessings did Jesus promise to give His friends? And what did Jesus say was required to be His friend? This lesson answers these questions, and reveals how our friendship with Jesus is directly related to the effectiveness of our prayers, the depth of our love for others, and being saved at the end.
John tells us plainly that many failed to follow Jesus not for lack of faith, but because "they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." Loving men’s praise (over God’s) is a problem for many of us today as well. In this lesson we look at inspiring Biblical heroes whose commitment to pleasing God brought severe persecution. We also consider tragic counter-examples of those who disobeyed God because they wanted to please people. The lesson concludes with challenges in specific areas, for each of us to lead a courageous life devoted to pleasing God rather than people.
Oh what blessings are available if we exchange our lower thoughts for God’s higher thoughts. This lesson looks at more examples in Scripture of those faced adversity with God’s wisdom and perspective — and were used mightily to accomplish His purposes in His timing.
We were blessed to have our friends Ray and Rhoda Wenger come and visit this past weekend, with Ray teaching four lessons for our house church. The first of a two-part series asks us to consider individuals in Scripture who were able to embrace God’s higher thoughts during times of adversity and perplexity. In so doing, they were taken to a new level of faith and used by God in miraculous ways. May we be inspired to do the same!
For more about Ray and Rhoda and to hear more teaching from Ray, visit www.wengerministries.org.
Jesus is challenged to show a sign like Moses did, to provide bread from heaven (recalling the manna story from Exodus). Jesus counters by teaching that He is the true bread who came from heaven, who gives life to the world. In this lesson we look at the significance of this important teaching, and also consider how two passages within this text have been taken out of context by Calvinists and many evangelical Protestants, with tragic consequences.
As we come to the end of our study of Genesis, our story concludes with the deaths of Jacob and Joseph. This final chapter provides the opportunity for us to reflect on extremely important topics of the Christian faith, including death, forgiveness, the sovereignty of God and our role in His plan and purposes, Biblical faith (as seen in the final instructions of Joseph), and the resurrection of the dead. May we take great encouragement from the heroes of the faith whom we have met in our Genesis study, and may they inspire us to never shrink back, but to perserve and endure till the very end!
In the first part of John 6, Jesus feeds 5,000 men (plus women and children) and then walks on the water, calling Peter to do the same. The first miracle caused those who witnessed it to proclaim that Jesus was the Prophet foretold in Deuteronomy 18; the second caused Jesus' apostles to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God. These stories are filled with important lessons for us, including what we are to do today with such miracles, foreshadowing of these miracles in the Old Testament, how Jesus handled adversity, and teaching on (and a vivid example of) saving faith.
The story of Ruth is an inspiring tale of three unlikely individuals, who God would use in a remarkable way to accomplish His purposes. This study takes a close look at the character strengths of Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth, who set a standard for Christians today, that we might also be made useful for the designs and plans of our Great Redeemer.
Does God treat everyone the same, or does He play favorites? James A. Harding, an inspiring Christian teacher and preacher, tackled this question in the early 1900's and provided a startling and unforgettable answer. That answer takes us to Scripture that teaches us much about the character of God, as well as what can be expected by those devoted to and treasured by Him.
(To learn more about Harding's inspiring life and convictions, see James A. Harding, Evangelist and Teacher by John Mark Hicks)
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus gave Peter a new name and a new identity. Peter would have many trials and failures, but would become a pillar of faith for the Church as he served our Lord. What lessons can we learn from Peter's life, example and teaching, that we might have such faith?
In this story, the Syrian army surrounds the city to take Elisha. There with his servant, Elisha works a tremendous miracle with an unexpected twist. This lesson looks at the theme of spiritual blindness and the love God has for his enemies.
(For further study, see Those Who Are With Us from 2 Kings 6)
This opening devotional for our retreat was a call to open our eyes to the spiritual battle we are in, and to recognize that God's supernatural power is far greater than the power and authorities that oppose God. May we have the faith of Elisha and the righteousness described in Scripture, to see God's Kingdom advance in our lifetimes.
In this passage of Scripture there is much to learn! We see God's hand and Spirit at work in the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. We come to the end of Abraham's life and take the time to recognize the legacy of faith and righteousness....
At God's command, Abraham takes his beloved son, through whom God has promised to build a great nation, to a mountaintop to sacrifice him on an altar. This is yet another disturbing story....
In Genesis 21 we find another disturbing story: Abraham casting out his own son Ishmael and his maidservant Hagar, who both nearly die in the desert. While it would be easy to pass over this story, there are significant lessons here, some which Paul explains....
Genesis 15 opens with a most amazing promise, one in which we appear! We then look at the faith of Abraham, who trusts God with his future. We are called higher by his example, as well as by Jesus' and Paul's teaching on anxiety. We also take a hard look....
In 2 Kings, chapter 4, we read about a nameless woman from Shunem whose kindness to Elisha results in both a miraculous birth and her son being raised from the dead. This story has much to teach us about the heart of God, service to each other, and saving faith.
We pick up on part three of a series on the life of Elisha. The story of Elisha offers so much for us to learn. In this lesson, Elisha saves three kings (and Israel) from death, then turns and rescues a nameless widow and her sons. These stories reveal much about the heart of God and His role as both Savior and Redeemer.
This lesson was shared in a private setting and not recorded. The notes are offered for your encouragement and study!
Previous recorded lessons (and outlines) on Elisha:
In these passages, we see the example of Noah, who in faith builds an ark out of obedience to God. We also see the devastation of the flood, which destroys the entire world, with only a few being saved. The story of the flood and the example of Noah....