Died to Sin

June 30, 2012

20120630-074516.jpg

Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
Romans 6:2, NLT

Why would you choose to live in sin if you know there is a better way? As a believer in Jesus Christ we are saved from the death of sin. Yet, wanting to blindly stay in sin does not make for an honorable Christ follower. Do you have a gnawing feeling inside telling you to stop your actions or change your attitude? Try listening to that voice inside and make a change.
(jctrois.com)


God Looks on Your Heart

June 29, 2012

20120628-133427.jpg
(Teacher: Stormie Omartian)

~Read and Consider
1 Samuel 16:1-13~

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Isn’t it comforting to know that God does not judge us in the same way that other people often judge us? Or even in the harsh way in which we sometimes judge ourselves? God is concerned with what is in our hearts. That means He cares about our thoughts, passions, attitudes, and whether we trust in Him and love His ways. He does not place value on our outward looks, social status, financial standing, or any other external measure that the world considers so important.

God’s selection of David—someone known as a man after God’s own heart—demonstrates God’s emphasis on internal rather than external characteristics. David’s status in his family was so low that he wasn’t even called in to meet with Samuel. He was merely the youngest son, out in the fields tending the sheep. However, David was God’s choice to be the king of Israel, to perform great deeds, and to be part of the family line that would produce the Savior whom God would provide for Israel. Clearly, God did not see David in the same way that even his own family saw him.

What is God seeing in your heart today? Take a heart inventory right now. First, pray that God would reveal and then remove anything in your heart that doesn’t belong there—resentments, anger, sinful thoughts. Second, pray for big things, knowing that if God can use a young shepherd boy, He can use anyone in a big way! Make your heart available to God’s power and see what amazing things He will do through you.


The Special Helper – (a story for kids)

June 29, 2012

Adam & Eve: Genesis 2

(as told by Karen Henley and illustrated by Dennas Davis)

20120629-132330.jpg

20120629-132541.jpg

Adam was the man that God made. He had a very important job. He gave names to all the animals.

20120629-133536.jpg
There were many wonderful animals. But still, Adam was lonely. God said, “It is not good for Adam to be
alone.” So God made…

20120629-133942.jpg
a woman. Adam named her Eve. Eve was just right to be Adam’s special helper.


God Looks Inside

June 28, 2012

(Leading us in prayer
is Stormie Omartian)

Dear Lord, I am grateful that You do not judge me the way people do. Thank You that You look on my heart to see my thoughts, attitudes, and love for You, and not how successful or attractive I am. Show me anything in my heart that should not be there, and I will confess it before You. Remove all sinful desires and fill my heart with Your love, peace, and joy.


Baptism in the Ancient World

June 27, 2012

20120626-233218.jpg(photo from generationword.com)

Article from ‘Archaeological Study Bible’

Ritual immersion in water, or baptism, represented a powerful and frequently used religious symbol in ancient Judaism. This sacramental ceremony was enacted to symbolize purification and the removal of sin or was sometimes used as an initiation rite to consecrate a change of status or a conversion.

Baptism
• In the Old Testament, rites of immersion were associated with maintaining ritual purity, especially for priests (Lev 15; 16:4,24).
• During the New Testament period, water itself and immersion in water functioned as the primary means by which ritual impurity was removed within Pharisaic Judaism (Mt 15:2; Jn 2:6).
• Baptism was practiced by the Essene community at Qumran as a symbolic act by which one was “made holy by the waters of repentance.”
• During the first century A.D. certain groups within Judaism began to practice proselyte baptism, a rite that required converts, in addition to circumcision, to undergo immersion in a ritual bath prior to their full reception into the community.
• Purification through immersion in ritual baths was required for all Jews in order to preserve that state of purity without which they could neither enter the temple nor participate in its services during major festivals (Nu 9:10; Jn 11:55; Ac 21:24-27).
• A number of Jewish ritual baths, or miqvaot (singular miqveh), have been excavated in Jerusalem, Jericho and elsewhere. By rabbinical law these had to hold at least 60 gallons of water and be deep enough to completely immerse the body.

Within emerging Christianity the rite of baptism acquired fundamental importance. Baptism in water defined the central symbolic act required by John in the course of his preparatory preaching in the wilderness (Mt 3; Mk 1:4). It is precisely this act for which he was divinely commissioned and later received the epithet “the Baptist (Mt 3:1). John summoned his hearers to be baptised in light of the imminent advent of God’s judgment upon the earth (Mt 3:5-6; Lk 3:17). His baptism thus evoked prophetic images of cleansing with water for forgiveness, purification and the repentance that would characterize the Messianic age (Jer 31; Eze 36:25; Zec 13:1).

The gospels present the baptism of John as a necessary precursor to the public ministry of Jesus, who would baptize “with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Mt 3:11; see Mk 1:8; Jn 1:31). The risen Jesus sanctioned this sacramental act as an important aspect of conversion, requiring baptism “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). Other New Testament texts record slight variations in the wording of the baptismal formula, such as “in the name of Jesus Christ” (Ac 2:38; 10:48), “into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Ac 8:16; 19:5) or simply “into Christ” (Gal 3:27). The place of baptism within early Christianity occasioned sustained reflection by various New Testament authors upon the meaning of this symbolic act. Within the New Testament canon baptism is viewed as the symbolic identification of the belliever with the death and resurrection of Jesus (Ro 6; Col 2:12), through which the believer becomes “clothed…with Christ (Gal 3:27), as well as a clear expression of repentance before God (1 Pe 3:21).


Old Days

June 27, 2012

20120627-080040.jpg
Have you ever noticed how some memories become sweeter over time? They start off as normal, unglamorous experiences, but the greater the time that has passed the sweeter they become. We sensationalize them even further if our present circumstances aren’t going well. It’s easy to get caught up in nostalgia and reminisce, but it’s dangerous. We risk losing out on the time we have at hand right now. Don’t let your current displeasures trick you into recreating “the good old days.” Make a change to live for Christ today in this moment.

(jctrois.com)


Love

June 26, 2012

20120626-093807.jpg
Love is the magnet that draws believers together and attracts unbelievers to Christ.