Wonderful Wednesday – Deuteronomy 6

Loving the Lord your God

1These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
4Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
10When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
13Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, 19thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.
20In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” 21tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”

Messages:
6:3
For a nation that had wandered 40 years in a parched desert, a land flowing with milk and honey sounded like paradise, it brought to mind rich crops, rushing streams, gentle rains, and lush fields filled with livestock. The Israelites could have had all that 40 years earlier. Moses was determined to help the people avoid making the same mistake by clearly explaining the conditions for entering.
6:4
Monotheism – belief in only one God – was a distinctive feature of Hebrew religion. Many ancient religions believed in many gods. This was very important insight for the nation of Israel because they were about to enter a land filled with people who believed in many gods.
6:4-9
The central theme of Deuteronomy – relate the the Word of God to our daily lives. We are to love God, think constantly about his commandments, teach his commandments to our children, and live each day by his guidelines in his Word. God emphasized the the importance of PARENTS teaching the Bible to their children, not church or Christian schools. Eternal truths are most effectively learned in a loving environment of a God-fearing home.
6:5
Jesus said that loving God with all of ourselves is the first and greatest commandment. This, combined with the command to love your neighbor, encompasses all the other Old Testament laws.
6:7
The key to teaching your children to love God is stated simply and clearly in these verses. If you want your children to follow God, you must make God a part of your everyday experiences.You must teach you children diligently to see God in all aspects of life, not just those that are church related.
6:24
What is promised here is a right relationship with God for all those who love him with all their heart. It speaks of a good relationship with God and the ultimate benefit of knowing him. It is not blanket protection against poverty, adversity, or suffering.

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Terrific Tuesday – Romans 12:1-8

Romans 12:1-8 NLT

A Living Sacrifice to God

1And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 3Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. 6In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Message:
12:1
God wants us to offer ourselves, not animals, as LIVING sacrifices – daily laying aside our own desires to follow him, putting all our energy and resources at his disposal and trusting him to guide us. We do this out of gratitude that our sins have been forgiven.
12:4-8
God gives us gifts so we can build up his church. To use them effectively, we must: 1-realize that all gifts and abilities come from God. 2-Understand that not everyone has the same gifts. 3-Know who we are and what we do best. 4-Dedicate our gifts to God’s service and not to our personal success. 5-Be willing to utilize our gifts wholeheartedly, not holding back anything from God’s service.

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Magnificent Monday – Philippians 4:6-8

Philippians 4:6-8

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Message:
4:6
Imagine never being “anxious about anything”! It seems like an impossibility – we all have worries on the job, in our homes, at school. But, Paul’s advice is to turn our worries into prayers. Do you want to worry less? Then pray more! Whenever you start to worry, STOP and pray.
4:7
True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings. It comes from knowing that God is in control. Our citizenship in Christ’s kingdom is sure, our destiny is set. Let God’s peace guard your heart against anxiety.
4:8
What we put in our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions. Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, books, conversations, movies, and magazines. Replace harmful input with wholesome material. Above all, read God’s Word and pray. Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and pure. It takes practice, but it can be done.

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Luke 12:22-34

Luke 12:22-34
New International Version (NIV)
Do Not Worry

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Message:
Jesus commands us not to worry. But how can we avoid it? Only faith can free us from anxiety caused by greed and covetousness. It is good to work and plan responsibly, it is bad to dwell on all the ways our planning could go wrong. Worry is pointless because it can’t fill any of our needs; worry is foolish because the creator of the universe loves us and knows what we need. He promises to meet all our real needs, but not necessarily all our desires.

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Terrific Tuesday – Matthew 7:21

Matthew 7:21
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.

Message:
Some self professed athletes can “talk” a great game, but that tells you nothing about their athletic skills. And not everyone who talks about heaven belongs to God’s kingdom. Jesus is more concerned about our walk than our talk. He wants us to DO right, not just SAY the right words. Your house (your life) will withstand the storms of life only if you do what is right instead of just talking about it. What you do cannot be separated from what you believe.

“As Christians we are not who we SAY we are, we are what we DO.”

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Marvelous Monday – Matthew 6:33

Matthew 6:33
Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Message:
To seek first his kingdom and live righteously means to turn to God first for help, to fill your thoughts with his desires, to take his character for your pattern, and to serve and obey him in everything. What is really important to you? People, objects, goals, and other desires all compete for your priority. Any of these can quickly bump God out of first place if you don’t actively choose to give him first place in EVERY area of you life.

Challenge:
What has God wired you to do? What are you doing right now with the gifts, relationships, and opportunities He has given you? If you are serving be encouraged today in Paul’s admonishment to not become weary in well doing!” You are living the sacrificial, kingdom first lifestyle – Don’t quit! If you aren’t serving, make a decision today to be other-centered! Good news – God is focused on you. He promises a reward both in this life and the life to come when He is put first.

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Fantastic Friday – Philippians 4:1-9

Philippians 4:1-9

1 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work. 2 Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. 4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.6 DON’T WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING; INSTEAD, PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. TELL GOD WHAT YOU NEED, AND THANK HIM FOR ALL HE HAS DONE. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Message:
Imagine never being “anxious about anything”! It seems like an impossibility – we all have worries on the job, in our homes, at school. But Paul’s advice is to turn our worries into prayers. Do you want to worry less? Then pray more. Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray. What we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions. Paul tells us to program our minds with thoughts that are true, noble right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Examine what you are putting into your mind through TV, books, conversations, movies, and magazines. Replace harmful input with wholesome material. Above all, read God’s Word and PRAY. Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is pure and good. It’s not enough to hear or read the Word Of God, or even to know it well. We must also put it into practice. How easy it is to listen to a sermon and forget what the preacher said. How easy it is to read the Bible and not think about how to live differently. How easy it is to debate what a passage means and not live out that meaning. Exposure to God’s Word is not enough, it must lead to obedience.

Challenge:
Decide to stop worrying. Worry stops when we choose to worship instead.

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Wonderful Wednesday – Matthew 26:69-75

Matthew 26:69-75
69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”
70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.
73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”
74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.
75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.

Message:
There were three stages to Peter’s denial. First, he acted confused, then he tried using an oath, lastly he began to curse and swear. Believers who deny Christ often begin doing so subtly by pretending not to know him. When opportunities to discuss religious issues come up, they walk away or pretend they don’t know the answers. With only a little more pressure, they can be induced to deny flatly their relationship with Christ. If you find yourself subtly diverting conversation so you don’t have to talk about Christ, watch out. You may be on the road to disowning him.

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Wonderful Wednesday – 1 Corinthians 12:12-20

1 Corinthians 12:12-20

One Body with Many Parts
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.

Message:
The church is composed of many types of people from a variety of backgrounds with a multitude of gifts and abilities. It is easy for these differences to divide people, as was the case in Corinth. But, despite the differences, all believers have one thing in common – faith in Christ. On this essential truth the church finds unity. All believers are baptized by one Holy Spirit into one body of believers, the church. We don’t lose our individual identities, but we have an overriding oneness in Christ. When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence, and he or she is born into God’s family. As members of God’s family, we may have different interests and gifts, but we have a common goal.

Challenge:
Is it time for you to get in the game? It is so much easier to stand on the sidelines and watch the game unfold, but God wants you to be involved in what he is doing. You can make a difference in the life of someone else, so where will you get involved? Who will you begin to invest in today?

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Marvelous Monday – 1 John 1:5-10

1 John 1:5-10

Living in the Light

5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Message:
Light is related to truth in that light exposes whatever exists, whether it is good or bad. In the dark, good and evil look alike: in the light they can be clearly distinguished. Just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of light, sin cannot exist in the presence of a holy God. If we want to have a relationship with God, we must put side our sinful ways of living. To claim that we belong to him but then to go out and live for ourselves is hypocrisy. Christ will expose and judge such deceit. It is difficult for most of us to admit our faults and shortcomings, even to God. It takes humility and honesty to recognize our weaknesses, and most of us would rather pretend that we are strong. Be we need not fear revealing our sins to God – he knows them already. He will not push us away, no matter what we’ve done. Instead he will draw us to himself.

Challenge:
When was the last time you got REAL with the people around you? The Christian walk was never meant to be walked alone… we need each other. Set an appointment this week with someone you care deeply about and share with them your struggles. Be vulnerable with them and ask them to pray for you. If you do that, you will begin to experience authentic community.

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