Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Kingdom of God Flows


Romans 14:17:  “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit.”

            Unfortunately, worry is a problem that parents pass on to their children.  There is no worry gene.  Worry is learned behavior.  Adults hope to provide everything the family needs. 
            “My family is having problems,” twelve year old Brad confided to his friends at lunch.

            “How so?” classmate Cassie wondered.

            “Evidently our car’s engine needs to be rebuilt,” he said.  “They say it’d be cheaper to buy a used car than to fix the old one.” 

            Classmate Jeremy added, “I hate it when parents struggle.  We know everything they worry about.  Kids feel helpless to help!”

            Jesus points to God’s provision, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?”

            “Parent’s worrying affects us,” Cassie said.  “I find that praying myself to sleep helps me deal with family problems.”     

            Parents can have temper tantrums, too.

            Jesus advises, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”

            Jeremy said, “I remember hearing something fascinating last Sunday; something like we’re to seek first the kingdom of God, and He’ll take care of everything.”

            Brad said.  “I wish it were that easy!”
            Jesus compares unbelievers to His family, “For the pagans run after all these things, [what shall we eat, drink or wear] and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
            Jeremy heard Jesus’ worry lecture from Matthew 6:24-34.  Brad, it IS that easy!  
Take Home Nugget

            Jesus concluded, “But seek ye first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to them as well.”

            The kingdom of God isn’t a physical place.  God’s kingdom lives within every believer (Holy Spirit) and flows out.  Faith in Jesus is Believers’ righteousness (Romans 5:17, 1 Corinthians 1:21, 2 Corinthians 5:21).  Check out the lesson linked below.

            It’s in John 14:27 where Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.”

            Believers’ obedience to Jesus’ commands earns us pure joy from John 15:10-11.  “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love.  I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

Seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness may not seem EASY, but it flows out from every Believer!
Adapted from “Flow with Righteousness, Peace and Joy” by Joseph Prince.  July 21, 2016.  www.JosephPrince.org
J.D. Griffith

                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Take a Load Off


Hebrews 4:9:  “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for people of God.”

            Labor Day holiday from work falls on the first Monday in September so that people can enjoy a three-day weekend every year.  People look forward to this “resting from work” celebration.   
            Certainly three days of rest restores people to return to work.

            Even God “took a load off” for rest (Genesis 2:2).  Then He commanded His kids   to rest one day each week, calling it a Sabbath day of rest.

            Let’s think of different labor.  Disabilities create demanding lifestyles for millions.  God has compassion on His kids’ struggles.  He cheers when we overcome each problem that improves our quality of life. 

            But true victory is supernatural and comes when we rest in Christ.

            Luke 6:6-10 shows Jesus teaching in the Synagogue one Sabbath when he noticed a man with a shriveled hand.  “Get up and stand in front of everyone,” Jesus said.  The man stood before the congregation hiding his hands behind his back. 

            Jesus understood the man’s shame.  He also needed to confront Pharisees and teachers of the law who wanted an excuse to accuse Him of wrongdoing.  He challenged them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or destroy it?”
            Jesus stared them down, then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  When he did so, his hand was completely restored and seen by all.

              Luke 13:10-17 shows another Sabbath when Jesus confronted religious leaders.  Jesus called out a crippled woman in the Synagogue.  Putting His hands on her, He proclaimed, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  She straightened up, praising God.
            Naturally, the religious Jewish leaders complained about Jesus’ breaking the Sabbath.  See the lesson linked below for more about Jewish leader’s plotting against Jesus. 

            John 5:1-15 shows a pond where disabled people hung out.  They thought that the first one in the water after it stirred would be healed.  Jesus saw a paralyzed man there one Sabbath and asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

            “I have no one to help me into the pond when the water is stirred,” the man complained.

            Jesus said, “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.”  Immediately, the man was healed! 

Take Home Nugget

            All three healing miracles happened on God’s ordained Sabbath day-of-rest.  Each person who Jesus healed labored hard living with their disabilities before they were supernaturally delivered.   

            We too can take a load off and rest in Christ.      
            The day Believers stop struggling and rest in the finished work of Christ is when we receive supernatural deliverance!

Thank You Jesus, for Your finished work at the cross so that we can rest in You before receiving our deliverance!  AMEN.
J.D. Griffith

                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Enforce Your Victory


Ephesians 6:11:  “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

            “That’s not what we’re supposed to do,” twelve year old Jeremy warned his classmate Scott. 
            “It’s the first day back to school and you’re already ordering me around!” Scott said, throwing his books inside his locker.  “Give me a break, Jerm!”
            “Why can’t you just follow school rules?” Jeremy asked.  “We’re only supposed to go to our lockers before school, at lunch, and before going home!” 

            People tend to bend rules hard until they break.  Scott can sneak to his locker as often as he wants until a teacher catches him.  Then Scott will have to stay after school in detention. 
            Why are people like that?  Why doesn’t following rules come naturally?  We know that rules are made for our own good!

            If you agree that the devil has turned this world away from Christ’s light and plunged us into darkness, you’re partially correct in blaming him for our rebellion.  BUT.  (There’s that word “but.”)  When the word “but” is used, everything that follows that word cancels out everything that came before it. 

            2 Corinthians 5:17 cancels out blaming the devil for Believers’-in-Christ rebellion.   Believers are new creations.  We don’t fight the devil for victory.  Jesus already defeated him!  Believers fight from victory!  Romans 8:37 declares that Believers are CONQUERERS!

            We enforce that victory by standing our ground—like how Jeremy challenged Scott’s stopping at his locker to dump his books.  Jeremy knows he is right.  Jeremy knows that he fights from victory ground. 

            However, not all battles are fought against people. 

            Ephesians 6:10-18 discusses spiritual warfare.  Believers may claim strength in the Lord and His mighty power fighting spiritual warfare.  “Wrestle” appears only once.  But “stand” appears four times.  Like in the opening Scripture, “Stand your ground” is found in verse 13 twice.  “Stand firm then,” begins verse 14. 

            So why are people focused on wrestling their way to victory?  Check out the lesson linked below to understand why we struggle.   
Take Home Nugget

            Ephesians 1:3-5 says that God chose Believers to be holy and blameless, predestined to be adopted into His family.   We fight from victory ground by standing as the righteousness of God in Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:21 proves that is only made possible by Jesus’ shed blood. 

            Standing in Jesus’ righteousness enforces our victory by remaining steadfast in faith.  The devil will try to challenge your victory with, “You’re not good enough.”

            Try telling him, “You don’t scare me.  My faith is founded in righteousness!” (Isaiah 54:14).

            Jesus’ finished work on the cross enforces our “victorious stand” claim against the devil.
Every one of Jesus’ followers fights from victory ground.  Hallelujah!
Adapted from “Fight From Victory, Not For Victory” and “Remain Steadfast in Faith” by Joseph Prince.  August 15 and 17, 2016.  www.JosephPrince.org
J.D. Griffith

                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Confident Expectation


Hebrews 12:2:  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

            Twelve year old Cassie watched a lady throw up water in the swimming pool’s deep end.  Her eyes grew wide.  Her face blushed red.  Cassie looked unto the life guard stationed just above where the lady sank underneath the water’s surface.  “Help!” Cassie yelled.
            The life guard snapped his head to where Cassie screamed.  One moment later, he dived from the life guard stand into the water.  He grabbed the woman and surfaced.  Another life guard reached down to lift her unto the pool’s deck. 

            Life-saving CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) got the woman sitting up by the time EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) arrived.  There aren’t many things people can depend on for salvation today.  But life-saving techniques of CPR and first-responding EMTs are routinely called upon when life is threatened.

            You may have noticed that two untos and one to are in bold face.  Cassie looked onto the first life guard, expecting help.  The second lifeguard lifted the woman unto the pool’s deck, expecting that she was safely on firm ground. 

            We don’t normally use the word “unto” instead of a simple “to”.  The two words   mean slightly different things.  “To” is a direction.  “Unto” means expectation.  
            The opening Scripture could have easily said, “Let us fix our eyes onto Jesus,” instead of “on” Jesus, because we do look unto Him confidently expecting salvation.   That’s the point of this devotion. 

            Believers-in-Christ look unto Him confidently expecting Him to save, heal and protect us.  Did you notice that the opening Scripture also says that Jesus “for the joy set before Him endured the cross.” 


            Yeah.  Jesus is God, alright.

            No one else would have volunteered to set aside divinity to be born as a human baby.  Jesus depended on God’s mighty power and His human sacrificial love to die in your place! 
            God wants us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”   Or, Jesus “began” and “finished” this human race.  He’s with us in all circumstances, rescuing whoever looks unto Him.    
Take Home Nugget

            People prefer not to pester Jesus all the time, though.  Even Apostle Paul depended on self-effort in Romans 7:19.  “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” 

            See the lesson linked below to find Paul looking unto Jesus, who rescued him from death. 

Being Jesus-conscious adds confident expectation for His deliverance when looking onto Him in all situations.

Adapted from “Look Unto Jesus” by Joseph Prince.  August 26, 2016.  www.JosephPrince.org
J.D. Griffith

                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Being Jesus-Conscious


Romans 8:28:  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

            The opening Scripture encourages whoever messes up in life.  “Don’t worry.  God promises to work all things together for good!”

            This passage intends to draw people close to God every day.  When read carefully though, people may claim they’re “not called according to God’s purpose.”  The truth is that every person God creates is alive specifically to accomplish His purpose and form a relationship with Him!

            Believers grow in God consciousness.  We know who God is and that we’re accountable to Him.  People who live in fear are sin-conscious.  The harder sin-conscious people try being good, the more they fail.  Sin-conscious people listen to the devil’s lies that they’re no good.

            Instead of being sin-conscious, living Jesus-conscious guarantees success—and that God WILL work all things together for good BECAUSE you love Him!  Believers who are Jesus-conscious also realize that every one of their sins has been forgiven!   Jesus-conscious Believers know that we’re seen as the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

            Joseph didn’t know Jesus (Genesis 37-42).  Joseph was the favored son of twelve.  While his dad spoiled him above his brothers, Joseph didn’t realize how bitterly he was hated. 
            He understood after they sold him to traveling merchants. 

            Watching from the back of the caravan he was riding to his new life, Joseph saw   everyone and all that he knew disappear from view.  Not one brother shed a tear.  As far as Joseph knew, he was dead to them.
            Yet, their dad Jacob—who God renamed Israel—raised his family to know God (Genesis 32:28). 

            Joseph should have felt utterly deserted.  However, he remembered to whom he belonged.  God was with him!  Instead of being circumstance-conscious, Joseph 
insisted to remain God-conscious. 

            Because Joseph continued praying and crying out to God, their relationship was tight.  God welcomed Joseph into his embrace when life was the hardest.  And God also made all things work together for good for Joseph.  Check out the lesson linked below to see Joseph’s flip-tables-on-his-brothers happy ending.      
Take Home Nugget

            Like Joseph was God-conscious, Believers can be Jesus-conscious and build a tight relationship with Him.  We can live gratefully, lifting up praises regardless of circumstances.  We may claim Jesus’ righteousness and purity.  Led-by-His-Spirit Believers are guaranteed that God will work all things together for good in our lives, too. 

            Fishermen reaped net-breaking boat-sinking load of fish, followers gathered twelve baskets of left-over food.  Being Jesus-conscious will explode good in your life, too!

Thank You for leading me through life, Lord—all the way to seeing all things work together for good BECAUSE I love You!   Amen.

Adapted from “God is in it With You” by Joseph Prince.  August 8, 2016.  www.JosephPrince.org
J.D. Griffith

                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  

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Friday, August 19, 2016

One Utterly Believing Person


Romans 3:3-4a:  “What if some did not have faith?  Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness?  Not at all!”

            “People are so rude!” Cassie’s mom quipped while steering their grocery cart past another cart parked in the middle of the aisle.  She said it pretty loud, so Cassie looked at the faces of the couple.
            The man looked agitated.  Cassie smiled at him.  The man said, “Wellll, excuuuse me!”
            Cassie asked innocently, “Aren’t we supposed to drive our carts in the grocery store like our cars on the highway?” 
            The man jerked his cart to the right side of the aisle, behind Cassie’s cart.  “Happy now?” he asked sarcastically.
            “Yes, thank you!” Cassie happily replied.

            Cassie’s soft response melted the tension, and the woman smiled at Cassie.

            It takes just one person to create a problem.  And it takes only one person to diffuse anger.  God watches these encounters.  Individuals make a world of difference in our world every day. 

            God watched Sodom thousands of years ago.  Sodom was past rude.  Sodom was downright evil.   God was sorry that He allowed Sodom to thrive.  He vowed to utterly destroy Sodom—to wipe it and everyone living there off the face of the earth. 

            Abraham had a problem with God’s plan.  His problem was that his brother Lot lived in Sodom.  Abraham did something that no one had ever done: Abraham prayed to God to spare Sodom from destruction.  Check out the lesson, linked below.

            God heard Abraham’s prayer and actually considered his plea.  Genesis 18:17 shows God’s mercy:  “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”

            Abraham remained before God after the three men departed.  Abraham asked God, “Will You sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?  Will You really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of fifty righteous people in it?  Far be it from You to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, … Will not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:23, 25).

Take Home Nugget

            God replied to Abraham, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole city for their sake.”

            Abraham negotiated further until finally God said, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”  (Genesis 18:26-32). 

            God left Abraham then.  Doesn’t our heavenly Father sometimes act like an earthly dad?  “Okay, okay,” haven’t you heard dad say, “We will go out for ice cream!  Now leave me alone!”

            The point is that it only takes one Believer to change everything with prayer. 

Believer, ask.  Believer, seek.  God opens the door when Believers knock!

Adapted from Streams in the Desert devotion by L. B. Cowman on June 26, 2016.  www.StreamsInTheDesert.com

J.D. Griffith

                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  

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