Posts Tagged ‘Bible Study’

04/16/14 Daily Devotion – What limits you?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13, NIV84)

Once again we have a very popular, and often quoted, passage from the pen of the Apostle Paul. Paul is nearing the end of his letter to the Philippian church and from his jail cell victoriously declares, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  This is a pretty bold statement coming from someone who is in jail. But you see, Paul did not see his incarceration as a setback. He saw it as an opportunity. He saw every circumstance in his life as an opportunity to witness to Jesus Christ. Paul lived and breathed an intimate relationship with Jesus. I think he could have easily stated this verse in the negative and said, “I can’t do anything without his strength!”. When Paul said that Christ was in him and he was in Christ, he meant it. Paul drew off of the strength of Jesus who was with him through every situation he faced. Zechariah says, “Not by might or by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts.”.

It should be the same for our lives, too. We can rely on the same promises of God that the Apostle Paul relied on. The same Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts. Jesus has also promised to be with us wherever we go. We can do all things through Him who gives us strength! This doesn’t mean that we will all become superhuman and perform feats like Samson. It may mean, simply but profoundly, that God will give us the strength to successfully endure the situation we are currently in. Paul wasn’t given Samson’s strength to break out of prison. He was given the strength to endure it and the sight to see that the spiritually incarcerated could be set free by one in chains.

May we know and experience the power of God within us. May we rely on His strength. May Paul’s words become our motto, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Peace!

Tom

www.firmlyrooted.org

04/15/14 Daily Devotion – The secret of being content!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12, NIV84)

Are we really content? Are we ever content? I like to say that I am, but I find myself constantly wanting and needing. Paul says that he has “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” Now that is a secret I wouldn’t mind knowing. I need to learn to be content no matter what the situation. I know that most of us think about money, but I don’t think Paul is reducing this statement to just covering provisions. I think he truly means any and every situation. The situation could be money, relationships, hopes, dreams, health, fears, etc. I think Paul is telling us that he found the secret to a spirit of contentment. So what is the secret?

God! I know you’re surprised, but seriously, Paul is telling us that we become discontent when things aren’t happening the way we think they should. Note who the focus is on … us. If we see ourselves as the measure of what we think we want and need, then we can easily become discontent when we don’t have it. But if we place each and every situation in God’s hands and trust that He will work out every situation and circumstance to our good and His glory, then we can be content. We can be content because we have placed everything into His hands and not ours. We may not like the circumstance or situation we are in, but it is certainly more bearable if we know God’s hand is in it. Jesus promised His disciples, and you and me that He would never forsake us but would always be with us.

May we live as those who know the secret of true contentment, and may we share the secret with everyone we can.

Peace!

Tom

www.firmlyrooted.org

04/14/14 Daily Devotion – Think about things like this!

Monday, April 14th, 2014

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV84)

“Finally…” what? Paul is putting the finishing touches on some pretty profound truths. He has stated that we should not be anxious about anything, but we should at all times bring our concerns to the Lord in prayer because He is very near us. By doing that, Paul tells us that we will gain a peace (God’s peace) that transcends human comprehension. Now that we have all that working for us, Paul says, “finally”… one last thing. There is one more thing he wants us to do. He wants us to do something with our mind. He wants our thoughts to be focused in a certain way. And what way is that?

He tells us to set our minds on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Paul is obviously implying that there is another option. Our minds could be focused on other things. This is important for us to understand. Every day we have an option as to what we allow our minds to focus on. So let me ask you a question. As you look out into the world in which we live, where can we find something that is true, noble, right, pure …? You get my point. There is nothing in this world like that to set our focus on.

Paul is telling us to set our focus on something that transcends this world. He wants us to focus on God and His Word. He wants us to focus on Jesus. By doing this we will be focusing on what is truly excellent and praiseworthy. So our choice is clear. Will we focus on the things of this world? Or will we focus on the truths of God’s Word and His kingdom?

Today, and every day, may we choose the latter. May we set our minds and focus on the only thing that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise … Jesus.

Peace!

Tom

www.firmlyrooted.org

04/13/14 Daily Devotion – Peace is not passive!

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7, NIV84)

This is absolutely one of my favorite memory passages. There are so many profound things said and implied in this single verse. In the verse previous, Paul tells us not to be anxious because we have a Lord who is near and one to whom we can bring our prayers and petitions. If we begin at that point, as we must, then we can roll into the truths of this verse. Rather than anxiety, we will experience the peace of God. Stop there for a minute. I am quite certain that God is never anxious. I am certain that He is always peaceful because He knows and can do all things. Because we call on Him in our times of need, we can exchange our anxiousness for His peace because we are relying on His gracious providence.

Paul tells us that the peace of God “transcends all understanding.” When we experience the peace of God, it is nothing like anything this world can provide. The world understands peace as the absence of something. For God, and us, it is the presence of something. It is the presence of His Holy Spirit living in our hearts assuring us that God’s will is being done in our lives. We can find God’s peace in the most tumultuous times of our lives because it comes from God to us. It is not something we well up within ourselves.

I find it very interesting that Paul uses an active word like “guard” to describe what God’s peace does for us. We tend to think of peace as a passive thing. But Paul says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. God’s peace guards and protects the two things that might cause us worry or anxiety. Our hearts and minds, which can take us to a lot of bad places, are guarded by the peace of God that the Holy Spirit places within us. And where is all this rooted? In Jesus Christ! The grace and mercy of Jesus Christ move us to faith and open the door for the Holy Spirit to find a home in our hearts. As He resides there, He instills in us a peace that transcends our understanding and guards our hearts and minds from going astray.

May God’s peace be yours today and always.

Peace!

Tom

www.firmlyrooted.org

Firmly Rooted is growing and MOVING Easter Sunday!

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

All,

The Lord has richly blessed Firmly Rooted and we are moving again.  Attached is a flyer discussing our move.  Our first Sunday in our new location (Eagle Creek Academy) will be Easter Sunday.  We will have Sunday School and Bible class at 9:30 and Worship at 11:00. Please spread the word.  Come to our Easter Sunday service and bring family and friends with you!

New Location For Firmly Rooted Worship

Peace!

Pastor Tom

Tom

04/12/14 Daily Devotion – Rather than being anxious, present your requests to God!

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:5–6, NIV84)

Alright, I have to admit that the Lord has a great sense of humor when it comes to dealing with me. Just a few days ago I posted on Facebook that I was “anxious.” Today, the Lord has me doing a devotion on a verse I memorized a long time ago that talks about being anxious. So here it goes. It’s the words “Do not be…” that seem to mess me up. Maybe you too. How can we not be anxious about things? There seems to be so much to be anxious about — work, kids, money, health, relationships, hopes and dreams, etc. Our thoughts move toward those topics and soon we’re feeling anxious. Why? Because we do not like the unknown. We want to see, understand, and know what today and tomorrow have in store for us.

With all that said, how can Paul tell us not to be anxious? He must have had questions about a lot of the same topics. There is a hint in verse 5. Paul says, “The Lord is near.” You see, we do not need to be anxious about today or tomorrow because we have a God who knows all about them and He is very near to us. We don’t necessarily need to know all the details as long as we know that God does. Jeremiah says, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jer. 29:11). So Paul tells us not to be worried or anxious (what good would that do us anyway?), but to come to the Lord who is near with our prayers and petitions. He tells us to bring all of our requests to God. The unstated conclusion is that God will answer our prayers and bring peace to our anxious hearts (we will talk about that in tomorrow’s devotion).

So today, let’s let go of fear, worry, and anxiety. Let’s call on our Lord and Savior, who is very near.

Peace!

Tom

04/11/14 Daily Devotion – Rejoice!

Friday, April 11th, 2014

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, NASB95)

This has to be one of the most quoted verses by the apostle Paul. Countless churches have a banner hanging on the wall with these words. We know the verse by heart, even if we don’t know the book, chapter, and verse. With all that popularity you would think it was the most practiced verse as well. But I don’t think so. Not in my life, either. It’s that word “always.” It just seems to stand in judgment of me. I do not rejoice in the Lord at all times. More often than not, I am grumbling about the circumstances of my day. I moan and groan about the parts of my life that I wish were different. To tell you the truth, I sometimes blame God for the situation I find myself in. At those moments I am a long way from rejoicing. Can you relate? I think you can!

Nonetheless, Paul’s words are still before us. “Rejoice in the Lord always.” You might wonder, was Paul able to do it? I think the answer is yes! As Paul writes these words to the church in Philippi, he is in prison for preaching the Gospel. He has been arrested for sharing the love of God with his fellow Jews and any Gentiles who would listen. And from his jail cell he reminds the Philippians (and us) to rejoice in the Lord at all times. Why? Because He is the Lord and His will is being done even in our most difficult times. He uses our trials and tribulations as a witness to the world about God’s grace, love, mercy and providence. We rejoice because God is using us to further His kingdom. We don’t rejoice in the circumstances. We rejoice in the God who is working in and through those circumstances.

No matter what your circumstances are today, rejoice in the Lord!

Peace!

Tom

www.firmlyrooted.org

04/10/14 Daily Devotion – The blessing of true biblical harmony!

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

“I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:2, NASB95)

Many of you may know, and for those who don’t, I can’t sing. At least not well. Not even in the shower :-) . But I sure admire those who can. And when a group of people sing together in harmony, well, I find that completely amazing. There is a natural beauty that arises from many voices coming together in harmony.

Well, the same is true for Christian living. God’s Spirit of love and peace has filled each of our hearts and provides us the means to live in harmony. When we are not living in harmony, it is because sinful selfish behavior has taken the place of the Holy Spirit. We must repent when our selfish desires get in the way and block the harmony that the Holy Spirit desires to create in our lives. In Romans, Paul says that “the mind controlled by the Spirit is love and peace.”. He says in Galatians, that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” When the Spirit works these qualities into our hearts and lives, He creates a harmony of life among us. He causes us to live in this beautiful unity.

The harmony of Christian living is not just a blessing to us. God intends for our unity to be a proclamation to the sinfully selfish world we live in that He alone can provide the unity mankind’s heart desires. God uses the harmony of our lives to ring out to a discordant world that there is hope. And that hope is in Jesus Christ, who bore all the discord on the cross so that we might have peace with God and live in unity with one another.

Peace!

Tom

04/09/14 Daily Devotion – Let’s be partners in the Gospel!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

“because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…” (Philippians 1:5, NIV84)

In the scope of the Christian life we place a great emphasis on knowing the message of the Gospel, and this isn’t wrong. Eternal consequences are at stake as to whether we know Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. But if this is a person’s, or a church’s, only pursuit, then there is something seriously missing. If our only focus is on ourselves and our own faith, then we will most certainly be the last link in a spiritual chain that goes back centuries.

The idea of being partners in the Gospel is an important concept for all of us to grasp. Once redeemed and saved, we are set apart by God to reach out to the lost in our world. We are called to partner together, to pool our resources, so we can effectively reach the world around us that is dying without Jesus. In our verse for today, Paul praises the Philippian church for its partnership in the Gospel. May we (personally and as churches) receive the same praise because we see and meet needs beyond our own.

Today, let’s be certain of our salvation and then let’s partner up to take that salvation to others who desperately need it.

Peace!

Tom

04/08/14 Daily Devotion – Standing Firm is a corporate activity for the Church!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

“Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.” (Philippians 4:1, NASB95)

A couple things stand out to me as I ponder this verse. First, note the beauty of Christian brotherhood/sisterhood. Look at the intimate way in which Paul describes and praises his Christian partners in Philippi. He considers them his beloved, his joy, his crown. When we come to know Jesus Christ, our view of the world changes too. We begin to see others like Jesus sees them. But even more intimate is the relationship we have with one another as Christians. The oneness of heart that the Spirit of God creates among us is amazing.

Second, we are called to “stand firm in the Lord.” This can be a challenge as individuals who live in a sinful and broken world. It is even more challenging to stand firm as a group of believers. For us to be unified and confident in our belief is a gift of the Holy Spirit. When we stand united and firm in our faith in Jesus and His teachings we become a powerful testimony to His grace and to the transformational power of His teachings.

I pray that the Holy Spirit works boldly among us so that we might stand firm in the Lord.

Peace!

Tom