Tag Archives: Grace

Handle With Care: Add Fabric Softener

Week 3 – Add Fabric Softener

[Hebrews 10:24-25]

CARING LIKE BARNABAS

 

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. [NLT]

 

GENEROUSActs 4:36-37 – Barnabas sold land to provide for fellow Christians

ACCEPTINGActs 9:26-28 – Barnabas took a chance with Paul when the other’s weren’t accepting him.

ENCOURAGINGActs 11:23-24 – Barnabas was glad to see what God did through others and encouraged them to all remain true to God.

GRACIOUSActs 15:36-41 – Barnabas extended grace to John Mark, not giving up on John Mark.

 

Embrace – Encourage – Equip – Empower

 

Put yourself aside and let others get ahead (Philippians 2:3-4)

Speak what is helpful for building others up (Ephesians 4:29)

 

2 Timothy 4:11 – Paul later requested John Mark because he was profitable to the ministry.

 

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Acts 15:36-41 and Philippians 2:3-4. How does this passage in Philippians relate to the narrative in Acts 15?

2) Read Ephesians 4:29. What does Paul describe in this passage? How do we live this out?

3) Read Romans 15:1-6 Who are we to please? What does this passage describe as the relationship between the strong and weak? How can we live this out?

4) Read 1 Timothy 2:1-3. What does this passage say is most important, and why is this most important?

 

Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.

 

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Handle With Care: No More Bleach

Week 2 – No More Bleach

[Matthew 23:1-36]

CARING FOR TRUTH

Living a Façade

Live the Truth to Glorify God

If you are living a fake life, you aren’t living as He created you, but as you have concocted. Isaiah 43:7 – you were created to glorify God. Ephesians 2:10 – You are God’s masterpiece – He created you to do good works that He planned long ago.

Accept the Truth to Receive Grace

If you don’t accept the truth, you don’t accept the grace God is ready to pour out. Ephesians 2:8 – It is by grace you have been saved.

Embrace the Truth to Grow in Christ

You can’t allow God to work through your life to prune, discipline, etc. if you aren’t acknowledging the truth. Colossians 2:6-7

Seek the Truth to Enjoy Peace in Christ

Trying to keep up the fake life causes you to carry a heavy burden, one day you will not be able to keep it up. Philippians 4:7 – He offers a peace beyond understanding.

Share the Truth to Guide Others to New Life in Him

Living transparent life allows people to see what God is doing in YOUR life – and this will point people to Jesus! 2 Corinthians 5:20

 Luke 16:15 – And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. [ESV]

 

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Matthew 23:4.

  • What does this mean?
  • How do we do this?
  • How can we live without placing heavy loads on people?

 

2) Read Matthew 23:13-14.

  • What does this mean?
  • How do we do this?
  • How can we live as door openers?

 

3) Read Matthew 23:23-26.

  • What does this mean?
  • How do we do this?
  • How can we live focused on the more important?

 

Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.

 

 

Behold the Lamb Series

Week 1 – The Lamb of God

[John 1:29, Leviticus 17:11]

Here is the LAMB OF GOD who takes away the sin of the world.

  • Behold –to point something out
  • Here – to indicate a place … John is drawing attention to Jesus
  • Lamb of God – sent by God, provided by God
  • Takes Away – removes, blots out

Lamb in a Sacrificial Sense: God is holy and righteous, separate from sin

Atonement – Reconciliation – wipe clean, sacrifice that cleanses from sin

Leviticus 17:11 – For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement. [CSB]

Leviticus 4:32-35 – “kipper” – make atonement, make reconciliation, to purge, to wipe clean

Leviticus 5:5-6

Leviticus 4:5-6 – The anointed priest will then take some of the bull’s blood and bring it into the tent of meeting. The priest is to dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the LORD in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. [CSB]

Leviticus 16:14-16 – He is to take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger against the east side of the mercy seat; then he will sprinkle some of the blood with his finger before the mercy seat seven times. When he slaughters the male goat for the people’s sin offering and brings its blood inside the curtain, he will do the same with its blood as he did with the bull’s blood: He is to sprinkle it against the mercy seat and in front of it. He will make atonement for the most holy place in this way for all their sins because of the Israelites’ impurities and rebellious acts. He will do the same for the tent of meeting that remains among them, because it is surrounded by their impurities. [CSB]

Hebrews 9:11-12, 16-22, 24-28

Confession / Costly / Identification / Personal

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read John 1:29. Does John the Baptist’s statement about the Lamb of God refer to sacrifice? If yes, how can you tell?

2) The phrase “sin of the world” is bold and radical. Why? How can we live this out?

3) In what sense is God’s provision of the animal sacrifice for forgiveness of sins an expression of mercy?

4) Were animal sacrifices actually adequate to atone for sin?

5) How is the Lamb of God a more sufficient sacrifice than the previous sacrificial system?

 

Week 2 – The Lamb Who Takes Our Place

[Isaiah 53]

Substitute – a person acting or serving in place of another.

Bears Our Sin (v. 4)

2 Corinthians 5:21 – He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [CSB]

Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so Christ could make us acceptable to God. [CEV]

1 Peter 2:24-25 – and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. [NASB]

Receives Our Punishment (v.5-6)

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [NIV]

Acts Voluntarily (v. 7)

John 10:11 – I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. [ESV]

Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many [NLT]

 Revelation 5:6, 9-10 – Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth… And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” [NIV]

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Isaiah 53:1-3. How was Jesus a man of sorrows? How is the description of Jesus that we read about in this passage not what was expected?

2) Read Isaiah 53:4-6. List every “our” phrase. What does the list say to you?

3) Read Isaiah 53:6. Are you one of the sheep? Even today?

4) Read Isaiah 53:7. How does this passage describe the Lamb of God?

5) Read Isaiah 53:10. Who killed Jesus? Who was to blame?

 

Week 3 – The Lamb Who Redeems Us from Slavery

[1 Peter 1:18-19, Mark 10:44-45, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20]

Intro: Last week we looked at Isaiah 53, which promised One Who was coming to redeem from their bondage to sin and death… tonight we discuss The Lamb Who Redeems Us from Slavery.

Free: Not bound, confined or detained; having no obligations; capable of moving or turning in any direction.

Slave: Held in servitude; completely subservient.

We were REDEEMED from the empty way of life

1 Peter 1:18-19 – For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. [NIV]        Redemption – deliverance from captivity by means of ransom price

With the life of Jesus given as a RANSOM for many

Mark 10:44-45 – And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [NASV]

We were bought with a high price, so we must HONOR GOD WITH BODY

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. [NLT]

Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

How to live free?

  1. Accept God’s Word2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. [ESV]
  2. Accept God’s GraceRomans 5:18 – Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. [ESV]
  3. Accept God’s Victory1 John 5:5 – Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. [NIV]

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Romans 8:1-4. What does it mean that the law was weakened by the flesh? How did Jesus fulfill the law’s requirement?

2) Read Romans 8:5-9. What are the two types of people? In reading this passage, do you think it is possible for a believer to be living with the mind-set of the flesh and be hostile to God?

3) Read Romans 8:15-17. How is this passage empowering?

4) From tonight’s reading in the book of Romans, what are some of the things the Holy Spirit will help us live out if we live in the Spirit?

Week 4 – The Passover Lamb of Whom We Partake

[1 Corinthians 5:7, Exodus 12:3-14, Matthew 26:26-30]

Passover Lamb – Passover Instituted

Exodus 12:3-14 – Instructions for Passover

The Lord’s Supper Instituted

Matthew 26:26-30 – 3rd cup, Cup of Redemption

Bread – blessed, broken – “Take and eat it; this is My body.”

Cup – “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Cup of Promise – 4th cup “I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” PROMISE TO COME

Handling the Leaven

1 Corinthians 5:1-8

  1. 3 – Even though I am absent in the body, I am present in spirit.
  2. 7 – Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.
  3. 8 – Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of SINCERITY and TRUTH.

Remove old yeast – sin/sinner

We are to be the new unleavened batch

  • Sincerity of mind & integrity of character (Pure inner motives)
  • Truth – divine truth / God’s Truth

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Looking at Exodus 12, in what ways did the Passover lamb protect the families of God’s people?

2) How is the Passover lamb in Exodus similar to the sacrifice of Christ?

3) Read Matthew 26:28. How could these words fill us with sorrow? Why should these words fill us with joy?

4) Read Matthew 26:29. How does the celebration of the Lord’s Supper anticipate a future celebration with Jesus? How does this give you hope?

5) Read Exodus 12:11. How is this in relation with how we approach the Lord’s Supper?

Week 5 – The Triumphant Lamb We Worship

[Revelation 5]

Jesus has fierceness & fearlessness of a Lion (v. 5) and tenderness and humility of a Lamb (v. 6).

  • Scroll is the action plan
    • Scroll is an Action Plan to judge, cleanse, and prepare the nations for Jesus’ rule over Earth, while bringing the Church to maturity and into unity with redeemed Israel.
  • Scroll is the Title Deed to the Earth
    • By taking the scroll, He accepted responsibility to cleanse and rule Earth.

Jesus is the only Man found worthy, deserving, and capable to take scroll from Father.

  • Who is worthy? No one.
  • John wept bitterly.
  • He hears – Lion of Tribe of JudahLion – boldness, strength, fierceness
  • He sees – Lamb SlainLamb – humility, gentleness, weakness, submission

He alone could redeem us:

  • He was related to us (Man of God)
  • He was willing to do it
  • He was able to pay the price

Highest government council around throne. (Living angels – angelic, elders – human)

They fell awestruck before the worthy Man and boldly proclaimed their agreement with the Father’s decree to make Jesus supreme leader of whole Earth forever.

Because of His obedience to death, God highly exalted Jesus in heaven and on earth

Philippians 2:8-10 – And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [NIV]

 Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Psalm 96:1-9. This Psalm speaks of the King of the earth and provides reasons to worship. What are some of the reasons listed?

2) Read Psalm 96:6-12. This passage speaks of the need to “ascribe to the Lord.” What does it mean to “ascribe to the Lord”? This passage speaks of our witness. When considering this passage, what are we supposed to be sharing when we witness? In verse 10, it says, “Say among the nations,” which is again pointing to our witness. When considering this passage, what are we supposed to be sharing when we witness?

3) Read Psalm 96:11-13. How does this passage describe worship? How does this description change the way you think about worship? This Psalm ends waiting for what? How does this relate to tonight’s look at Revelation?

 

 

In the Breach

We can glean a lot from the leadership of Moses. This picture we get of him standing in the breach is one that exemplifies what it means to be a leader. Don’t stop reading with the excuse that you are not a leader. Everyone is leading someone. The question is—do you stand in the breach?

First, you have to know what it means that Moses stood before God in the breach. When you consider a breach, picture a wall. You have a wall for protection. This wall works great so long as it remains intact. However, there are moments when there is a breach in the wall—a breakdown of the wall at some point that makes the wall ineffective. Now whatever you are trying to keep out is now coming through this break in the wall. When soldiers are protecting an area and there is a breach, the soldiers will use their own bodies to stand at the breach to continue to ensure the area is protected.

When we look at Moses and this picture of him standing before God in the breach, we see a leader who is concerned for the Israelites, the people he was leading. Despite their sin, their shortcomings and failures, he cared for the people. He sought for their best interest. He stood between them and God and made his plea of intercession. He recognized their weakness. He recognized their sin, but he did not let that change the way He cared for them. He sought the mercy of God. He prayed for the people.

As a leader, the most important thing is to care for the people you are leading—to love them. Love them like Jesus loves them. Love them with all that you are and love them despite their shortcomings and failures. Look at them as God sees them. Do all you can to stand in the breach. Pray for them. Give them your very best as you pour into their lives. Treat your time with them as precious. Don’t sell them short. Don’t treat them as a number or a task. Seek their best interest always. Love them. Love them like Jesus.

“So he said he would have destroyed them–if Moses his chosen one had not stood before him in the breach to turn his wrath away from destroying them.” – Psalm 106:23 [CSB]

Taste and See

The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.

Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.

Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?

Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]

Be Useful

Something that I have been thinking about a lot is usefulness. There are moments when we have items in our home that are not useful to us. Sometimes we have apps on our devices that are not useful. Maybe at a time they seemed useful, but things have changed. But usefulness isn’t only something we consider as objects or possessions. People can be useful or not useful too.

Paul was writing to Philemon about the runaway servant Onesimus. He tells Philemon about this change that has occurred. Yes, Onesimus was deserving of punishment, which could have meant a death sentence. It was within the legal limits. But Paul mentions this great conversion of Onesimus. Not only did he give his life to Jesus, but in doing so, he became useful. In saying, “Not my will, but Your will be done,” he became useful. God had big plans for Onesimus!

If someone would consider your usefulness, what would they say? Would they describe you as very useful? Do you think you are very useful? Or is something getting in the way? That something could even be you! Truth be told, you have a great purpose. God has known this since the very beginning. It is a purpose that I pray you embrace and pour yourself into as an offering. Aim today to come to terms with this usefulness, and if the Spirit convicts you, follow His leading. It is a very dangerous prayer to say, “Use me.” Yet is a prayer than can help position you for what God has already prepared. Be useful. Plant for a good harvest.

“Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us.” – Philemon 1:11 [NLT]

In Such a Way

Today’s devotion is hard to write. I must admit that as a pastor, this verse is one I think upon often. One day I was hit with this overwhelming truth—that my actions—my words and my deeds – could cause someone to stumble and fall. This great responsibility caused me to reevaluate everything. I asked the Lord to please reveal to me if I am being a stumbling block, and to give me the wisdom and discernment to not get in the way of His work and His people. I was deciding “instead to live in such a way that (I would) not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” This doesn’t mean I haven’t done it, but that I pray for more of Him and less of me. I pray that I can live in such a way to embrace and encourage others on their walk, pointing them to Jesus, speaking life, equipping the saints for His kingdom.

Fall on your knees today and seek the wisdom and discernment so that you, too, will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. Seek out the best interests of others. Live with the eternal perspective. Today, decide to live in such a way that you build others up, that you show the love of Christ, that you reach down and raise up. This is grace. It is the same grace that God has shown us when He reached down in our broken world, and through Christ Jesus raised us to new life. We are now co-heirs with Christ Jesus. Live in such a way.

“So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” – Romans 14:13 [NLT]

Take Delight in Honoring

The Bible tells us that we are to honor people above ourselves. Some translations say that we are to “outdo one another in showing honor” (ESV, HCSB). This can also be translated as “excel in showing respect for each other” (GW). This respect or honor is not something we see often.

When you show respect to another person you are acknowledging them and showing that they matter. The verse tells us to “love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Not only must we love with true affection, but we should be eager to honor one another. This requires humility and grace.

How have you honored something recently? How have you reached out to show someone that they matter? Today, consider how you can do this with both word and deed. Take delight in honoring someone.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” – Romans 12:10 [NLT]

 

Loved First

There are different types of love. Phileo is often looked at as brotherly love. Eros is the sexual kind of love. Agape is the highest form of love, an unconditional love; this is the love that God has for us.

Many of us have a broken understanding of love. Our definition of love has been corrupted by abuse and worldly definitions. Maybe too many Hallmark and Lifetime movies have caused us to cross the line. The truth is we cannot truly love others, until we first grasp the love of God. When we begin to understand His love, and we walk with Him, we begin to grow in love and overflow in love. We then “love each other because He loved us first.”

Today, embrace the love of God. God loves you so much that He sent His one and only Son to pay for your sins so that if you believe in Him, you are given the free gift of eternal life. He loves you so much, He continues to reach out to you. He desires a relationship with you. It is by His example and through the Spirit that we can love others. We love each other because He loved us first.

“We love each other because He loved us first.” -1 John 4:19 [NLT]

Glory

The Israelites were quick to complain about God when they didn’t have their eyes on food. Just after God brought them out of Egypt, they forgot what He rescued them from, because they were hungry. Where was the food? We would be better off back in Egypt.

Even though the Israelites were complaining, God showed His glory to them. He didn’t withhold His glory. How awesome is that?!? He graciously allowed them to “see the awesome glory of the LORD in the cloud.”

Have you ever seen God’s glory? If you haven’t, you haven’t been looking. Despite each of us being sinners, He allows us to see His glory. Despite us often being ungrateful, He allows us to see His glory. Today, thank Him for His gracious ways. Thank Him for allowing us to experience Him—allowing us to see His glory!

“And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the LORD in the cloud.” – Exodus 16:10 [NLT]