Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, mistreated and went through difficult circumstances, yet he never lost his faith in God. His loving response, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Joseph teaches us about the providence of God and confirms what Romans 8:28 declares that there is no situation so bad God cannot redeem it and bring good from it.
In this lesson we take an in-depth look at the purpose of the Ten Commandments and each individual commandment, and how Jesus interpreted and applied them to the lives of those around Him. The Ten Commandments were written on two tablets. Four of them govern our relationship with God, and six govern our relationships with people. As we obey all of the commandments, we must be careful to obey them in spirit as well as by the letter.
The book of Ruth is a profound allegory illustrating redemption. To redeem means to buy back and to bring back. Boaz redeemed Ruth; first he bought her back when he paid all her debts, then he established a relationship with her that brought her back into the family of God. Learn how in the same way we must decide we want Jesus to be our redeemerto buy us back and to bring us back into the family of God.
We learn much from the power of sin in King Davids life. Like black velvet against which a jeweler displays his diamonds, sins dark penalty, power, and price make the three facts of salvation shine brighter. First, Jesus Christ has removed the penalty of sin. Second, the Holy Spirit is more powerful than the power of sin. The third fact of salvation is that in the sight of God the stains of sin are washed away by forgiveness.
The first return from the Babylonian captivity was to rebuild the temple under Ezras leadership. Ezra is a great example of godly leadership and this lesson explains how and why God uses a man like Ezra. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah, along with Esther, are known as the post-captivity history books. Ezra and Nehemiah are very similar books. They both teach principles of leadership and of doing Gods work in Gods way.
The book of Nehemiah shows us seven practical principles of leadership to do Gods work. Nehemiah demonstrated great strength, commitment, understanding, focus, courage, perseverance and complete dedication to doing Gods work Gods way. These principles from the life of Nehemiah show us how to be available for Gods use, because it is the Plan of God to use the Power of God in the People of God to accomplish the Purposes of God according to the Plan of God.
See God through the life of Esther, the story of a Hebrew woman who married a Gentile and saved the Jewish people from genocide, preserving the ancestry of the Messiah. One of the most important themes of Esther is Gods sovereign care over the lives of His people, even when our circumstances are painful or difficult and how He causes all things to work for the good for those called according to His purposes.
The Book of Job shares great insights on how to respond to lifes storms. When we first encounter suffering in our Christian life, we usually do not really understand why. As we grow and learn from the Bible, however, we begin to find many reasons why people suffer. Great benefits can come out of the trials we face, especially when we are able to stand firm in our faith through them.
In the shortest book in the Old Testament, we can learn big lessons. God spoke through Obadiah to condemn the nation of Edom because its people had rejoiced and gloated when Judah fell. The story of the enmity between Israel and Edom goes back to the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau. These brothers represent the difference between those who are spiritual, who seek God and obey His ways, and those only interested in the material world and their selfish desires.
The Great Commission has four main parts (going, making disciples, baptizing, and teaching). We can see all of them in the Book of Acts as God clearly showed that the Gospel was for everyone: Philip preached in Samaria and then to the Ethiopian, and Peter shared the gospel with the Roman soldier Cornelius. Paul and Barnabas further show this as they proclaim the Gospel from Jerusalem and Judea and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Jesus begins by teaching His disciples eight attitudes called, the beatitudes, or blessed attitudes, because each one is introduced by the word blessed. Jesus is promising to bless the disciple who has each of these attitudes. This word blessed can actually mean happy, spiritually prosperous, or in a state of grace. Each attitude also includes a promise that describes the form in which this blessing will come into the life of that disciple.
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the key teachings of the Bible. Jesus preached this sermon on a mountaintop in Galilee when He challenged people who professed to be His disciples to be strategically placed between the love of God and the pain of the hurting people in the world. He challenged His disciples to partner with Him and be conduits of His love. He concluded His sermon with a call to commitment. It changed the lives of many who heard it.
Believers sometimes have the misguided opinion that their faith is weak if they show signs of mourning. This beatitude not only supports mourning it links it to a blessing. Mourning a loss is normal and there are things God wants us to learn from the loss. We must let God use our mourning to move us in three ways. First, mourning helps us ask the right questions about life. Second, it helps us to seek Gods answers. Third, it also helps us to accept the blessing God has provided including our salvation.
Many people think Jesus was contradicting the Old Testament in these verses, but He was only confronting the teaching of the religious leaders. He was telling His disciples: Everything I am teaching you is found in the Word of God, but what I am teaching is in direct conflict with what your religious leaders have been teaching you.
Salt is a preservative that keeps meat from spoiling, and Christians with the attitudes of Jesus are like salt to the world. When disciples with Christ-like attitudes are rubbed into the people of the world as salt is rubbed into meat, their influence will keep the world from total corruption. They become a valuable commodity Jesus uses to revolutionize the culture. The second metaphor indicates that Christians are the only source of light for multitudes living in darkness. As with the first metaphor, Jesus words literally mean that you and you alone are salt and light. If His disciples do not fulfill their role as salt and light, no one else is left to fulfill it. The people who have Jesus attitudes are sent into the world as Gods solution in order to shine for all to see.
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