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 history books of Kings and Chronicles tell us about what resulted from Israel not wanting God to be their king. In these books, we will find awesome warnings in the lives of the wicked kings, and we find great examples in the lives of godly prophets like Elijah and Elisha. In 1 Kings, we learn about the division of that human kingdom. In 2 Kings, we learn the details of their sad captivities and Gods grace and patience.
We will learn valuable lessons from Israels history that will give hope and encourage endurance, especially when encountering spiritual failures. In spite of the nations idolatry, God was very patient with His people. Every time the work of God ran into an obstacle, God raised up a prophet. Being Gods instrument to remove obstacles that blocked the work of God was a chief role or function of the prophets.
The books of Chronicles cover the same period of history that the books of Samuel and Kings cover. Chronicles means Things Omitted. The books spotlight Gods divine perspective on Hebrew history and the kings who were instrumental in bringing about revival, restoration, and reformation. The key to understanding the Chronicles is this: Gods ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.
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 Ezra teaches us that many times adversities are the sign of approval that the work of God is being carried out. But Ezras message is not about being defeated or distracted by opposition. There are many principles we learn from Ezra, and they can be summed up: 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.
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.
Gods Word includes five poetry books, also known as wisdom books or the writings: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. In these books, God speaks to the hearts of His people when they are suffering (Job), worshipping (Psalms), coping with the decisions of daily life (Proverbs), doubting (Ecclesiastes), and expressing the intimacies of marriage (Song of Solomon). Gods desire is for us to be changed from the inside out.
The Book and life of Job gives us a great perspective on how to face our own suffering and trials. Gods people have always suffered. Life is difficult and perplexing, and becoming a Christian does not take us out of our troubles. But God has a message for us when our hearts are hurting: Pain and suffering are inevitable, but misery is optional. That is the message of the book of Job.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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