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Five Minutes with God

Five Minutes with God is a distinct and exciting approach to daily Bible devotionals. Instead of a lofty goal of going through the entire Bible—or even the New Testament—in one year, Five Minutes with God focuses on shorter passages so that the reader can absorb more of the text and apply it to everyday life. This daily podcast will step you through the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ. Each day’s podcast also ends with a thought for further reflection and a call to prayer. By reading, reflecting, and praying, Five Minutes with God will help you come to know Him, love Him, and follow Him like never before.
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Now displaying: March, 2015
Mar 31, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “ ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

Have you ever known someone who was determined to be unsatisfied? That is the way Jesus describes some of His day. They were hard-headed and hard-hearted, obstinate, and close-minded. They rejected John because he separated himself from the world. He dressed differently, spoke differently, acted differently, and even ate differently, and so they accused him of having a demon. Then Jesus came and interacted in people’s lives, attended normal activities of life, had relationships with people, and He was also rejected because of the way He lived. Neither of these men fit the Jews’ mold or conformed to their way of thinking, so they were refused. They were determined to be unsatisfied. It is still true today that many people are determined to be unsatisfied— unsatisfied with the church, the elders, the preacher, or even with Christ Himself. They are hard-headed and hard-hearted. May God help us avoid that attitude and always be open and accepting of Jesus.

Why do you think some people are so determined to be unsatisfied?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 30, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

What a statement of praise and commendation given here to John by Jesus! John was not “a reed shaken by the wind”—he was not one to be blown about by every changing current of social or religious ideology. He was not “a man dressed in soft clothing”—one who was self-indulgent and worldly. John was a man of conviction and courage, one who was sacrificially committed to His God-given purpose. He was a prophet—more than a prophet, he was the forerunner of the Messiah. “Among those born of women,” Jesus says, “there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.” But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say that “the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” As great as John and his work was, he did not get to see the Lord’s kingdom come. He was never a citizen of that kingdom, the church. We, who have the privilege of being washed in the blood of Christ and thereby added to His body, are far more blessed and privileged than even John. What a wonderful blessing it is to be citizens of the kingdom of heaven.

Why is it such a blessing to be part of the Lord’s kingdom?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 29, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

“While there is much to think about in this short text, I want to focus on the final statement Jesus makes: “Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” The word “offended” is from the same root word from which we get the word “stumbling block.” Following Jesus was not, and is not, always easy. It requires commitment and sacrifice. In Jesus’ day, many found a stumbling block in the fact that Jesus did not take the form they were expecting or in the difficulty of His teaching. Many rejected Him from the beginning, while others were disciples for a while, only to turn back and follow Him no more. Not much has changed in today’s world. Many still reject Him for reasons that are not much different from those of His own time. But it also remains true that “Blessed is the one who is not offended by [Him].” May God help us be committed and faithful followers of Christ!

What are some of the reasons people reject Christ today?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!”

Mar 29, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household.

“And he himself believed…” He had not seen his son healed. He had no proof, no evidence. He only had the word of Jesus, yet he believed. He met the challenge of believing without seeing with incredible faith, and in so doing, left us a great example. How do we respond when we are challenged to believe without seeing? There are times for all of us when we pour out our hearts to God, pleading with Him for His help, His blessings, His intervention in our lives. We do not typically see immediate results from those prayers but must, as the man in this text, go our way and wait on God. Not knowing when or even how God will answer our prayers, we are called to believe without seeing. What a challenge that is for us. But if we can approach those times with faith, we, like the nobleman, will find that God is faithful, and that He can and will answer our prayers in a way that is good and perfect.

How can we learn to deepen our faith in God’s promises?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!”

Mar 27, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

For the woman in this story, the mother of the man who had died, this was not only a sorrowful situation but a desperate one. Being a widow and having only one son who had now died, she was left with no one to care for her. There would be no one to provide for her needs, no one to take her in, no one to care about her at all. She would become a helpless and hopeless victim of her society. But Jesus cared. He recognized her plight, had compassion on her, and provided for her in a way that no one else could. God still has a way of caring for us. He looks down on us in compassion to see our needs, and He meets those needs in ways that no one else can, many times in ways that we do not even recognize. Through His perfect wisdom and wonderful providence, He brings people and opportunities into our lives when we need them most and sees that we are taken care of. What a wonderful, loving, compassionate God we serve!

What are some ways in which God has cared for you?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 26, 2015

HOST: Michael WhitworthAfter he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

What faith and what a statement of commendation by Jesus! This Gentile man was said to have a faith that surpassed even the faith of any Jew. Rarely did Jesus use such flattering words. What was it that demonstrated this great faith and prompted such a commendation from the Lord? First of all, he believed in Jesus and in His ability to heal his sick, dying servant. But more importantly, he understood that Jesus had authority and power over this illness that was not bound by proximity. With great humility and recognition of his own unworthiness to even be in the presence of Jesus, he acknowledged that, even without seeing the servant, without touching him, without the servant being able to hear Him, Jesus had the power to heal. Despite the distance and seriousness of the illness, the Centurion was confident of Jesus’ ability to make his servant whole. Oh, that God would help us to have that kind of faith—a faith that fully trusted in Him to meet our needs and answer our prayers despite our own unworthiness.

What can we do in our lives to strengthen our faith in God?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 25, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

God gives, God answers, God opens. As Christians, we don’t struggle with this truth, but we do sometimes struggle with what God gives, how God answers, and which door God opens. When we pray, we typically have a very specific idea in mind about what we need and how we desire God to answer. As long as God’s answers are in line with our desires, we are satisfied, but what if they are not? What if God’s answers to our petitions are much different than we had asked? In those times, we often wonder why God is not blessing us in the way we need. When it comes to understanding our lives, we are much like children. Our children may want to eat candy at every meal and stay up as late as they can each night, but as parents, we know that those choices are not the best for them. So, we give them more nourishing foods and help them get the sleep they need. In much the same way, the things we often think are best or needed are, in reality, not what is in our best interest. Just like we do with our children, God sometimes overrules our requests and desires in order to give us what is more needful and beneficial. He is always a giver of good things. Our part is to take our requests to Him and then trust Him to give us what is best.

How can we learn to see the good in God’s answers to our prayers?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 24, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

“Because of his imprudence…” Some have asked if it is wrong to pray about the same thing repeatedly, to petition God over and over concerning the same situation. “Doesn’t it show a lack of faith?” some want to know. This little parable gives the answer to that question. Jesus is teaching a lesson about the persistence in prayer that God desires for us to demonstrate. But don’t misunderstand the meaning of this parable. In the story, it appears that the friend, who initially refused the borrower’s request, eventually grants the request because of the continual bothering of the borrower. Does that mean that God is, at first, hesitant to answer our prayers, but might be willing to grant our petitions if we pester Him enough? Not at all! God is never bothered by our prayers, nor is He hesitant to answer. The meaning of this teaching is simply that God desires our persistence in prayer. He wants to hear from us over and over again. He wants us to rely upon Him and to pray to Him “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). For it is in prayer that we find the comfort and solace that only God can provide.

Why do you think that God has such a desire for us to pray to Him?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 23, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

This passage highlights the danger of doing nothing. We typically think of the man who built his house on the sand (better known from Matthew’s account) as being one who founded his life on sinful, worldly things, one who had actively rejected God and filled his life with ungodly and wicked pursuits. But this is not the picture that Luke paints in his record of Jesus’ teaching. Notice that “the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation...” Many people feel that, by attempting to “ride the fence” and not make a decision one way or the other about Christ, whether to reject Him or accept Him, they are safe on middle ground. But Jesus teaches us that not making a decision is just as destructive to our lives as to actively reject Him. There is only one way to build our lives on a firm foundation—to accept Him and live by His words.

Why is the middle ground of non-committal not a good foundation for our lives?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 22, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Who are you? On the surface, it seems to be a simple question, but the answer is often more complicated and difficult to discover than we think. When we think about who we are, we consider how we want others to see us, and what we want them to think of us. We also think about who we want to be or wish we were. But as we consider our lives and who we really are, we are taught by passages such as this one that the answer is found, not in the opinions of others or even in our own eyes, but deep within our hearts. Our lives are made into what they are by the things we choose to put into our hearts—thoughts, actions, images, attitudes, and feelings. The abundance of those things that we put into our hearts then come out as words, actions, and attitudes of our own. If we fill our hearts with good and godly things, then our lives will reflect godliness. If we fill our hearts with sinful and worldly things, then our lives will become like the world. May God help us to have hearts that are filled with Him!

What are some things we can do to fill our hearts with godly things?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 22, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

“Can a blind man lead a blind man?” From a physical perspective, this is an easy question to answer and almost a comical scenario to consider. How can one lead another if the leader himself cannot see (or does not know) where he is going? But from a spiritual perspective, it is a serious question that affects each of us in some way. As Christians, we are all called to be leaders—lights to the world, leading those around us to better know God and to glorify Him in their own lives. We are to be examples, influences, teachers, and ambassadors for Christ. But how can we lead others if we do not know the way? How can we help the blind to see if we are blind ourselves? This passage encourages us, even commands us, to prepare ourselves to be leaders for Christ—to be knowledgeable of the way in which we are to lead others, to remove the obstacles of clear sight from our own lives, and to have the attitude of love and humility that will allow us to take others by the hand and lead them closer to God.

What are some things that we can do to prepare ourselves to be leaders for God?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 20, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

It was not uncommon in the first-century world that, as one went to the market place to buy a measure of wheat, he would be short-changed by the merchant receiving a lesser amount than the full measure desired and paid for. Jesus uses this well-known occurrence to describe God’s generosity toward us and the generosity that we are to have toward others. When God gives a blessing, He gives a “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” We can envision, in these words, the fair-minded merchant measuring out the portion of grain, pressing and shaking down the contents to make sure that all the air pockets are removed, and every corner and crevice of the vessel is filled, even to the point of overflowing the container. That is the way God gives to us. He gives generously, abundantly, fully. But in return, God asks that we give to Him and to others in the same way, not skimpily or with hesitation, but that we give with a generous and joyful heart. May we always be thankful to God for His generous blessings, and may we strive to be like Him in our own giving.

Why is it important how we give to God?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 19, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

 

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

“It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Have you ever given thought to that idea? We know that God sent His Son into the world to redeem us from sin. We know that, through Him, He offers us the opportunity to be in relationship with Him. We know that God has promised a home in heaven to those who are saved through Christ. But have you ever considered the idea that doing these things brings pleasure to God? God wants us to be saved. He yearns for it. To take our sins away and to make us His children brings joy to the heart of God. To see people come to Him in faith and obedience makes Him smile. So great is the love of God for us that he delights in being our Father and blessing us with all things, spiritually and physically. What a wonderful thought to know that, not only does God save us, but that it is His pleasure to do so.

Why do you think God finds pleasure in saving us?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 18, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

We often think of the creative role of God—the God who spoke the world and everything in it into existence in an amazing display of His transcendent power and wisdom. But God’s involvement in this world did not end there. Jesus portrays God as the caregiver of His creation. It is He who feeds the birds of the air and arrays the flowers of the field in colorful glory. He sustains and provides for the world and its inhabitants in a way that is not just sufficient, but abundant and beautiful and perfect. So what is the point of this description of God as care-giver of the world? Have you ever considered that, of all of God’s creations, we are the only ones that worry? We—the centerpiece of God’s wonderful creation, made in His own image, recipients of His love and greatest gift—have no reason to worry, yet we do. But God is a faithful God. He loves us and will care for us. If we put Him first and trust Him with our lives, He will bless us and provide for us in greater ways than we can imagine. So trust and don’t worry!

What are some things we can do to minimize our worry?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 17, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

There are many people who struggle with prayer. How should I pray? What should I pray for? What should my attitude be in prayer? These and many other questions have been asked by sincere children of God who want to deepen and improve their prayer life. The disciples of Jesus had similar desires and questions. They wanted to know how to pray like Jesus prayed, and in this “model prayer,” Jesus answered many of their, and our, concerns. In this short and simple prayer, Jesus showed them and us how to pray and what to pray for. How should we pray? Pray to your Father, understanding and appreciating the relationship you have with Him—“Father.” Pray with respect, reverence and praise, understanding the majesty, glory, and holiness of God—“Hallowed by Your name.” What should we pray for? Pray for the church—“Your kingdom come.” Pray for your earthly needs—“Give us each day our daily bread.” Pray for your spiritual needs—“Forgive us our sins.” Pray for God’s protection and deliverance—“And lead us not into temptation.” What a beautiful prayer, and what a wonderful model for us.

Why do you think people struggle with knowing how to pray?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 16, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

We call it the golden rule: “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” It is one of those teachings of Jesus that has found its way into our modern-day vernacular, though it is often not as prevalent in practice as it ought to be in our world today. It is such a simple principle, yet it can shape our behavior toward others and transform our relationships with them. Do you want others to be kind to you? Then be kind. Do you want others to be patient with you and understand that you are not perfect? Then be patient and understanding. Do you want others to forgive you when you fail? Then be forgiving. Imagine a world where every person lived by this simple rule of human interaction. It may be that the world as a whole never comes around to living by this rule, but that should not prevent us from living by it. And it may be that, as we apply this teaching of Jesus to our lives, it causes those around us to decide to live out the golden rule in their lives as well. May God help us treat others as we want to be treated.

Why do you think more people do not apply this rule to their lives?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 15, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

This reading represents the other side of the coin. If Jesus desired to comfort and reassure those who were suffering in the last passage, He certainly intends to warn and condemn those to whom He is speaking in this passage. Understand that Jesus is not condemning those who are rich, happy, or respected based simply on their station in life. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these situations; in fact, to be joyful or well-spoken of is admirable. Jesus is speaking to and condemning those who have given their love and devotion to their earthly things instead of to God, those who revel in this world and its pleasure with no regard for spiritual things, those who strive for acceptance in the world, sacrificing truth and godliness to find it. The greatest lesson for us to learn here is that there is nothing in this world—not riches, pleasure, or popularity—that offers what a faithful relationship with God offers, and none of those things are worth the price they require.

Why do so many people struggle to choose God over worldly things?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 14, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

In Luke’s account of what we call the Beatitudes, he focuses on the now vs. later aspect of these teachings of Jesus. While this life might hold hardships, struggles, sorrows, and trials of different kinds in the here and now, Jesus gives us the comfort of knowing that those difficulties will be turned into joy and rejoicing in the hereafter. Maybe Paul states it best when he says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us,” (Romans 8:18). There are definitely times in our lives when we encounter situations and circumstances that are difficult and painful, some almost unbearable. God understands those times and knows our struggles. But He has a plan for us, and those hardships that we are asked to bear in this life will only serve to strengthen us and make the rest and rewards of heaven that much sweeter. So be patient and be strong, for the reward is well worth the struggle.

How have your struggles strengthened you and your faith?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 13, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Jesus was different. His teaching was different. He wasn't like the scribes, who were the Jewish lawyers of the day. They had devoted their lives to copying the law, and so they knew what it said. The Jews looked to them as experts and authorities. But Jesus was different. The scribes could tell them what the law said, but Jesus told them what it meant. He spoke with an insight into the mind and will of God that was unknown to the scribes. He taught with authority, the type of authority that could only come from God Himself. Jesus still speaks to us, through the Word, with an authority and insight into God’s will that can only come from God. And whether we realize it or not, Jesus’ teaching is still astonishing, because of its timeless relevance and perfect accuracy. Astonishing because of its enduring wisdom and life-changing truth. As we open up the Word of God and immerse ourselves into the teachings of Jesus, may God help us to be impressed, astonished, convinced, and changed by what He teaches us.

What impresses you about the teaching of Jesus?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 12, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Does the foundation matter? You better believe it does! A house that is built on a poorly planned or constructed foundation will not be able to survive. A marriage that is not based on a foundation of love, trust, and commitment will not last. And a life built on an unstable foundation will crumble and fall under the stress of life’s storms. At the end of all the teaching Jesus does in the Sermon on the Mount, He leaves us with one final admonition: be careful what foundation you are building your life on. The teachings of Jesus, the Word of God, provides a foundation that is firm, stable, and unshakeable. It provides an anchor point for life that allows it to withstand any storm, any hardship, any challenge, any trial. In contrast, any other foundation on which we can build our lives—this world, riches, worldly relationships, achievement—is unstable. Those foundations cannot and will not be able to withstand the storms of life. The lesson is very simple—build your life on the firm and solid foundation of Christ!

How does the Word of God provide a firm foundation for our lives?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 11, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

What does it take to enter the kingdom of heaven? It is a question that has been asked many times over the centuries and answered in many different ways. It is an issue that mankind has made complicated and controversial, but Jesus answers the question in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand way if we will only listen to Him. He tells us that entrance into heaven will not be granted based simply on whether someone is willing to acknowledge, believe in, or call on the name of the Lord. As important as those things are, they are not enough by themselves. Neither will someone be saved by the works they do, even works done in the name of the Lord. Those works, while good and important, can never earn salvation for the one performing them. Jesus says very simply that entrance to the heavenly kingdom will be granted to those who do the will of the Father—those who submit themselves to God, give Him their lives, and live for Him in faith and obedience. Only in this way of life can one truly be cleansed by the blood of Christ and enjoy the gift of salvation. May we all have a heart of submission and a desire to always do the will of our Father.

Why do you think there is so much confusioon the subject of salvation today?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 10, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Have you ever played a role, maybe in a school musical, community theatre, or youth group skit? Playing a role often involves dressing up in costume, taking on the persona of your character, and pretending to be someone or something other than yourself. It is fun and harmless in a theatrical setting, but can be anything but harmless in real life. This activity of playing a part is the picture from which we get the word “hypocrite,” and it is the activity that Jesus describes and condemns in this passage. What appears to be harmless, good, and even helpful, Jesus says, is actually evil and destructive. But Jesus tells us that there is a way to see through the mask and identify the real person. “You will recognize them by their fruits.” Regardless of the image that someone tries to portray, their life will tell the tale. There are two lessons that we need to keep in mind here: one is to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Don’t be deceived and led astray by someone’s act. The other lesson is that we must always be careful to make sure that our lives reflect who we really are. Be genuine, sincere, and godly. There is no greater way to bring glory to God.

Why do you think some choose to pretend to be something they are not?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 9, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Two gates, two ways, two destinations. This passage is a metaphor for life—everyone’s life. We all have to make a choice: which gate to enter, which way to travel, which destination will be ours. Every person, every life, will travel down one path or the other, and so we must all choose. But how do we make the choice? What makes the difference? As we consider Jesus’ words here, the primary differentiating factor between the two ways is not found in the journey—a wide or narrow gate, an easy or hard way—but rather in the results of the journey. Any journey is defined by its destination, and in this case, there could not be two destinations that are more diametrically opposed to one another. As we choose our path through life and consider the desires of our hearts with regard to that journey and its outcome, we would surely choose “life” over “destruction.” With that in mind, let us choose the narrow gate and the hard way, understanding that the outcome of that journey is the destination that we desire—eternal life.

Why do you think that “few” will find the narrow gate that leads to life?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 8, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

We often mistake this passage as being about us—us getting what we want or need; us pursuing or asking of God the things that are needed in our lives; us being satisfied with provision from above. But in reality, this passage is not about us as much as it is about God. It is a wonderfully comforting and encouraging passage that teaches us that God is a God who loves us and wants to bless us. He yearns to meet our needs, answer our prayers, and care for us as a loving Father. He is the giver of all good things and, in His omniscience, knows exactly what we need. By His good pleasure, He meets our needs perfectly and blesses us beyond measure, constantly considering our spiritual well-being, even while caring for our physical needs. So “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,” because God, our Father, loves us and is our great provider.

Why do you think God wants to give us good things?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 7, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

I love the imagery of this passage. Can you picture it? You have a speck of dust in your eye and are struggling to find relief, when someone walks up to you: “Let me help you with that.” As you look up, you find the person standing before you with a 2x4 protruding from their own eye. Jesus uses this exaggerated language to demonstrate a simple principle: before you begin to judge and “fix” other people, make sure you have examined yourself. Jesus is not teaching that we should not be concerned for others, or that we should not try to help those who are obviously involved in behavior that is destructive to their spiritual lives. He is simply stating that we must not fall into the trap of hypocrisy by ignoring our own shortcomings while haughtily pointing out the errors of others. We must learn the lesson of humility and understand that it is only by the grace of God that any of us have the opportunity to be freed from the shackles of sin. Let us approach God, others, and even our own lives with that spirit of humility, and let us examine our hearts and lives to be sure that we are in a faithful relationship with God.

How can we help others to overcome sin without unrighteously judging others?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

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