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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: August, 2015
Aug 7, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”

What happens when we die? It is a question that so many ask and want to understand. In this text, Jesus gives us a rare glimpse into those things that lay beyond this life and world. In this story, we see the wealthy man who lived extravagantly on earth, but had not prepared himself for eternity. His riches and notoriety were of no benefit to him as he lifted up his eyes in torment. We also see the story of Lazarus, a man who had nothing in this life, but who had stored up an eternal treasure in heaven. Jesus paints a beautiful picture of Lazarus’ soul being lovingly carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom to be comforted and cared for. This story also depicts the vast separation between those two places and the impossibility of changing one’s fate once that time has come. There is no comfort and no hope in Hades, and there is nothing that troubles in paradise. As we read these words of Jesus and consider our own lives and fate, we must ask ourselves one very important question: which story will be ours?

What element of this story stands out to you the most and why?

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

Aug 6, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 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. “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void. “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

The Pharisees, like so many in our world today, had succumbed to the temptation of falling in love with this world’s things. They were enamored with money, notoriety, and honor from men. But Jesus reminds them, and us, “What is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” All of the worldly things that so many spend so much time and effort pursuing are unpleasing to God, not because they are necessarily evil in and of themselves, but because they threaten to occupy our hearts, minds, and lives and take us away from God. As we strive after riches, success, notoriety, and other worldly achievements, those things have the potential to take the place of God in our lives and effectively become gods to us. For that reason, Jesus often teaches  that we must not give ourselves to worldly things but rather devote our hearts and lives to God above all else.

Why is it so important for us to God first in our lives?

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

Aug 5, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

This parable of Jesus is one of the most difficult to understand. This is partially true because He uses a dishonest and unworthy steward to illustrate a principle applicable to His disciples. Notice that the steward is not commended for his dishonesty (he is still dismissed for being dishonest), but rather for being prudent and shrewd. He was able to use the physical things at his disposal to provide a comfortable living for himself. In His interpretation of the story, Jesus makes the point that those of the world are often wiser in their earthly dealings than those who belong to God. The underlying point of this parable is pretty simple. Jesus is attempting to teach us about the importance of being good stewards of our earthly things. Just as the steward used his master’s things to provide security for himself, we are to use the things God has blessed us with in such a way that we are storing up riches in heaven. Certainly, we are not to do that through dishonesty and treachery, but rather through prudence and wisdom. May God help us to be good stewards for Him!

What does it mean to be a steward of God?

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

Aug 4, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’ ”

This story is one of the most well-known parables of Jesus. It is rich and full of meaning. Each character in the story—the father, the younger son, and the older son—have valuable lessons to teach us. We don’t have time in this thought to explore all the characters and all the lessons, so I want to focus on only one: the father. The loving, patient, forgiving father in the story represents our heavenly Father. Jesus paints for us a picture of a God who never gives up, who is constantly watching and waiting for His lost children to return, and who joyfully forgives us and takes us back when we do. While He certainly does not condone the sinful paths that we might choose from time to time, He never stops loving us. If I as a sinner “come to myself” and am willing to go to Him in humility and with a repentant heart, He is there to wrap His arms of love around me and restore me to my place as His child. What a beautiful picture of the mercy and love of God, and what a powerful message that needs to be heard by our world today.

This thought focused on the father, but what lessons do you see in the two sons?

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

Aug 3, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

This short parable is very similar in theme and application to the previous one. In this story, Jesus uses a lost coin as the object lesson. What if you lost a $100 dollar bill? You know that it is in your house somewhere, but you can’t find it? Do you just say, “Oh well,” and forget about it? Most of us would turn the house upside down. We would look in every drawer, under every piece of furniture, and in every corner of the house until we found the money. That is exactly the picture Jesus paints in this parable. What person, He asks, if they lose a silver coin, doesn’t search for it tirelessly until they find it? Again, that coin represents a lost soul that God desperately cares about and desires to be saved. And again, as God’s servants and ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), we should be just as concerned for that soul as we are for that $100 bill we lost. We should work and pray and never give up on trying to “find” that lost soul. May God help us to be more like Him!

Why does one soul matter so much to God?

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

Aug 2, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

 

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Ninety-nine percent. In most areas of life, that number is acceptable and even exemplary. A score of 99 on a test is excellent. In basketball, a 99% shooting average is amazing. A batter who hits .990 would be the greatest ever. But when it comes to souls, God is not satisfied with ninety-nine percent. Every soul matters. Each one is important. That is the point of Jesus’ parable concerning the lost sheep. But in making that point, he also teaches us that we should be just as concerned for that one soul. Which one of you, Jesus asks, would not go out looking for your lost sheep and then rejoice and celebrate when you found it? Implied is the idea that anyone who has a flock of sheep would go looking for one that was missing. Should we not be just as concerned for an eternal soul as we are for an animal? God cares about lost souls. Even one sinner that repents and returns to God causes much joy in heaven. As God’s children and servants, we should also be concerned for lost souls and work to help them find their way back to God.

What can we do to help the lost to find their way back?

 

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

Aug 1, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep will be discussed tomorrow, so today’s thought will focus on the meaning of v. 10. Jesus had earlier used a nearby child as an object lesson, and here refers back to that child as a representative of the lowliest of people in society. In their culture, children had no rights, no property of their own, and very little regard among people. Jesus uses this child to make the point that every person, regardless of their position in society, was important to God. The phrase “their angels always see the face of My Father” has caused much discussion and confusion, and has even led to the idea of each person having a “guardian angel.” This is not Jesus’ intended meaning, but using vivid imagery, He is making the point that God is interested and concerned about every person. No person or situation escapes the eye of God. No one is unimportant or unworthy of His attention. For that reason, Jesus says, we should not despise or look down on anyone. Instead, we should strive to look at others with the love and compassion that God has for them.

What are some ways that we can share God’s compassion with the world?

 

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

 

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