Thursday
Aug212014

Who is Jesus?

Explore the Bible
September 7, 2014 

Jennifer Bryant
member
First Baptist
Fordyce

Hebrews 1:1-4

Life is hard. 

We see examples of that every day on the news, in the lives of our friends and even in our own lives. We struggle with doubt and with ridicule and persecution regarding our faith. 

The author of Hebrews wanted Jewish Christians, who had been facing some of these same issues, to understand the superiority of Christ. This would help them stay strong in their Christianity when they were tempted to return to Judaism just because it was familiar and comfortable. 

The author desired for the Jewish Christians to have no doubt about Jesus’ superiority over everything, so by using several descriptions, he revealed the true identity of Jesus as God (Heb. 1:3). Jesus has been “appointed heir of all things” and is the “radiance of God’s glory” (Heb. 1:2-3).

Jesus is the exact representation of God in a human body, “sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Heb. 1:3).

Most importantly, after Jesus had provided purification for sins by dying on the cross, He sat down at the right hand of God (Heb. 1:3). By Jesus sitting down, He was illustrating the work was complete. Christ’s sacrifice was final. No other rules or sacrifices are needed.

The same God who created the universe also died for each person. 

By realizing who Jesus is, we should never doubt that God can and will forgive any sin if we just come to Him. There is no sin too big for Jesus, the God of the universe, to forgive. 

Remembering Jesus’ superiority will help us during times in which we experience ridicule, struggle with doubt and face persecution. 

Each and every day, we must strive to live by faith and not fall back into trying to meet minimum religious requirements. 

Hebrews clearly illustrates Jesus is superior to the angels, any religion, any Jewish leaders and any priests, so don’t be fooled by any substitute or alternative to Jesus! 

Thursday
Aug212014

Connected in Christ

Bible Studies for Life
September 7, 2014 

Charles A. Collins
missionary
Spain

Ephesians 2:17-22

My email was working correctly. Our apartment is long and narrow. The Wi-Fi is located at one end of the apartment and the bedroom in which I was working at the other end. No problem – until it just quit working. I could not imagine what had happened, but after checking things out, I discovered that I was no longer connected to the Wi-Fi unit. I moved closer, and the problem was solved.

Something had happened. Why? I do not know, but it did. I was not close enough to connect even though I thought I was. 

Maybe this is what happens in our Christian life. We don’t think we have moved, but we have lost our connection. That is why these words from Paul in Ephesians 2:17-22 are so significant for us. We must constantly monitor if we are connected or not lest we fail and not even know it. 

The Christian life demands a constant connection in Christ. Being connected involves a matter of getting connected. It happened when I put a code into my computer. The code was always there, but I was too far away. Paul’s code for beginning the Christian life is hearing the gospel. This is when connection begins and becomes a reality. 

Paul describes the purpose of Christ’s presence. What was is no longer what is, and what was not has become a reality (2 Cor. 5:17). Christ has made us fellow citizens and members of God’s household. We are not foreigners and aliens. We are part of the structure where Christ is the chief Cornerstone (Psa. 118:22).

During our years of missionary service, I have observed a number of churches in different places built hundreds of years ago. They are still there despite the earthquakes and other natural disasters because there was something that held them together. That something was a strong cornerstone.

The connection with Christ gives us meaning and purpose. Being connected with Christ is vital to the Christian life. I must never take it for granted. 

Thursday
Aug212014

Be ready for Tribulation

Explore the Bible
August 31, 2014 

Janice Ramsey
member
Second Baptist
Arkadelphia

Daniel 9:20-27; 12:9-13

What time is it? That’s the question my husband and I have been asking each other. Both of our wristwatches have quit functioning. Telling the hour of the day is “chronos.”

“Kairos” is another Greek word for “time”; however, this word refers to divine time, God’s time, and focuses on the fulfillment of God’s purposes.

While we readily say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come,” Jesus waits on a command from our heavenly Father. The patience of the Lord means the opportunity for salvation (2 Pet. 3:9, 15)!

While we wait for His return, what should we be doing?

We find answers from our study in Daniel. We should not fear the things we do not understand; instead, let’s review what we discovered. Remember we, too, are treasured by God (Dan. 9:23).

(1) Draw the line – continue to study and hear the word of the Lord (Dan. 9:2).

(2) Risk everything for God – continue to seek wisdom (Dan. 12:10).

(3) Tell it like it is – continue to speak the truth (Dan. 9:8-10).

(4) Don’t give up on prayer – continue to seek Him in prayer (Dan. 9:3- 19). He answers!

(5) Live to win in the end continue to shine like stars (Dan. 12:3).

Daniel lived a long, full time – a life of trust, obedience, devotion and faithfulness to God. We cannot go wrong by following his example – serving God and ministering to others (1 Cor. 15:58).

Make the most of every opportunity to lead many to righteousness and hold out the word of life. Make sure names are in that Book! Continue to be faithful and “rise to your destiny” (Dan. 12:13). Awake to everlasting life!

Apocalyptic visions in Daniel – are they symbolic? Is the language figurative? Who is the Antichrist? When will the Tribulation come? The Lord will reveal more as “kairos” time approaches. Be Ready!

Thursday
Aug212014

Our work with creation

Bible Studies for Life
August 31, 2014 

Sherrill Moffett
member 
First Baptist  
Pocahontas

Leviticus 25:1-7

This summer has been one of the busiest ones our family has experienced yet. We have been traveling like crazy for the past few weeks, but the scenery has been beautiful along the way. 

One of my favorite things to see as we travel is all of the homegrown gardens and farms. 

During our drive time, we have seen plenty of people tending to their land, whether big or small. It obviously takes great attention to detail, consistency and patience to have a full and beautiful garden or farm like the ones we have seen. 

In Leviticus 25:1-7, we see God giving instructions to the people of Israel to care for the land that they had been given. God gives specific instructions to let the land rest. He initiates the same Sabbath principle to the land that He gave to the Israelites. In the same way that the Israelites were instructed to rest on the seventh day just as God rested, He extends this principle to the land in the form of years. The Sabbath year was to be a complete year of rest for the land with no planting, no pruning and no harvesting or storing of any crops that might have grown on their own. “Complete rest” meant no work. That being said, God did allow them to eat whatever was produced from the land during the Sabbath year.

The Sabbath principle shows us that God created us to live in and care for His creation. Just as He cares for us, we are to emulate that same relationship and care for the things He gives us. 

There is an ebb and flow kind of rhythm of work and rest. The end result is always providence when we are obedient and follow through with God’s commands and His calling on our lives. This is a pattern we find all throughout Scripture. God will always provide for His people in one way or another when we are living according to His will.

Thursday
Aug072014

Live to win in the end

Explore the Bible
August 17, 2014 

Janice Ramsey
member
Second Baptist
Arkadelphia

Daniel 7:7-18

Many people have recurring dreams. Mine involves going back to college and overcoming obstacles to get to class on time. 

In Daniel 7, we read of the unfolding of world history in the form of visions. In describing four beasts representing four earthly kingdoms, Daniel writes of their power and strength, swiftness and agility and also of their ferocious and terrifying destructiveness.

We realize that even Daniel asked questions and needed assistance in comprehending.  Many years have passed since W. O. Vaught taught on the book of Daniel at Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock. Scholars debate eschatological events, and many members in classes would love to debate end-time prophecies every Sunday. There are books, charts and timelines. To further complicate matters, prophecy often has both immediate historical fulfillment and/or pertains to events in the future. It is all overwhelming to laypeople. Let’s concentrate on certainties.

These things are sure and certain: Daniel confirms!

(1) God has a plan for the future. He alone controls world history. He is sovereign over all history. He assigns power to kingdoms to fulfill His purposes. Human world empires will not last; powerful nations pass into obscurity. Only God’s world empire will remain. His kingdom is eternal and will stand long after earthly powers have fallen.

(2) God is the world Judge. He is on the throne; He is over all peoples, all powers.

Judgment is certain. All enemies will be defeated; all evil will be removed. Everlasting victory belongs to God.

(3) Jesus is coming again. He comes to receive ultimate authority and power to reign. All will serve Jesus (Dan. 7:13-14; Phil. 2:9-11).

What is the impact on daily life?  Victory is guaranteed. Paul tells us to “encourage one another” that we will always be with Him and “live together with Him” (1 Thess. 4:17-18; 5:10-11).  Live confidently in Jesus and His victory!