Thursday
May212015

The Truth presented

Explore the Bible
June 7, 2014

Zachary Tunnell
DeWitt

1 John 1:1-4

“Living life to its fullest” is a phrase that many people live their lives by.

Sadly, the pursuit of living a full life is often all that some people can think about. Many are prone to seek and strive to do what makes them feel happy or fulfilled, while in reality they are enslaved to living for themselves.

John the Apostle spoke of living life to its fullest in the opening words of 1 John. The context of living life to its fullest was not that he was seeking a bigger house, a weekend getaway or any other temporal thing. What
John was seeking was to make sure that others knew about the Eternal One, in whom there is life.

As John presented the Truth to others, he experienced the fullness of joy (1 John 1:4).

Did John experience the absence of joy whenever he wasn’t telling others about Jesus? No, instead, his joy in Christ was experienced at its highest level when he was sharing about Jesus. This is the same fullness of joy that Jesus spoke of belonging to believers in John 15:11.

Believers can experience this same fullness of joy today in two distinct ways. First, our joy can be filled full whenever we see Jesus as being the Eternal One. In 1 John 1:1-3, John uses the idea of “seeing” Jesus not just to mean that he literally saw Jesus with his own two eyes, but that he recognized Jesus as being eternal.

Believers must recognize and celebrate that Jesus is truly the Eternal One.

Secondly, believers can experience the fullness of joy whenever we tell others about Jesus Christ. Whether reminding other believers, or sharing the gospel with someone who has never heard, we can join John in experiencing a joy that only comes from God.

The completion of joy is not attained by bigger salaries, better jobs or more stuff. It is experienced when one lives fully in Jesus Christ, the Eternal One.

Will you present the Truth to others and experience the fullness of joy?

Thursday
May212015

Accept your leadership role 

Bible Studies for Life
June 7, 2014

Laura Macfarlan
Siloam Springs

Joshua 1:1-9

Serving faithfully as Moses’ assistant prepared Joshua well to accept his new role to lead God’s people into the Promised Land.

It seems unlikely to move from Egyptian slave to general of an army, but when God gives an assignment, He also provides the power of His presence to complete it.

Do you feel like an unlikely candidate for your assignment from God? Joshua’s life is living testimony that God delights in using the unlikely. And perhaps when He chooses to use the unqualified and unlikely, He gets all the more glory!

Joshua led the people forward with victory guaranteed: The land would be theirs, and no enemy would be able to stand against them. The reason for their success is found in Joshua 1:5, where God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Perhaps these words from God sound familiar. Jesus said something similar to His disciples after issuing the Great Commission: “I am with you always, to the very end of the
age” (Matt. 28:20).

Just as God promised to be with Joshua, so Jesus promised to be with His disciples. You and I, as followers of Christ, can claim that promise for our own.

Joshua and the Israelites were to go in and conquer – claiming a physical kingdom. You and I are to go – and claim a spiritual kingdom.

Both situations are assured success because of the presence of God almighty.

Because of His presence, we are guaranteed victory – no matter how ridiculous or how daunting or how dismal the assignment.

What hard thing is it that God is calling you to do? What difficult assignment is He putting on your
to-do list?

Will you step out in confident faith – not knowing how, but knowing victory is assured – because you and God are doing this together?

Are you ready, like Joshua, to accept the role God has assigned to you?

Thursday
May212015

A pure people 

Explore the Bible
May 31, 2014

Doug Hibbard
Almyra

Malachi 3:1-7; 3:16–4:2

Many years ago I went to Camp Nile Montgomery for Boy Scout summer camp.

Those weeks culminated in a great and dreadful day. It was the day of the coming of the parents! Each week, Friday night was family night. My parents came both weeks to see what I had done all week.

Their coming meant that I spent much more time trying to scrub the dirt and sweat off of me on Friday afternoon than I had all week long. I also dug around in the bottom of the footlocker for the cleaner shirt, socks and shorts that were in their somewhere. After all, judgment was on its way to Damascus (Ark.), and I wanted to be ready to meet it.

Unfortunately, Mom and Dad could tell that I was faking my cleanliness.

I do not know if there were missed spots or if parents simply just know the habits of teenage boys, but there was no denying that I had not kept myself pure through the week, choosing to skip taking cold showers a few days in the hopes that one long one would make up for it. Needless to say, it never did.

Malachi carried a warning to the people of Judah that was more important than parents night at the campground. Their purity was soon to be examined, but not by human eyes. The great and dreadful day of the Lord was coming, and just as fire was used to purify metal, so they would be purified.

It would not be a pleasant experience (Mal. 3:2). Judgment would come on those who were not pure before God (Mal. 3:5), and only those who feared Him would find healing (Mal. 4:2) in place of destruction.

What shall we do in the face of His coming?

First, we must let our fear turn our hearts to Jesus Christ. There is no escaping God’s judgment, except through God’s own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

From there, as we try to walk in obedience, let us build a habit of daily walking in purity before the Lord.

Thursday
May212015

Stick with acceptance

Bible Studies for Life
May 31, 2014

Detra Thomas
Fort Smith

Romans 14:1-4, 13-19

We have all kinds of churches today that appeal to all kinds of people. We live in a world of vegetarians and vegans, people who immunize and people who don’t. And then we have the judges – individuals who set themselves up as those who decide who is spiritual and who is not and then announce their verdict to anyone who will listen.

To be honest, I have set in the judge’s seat many times. Some days it seems like the seat to be in. In fact, it is enjoyable at times.

But I have noticed something. When I am sitting on the judge’s bench, I miss getting to know the hearts of the people. I am too busy critiquing to fellowship.

I have made some bad judgment calls, hurting people in the process.

Be honest – you have pounded the gavel on the desk with a judgment call yourself.

Paul is urging us to let God be the Judge. After all, He is omniscient. We are not. He alone knows the heart of every man. We do not.

Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

If the kingdom of God equals righteousness, then when we play the role of judge, we are unrighteous.

God is clear in Scripture that He hates a prideful heart (Prov. 16:5). The Word tells us that God resists the proud but extends grace to the humble in 1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6. Grace is God giving us the desire and ability to obey His voice. So, if my choice is to be prideful and judgmental, I thereby lose God’s favor and blessing. But, if I humble myself, I receive God’s grace and a strong desire to obey His Word, thereby giving up the robe and gavel!

Paul then says in Romans 14:19, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
So, this Sunday, look around, asking the Holy Spirit to show you who needs an encouraging word, a smile or a hug.

Thursday
May072015

Faithful 

Explore the Bible
May 24, 2014

Doug Hibbard
Pastor
First Baptist
Almyra

Malachi 2:10-17

What does “faithful” mean? This lesson will be delivered the Sunday before Memorial Day – the day we remember those whose lives were lost in the establishment and defense of this nation. What can we learn about being faithful?

“Faithful” is standing by your commitments, even to your own detriment (Psa. 15:4). “Faithful” is keeping what is right ever before you, no matter the actions of others. “Faithful” is remembering who brought you this far and staying committed to that One.

“Faithful” is what the people of Judah were not. Malachi speaks the Word of the Lord to them, calling out their detestable actions (Mal. 2:11) and declaring their punishment of separation from the presence of God (Mal. 2:12-13). This judgment would stand, God declared, even if they presented offerings.

“Faithful” isn’t something that is purchased with gifts. Malachi 2:14 parallels God’s Covenant with marriage, where devotion of the heart can’t be replaced with gifts. Just as no amount of material gifts can make up for a treacherously behaving spouse, so the offerings brought by Israel were not enough to restore their Covenant relationship with God. Their hearts needed to be made new.

“Faithful” is continuing to walk in that covenant, though the years have brought new challenges. The people of Judah were contemplating a return to idolatry (Mal. 2:10-11), forgetting the Covenant they’d walked in for so long. The Lord sent Malachi to warn them.

“Faithful” is honoring not just the primary Covenant, the one between the people and their God, but also the outgrowth of that Covenant. Malachi highlights that the people had not only behaved treacherously toward God, but also toward one another.

“Faithful” is what we are called to be. It should be the cornerstone of our relationship with God, faithful, unflinching, undiluted.

“Faithful,” finally, is what God has always been to His Word, His Covenant and His people. Even when we were sinners and Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8), He was always faithful.

Let us be found faithful.