Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.19.11

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FRIDAY- Be like God…Forgive!
Big Point: Jesus paved the way for us by paying for our sins—showing us the ultimate forgiveness.

“Forgiveness is the rebirth of hope, a reorganization of thought, and a reconstruction of dreams. Once forgiving begins, dreams can be rebuilt. When forgiving is complete, meaning has been extracted from the worst of experiences and used to create a new set of moral rules and a new interpretation of life’s events.”
-Lewis Smedes

Definition of Forgiveness:
“You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and have the power to wish them well.”
—Lewis Smedes

We as humans sin daily, some days more than others. When we do this we hurt God. However, God’s love for us is so powerful He forgives us time and time again. He sets the example and it is up to us to follow in his footsteps. God does not want us to be tied down with feelings of anger, hate, and resentment. He wants us to choose to forgive and ask for forgiveness and live free of the pain. Holding a grudge only keeps us trapped in the darkness, but when we forgive or are forgiven the weight is lifted and God grants us inner peace.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Job 2:5 (Good News Translation)
“To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.”

Psalm 65:3 (New Living Translation)
“Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all.”

LIVE…What will you do now?
Look at the definition of forgiveness. You’ve been challenged to deal with unforgiveness in your life. Keeping this definition in mind, can you think about someone you’ve forgiven in the past so that you can now think of him or her without anger and wish them well?

Think about the people that you have to forgive. How will you know when you’ve forgiven them?

Yesterday, you were challenged to ask for forgiveness from someone you have wronged. How are you going to communicate with them (phone, letter, face to face)? Are you ready to take the next step?

PRAY…God what do you want me to know & do?
Forgiveness of ourselves and others is a very difficult thing to do, and now more than ever should be a time to rely on God to help you through it. Pray for the strength to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Thank God as well for forgiving you time and time again. Ask God to help you persevere because the end result is so rewarding.

HOMEPOINTE FAMILY ACTIVITY
Big Point: We all make mistakes and so it is important for us to acknowledge when we hurt others and apologize to them.

Lesson: One of the best things we can do for our children is help them to take responsibility for the hurts they cause. Also, we want children to be able to learn from their mistakes and figure out what they will do differently next time.
One way to achieve this goal is to have children apologize using three complete sentences:
• The first sentence should describe what the child did or said that was wrong.
• The second sentence explains why it was wrong.
• The third sentence asks for forgiveness.
An example would be, “I said words to you that were mean and unkind. It was wrong because I hurt your feelings. Will you forgive me?” Using the guideline of three sentences will help children think and express themselves better. This approach is much more effective than a muttered, “I’m sorry.”

Activity: Children AND adults should practice making apologies to each other using the method described above. The children will be inspired if they see the adults participating in this activity.

Prayer: Dear God, I am going to hurt others—even when I don’t mean to. Please help me to always remember to apologize quickly when I am wrong or unkind. Amen.

Adapted with permission from Susan Nichter, LSW, of Greenfield, IN.

Living It Out: Scripture Memory August 2011
Ephesians 2:9-10 (New Living Translation)
Salvation is not a reward for the good things
we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
10 For we are God’s masterpiece.

He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the
good things he planned for us long ago.

Living It Out
It is the dream of CedarCreek that everyone who calls this their church home will be reading and studying the same topics, both individually and in groups. Each week, join with thousands of others at CedarCreek Church in applying God’s Word, the Bible, into your daily life. Our hope is that while we learn and grow together, as individuals and as a church, we will collectively live out the weekend message.

Living It Out resources, such as the Daily Bible Study, Daily Bible Reading Plan, Discussion Questions and Scripture Memory Verses, are designed to help us embrace a missional mindset…a mindset that compels us to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.

Living It Out: Daily Bible Study…Daily Bible study activities to reflect on the weekend message
Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan…Read through the New Testament in a year
Living It Out: Discussion Questions…Weekly questions to discuss with others
Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

All of these resources are also available electronically at www.livingitout.tv, where you can subscribe to have any or all of them emailed to you as they are updated.

We Want Your Feedback!
Tell us about any questions or comments you have about this week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study. Forward them to barbr@cedarcreek.tv.

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan scriptures are listed for each day. By completing each of the daily readings, you will read the entire Old Testament in 1 year. These readings are separate from the Daily Bible Study.

RESOURCES:

Daily Bible Commentary Compiled by Lauri White

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Stephanie Coil
Mallory Stock-Dow
Barb Roose

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ecclesiastes 7-8
Ecclesiastes 7: This seems to contradict Solomon’s previous advice to eat, drink and find satisfaction in one’s work – to enjoy what God has given. Adversity reminds us that life is short. It teaches us to live wisely, and refines our character. Solomon encourages us to think about death, not morbidly but in a way that helps us realize that we must examine the direction of our lives regularly and adjust our course if necessary. God allows both good times and bad times to come to everyone. Solomon, the wisest man in the world, confesses how difficult it is to live wisely. He says no matter how much we think we know: some mysteries will never be understood.
Ecclesiastes 8: Wisdom is the ability to see life from God’s perspective and then to know the best course of action to take. Proverbs teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom comes from knowing and trusting God. Solomon recommends the remedy for life’s unanswered questions: joy and contentment. No one can fully comprehend God and all that He has done, but the unknown should not cast a shadow over our joy, faith, or work because we know that Someone greater is in control and that we can put our trust in Him.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.18.11

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THURSDAY — When it is your fault…
Big Point: Chances are, someone is waiting for you to ask forgiveness…

One man’s story: Tim Crabtree spent almost 40 years abusing alcohol and drugs. At one point his family had disowned him. Tim eventually hit rock bottom and began attending Life Support. There, Tim embraced the forgiveness that God offered. Once he experienced God’s forgiveness, Tim was able to approach his family and ask for forgiveness.

Study from Journal of Adult Development:
-75% of those surveyed believe that God has forgiven them for all that they’ve done wrong.
-Only 50% said they had forgiven others.
Only 43% have gone back to ask forgiveness from those whom they’ve wronged.

It’s one thing for us to talk about forgiving others, but the conversation tends to come to a halt when we are confronted with being the offender. We can’t picture ourselves inflicting the kind of hurt and pain that has been inflicted upon us at one point or another—we’re just not that bad (or so we like to tell ourselves!)

But we are. Stop fooling yourself into thinking that you couldn’t possibly hurt someone else as much as you’ve been hurt—you can and you have. Coming to terms with that truth is quite possibly the most important thing you can do for yourself today.

Now, the purpose of absorbing that truth isn’t so you can retreat into the corner of shame. In fact, retreating is exactly the wrong thing to do! What should you do?

Here are some practical steps:
Step One: Make a list of whom you have harmed and what you have done.
Step Two: Ask forgiveness from those you’ve hurt. (Note: It may not be possible to speak directly to the person that you’ve hurt. However, a letter might be appropriate—but, have another Christ-follower read it before you send it.)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Romans 12:18 (New Living Translation)
18Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Matthew 5:23-24 (New Living Translation)
23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Romans 12:18. What does it mean to “live in peace” with everyone?

Notice how Romans 12:18 starts with “do all that YOU can.” What are the expectations and limitations outlined in this verse?

In Matthew 5:23-24, believers are instructed to postpone worshiping God until they do business with those they have offended. Why did Jesus give those instructions?

LIVE…What will you do now?
From whom do need to ask forgiveness from right now? It doesn’t matter if they also owe you an apology; you have to be humble enough to own up to your wrongdoing. Make a list and note what you’ve done to hurt or offend others:

Are you ready to admit wrongdoing and do regret what you have done? Y N
If not, why? (Do you have biblical support for your reason?)

Ready, set, action! It’s time for you to take action and seek forgiveness from those you have hurt. Use the space below to write out what you should say to one of the people on your list.

I am going to take action and ask forgiveness from __________________.

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
It’s a big step to realize that you need to take action and seek forgiveness from someone you’ve hurt. There are probably a lot of emotions, such as relief, fear and anxiety. This is a great time to talk with God about your impending action step and ask Him to be a part of your efforts to re-establish peace and bring about healing.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ecclesiastes 5-6
Ecclesiastes 5: When we enter the house of God we should have the attitude of being open and ready to listen to God, not to dictate to him what we think He should do. Solomon warns readers about making foolish promises to God. He also warns against depending on money and acquisitions for happiness. You will never have enough, if “more” is your goal. God wants us to view what we have as a gift from Him, and focus more on the Giver than on the gifts.
Ecclesiastes 6: This person has died without being able to enjoy his wealth and honor. Everyone dies, and both rich and poor end up in the grave. God knows and directs everything that happens, and He is in complete control over our lives, even though many times it may not seem that way. We cannot predict what the future holds. In all our plans we should look up to God, not just ahead to the future.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.17.11

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WEDNESDAY—Why Forgive?
Big Point: Our ability to forgive is directly related to how much we realize we’ve been forgiven.

We need to forgive because:
…God has forgiven us
…resentment doesn’t work
…we are going to need forgiveness in the future

Here are some great thoughts from pastor and bestselling author, Rick Warren: “When I remember how much God forgives me it makes it a whole lot easier to forgive other people. You will never have to forgive anybody else more than God has already forgiven you. I will never have to forgive anybody else more than God has forgiven me. When you have a hard time forgiving other people, it’s usually because you don’t feel forgiven. People who feel forgiven find it easier to be forgiving.”

Does lack of forgiveness put you in spiritual peril?
Resentment blocks feeling God’s forgiveness in your life. The Bible says we cannot receive what we are unwilling to give.

You need to forgive others because God has forgiven you, because resentment doesn’t work and because you’re going to need forgiveness in the future and you don’t want to burn the bridge that you’ve got to walk across. Forgiveness is a twoway street.

A man came to John Wesley and said, “I can never forgive that person.” Wesley replied, “Then I hope you never sin. Because we all need what we don’t want to give.”

READ…What does the Bible say?
Colossians 3:13 (New Living Translation)
13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Hebrews 12:15 (New Living Translation)
15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

Mark 11:25 (New Living Translation)
25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.

THINK…Find the answers
According to Colossians 3:13, how are we to react to others’ faults and those who offend?

What are we to remember?

What are we to “watch out” for according to Hebrews 12:15 and why?

According to Mark 11:25, what are we to do first when we are praying? If we do that, what will happen?

LIVE…What will you do now?
When someone does something that offends you, how do you react? Do you make allowances or do you criticize?

Do you forgive others easily or do you hold onto a grudge? What do you tell yourself to justify holding onto the grudge?

It’s easy to rip off a list of mistakes others make, but let’s turn the table on ourselves. You’re not perfect—not even close. Make a list of the things you need to ask God to forgive you for:

When it comes to eternity, Christ-followers have experience the ultimate free gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. If you are a Christ-follower, how does it make you feel when you’ve been forgiven? If you are struggling to accept that forgiveness, why?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Make a list of the things God has forgiven you for today. Do you think your name is on someone’s list of people they need to forgive? Ask God to give you the opportunity to forgive others as He has forgiven you and to make you humble enough to ask for forgiveness from others.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ecclesiastes 3-4
Ecclesiastes 3: Solomon’s point in this section is that God has a plan for all people. Thus he provides cycles of life, each with its work for us to do. God has planted eternity in our hearts, which means we will never be completely satisfied with earthly pleasures and pursuits. Solomon reflects on several apparent contradictions to God’s control of the world: evil, corruption, death, loneliness, greed. He uses them to show how we can honestly look at life’s problems and still keep our faith. This life is not all there is, and someday God will reveal His plans.
Ecclesiastes 4: Solomon looks at the attitudes of different people as they live their lives. Some people are lazy while others are workaholics. Both extremes are foolish and irresponsible. Work hard, but take time to enjoy the other gifts God has given. Life is for companionship and community, but popularity and prestige are a poor distortion of God’s plan, shadows without substance.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.16.11

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TUESDAY —Forgiveness is the Key!
Big Point: Only when you let go and forgive will you really feel free.

Melissa was born to a mother who was addicted to heroin. Melissa’s life was not easy. She was neglected, abused, homeless, hungry—yet she tried to take care of and protect a younger sister. The situation became so horrible that Melissa and her sister were taken into foster care. Abuse followed Melissa into her foster homes and, eventually, into her adoptive home with her new family. Melissa grew up wondering why all this had happened to her and why it was still continuing. She could never find the answer to the question “why?” This caused Melissa to act out and rebel as a teenager.

Fast forward to Melissa as an adult. She got married to her high school sweetie and had three children. She thought she was finally doing things right when her life got turned upside down by her husband, who became a full blown alcoholic, addict, and abuser. Feeling hate, resentment, and nothing but anger, Melissa went to Life Support as her last hope. It was finally there that she finally learned a powerful lesson: how to forgive…

She learned that God was her protector and shield—and God could help her fight the feelings of hate, resentment, and anger she had been harboring. Melissa was able to forgive all who had hurt her—and now, Melissa lives a life of freedom because God helped her release the hold resentment had on her life.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Luke 6:37 (New Living Translation)
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Mathew 6:14-15 (New Living Translation) “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Mark 11:24-26 (New Living Translation)
“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

THINK…Find the answers
Read Luke 6:37. Another way of saying this is: “what goes around comes around.” List the examples of how our negative behavior comes back on us:

God loves us being in relationship with him. One of the best ways to stay connected is to pray to Him. However, what step must we take first according to Mark 11?

If we allow ourselves to forgive, what do we get in return?

LIVE…What will you do now?

“Forgiveness is God’s invention for coming to terms with a world in which, despite their best intentions, people are unfair to each other and hurt each other deeply. He began by forgiving us. And He invites us all to forgive each other.”

“When we forgive evil we do not excuse it, we do not tolerate it, we do not smother it. We look the evil full in the face, call it what it is, let its horror shock and stun and enrage us, and only then do we forgive it.”

Read the two quotes from Lewis B. Smedes above. Are there situations in your life that have hurt you to the point that the pain feels unforgivable pain?

God gives us a way to not carry the pains caused to us when He asks us to forgive. Yet, we make excuses not to forgive. What excuses have you been telling yourself?

What can you do to change the perception that something or someone is unforgivable? What do you need to believe differently so you can let go and forgive? (Hint: Choose a verse that has impacted you this week and memorize it— allow God to use it to work into your heart.)

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
God does not like to see us hurt. If anything, He wants us to know that He understands us and is there with us every step of the way. It is not easy and causes emotional turmoil, but it is well worth it in the long run. Let God be in control, and the healing will come.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ecclesiastes 1-2
Ecclesiastes 1: The author, Solomon, referred to himself as the Teacher, or leader of the assembly. Solomon, the one person who had everything (wisdom, power, riches, honor, God’s favor) is the one who discussed the ultimate emptiness of all this world has to offer. Near the end of his life, looking back on everything he had done and experienced, he saw that most of it was meaningless. He learned that nothing apart from God made him happy. He wanted his readers to avoid the same senseless pursuits.
Ecclesiastes 2: Solomon conducted his search for life’s meaning as an experiment. He tried pursuing pleasure, created great building projects, bought lots of stuff and acquired slaves, herds, flocks, wives and concubines, but none of these brought him satisfaction. Solomon summarized his many attempts at finding life’s meaning as “chasing after the wind”. None of it gained him eternal life. In the end he could take nothing with him. God is the only eternal constant throughout this life and the next. Getting to know Him has the most benefit in life.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.15.11

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Series: Before I Die I Want To…
This Week: Heal the Hurts Between Us

Whom do you want to pay back for hurting you? Be honest. There’s someone out there who has done you wrong and you want them to get hit by a bus (some of you know this is true…). Not only do you want to see him or her get hit by a bus, but you want the bus to be going 60mph when it hits them. But, you don’t want them to die immediately. First, you want to be hovering over them as they whisper to you in a final, agonizing breath: “I was wrong…”

Sound dramatic? Possibly, but again, be honest. Whenever we are hurt by someone else, especially someone we care deeply for, our minds can go to some pretty dark places. If we are hurt over and over again by the same person—without resolving the hurt—it’s only a matter of time before that hurt turns to anger, then resentment and finally hatred.

Once our hurts turn into hatred, it’s a slippery slope down towards revenge or vengeance. We are consumed with daydreams or visions about how we are going to get even or we secretly clap our hands with glee when we hear of a mishap or tragedy in their life.

What are our choices when we have conflict with another? We can forgive and let go of the offense OR we can spend our days replaying the wrongdoing over and over again in our minds and fanaticizing about how we can get even. Even worse, some of you have done awful things in efforts to take revenge or get even. Question: which decision will always backfire on us?

We all know we should choose forgiveness, but we don’t. Or we won’t. Why? Is it because if we forgive we think that the other person is getting away with the pain he or she has caused? Maybe we think that forgiveness wipes away any chance at justice—because we want them to pay or at least be held accountable for the wrong doing. Lewis Smedes, author of the book, Forgive and Forget, is remembered for his 50 quotes on forgiveness. Here is one of them: “When you give up vengeance, make sure you are not giving up on justice. The line between the two is faint, unsteady, and fine…Vengeance is our own pleasure of seeing someone who hurt us getting it back and then some. Justice, on the other hand, is secure when someone pays a fair penalty for wronging another even if the injured person takes no pleasure in the transaction. Vengeance is personal satisfaction. Justice is moral accounting…Human forgiveness does not do away with human justice.”

Whether you have been wronged or you are the one who has hurt another, forgiveness is the only key that unlocks the door to healing the hurts that damage our interpersonal relationships. Until you make the decision to forgive—and let go—you will be trapped in the pain you desperately want to escape. Some of you don’t think forgiveness is possible because of what you’ve endured—it is possible, but you won’t know that until you forgive and experience the healing for yourself.

Definition of Forgiveness:
“You will know that forgiveness
has begun when you recall those
who hurt you and have the
power to wish them well.”
—Lewis Smedes

THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL FOCUS ON HOW FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY TO HEALING OUR DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIPS.

MONDAY — Forgiveness is Hard When…
Big Point: Forgiveness is hard. Don’t pretend it isn’t.

When Jennifer and her family moved into their home, her next door neighbor, Amy, was there to welcome her. They quickly became best friends. Their children were close in age and enjoyed playing together. Jennifer and Amy baked Christmas cookies together, went to Bible study together, did life together. Then one day Amy’s husband said some things about Jennifer and her family that brought a wedge between both families. The kids no longer play together. Jennifer and Amy no longer talk on the phone. Jennifer feels like she’s lost her best friend. Whenever Jennifer sees her former best friend in public it’s extremely awkward. Neither Jennifer or Amy seem to know what to say to each other. Jennifer doesn’t expect Amy to betray her husband, but his hurtful words can never be taken back. Forgiveness is hard when you feel like you’ve been hurt and the one who hurt you takes no responsibility for his or her actions.

Where did Jesus get “70×7”?
Cain killed Abel, God protected Cain’s life. Why? Someone would have likely tried to take revenge on him. Generations later, Cain’s descendent, Lamech, would say the following: “I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy- times.” Lamech’s words gave birth to the dangerous, illfated concept of vengeance.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 18:21-22 (New Living Translation)
21Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

Matthew 18: 23-30 (New Living Translation)
23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. 26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. 28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. 29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

THINK…Find the answers
According to Peter in Matthew 18:21, how many times should be enough to forgive someone? What does 70 x 7 really mean?

Read Matthew 18:24. In the story of the debtor who was forgiven but did not forgive, how much did the debtor owe to his master? What happened to the debtor?

How much did the fellow servant owe the debtor?

How did the debtor respond to his fellow servant’s pleading (Matthew 18:30)?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Most of us are experiencing a hurt and we need to deal with it…but we really don’t want to. If forgiveness is a process, we have to start by acknowledging the wrongdoing (but we can’t stop there!)

How have I been hurt by someone close to me? What did he or she do?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Chances are today’s questions churned up some intense emotions. However, if you are willing to dedicate this week to moving to forgiveness, then you can look forward to the day when the painful memory will be less painful. Take time today to identify those people in your life that you need to forgive. Then, pause and ask God to identify those people you may have forgotten.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ruth 1-4
Ruth 1: The story of Ruth takes place sometime during the period of the Judges. These were dark days for Israel when, ”everyone did what seemed right in their own eyes.” Moab was the land east of the Dead Sea. It was one of the nations that oppressed Israel during the time of the judges.
Ruth 2: Because Israel’s climate is quite moderate, there are two harvests, one in the spring and one in the fall. According to Levitical law the harvesters were to leave the corners of the fields unharvested, and they weren’t to pick up whatever was dropped. The purpose for this law was to provide for the poor and to keep people from hoarding. This is the work Ruth found to do. It is called “gleaning”.
Ruth 3: As widows, Ruth and Naomi could only look forward to difficult times. But when Naomi heard about Boaz, her hope for the future was renewed. Boaz was a kinsman redeemer, someone who had the power to change the circumstances of their lives. The threshing floor was the place where the grain was separated from the harvested wheat. Boaz spent the night there to prevent theft. Naomi’s advice to Ruth may seem strange, but it was common for a servant to lie at the feet of their master and even share his covering.
Ruth 4: Apparently Naomi’s husband had property in the town that was now for sale. The relative said he would take it, until Boaz mentioned it was a package deal, and that included Ruth. The relative declined, opening the way for Boaz to redeem both Ruth and Naomi. God brought great blessings out of Naomi’s tragedy. She and Ruth didn’t know how God was working in their lives, but when you read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:3-6 you see that Ruth was the ancestor of David the king, who was the ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.12.11

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Friday — Payday…What Does it Mean to You?
Big Point: Paying attention to your lifetime investments includes more than just reviewing your 401k statements. We’re commanded to love others, and we’re instructed to do this by investing our money, our gifts and our time into them.

Bob Buford’s Formula for Living A Life of Significance:
• Stop chasing the emptiness of worldly SUCCESS…
• SURRENDER yourself and all you have to God…
• Experience SIGNIFICANCE, by serving others with your gifts.

Making a difference in the world is where you actively decide to invest in something other than yourself. There are lots of ways to make an investment—such as time, skills (talents) and money. Each of those are precious commodities that can be leveraged in significant ways…if we are willing to make such an investment.

Last weekend you saw a video about Phil Brondes—a Christ-follower who, long ago, decided to invest in the kingdom of God. Phil is not a pastor (and he isn’t even a regular attendee at CedarCreek), but he does believe in investing in local churches, like ours, who are reaching people for Christ. “I’m in business so I have a method to give back…I can’t tell you how many people that I never thought would step foot into CedarCreek or anything other church—I think that what CedarCreek is doing is exciting.”

READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 6:19-21 (New Living Translation)
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

1 Peter 4:10 (New Living Translation)
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

LIVE…What will you do now?
Friday is generally associated with payday. When we receive our wages for the work that we’ve done, we usually begin spending it on things important to us. The money that we spend reflects what we believe to be important. Take a look at your bank account. How do you feel about where you’ve spent your money over the past week?

An investment is “anything worth contributing to now, that might be profitable in the future.” What are you investing in these days?

How are you investing in making a difference for the kingdom of God? What is your motivation; AND, what do you hope happens as a result of your investment?

THE FINAL EXAM… Are you prepared?
At some point we will all “meet our Maker.” Bob Buford suggests that, in anticipation of that day, we all be prepared to answer the following 2 questions:
1. Most importantly, what did you do about Jesus—did you accept or reject him?

2. Then, what did you do with the time, treasure and talents you were given— that God prepared for you long ago (not Billy Graham or Mother Theresa—YOU!)?

Weekend Updates — Check out the ATC for more details!
• Financial Peace University Registration Open Now! Over one million people have taken FPU and learned how to pay off debt and save for the future. This 13- week seminar begins in September. Registration deadline is August 31st!
Are you single? Coming this September: A new, four–week seminar called “The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating” at all CedarCreek.tv campuses!

Get connected to these organizations! Make a Difference!
• Hannah’s Socks: www.hannahssocks.org or call 419.931.4757 to volunteer
• Vision Kitchen (serves meals in Toledo’s South End on Mon, Wed and Fri):
You can sign up to volunteer by going to www.mysignup.com and entering
“visionkitchen@cedarcreek.tv” in the “searching for sign-up” option. You can
sign up for the date, time slot and job assignment. Questions? Contact Steve at
419.494.6744.
• Dove Fund: Email: fgrimm@dovefund.org/ www.dovefund.org

Homepointe Family Activity
Big Point: God created you and has a plan for your life!
Read: Ephesians 2:10 and Jeremiah 29:11.
Activity: Share the following (You need a patchwork quilt and some fabric scraps):
I would like to show you this quilt. Isn’t it beautiful? Just look at all of the beautiful colors and interesting designs. It wasn’t always that way. At one time these were just a bunch of useless bits and pieces of material. Then someone, a master quilt maker, took those bits and pieces of material and put together this beautiful quilt. Now they are not only beautiful, but useful as well.
When I saw this beautiful quilt, I decided we should try to make a quilt like this one. I brought a lot of scraps of material. Now, I will need your help in making this quilt. I am going to count to three. As soon as I say, “Three,” I want all of you to yell, “Bang!” When you say, “Bang,” we will throw all of these scraps of material up in the air and when they come down, they will make a beautiful quilt.
Okay are you ready? “One, two, three!” (Throw all the pieces of fabric up into the air.) Hey, it didn’t work! How many of you thought it would work? How many of you thought that was one of the dumbest ideas you have ever heard? Well, I agree. It is foolish to think that I could throw these pieces of cloth up in the air and that they would fall down and make a quilt.
Lesson: I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe you and I are here by accident either. I believe this world and everything in it was created by God and that God had a plan and a purpose for everything. The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11 , “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The Bible also tells us in Ephesians 2:10, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Just its maker had a plan when creating this quilt, God has a plan for your life. He is the Master Designer. All you have to do is just give your life to Him and He will take all the bits and piece of your life and make them into something beautiful and useful.
Pray: Thank God for creating you with a purpose, and ask Him to take the bits and pieces of your life and make them it into something beautiful. Then ask Him to help you discover and do the good works you were created for!

Living It Out: Scripture Memory August 2011
Ephesians 2:9-10 (New Living Translation)
Salvation is not a reward for the good things
we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
10 For we are God’s masterpiece.

He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the
good things he planned for us long ago.

Living It Out
Each week, join with thousands of others at CedarCreek Church in applying God’s Word, the Bible, into your daily life. Our hope is that while we learn and grow together, as individuals and as a church, we will collectively live out the weekend message.
Living It Out resources, such as the Daily Bible Study, Daily Bible Reading Plan, Discussion Questions and Scripture Memory Verses, are designed to help us embrace a missional mindset…a mindset that compels us to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.

Living It Out: Daily Bible Study…Daily Bible study activities to reflect on the weekend message
Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan…Read through the New Testament in a year
Living It Out: Discussion Questions…Weekly questions to discuss with others
Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

All of these resources are also available electronically at www.livingitout.tv, where you can subscribe to have any or all of them emailed to you as they are updated.

We Want Your Feedback!
Tell us about any questions or comments you have about this week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study. Forward them to barbr@cedarcreek.tv.

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan scriptures are listed for each day. By completing each of the daily readings, you will read the entire Old Testament in 1 year. These readings are separate from the Daily Bible Study.

RESOURCES:
The Bible

Old Testament
Commentary compiled by: Rick Kinney

Homepointe Family Activity: Jamey Koralewski

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Doug Haynam
Jamey Koralewski
Barb Roose
Terri Seagert

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Leviticus 25-27
25:1-55 Proper care for the Lord’s property is prescribed for the sabbatical year and the Jubilee year. This involves revitalization of the land. The seventh year of rest would invigorate and replenish the nutrients in the soil. Whatever grew naturally was free to all for the taking.
26:1-26 The covenant blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience are elaborated. A provision for repentance is also offered.
27:1-34 Standard legislation is given for persons, animals, houses and lands.
27:30-32 “tithe…” This general tithe was given to the Levites. This is the only mention of tithe or ten percent in Leviticus. However, along with this offering, there were two other Old Testament tithes which totaled about twenty-three percent annually. The other two tithes mentioned are in Deuteronomy 14:22, 28,-29.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.11.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.11.11.

Thursday— Make a difference: Tell others about Jesus!
Big Point: We’re called to invest our time, talents and treasure into telling others about Jesus. There are 6 billion people on earth and God wants us to tell each one!

In his interview with Lee, former broadcast network owner and Halftime author, Bob Buford, identified the difference between success and significance: “Success is using your gifts, skills and talents to achieve your own goals. Significance is using your God-given gifts, talents and skills to achieve God’s goals.”

One of God’s goals is sharing the gospel message all over the world. One thing people may not realize is that God has equipped each of us to share the gospel message in different ways. Some individuals, like Billy Graham or Rick Warren, have the opportunity to share the message with millions, while there are others who share the message of Christ over a cup of coffee, one person at a time.

We can never know the doors that God will open for us if we are willing to share His message of hope and salvation with others. Then again, does it matter where God asks us to share the gospel message? Too often we have our feet planted in where we want to do God’s work. The eternal destiny of someone in America is just as important as the eternal destiny of another in Somalia, Japan or Thailand. It’s not for us to decide where we will or will not go to share the gospel. God has already decided that for us—we are commanded to go everywhere!

“…to the ends of the earth” isn’t an either/or! As Christfollowers we’re called to go into the world. These days, we have access to people and places like we’ve never had before. Jesus tells us to go everywhere! No Excuses!

READ…What does the Bible say?
Acts 1:8 (New Living Translation)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Romans 10:14-15 (New Living Translation)
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

THINK…Find the answers
Acts 1:8 and Romans 10:14-16 compliment each other. Read both verses and then write out a single sentence that summarizes the main point of both passages:

 

“What Romans 10:14-16 says to me is that people don’t get saved by some mystical meditation. People don’t get saved by contemplating eternity or space, or going within themselves, meditating or getting into a yoga position, or looking at the stars. People aren’t saved unless they call on the name of the Lord—all that He is. They can’t do that unless they believe… and they can’t believe unless they’ve heard… and they can’t hear unless somebody tells them… and nobody is going to tell them unless YOU GO! That’s the flow.” (adapted from John McArthur)

LIVE…What will you do now?
More than at any other time in history, we have the capacity to reach people with the gospel message like never before. List all of the areas/opportunities that youhave at your disposal to share the gospel message:

There are a lot of people who believe that we shouldn’t go out into the world to share the gospel message until we make sure that everyone close to us hears it first. What are their objections?

Why is this viewpoint flawed?

VIDEO RECAP:
Fred Grimm, a longtime ‘Creeker’ and Vietnam veteran, is a member of the D.O.V.E. Fund (Development of Vietnam Endeavors is comprised of Vietnam veterans, Rotarians and concerned citizens). Over the last 10 yrs, D.O.V.E. has built 43 schools, three medical clinics, and bestowed both high school and college scholarships. Fred has made over a dozen trips to Vietnam, often taking Vietnam veterans with him in order to show them how they can help to rebuild a country that was mired in so much conflict.

“It’s a tremendous feeling knowing that you were a part of their success…I feel closest to Jesus in Vietnam because I know I’m doing what he wants me to do. I try to live a Christlike life in the US; but in Vietnam, I’m doing something that I’d consider extra-ordinary: helping people who can’t help themselves.”

Fred Grimm, U.S. Army 1968-1970
(Wounded August 12,1969)
39th Combat Eng. Bn., Americal Div.
LZ Dottie – Quang Ngai Province
D.O.V.E. Fund member since 2000

Contact: fgrimm@dovefund.org
www.dovefund.org

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Are you ready to accept God’s leading to share the gospel message—even if it’s in a place far away from home? Today is a good time to talk with God about any fears or worries you might have about sharing your faith with others. Now is the time to ask God for greater opportunities to share your faith—in your own family and community, and around the world.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Leviticus 22-24
22:1-33 Additional instructions on ceremonial cleanness for the priests, beginning with a death threat to those who might violate these rules.
22:17-30 Describes the unacceptable and acceptable sacrifices.
23:1-44 Points to days which are sacred to the Lord. After the Sabbath, the feasts are given in the order of the calendar.
23:5 The Passover festival celebrated God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt.
23:6-8 “Feast of Unleavened Bread…” Connected with the Passover, it commemorated Israel’s hurried departure from Egypt, and the associated hardships.
23:9-14 “the first fruits…” The beginning of the barley harvest (March/April), it was celebrated the day after the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.
23:15-22 “fifty days” The feast of weeks, May/June, dedicated the first fruits of the wheat harvest.
23:23-25 “Feast of the Trumpets…” Consecrated the seventh month, September, as a sabbatical month.
23:26-32 “Day of Atonement…” Pointed to the forgiveness and cleansing of sin for the priests, the nation, and the tabernacle.
23:33-43 “Feast of Tabernacles…” Commemorated God’s deliverance, protection, and provision during the wilderness wanderings of the Exodus.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.10.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.10.11.

Wednesday—Make the World a Better Place: Love Others
Big Point: Answering the higher calling to make the world a better place requires us to love our neighbors as ourselves—including the least in society.

In the time of Jesus, the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was notorious for danger and difficulty, and was known as the “Way of Blood” because “of the blood which is often shed there by robbers.” Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, on the day before his death, described the road as follows: “I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road I said to my wife, “I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.” It’s a winding, meandering road. It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1,200ft above sea level [actually about 2,100ft]. And by the time you get down to Jericho 15-20 minutes later, you’re about 22ft below sea level [really 846ft]. That’s a dangerous road.

In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the “Bloody Pass.” And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking, and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest and the Levite probably asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” However, King continues: But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Defining “Neighbor” …“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” …But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37, ESV)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 25:40 (New Living Translation)
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

THINK…Find the answers
The Good Samaritan extended humble compassion and generosity; while the “religious” folk were self-serving. How do you suppose the passers-by justified their behavior to themselves?

After reading Matthew 25:40, why do you think it’s the same as helping the King, when we help each other?

Looking back at your last answer, if you really believe that to be true, how is that “truth” evidenced in your own life? (Remember, we DO that which we truly believe, and the rest is just rhetoric.)

Jesus said, “…go and do the same.” What was he referring to, and what should that look like in our real, everyday, “not-quitting-my-full-time-job”, world?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Jesus made the point in his parable that the three men had come into contact with the victim while they were on their way to go do something else. None of them were traveling with the purpose of finding someone in need. Notice also that Jesus didn’t condemn the Good Samaritan for enlisting help when he needed it. Have you ever not reached out to someone in need because you were discouraged by either your ‘schedule’ or your ‘limited resources’ (personal and/or financial)?

How can, and should, faith and obedience play a role in our loving our neighbors and the least of these?

PRAY…God, What do You want me to know & do?
Like King David, ask God “to create in you a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within you.” As you notice the pain and suffering of others, ask Him to fill you too with humble compassion and generosity in order to serve those He has put in your path. Pray that faith will overcome any fears or doubts trying to stop you from “doing the good works prepared for you long ago.”

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Leviticus 19-21
19:1-37 Practical applications of holy conduct in society.
19:1 This basic statement, which gives the reason for holy living among God’s people, is the central theme in Leviticus. Israel had been called to be a holy nation, and God’s perfect, holy character was to be the model for the Israelites to live by.
19:3 This amplifies the fifth commandment to honor one’s father and mother.
19:3,4 In addition to the fifth commandment, the fourth, the first and the second were commanded as holy behavior also.
19:18 FORGET ABOUT THE WRONG THINGS PEOPLE DO TO YOU, AND DO NOT TRY TO GET EVEN. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF. I AM THE LORD. (CEV) *How fitting for today’s study!
19:32 Showing respect for the older man acknowledged God’s blessing of long life and the wisdom that comes with it.
20:1-7 Discusses capital and other grave crimes. Many of the same issues from ch. 18 & 19 are elaborated, with emphasis on the penalty paid for the violation.
20:5,6  “Cut off…” This means to kill, or put to death.
20:10-21 Punishments for violating the prohibitions of sexual sins from ch. 18.
20:22 God repeatedly told Israel that remaining in the land required obedience to the Mosaic covenant. Failure to do so would mean their removal from the land.
21:1-24 Priests were called to a higher standard of holiness than everyone else.
21:7,8 The priest was allowed to marry, but only in the purest of circumstances. A holy marriage union pictured the holy union between God and His people.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.9.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.9.11.

TUESDAY — Make the World a Better Place: Obedience
Big Point: What Jesus says is to teach them to “obey”—not learn, memorize, or read—but to obey. Obedience is the name of the game.

Jesus insists that we must put his words into practice. If we call him “Lord,” we ought to obey him, because a “Lord” is not only a protector, but someone who has the authority to tell us what to do. Those who believe that Jesus is Lord will also want to obey him. If we love him, we will do what he tells us. A faith that doesn’t come with obedience is not a real faith. Faith and actions work together, reinforcing each other — faith leads to obedience, and the resulting actions give visible evidence that the faith is real. Faith and obedience are symbiotic (a relationship of mutual benefit or dependence). Even our love for God is expressed largely by the way we obey His commands. Because we love Him, we obey Him. We show our love of God by eagerly striving to know Him and obey His commands.

“The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience.” (Oswald Chambers)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 28:18-20 (New Living Translation)
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

1 John 5:2-5 (New Living Translation)
We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey His commandments. 3Loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. 4For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

John 15:16-17 (NLT)
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

2 John 1:6 (NIV)
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.

BONUS READING
2 Timothy 2:1-26
• A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ
• An Approved Worker

THINK…Find the answers
What single thing did Jesus command his disciples to teach new believers?

Of the commands Jesus gave the disciples, which ones did he single out for new believers to obey?

What does John say that we walk in, when we walk in obedience to God’s commands?

LIVE…What will you do now?
We’re called to be an example of obedience to those of whom we’re commanded to make disciples. Since our level of obedience is reflected in our lives, what needs to change in your life to better obey Christ’s commands?

Sometimes we know that obedience to Christ’s commands dictate we turn away from our current and comfortable way of living. What part of obeying Christ’s commands do you struggle with?

Jesus gave us our marching orders in Matt. 28:20: to make disciples. That’s the core; everything else he says in those three verses explains what making disciples entails. thejesusvirus.org is a blog for missional practitioners of ‘organic, simple, viral Christianity’. It’s dedicated to a simple, ‘living’ Christianity that spreads easily from person to person. In other words, the site suggests that making disciples consists of merely teaching them a few simple, reproducible skills (Mt. 28:20), and then offering them opportunities to use them. “Let them learn by connecting with Jesus and obeying.” The site identifies this basic skill set for new disciples, all of which are premised on obeying what Christ calls us to do:
• Read the Bible as a personal conversation with Jesus. Obey what it says.
• Pray as a personal conversation with Jesus. Obey what he tells you to do.
• As a group: pray, invite Jesus in, listen, and obey.
• Pray for those who need Jesus. If Jesus tells you to talk with someone, obey.

PRAY…God, what do You want me to know & do?
Ask God to empower you to obey Him and all His commands. Acknowledge that you need His help. Ask for His forgiveness when you fail, but remain confident in His grace. Ask God to help you be a living example of Christ’s love by obeying His commandment to love.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Leviticus 16-18
16:1-34 This section covers the Day of Atonement which was commanded to be observed annually to cover the sins of the nation, both corporately and individually. The atonement was provided, but only those who were genuine in faith and repentance received its benefit, the forgiveness of God.
16:2 Common priests went every day to burn incense on the golden altar in the part of the tabernacle sanctuary, outside the veil. None, except the high priest, was allowed to enter inside the veil, into the Holy Place, actually called the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant rested.
17:12 Since it contains life, blood is sacred to God. Shed blood—death—from a substitute, atones for or covers the sinner, who is then allowed to live.
18:1-30 Laws given, relating to sexual practices, that eliminated the abominations being practiced by the heathen in the land. These laws assume the general prohibition of adultery and of a father incestuously engaging his daughter.
18:3 Repeating sexual practices of the Egyptians or Canaanites was forbidden.
18:4 “I am the Lord your God…” This phrase, used over 50 times, asserts the uniqueness of the one true and living God, who calls His people to holiness as He is holy, and calls them to reject all other gods.
18:29 “cut off from their people…” All of the sexual perversions mentioned in this chapter were worthy of death, indicating their loathsomeness before God.
18:30 “customs that were practiced before you…” Not in their presence, but by the people who inhabited the land before them, were such sins committed.