Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.10.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 11.10.11.

Series: Broken
This Week: Dreams

THURSDAY — Be Grateful and Hopeful
Big Point: God can be trusted to keep His promises!

       Does hope make a difference? Yes, it does! Philip Crosbie, in his book “March Till They Die,” gives an account of a forced march that American and European soldiers who had been captured had to endure in Korea. It was November of 1950 and the North Koreans were being pushed north. As they went, they forced the American and European prisoners to go with them. It was a terrible march. They were driven as far as twenty miles a day at times, though it was cold and they were emaciated, hungry, and suffering.
When prisoners who couldn’t keep up would fall back, shots would ring out. They were executed on the spot. Crosbie and several other Christians would pass close to the GI’s who were having a hard time keeping up. They would say slowly in a whisper, so as not to be heard, “God is near us in this dark hour. His love is real. His mercy is real. His forgiveness is real. His reward is waiting for us…” (excerpt taken from
If it had not been for that hope, many more soldiers would have died. They were literally marching through the valley of the shadow of death, but they were trusting in God to lead them through it. One of the most important things you can do when faced with a broken dream is to remember God’s promises to those who draw close to Him. Our hope isn’t in ourselves or in our circumstances, but our hope is in a God who loves and cares for each one of us.

Hebrews 10:23
(New Living Translation)
23 Let us hold tightly without
wavering to the hope we affirm,
for God can be trusted to
keep his promise

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New Living Translation)
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 3:6 (New Living Translation)
6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

THINK…Find the answers
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:18, what is God’s will for those who belong to Christ? How does being joyful and thankful in all circumstances help us to live out God’s will for our lives?

Where must we put our confidence if we wish to be considered “God’s house”, according to Hebrews 3:6? Define the “hope” referred to in Hebrews 3:6 and Hebrews 10:23.

LIVE…What will you do now?
The Christian prisoners in today’s story whispered pertinent words of encouragement and hope to those struggling in a literal death march. We all face times of struggle in this life. We can best prepare ourselves by knowing and trusting in God and His Word. Check out Psalm 18 and Psalm 28. What kind of hope and encouragement can you draw from those two passages of scripture for today?

Sometimes its helpful to have a verse to mediate on (think about). Look through this week’s study and select a verse to think about for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, reflect on God’s promises and how they can change your attitude and outlook.

Look for MORE promises in the Bible!
You can search online using the keyword “hope” —there are over 150 verses in the Bible about hope!

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Talk with God about reasons you may struggle with a grateful heart. Ask Him to lead you to a new hope in Jesus Christ.

Remember God’s
Psalm 18:2,30
The Lord is my rock, my fortress,
and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom
I find protection.
He is my shield, the power
that saves me,
and my place of safety.
God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises
prove true.
He is a shield for all who
look to him for protection.
Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and
shield. I trust him with all
my heart. He helps me, and
my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of

21:3 “high places…altars…” Manasseh reversed the reforms of his father, King Hezekiah, reestablishing the worship of Baal as an official state sanctioned religion .
21:15 “provoked Me to anger…” The history of God’s people, Israel, was of disobedience toward the Lord. With the reign of Manasseh, the sin of God’s people climaxed . God’s patience was withdrawn, and the judgment of exile became inevitable .
22:1 “thirty-one years…” Josiah became King and ruled for thirty-one years. He was the last good king in the Davidic line.
22:11 “tore his robes…” Josiah’s reaction at the reading of the law was one of immediate contrition, expressed by the common sign of lamentation and grief. Josiah’s grief sprang from his country’s guilt and God’s punishment.
22:15-20 Huldah gave God’s message to Josiah through his messengers. First, the Lord confirmed to Josiah that He was surely going to bring His judgment upon Jerusalem because of her idolatry. Second, the Lord’s personal word to Josiah was that he would die “in peace”, meaning that he would escape the horrors in store for Jerusalem.
“no king like him…” Of all of the kings in David’s line, including David himself, no king more closely approximated the royal idea laid out in Deuteronomy 17 than Josiah. Yet, even Josiah fell short of complete obedience because he had multiple wives. However, even this righteous king could not turn away the Lord’s wrath because of Manasseh’s sin.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.09.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 11.09.11.

Series: Broken
This Week: Dreams

WEDNESDAY—Be Patient and Wait Close to God
Big Point: We know God is working, even if we can’t see it.

        How often do you find yourself wondering what exactly God is doing in a certain situation? What is happening seems to make no sense. It is unfair. It is painful.
        It is in these moments that we need to draw closest to God because we need to hold onto what we can know for sure. We need to hold onto God’s goodness and His love. We need to get to know God’s unchanging character through the Bible.

READ…What Does the Bible Say?
2 Corinthians 4:8,9, 16-18 (New Living Translation)
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

READ…What Does the Bible Say?
Psalm 37:7 (New Living Translation)
7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

Psalm 46:10 (New International Version)
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!

THINK…Find the answers
How does the passage from 2 Corinthians describe life in this world? Even when life is difficult, what is our situation?

According to verse 18, how can we look past the troubles of this world?

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace, Comfort for
family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to
ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken
Yet love us way too much to give us
lesser things
‘Cause what if Your blessings come
through raindrops
What if Your healing comes
through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re
What if trials of this life are Your
mercies in disguise
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this
That this is not, this is not our
It’s not our home.
Lyrics to Blessings by Laura Story

Read Psalm 37:7 and 46:10. What direction does it give for remaining close to God?

LIVE…What will you do now?
How would you define the word “still”? What does it mean to you, to be still before God?

What comfort do all of today’s Bible verses offer to us? Where can we find hope and peace in this challenging and chaotic world?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to show you how to trust Him, even in the cloudiest, darkest moments. Thank God for the things you do know for sure, like how much he loves you. Ask Him to show you how to be still and wait for Him.

The narrative turns to the defeat and exile of Israel by Assyria.
16:3 “walked in the way of the kings of Israel…” Ahaz continued to bring pagan, idolatrous practices into the worship of the Lord. This included idols to Baal.
16:10 “the altar…” When Ahaz traveled to Damascus, he saw a large altar and he sent a sketch of this altar to Uriah the high priest in Jerusalem and Uriah built an altar just like it. This changed the furnishings of the temple which designs were given by God. This was like building an idol in the temple, done to please the Assyrian king, whom Ahaz served instead of God.
16:17, 18 Ahaz continued to make further changes to the temple.
17:7 To the casual eye it seemed unfair that God let the Assyrians, a much crueler people, conquer Israel and take the whole nation into exile. Israel was judged on a higher standard due to the many advantages that God had given them.
18:4 “removed the high places…” Hezekiah was the first king of Judah to eradicate the high places, the worship centers built contrary to Mosaic Law.
18:5 “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God…” The noblest quality of Hezekiah, in dramatic contrast to his father, Ahaz, was that he relied on the Lord as his exclusive hope in every situation.
20:1 “Hezekiah became ill…” The prophet Amoz informed Hezekiah that he would not recover from this illness.
20:2, 3 “wept bitterly…” Hezekiah reminded the Lord of his devotion to God. He did not specifically ask God to be healed.
20:16, 17 “word of the Lord…carried to Babylon…” Isaiah predicted the Babylonian captivity that would come over a century later, another prophecy that was historically fulfilled.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.08.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Dream

TUESDAY—Be Honest with Yourself (Be Honest with God)
Big Point: God wants to hear from you—the real you—the good, the bad, the ugly.

      “Have you any right to be angry?”
        That was God’s simple question to Jonah—the reluctant prophet—as he pouted about God’s compassion on an enemy of Israel. In fact, Jonah was so angry about God’s patience and love being poured out on those who did not deserve it that he demanded of God, “Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” God did not do as Jonah asked. Instead He asked again, “Do you have a right to be angry?”
        Jonah’s anger did not surprise God and God did not respond in anger, even though Jonah had fled from Him, refused to do His will, endangered innocent men, and desired vengeance over mercy. God’s compassion poured out not only on the Ninevites on that day, but also on Jonah. God wanted the people of Ninevah to turn from their evil ways and to become His people. At the same time and with the same amount of love, God wanted Jonah to know Him better. God wanted to teach Jonah about His love and His heart for each person on earth.
        You may be asking yourself why God would bother with either the wicked Ninevites or the whiny, angry prophet. But try asking this instead—would Jonah ever change if he wasn’t honest about his feelings of anger and resentment towards God?

READ…What Does the Bible Say?
Psalm 13:1,2 (New Living Translation)
1 O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? 2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Psalm 22:1,2 (New Living Translation)
1 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? 2 Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.

Matthew 27:46 (New Living Translation)
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

THINK…Find the answers
Read Psalm 13:1,2. What questions does the author ask of God?

What complaint does the Psalm 22 author have towards God?

Matthew 27:46 are the words Jesus speaks while he is hanging on the cross. Do Jesus’ words surprise you? If so, why? Describe what Jesus may have been feeling.

LIVE…What will you do now?
Many of the psalms, including Psalm 13 and 22, were written by King David, whom the Bible refers to as a man after God’s own heart. David’s life was in no way perfect, but what stands out about Him is his emotional honesty before God. Answer the following questions honestly:

Can you describe a time you felt abandoned by God?

Can you describe a time you wondered how life can be this hard or this unfair?

When is the last time you wanted to just ask God—”What is up with this?”

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Don’t wait another day! Tell God how you are feeling right now, especially how you are feeling about Him. God is not surprised by our anger or our frustration. He can take it. Tell him what is in your heart.

“Athaliah…” A daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. She was zealous to rule after the death of her son and was dedicated to seeing the worship of Baal officially sanctioned in Judah.
11:17 “a covenant…” The renewal of the agreement between the people and the Lord and between the house of David and the people was appropriate because of the disruption under Athaliah.
12:20 “a conspiracy…” Some of the officials of Joash conspired against him because he had killed the high priest, Zechariah.
13:19 “three times…” Elisha commanded Jehoash to shoot the remaining arrows into the ground. Jehoash shot only three arrows into the ground instead of emptying the entire quiver. Because of his lack of faith, Jehoash would win only three victories over the Syrians instead of completely destroying them.
14:3 “not like…David…” David set a high standard of unswerving devotion to the Lord for the kings of Judah who were his descendants to follow. Amaziah did not follow the Lord completely. According to 2 Chronicles 25, Amaziah embraced the false gods of the Edomites.
15:5 “leper…” Azariah suffered from leprosy as punishment for usurping the priestly function of burning incense on the altar in the temple.
15:10 “Shallum…” Shallum killed Zecharaiah and replaced him as king of Israel. Assyrian records call Shallum “the son of nobody,” indicating that he was not from the royal family.


Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.07.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Dreams

During this past weekend’s service you may have received a piece of broken pottery when you walked into the ‘Creek. The broken piece of pottery represents any broken dream in your life. When Lee asked you to take a pen and write on that shattered piece, what did you think? Perhaps one or more of the following thoughts drifted through your mind:
…I’m sick! I don’t understand why I am not healthy—I eat right and exercise.
…My marriage is over and I had always dreamed of happily ever after.
…My family is crazy and it hurts to know we can’t get along.
…No job after all this time. I just want to pay my bills.
…Nothing in my life has turned out like I thought it would.

What does a broken dream feel like? It depends. For some of you, the brokenness has been there so long, you can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a heavy weight or dull pain pushing on your chest. For others, the sudden loss of a dream felt like a catastrophic heart attack—the layoff notice, the test results, the discovery of infidelity—it likely felt like your heart was forcibly ripped in two. And since that day, you’ve been staggering from morning until night barely breathing (almost suffocating) because of the pain of your broken dream. Now what should you do?
One of the things we tend to do when our dreams come crashing to the ground is call out to God. When was the last time you called out to God during a difficult time? What did you say to Him? Some of us beg and plead for God to rescue us from our situation and to correct what has gone wrong. Others scream and rail at God because they feel He has failed them for not changing the situation. Then there is the silent group that just turns their back on God because they feel He has turned His back on them. Which group do you belong to lately?
When our dreams are broken, we question whether or not we will ever find happiness again. Which begs the question: Is God’s biggest concern for us to have happiness? The answer is no. Instead, God wants us to experience the tremendous joy that results from deeply knowing Him. Joy provides contentment; happiness requires things to happen, typically in our favor, for us to value God’s blessings. A great example is that God knows most of us only come to know Him when our dreams fall apart—which can likely be defined as situation-dependent happiness. Joy says, everyday, “this is the day the Lord made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118.4)
No matter your broken dream, God has joy in store for you—yes, you! It might be hard to believe, but it is true. Not only does God have joy in store for you, He wants to heal the broken pieces of your heart. But, only if you let Him.

 Be Realistic…
Be Honest…
Be Hopeful
Be Closer to God…
Be Patient…
Be Grateful…
Be Helpful …


MONDAY — What does God owe you?
Big Point – While some people believe that they are entitled to a “good” life from God, they’ve failed to read the fine print of the contract.

Reflect: What are the two things that impacted you the most from Lee’s message last weekend?


        A big theme from Lee’s message was broken dreams. We have all dealt with hardship in life. Perhaps it was a broken marriage or a medical diagnosis. Maybe it was the loss of a loved one, a career or our happiness. We sink to the bottom where we question God’s purpose in our lives and existence.
        One such story belongs to Jennifer, a young woman who had gone to church all her life. When she went to college she stayed away from the party scene, preferring to spend her time on ministry teams, service projects and going to church. She even met a man who shared these views and married him. She felt that after following the “rules” for her whole life, she was entitled to a happy ending. When her husband confronted her a year after their marriage saying he wanted a divorce, she was blind-sided and devastated.
        For many of us, this story seems familiar – change out broken marriage for broken family or broken health, but the anger at God is still there. Stuart Blount, Senior Pastor at Christian Life Center points out that, “There are many good Christian people who find things happening in their lives that they have never chosen.” (excerpt from Sermon Central) We do not choose hardship, but in this life, it finds us.
        It might be tempting to say that God has not kept up His end of “our bargain,” but in reality the Bible promises that in this world, we will have trouble. Thankfully, He also promises to help us and give us the strength to overcome these troubles.

READ…What does the Bible say?
John 16:33 (New International Version)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

THINK…Find the answers
Reread the Big Point in light of John 16:33. In this statement, what do you think is meant by “the fine print”? What does Jesus promise?

According to John 16:33, how does Jesus encourage us?

In the dark moments of life, we often ask and plead why is God allowing this to happen to me? Is this love and care? We may not understand what we are going through or understand what God is up to in all of this, but as we find ourselves in these shadows and dark places of life, we can find ourselves in His arms of love.

LIVE…What will you do now?
List a few of your broken dreams. Rate the impact those broken dreams have had on your life on a scale of 1 (minimal impact) to 5 (life-changing tragedy).

Which of the following phrases have you used in response to hardship or broken dreams? Check all that apply.
___ God’s not keeping His end of the bargain.
___ It’s not fair! I’m a good person.
___ I’ve done this for you, God. What have you done for me?
___ Why me?
___ Why not me?

Think of the responses you checked in the last question. Think of a different response to your situation that takes into consideration the help Jesus said he’d provide in John 16:33.

In what ways have you possibly treated God’s promises as an entitlement? How can you refocus on God’s promises to help you move forward in your relationship with Him instead of thinking of them as deal breakers between you and God?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Take a few moments to pray that God will help you see His promises and how they can carry you through hardship.

6:5 “iron…borrowed…” Iron was expensive and relatively rare in Israel at that time and the student-prophet was very poor. The ax head was loaned to the prophet since he could not have afforded it on his own and would have had no means to reimburse the owner for it.
6:31 “the head of Elisha…” Jehoram swore an oath to have Elisha killed.
7:12 “what the Syrians have done to us…” Jehoram greeted the report from the lepers with great suspicion. He thought the Syrians were feigning the pull-back to appear defeated in order to lure the Israelites out of Samaria for a surprise attack to gain entrance into the city.
8:3 “an appeal to the king…” The Shunammite woman made a legal appeal to the king to support her ownership claim. In Israel, the king was the final judge of such disputes.
8:7 “Elisha went to Damascus…” It was unusual for a prophet to visit foreign capitals.
9:10 “dogs shall eat…” Dogs were considered scavengers in the ancient Near East and they would devour the corpse of Jezebel. 9:30 “paint on her eyes…” Eyelids were painted with a black powder mixed with oil and applied with a brush. This darkened them to give an enlarged effect. Jezebel’s appearance at the window gave the air of a royal audience to awe Jehu.
10:28 “destroyed Baal from Israel…” Jehu rid the northern kingdom of royally sanctioned Baal worship. It was done, however, not from spiritual and godly motives, but because Jehu believed that Baalism was inextricably bound to the dynasty and influence of Ahab. By its extermination, he thought he would kill all the last vestiges of Ahab loyalists.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.04.11

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Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Against All Odds

FRIDAY — What’s your plan?
Big Point: In order to fight off the devil and his evil schemes we need to have an action plan focused on God, the Bible, and constant communication with Him.

In Matthew 4:1-11 we find the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. As you review this story, pay close attention to how Jesus responds to the devil.

Matthew 4:1-11 (New Living Translation)
1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. 3During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” 7Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” 8Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9“I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” 10“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” 11Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

Below, list the three ways the devil tempted Jesus, and his response each time:

First Temptation:
Jesus’ Response:

Second Temptation:
Jesus’ Response:

Third Temptation:
Jesus’ Response:

Looking back on this week, what have you learned about who Satan is and what his tactics and schemes are?

Three times Satan tempted Jesus—and all three times Jesus was prepared with a response. It stands to reason that we must be prepared and not take this lightly. Do you agree? What steps are you going to take to better resist the devil’s temptation and not allow even a foothold of opportunity?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Today, thank God for His help in fending off the devil. Ask God to help you continue to stand up to temptation and fight off the devil.

Weekend Updates!
Serve at the South Toledo Campus: The count down is on. Soon, the
South Toledo campus will open. Have you considered serving at the South Toledo
Campus? They could surely use your help. Contact Wendy Schaetzke at rebels510@ to get involved.
Walk Across the Room: Ready to go to the next level in your personal evangelism?
Walk Across the Room is a 4-week class that will help you stay attuned
to and cooperate with the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Perrysburg and
Whitehouse Campuses: Monday, Nov 14, Toledo Campus: Wednesday, Nov 16.
Register online under the “Get Connected” tab at or at the Welcome
Center/Connecting Point.
Parent/Child Dedications: There are a limited number of openings, so sign
up soon at any Welcome Center. Please attend the 15 minute parent training
class; this will give you important information about the service and what it
means to raise your child in a Christian home. The training classes are available
Saturday, Nov 12, 5:15pm and Sunday, Nov 13, 10:45am OR Saturday, Nov 19,
5:15pm and Sunday, Nov 20, 10:45am. Dedications are at all services Nov
26 & 27 at ALL CAMPUSES. Contact

Living It Out: October 2011
…if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do it in a gentle and respectful way.

1 Peter 3:15b-16a (New Living Translation)

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

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Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

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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.

Old Testament Commentary compiled by: Jan Martensen

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Kaye Althaus
Emily Francis
Tammy Kaiser
Rick Kinney

1:4-7 Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, was hurt by a fall, sends messengers to Baal-zebub to inquire whether he shall recover. Elijah tells them that Ahaziah shall surely die.
1:9 “garment of hair and belt of leather…” That was all the description the king needed to know it was Elijah. Elijah’s name and appearance must have come up a few times in the royal palace.
2:3 “sons of the prophets…” They are not the physical descendants but groups of prophets usually affiliated with a more prominent prophet. The phrase “sons of” can mean “members of a guild of”.
2:6-8 Elijah crosses the Jordan river on dry land reminiscent of Moses crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 14:15-31).
2:14 Elisha proves that he is Joshua to Elijah’s Moses by recrossing the Jordan river on dry land. Joshua crossed the Jordan in Joshua 3 and entered the land of Israel near Jericho, “repeating” Moses’ action of parting the waters.
2:19-22 “new bowl and salt” New items, being uncontaminated, were customarily employed in ancient Near East rituals. Salt is associated with the covenant and is included as part of offerings made to the Lord (see Leviticus 2:13 and Numbers 18:19) as well as being used in other specific rituals (Judges 9:45; Ezekiel 16:4). The use of salt here is symbolic, for by itself a tiny bowl would have no effect on the constantly moving waters. The healing of the waters was therefore accomplished by supernatural means.
4:2 “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” God takes our “nothing” and makes it into something that takes away our breath. Elisha’s command may have seemed silly to the woman, but she obeyed and God blessed her obedience

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.03.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 11.03.11.

Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Against All Odds

THURSDAY—KNOW YOURSELF: Did the Devil Make You do it?
Big Point: Our basic human nature isn’t innocent and pure; it’s sinful and incapable of doing anything good on its own. This sinful nature is what Christ replaces when he offers us forgiveness of our sins.

C.S. Lewis, in his book, Mere Christianity writes about how he began to know himself and find out about his sinful nature. He writes: “For a long time I used to think this is a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life—namely myself… In fact, the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things. Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery… But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is in anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere he can be cured and made human again.” It begs the question, does the Devil make us do the things we hate or do we?

READ…What does the Bible say?
Romans 7:21-23 (New Living Translation)
21I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22I love God’s law with all my heart. 23But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.

Ephesians 4:27 (New International Version)
And do not give the devil a foothold.

1 John 1:8-10, 2:1b-2 (New Living Translation)
8If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts… 1bBut if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Romans 7:21-23. Why did the author say he “inevitably does what is wrong”?

According to 1 John, when we say we have not sinned, what does that mean (see verse 8 and verse 10)?

In 1 John we are given hope! What happens when we repent from our sins?

Foothold” is defined as a position usable as a base for further advance.

LIVE…What will you do now?
Read Ephesians 4:27. Lee has told the story of fighting with his brother before. To escape his brother, Lee would run to his room, and then shut and lock the door. Sometimes his brother would beat him to the door and block it by putting his foot in the way. In doing so, Lee often knew his brother would gain an advantage. Has Satan ever gotten a foothold on you and gained an advantage to tempt you to sin?

We all have a sinful nature-a propensity to give into sin in a certain area of our lives-our weaknesses. List the areas where you struggle and what you need to avoid so that you don’t give into this sinful nature (giving Satan a foothold):

Be quick to confess your sins! Have you ever told a little white lie, then had to tell another one to cover the first, and so on? Sin has a way of escalating until it consumes us. God promises us forgiveness, but we must first ask for it. Think about the sin in your life. Where do you need to ask for forgiveness? Write it here:

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Take time to ask God for forgiveness for the sins you’ve thought about and written above. Thank Him that He freely offers undeserved forgiveness without conditions

Chapter 18 ends with God’s judgment on all the prophets of Baal. King Ahab told his wife Jezebel, who immediately issued a death threat to Elijah. Jezebel had a consistent record of disposing of God’s prophets and her threat should be taken seriously.
19:3 “He was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life.” Elijah forgot his theology for a moment and not until he is in the cave exhausted and depressed, can God speak to him.
19:9 Sometimes God asks us questions to clarify for us actions we take without His will.
19:3 The distance from Mount Carmel to Beersheba is about 120 miles or 193 km.
19:19 Elisha, another significant prophet of the Old Testament, is introduced. He becomes Elijah’s apprentice.
20:13 Another unnamed prophet appears to Ahab. If they battle according to divine plan, they will succeed. It was a sign to Ahab from God.
21:2 “vegetable garden” …Term only occurs elsewhere in Old Testament in Deuteronomy 11:10, where a contrast is offered between Egypt (a vegetable garden requiring human care) and the Promised Land (which the Lord cares for). Ahab’s desire to make a vineyard into a vegetable garden may express a deeper desire to make Israel more like Egypt.
21:8-10 Jezebel’s plan requires a public setting, elders and leaders who take lightly their responsibility as guardians of justice as well as two worthless men prepared to function as witnesses required by the law.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.02.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 11.02.11.

Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Against All Odds

Big Point: Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.

     Throughout history the majority of humans attacked by wild animals have died horrible deaths. However, there are a few who have escaped animal attacks and survived. Here are tips that the ones who have survived used to defend themselves
     They all have said “knowing the enemy is half the battle.” All animals share physical and/or psychological weaknesses which can be exploited to your advantage. A firm fist to the nose, gouging out the eyes, knee kicks to the family jewels, and loud noises are some ways of avoiding an attack. But most of all, they seem to all say “do not run away”— in fact, stand your ground. Knowing that and choosing the right action, the other half of the battle, can be the difference between life and death. ….posted by Dave Long in Combat, “How to Survive an Animal Attack.”
     What about our battle with Satan? Is it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual? Does our strategic defense mechanism matter? The reality is our defense is found in the Bible—a gift from God, our relationship with God, and our choice to follow and stand firm in our belief. God is the belt of truth and the body of armor. In return, it is Satan who has to flee, not us!

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 John 4:4 (New Living Translation)
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

1 Corinthians 16:13 (New International Version)
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

James 4:7 (New International Version)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

THINK…Find the answers
1 John 4 says we are victorious. What are we victorious over and how did we accomplish that?

According to James, what will happen if we trust God when we are confronted with temptation from the devil?

NOTES: BIG PUSH starts this weekend, Nov 5/6. Send a einvite… scroll down to the bottom right-hand corner of the home page and click E-INVITE. Share an e-invite through Facebook or Twitter.

LIVE…What will you do now?

Looking back on how to survive an animal attack, what parallels can be drawn on how to survive a spiritual attack from Satan? What hope and reassurance can be drawn from the verses we looked at today?

Fleeing from the enemy likely seems logical but who does James 4:7 say has to do the fleeing? But before the “fleeing” takes place, what must we do? Recite times when you have submitted yourself to God and the enemy fled from you?

Living a godly life is an ongoing daily choice that we commit to, pray for, and work at. List three strategic ways to defend yourself against worldly battles.



PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray for faith and trust in God. Find wisdom and insight in the world around you. Fill your life with the word of God to defend yourself against the enemies of this world. Find strength and courage to stand firm.

Chapter 12 opens with the kingdom divided. In the rest of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, the story of the kings of Israel and Judah is told. The narrator describes God’s judgment on the kings mostly as ‘what was evil in the eyes of the Lord’. Most of the kings were evil or bad, a few good and slightly more a mixture of good and bad. David was the measuring stick they all were compared to. So after the bad start with Jeroboam in Israel and Nehoboam in Judah, the narrator interjects a little good. First, we have to get past Abijam. He reigned three years and “he walked in all the sins that his father did before him.
15:3 “David his father” The Hebrew terms father, mother and daughter do not necessarily refer to first-generation descent, and can mean “grandfather”, grandmother” or “granddaughter”.
15:4 “a lamp in Jerusalem” Davidic flame of promise to continue to burn.
15:14-15 “The high places were not taken away.” These were pagan places of worship. By not removing them Asa failed to focus his reforms upon the worship in Jerusalem. Otherwise he was commended for religious policy. 15:17 Asa’s reign is a long one and during his tenure five kings of Israel rise and fall. Baasha is the second of these. The succession of kings of Israel: Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri and Ahab. Chapter 17 introduces a famous prophet named Elijah. 17:9 “…Arise, go to Zarepahth, … I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” The widow herself shows no awareness of having been commanded directly by God, so it may be best to understand the verb here in a more indirect way. She learned God’s will as she walked in faith, just as we do.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.01.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 11.01.11.

Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Against All Odds

TUESDAY — KNOW YOUR ENEMY: The Slick Imposter!
Big Point: Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

     Our world is filled with con artists, liars and thieves who seek to defraud us. But the Bible warns us about the greatest deceiver of all—Satan, the devil. Are you aware of his tactics? Do you realize that Satan often presents himself as an “angel of light” disguised as the truth? Are you prepared to avoid his schemes, or could you fall victim to his deceptions?
     We have all heard stories about crooked salesmen who do their best to defraud senior citizens and rob them of their life’s savings. We know about corrupt businessmen who use false accounting to cheat investors and avoid taxes. You may have experienced thieves breaking into your home and robbing you of your possessions.
     But did you know that there is a thief who wants to rob you of the most valuable possession of all—your eternal life and your future as a child of God? This thief works through deceptive practices, from selfish vanity to pride to dangerous occultism, seeking to turn people away from the truth and from the way of life that will bring true happiness. Could that thief come in the form of …a pastor? Today’s study will help you realize the many different ways that Satan attempts to deceive us.

READ…What does the Bible say?
2 Corinthians 11:14 (New International Version)
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

Revelation 12:9 (New Living Translation)
This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

THINK…Find the answers
Merriam-Webster defines Masquerade: an action or appearance that is mere disguise or show. What does it mean in 2 Corinthians 11:14 when it says Satan masquerades as an “angel of light”? What is Satan disguising himself as?

In Revelation 12:9, what trait is the devil described by?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Listed below are several of the most serious ways that Satan attempts to deceive us and draw us apart form God. Identify the temptations that are a problem for you.

__ Lust             __ Pride
__ Arrogance   __ Bitterness
__ Vanity         __ False teachings
__ Lying            __ Lack of Faith

Now, let’s take it a step further. What have you done to combat your attraction to things that do not honor God?

“Most Americans, even those who say they are Christians, have doubts about the intrusion of the supernatural into the natural world. Hollywood has made evil accessible and tame, making Satan and demons less worrisome than the Bible suggests they really are. It’s hard for achievement-driven, self-reliant, independent people to believe that their lives can be impacted by unseen forces. At the same time, through sheer force of repetition, many Americans intellectually accept some ideas—such as the fact that you either side with God or Satan, there’s no inbetween— that do not get translated into practice.” (Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist, The Barna Group, Ltd.)

NOTES: There are many verses in the Bible that use the terms “light” and “darkness” as metaphors for good and evil or truth and deception. Here is a list of several verses to look up and see examples:
Psalm 89:15, Psalm 56:13, Isaiah 51:4, 1 John 1:5

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
In the next few days, this Bible study will help you learn how to fight off the devil and his evil ways. For now, stop and ask God to help you realize when you are being tempted and ask God for His protection.

10:1 “hard questions” Hard = riddles.
10:3 “Solomon answered all her questions; there was no question too complex for the king.” Riddle translation: Solomon explained all riddles. 10:8 “Happy are your men!” The Queen of Sheba is overwhelmed with the wisdom and wealth of Solomon.
10:10 Talent = unit of weight equal to 75 pounds. 120 talents is 9000 lbs. of gold.
10:14 “666 talents” = 50,000 lbs. of gold to Solomon, annually.
10:23 “So Solomon surpassed all kings” God kept His part of the covenant, 20 years after the promise.
10:28-11:1 “also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh … silver … king Solomon loved many foreign wives…” forbidden by Deuteronomy.
7:16-16. All that the Lord had forbidden kings to do, Solomon did. And so he lost the blessing of God.
11:5 “Ashtoreth and Milcom” At ancient Ugarit in Syria the sun was worshipped.
11:14 “Now the Lord raised up an adversary… ” to bring us to devotion to him.
“Jeroboam” Solomon’s most important enemy was found on his doorstep. Solomon put him in charge of forced labor of the house of Joseph.
11:38 God is willing to transfer the David covenant to Jeroboam, if Jeroboam is willing to listen to God and do as He commands.
11:43 “And Solomon slept with his fathers…” With Solomon’s death the kingdom is divided and the downward spiral of Israel begins.
13:7-32 Jeroboam’s invitation to the man of God to dine…attempt to buy his loyalty.
13:23-25 Disobedience leads to an unfortunate end. The Lion is behaving out of character by not eating the corpse.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.31.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 10.31.11.

Click here to download a printable version of biblical facts about Satan and his demons.

Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Against All Odds

What are the sources of sin? According to Scripture, there are three basic places from which we are tempted to sin. The first is the enemy; that old serpent, the devil. If you lived during the 1970’s, you probably saw a character named Geraldine, a creation of the comedian Flip Wilson who entertained millions with the quip that made her famous: “The devil made me do it.” That isn’t far from the truth. The Apostle Peter writes: “…Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8b) We also have the warning that the Apostle Paul gives to the believers in Ephesus: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) There is no doubt that the Word of God warns us that there is a real spiritual enemy out there. The enemy is formidable and has years of experience tempting the faithful.
Yet, according to a Barna Group nationwide survey of adult spiritual believers, four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but a symbol of evil.” Another 8% said they are unsure. If we do not know the enemy or believe he exists, we cannot fight against him.
The second source of temptation for us comes from the world around us, but the third source of temptation is something that we take to bed every night—our own sinful nature. Have you ever struggled with doing what you know is the right thing? Why the struggle if you know it is the right thing? Paul laments about his inability to do those things which he knows are correct. There is something going on inside of him that keeps him from actually doing the things that he knows are right. Listen to his lament: “…I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:14b- 15) Can you relate to that? The problem isn’t entirely the devil leading us away from Christ, nor of people dragging us to Spring Break or Mardi Gras debauchery— we also carry the problem with us wherever we go.

“Knowing is
half the battle.”
-G. I. Joe

     You see, the issue isn’t only about the devil tempting us to do wrong. It isn’t only about the world around us and bad company coercing us or making us feel too embarrassed to confess to our Lord. Our problem with temptation is that it isn’t only about the sin that is out there, it’s about the sin that is in our hearts. It is about our very being, our soul. In its natural condition, our sinful nature is at war against God.
G. I. Joe said, “Knowing is half the battle.” This week we will look at who the devil is by getting to know his schemes and tactics, how we can resist him with the sword of the Spirit (the Bible), and the part our own sinful nature plays. By the time you complete this bible study, we pray that you will have a sure-fire battle plan to stand firm against the enemy —after all, it is not if the battle will happen, it’s when!


MONDAY — KNOW YOUR ENEMY: The Sneaky Destructor
Big Point: Satan’s goal is to destroy God’s work in a very methodical and calculated manner.

     In the book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis writes, “Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’ and that they could set up their own way of living, as if they had created themselves and invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God.” [sic]
     One Bible commentary states that the devil is not a symbol or legend; he is very real. The devil is God’s enemy. He constantly tries to hinder God’s work. He is the “accuser.” Satan likes to pursue believers who are vulnerable in their faith, who are spiritually weak, or who are isolated from other believers. So who is Satan and how does he try to destroy God’s work? Read below and find out more.

“Enemy-occupied territory…
that is what this world is.”
C. S. Lewis

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Peter 5:8 (New Living Translation)
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Revelation 12:7-9 (New Living Translation)
7Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. 8And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. 9This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

2 Corinthians 4:4 (New Living Translation)
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

THINK…Find the answers
According to 1 Peter 5:8, what should believers do with regard to the devil? What is the devil doing?

Read Revelation 12:7-9. Who is Satan?

How does he end up on earth? How does 2 Corinthians 4:4 describe Satan? How does Satan attack believers?

LIVE…What will you do now?
What have you learned about who Satan is and how Satan works that you did not know before? Did anything surprise you?

What do you think it means that the devil “prowls”-that he wants to “devour” people, that he has “blinded the minds of people”? Can you give some real life examples of what this might look like to you?

Practically, how can you “stay alert” and “watch out” for Satan?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray for God to open your eyes to see the spiritual battle going on around you. Ask God to reveal His truth and to help you remain alert to Satan’s lies.

1 Peter compares Satan to a roaring lion.
Read these lion facts to find out how Satan plans his destructive attacks:

-A lion’s eyesight is five times better than a human being’s.
-A lion can hear prey from a mile away.
-Lions can smell nearby prey and estimate how long it was in the area.
-A lion’s roar can be heard from five miles away.
-When males join a pride, they usually kill other cubs.
-Lions can go four days without drinking.

5:7 It was common for kings with political and commercial ties to recognize each other’s gods. It is possible that Hiram genuinely praised the Lord, just as the Queen of Sheba did. 5:11 20,000 cors = 125,000 bushels or 4400 kiloliters; 20,000 baths = 115,000 gallons or 440 kiloliters
5:12 Treaties with pagan tribes were not allowed under the law except for nations a distance from Israel. Tyre and Sidon should have been excluded since they were within the original boundaries of the promised land (see Deuteronomy 20:12-15)
5:13-16 “conscripted laborers” Solomon did not make slaves out of the Israelites but he did draft them into forced labor.
6:1 “The four hundred and eightieth year after Israelites left Egypt.” Probably around 966 BC. If taken literally, exodus occurred around 1446 BC.
6:2-8 Key characteristics of Solomon’s temple reflect the desert tabernacle that Moses built exactly like the pattern God showed him (Exodus 25:9).
6:4 “clerestory” is the outside wall of the temple that rose above the roof of the adjoining side rooms and contained framed windows. “No tools used” … Using iron on rocks was closely associated with pagan practices.
6:2-9 cubit = 18 inches or 0.5 meter; span = 9 inches or 23 cm.
6:28-35 “he carved cherubim” Second commandment prohibited images to be worshipped (Exodus 20:4-5). Solomon used decorative art work in the temple.
7:1 Solomon’s priorities started to drift as his wealth and power grew. He spent more time building his house than the temple.
7:23 “The Sea” Huge basin or reservoir used by priests to cleanse their hands and feet. Capacity was approximately 10,000 gallons.
8:5 The number of sacrifices reflect Israel’s gratitude for a central and permanent place of worship.