Training for Godliness

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 4

This year, I set a goal to run two 5K races and one 10K race. I started my training in April and ran a 5K in June. I did OK but wasn’t very happy with my performance. I then ran an 8K with some friends and did better. I was proud of what I was able to do. Currently, I am training for my first 10K and am following a program that has me running five days and about 20 total miles each week. I’m getting stronger and faster. I can see new muscles in my legs and even look forward to my runs—usually. I have never been one to love exercise, but something about running has me hooked. Maybe it’s the extended alone time. I love that I’m doing something that is good for my body and shows my children that it’s important to take care of myself.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul encourages us to take care of our physical bodies but with a caveat.

1 Timothy 4:8
Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.

Did you catch the second part of the verse? Training for godliness is much better. It’s easy to train your body. You strap on your shoes or jump in a pool or put on a workout video, but how do you train for godliness? Paul provides Timothy with a list of ways to help develop this gift. One of the primary ways we train for godliness is through reading Scriptures⁠—both in the Old and New Testaments. Many balk at reading the Old Testament, thinking it was negated by Jesus, but remember that when Paul wrote this letter, the New Testament was not complete. He was telling Timothy to continue to study the Old Testament. When we know the entire Scripture, we are able to discern truth from error. Many in our current “Christian” culture are leading others away by omitting parts of the Bible or twisting verses to accommodate their own understanding of God’s inspired Word. Paul continues with a powerful encouragement to Timothy and us.

1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV)
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Training for godliness means we read the entire Bible. Training for godliness means we watch how we live: the media we consume, the words we say, our relationships with others. It means we carefully evaluate the words others are telling us, Christian or otherwise. It means being sure our doctrine—our set of beliefs—is biblically grounded. In doing this we will live a godly life and others will see and be drawn to Jesus through our lives.

Questions:
Do you spend more time exercising your physical body than you do your spiritual muscles? When is the last time you read from the Old Testament? Are you intimidated by it?

Next Steps:
This week, read from Psalms and Proverbs. Allow God to speak to you through his entire inspired Word. Challenge yourself to read through the entire Bible in the next year or so.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of your Word. Thank you that we have both the Old and New Testaments as evidence of your love and provision for us. Give us a hunger to know more about you. Give us a burning desire to develop our spiritual muscles. Thank you for allowing us to come before you to learn and grow. Amen.


This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a #comment”>comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


The Great Mystery

Today’s Scripture: 1 Timothy 3

When I was a young girl, I was intrigued by mysteries. I read every Nancy Drew Mystery book I could get my hands on. My favorite was The Mystery of the 99 Steps. Nancy had to search for a flight of 99 steps to solve the mystery of her friend’s weird dream. This adventure led Nancy and her friends to Paris—such excitement for a 9-year-old to read. (Side note, I was able to visit Paris in March this year—ooh la la!)

1 Timothy 3:14-16
14 I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ was revealed in a human body (A)
and vindicated by the Spirit. (B)
He was seen by angels (C)
and announced to the nations. (D)
He was believed in throughout the world (E)
and taken to heaven in glory. (F)

In today’s reading, some versions of the Bible, like the NKJV, have the heading for these verses as “The Great Mystery.” According to the dictionary, the definition of mystery is “something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain.” It is important to differentiate between the dictionary definition and one of the ways the Bible uses the word mystery. In this instance, the Bible uses “mystery” as a sacred secret, something that was previously hidden, but has now been revealed through the gospel of Christ. Let’s unpack the meaning of verses 14 through 16.

The apostle Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus, because the subject matter was too important to be missed if he was unable to deliver the instructions in person. Paul wanted to convey how those employed by the church and those who serve in a position doing ministry should conduct themselves as pillars of God’s church. It was vital for them to behave in a manner so as not to blemish the truth of the redemptive mission of Christ (vs. 14-15).

In verse 16, Paul gave a short outline of the life of Christ:

  1. Christ was revealed in a human body: “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (John 1:14)
  2. Christ was vindicated by the Spirit: “The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:3-4)
  3. He was seen by angels: “Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” (Matthew 4:11)
  4. He was announced to the nations: “It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’” (Luke 24:47)
  5. He was believed in throughout the world: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV)
  6. He was taken to Heaven in glory:  “until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:2)

Unlike the mystery books where it was the responsibility of Nancy and her besties Bess and George to solve the mystery, the mystery of our faith comes only through the church of Jesus Christ.

Questions:
Do you see the importance of the church? Are you committed to investing in the church? Are you living the truth of God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ? If not, why?

Next Steps:
The church has given out cards to list five people we want to invite to a service. If you have not already filled one out, do so and pray for those people. Be mindful that the list should contain names of people that are not currently involved at another life giving church.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of salvation through your only begotten son, Jesus. Thank you for our church leaders and their dedication to godly behavior. Help us to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. Give us strength and wisdom to look up to see the hope in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Remembering How to Pray

Today’s Scripture: 1 Timothy 2

My oldest daughter started 6th grade this fall at a new school. (I swear she was just a baby yesterday!) Switching from the Montessori school system to public school has been a learning experience for both of us. It quickly became evident that over the summer she had forgotten how to multiply and divide large numbers. I love math, and even used to earn money in high school by tutoring other students in math, but alas, it appears that multiplication and division by hand is done these days in a different way!

Her difficulty remembering how to solve some of her math problems after a long, busy summer struck a chord with me. I was undergoing the same experience at the start of this fall with another skill: prayer!

Today’s chapter, 1 Timothy 2, is all about instructions for worship:

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)         
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

So what had happened to my prayers? Summer had been wonderful with many great experiences, but it was also very busy. There were several camps for the kids and some trips for me, including one to Houston, Texas, and a trip to a gorgeous inn in Millersburg, as well as lots of outside activities and barbecues. But I will confess that in all of this, I neglected my daily prayers.

And by the time fall came around, somehow my “prayer muscle” had gone a bit flabby! (You know, just like what happens if you no longer go to the gym regularly…) Praying just did not quite feel the same anymore. I did not feel I could establish that “connection” as easily as I could before.

It took me a little while and some mindful exercising of that prayer “muscle” to get back into it. But, just as you decide to return to exercising regularly, you have to make the time and ease yourself gently back into it bit by bit. I felt so relieved once I could connect as easily with God as I had done before. But it took some effort. It definitely helped that I picked up my gratitude journal again and started to write down all the things I am grateful for in my life each night.

In the meantime, I have arranged for a math tutor for my daughter. Thankfully, I have some great connections at BGSU to faculty who specialize in innovative math teaching. (If your kid struggles with math at any stage, let me know and I can connect you to some fantastic online materials or tutors through them!) So, my daughter is starting to get back into the swing of it, exercising and training her “math muscle,” just as I have been honing my “prayer muscle” again. I plan to make sure that neither of us neglects these skills again, just like I make sure to keep going to the gym regularly to exercise my actual muscles.

Questions:
Have you neglected your “prayer muscle” lately? How do you feel when you do not regularly pray compared to when you do? What is keeping you from a daily devotional activity?

Next Steps:
Identify a time that works most days to pray, even if it is only for 5 minutes. Find a peaceful spot (or create one) where you can mindfully exercise praying. Journal how praying changes your life or start a gratitude journal.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for letting me find my connection to you again through prayer. I am sorry for my relative silence this summer. Even if I was not praying actively, I was thinking about you always. You were on my mind even if I did not voice it out in prayer. Thank you for listening and for strengthening my prayer muscle again. I had missed our connection and I am glad that I have it back! Amen.


This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Protestant church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters. She is currently looking for someone who would like to serve the Lord with her.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Flourishing by Faith

Today’s Scripture: 1 Timothy 1

One of the most wonderful aspects of our faith in God is the confidence and comfort it imparts on our lives. When we surrender control of our lives to God, we are freed from the chains of the illusion that we alone are responsible for our destiny.

Faith also provides sustenance to combat the challenges we face. Today, as we step into 1 Timothy, we are presented with a lesson in the importance of faith in its many dimensions.

First Timothy is essentially a letter of encouragement and guidance from the apostle Paul to his protegee Timothy. Paul considered Timothy to be his “true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). While Timothy was a trusted and respected man of God, historical accounts often make note of his timid nature. So, it is revealing that when Paul (who was anything but timid) departed Ephesus for Macedonia, he turned to Timothy to carry on with the important work he was leaving behind.

Ephesus was awash with turmoil over the teaching of the doctrine. In his epistle to Timothy, Paul challenged him “to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth” (1 Timothy 1:3). More specifically, Paul was imploring Timothy to stand against the rising tide of legalism, which strayed from the truth by focusing on man-made rules and outward appearances.

1 Timothy 1:5
5 The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.

Nestled within Paul’s message to Timothy is a resounding statement of purpose. He is asking him to reorient local teachings of the doctrine to focus on the inward beauty of God’s love, rather than the pedigree and posturing of teachers who “don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently” (1 Timothy 1:7).

At the same time, Paul was encouraging Timothy through a different sort of faith—his confidence in Timothy’s abilities. This was difficult and dangerous work, and the timid Timothy may very well have been a flight risk. Given the task at hand, Paul’s demonstration of confidence and encouragement was well-placed.

Lastly, Paul’s message conveys that faith in God is paramount to faith in our own worthiness.

1 Timothy 1:15-16
15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

The story of Paul’s transformation is surely one of the most dramatic examples of God’s love and mercy. Formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, Paul had once led the persecution of Christians. As Paul himself wrote, he was the worst of all sinners. And yet, God not only loved him, but he chose him to share the good news. Upon being saved, Paul was arguably Christ’s most devoted evangelist, authoring a substantial portion of the New Testament and serving as a model for all others who doubt their own worthiness.

In guiding and empowering Timothy, Paul provided a lesson in faith from which we all can benefit: Regardless of our past transgressions or current insecurities, trust in God enables us to strengthen the future of his Kingdom—by faith.

Questions:
How often do you consider the blessings that come with placing your faith in God? If you tend to lose sight of these blessings, what can you do to be more mindful of the peace and freedoms that accompany true faith? If you find it difficult to place unconditional faith in God, what obstacles are standing in your way?

Next Steps:
Set aside time today to quietly reflect on the blessings of your faith in God. Be thoughtful in considering how the knowledge that “God’s got this” can help you to live your faith and serve his Kingdom with a confident humility.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the immeasurable gift of your love and mercy. Help me to always be mindful of the freedom and comfort that my faith in you provides, and to use this faith as fuel for serving your Kingdom. Amen.


This post was written by Todd Romain. Todd enjoys sharing life with his wife Jessica and their family and serving at CedarCreek. He is a communications director at Owens Corning and enjoys reading, writing, music, and sports in his spare time.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


All That Glitters Is Not Gold!

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13

You may have heard “the grass is always greener on the other side.” The idea is that things may appear better from a distance, but the reality is often not what you thought it would be. Self-examination is a difficult task to undertake, and it is never easy to give an honest opinion about ourselves to ourselves. In The Merchant of Venice, 1596, Shakespeare writes, “All that glitters is not gold.” As Christians, we need to take a step back and look at our lives in general.

James 1:23-25
For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

In this final chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul’s comments are made to notify the church of his upcoming third visit and to prepare them for what to expect. He shares that he believes there has been sufficient opportunity since his last visit for those in need of repentance to do so. With this visit, he will discipline those who continue to choose to sin over God’s instructions.

2 Corinthians 13:2
I have already warned those who had been sinning when I was there on my second visit. Now I again warn them and all others, just as I did before, that next time I will not spare them. 

Paul also tells the Corinthians of the need for periodic self-examination to prove that our faith in Jesus is real—noticing this will ensure that the God of love and peace will be with us.

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. 

Paul’s hope is for them to be faithful, and he encourages them to engage in self-examination to prove whether they are faithful, and whether Christ is in them.

Questions:
How can we be certain that our faith is genuine and our salvation is sure?
Do your actions show that you are a follower of Jesus?

Next Steps:
Spend time in prayer and ask God to help you examine your faith. Ask yourself what your actions say about your beliefs. Do they confirm your claim to be a follower of Jesus? Talk to God about the areas in your life that are not matching up. Give them to him and ask for his help to grow in those areas.

Prayer:
Abba Father, we come before you to humble ourselves at your feet, asking you to bring mercy where judgment has been earned. We are deeply sorry for allowing our hearts to be led astray by our own desires and the things of this world, for the ways we have turned away from you and sinned against you. Amen!


This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Do Not Be Afraid!

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12

I have dreamed of being a writer and speaker for as long as I can remember. God put this strong desire to write on my heart. I was afraid for a long time to step out of my comfort zone. I was worried that my writing would stink and people would ridicule me.

In college, I wrote a term paper for a class. I was so proud of that paper, but soon realized my writing was so bad the instructor lowered my grade by a whole grade level! My instructor said my research was fabulous, but I needed serious help in my grammar, punctuation, and writing style. Every time I thought about writing, I would remember her comments and instantly feel like there was no way I could be a writer.

Six years ago my twin brother, Mark, died. I was heartbroken. I felt strongly that I needed to give his eulogy. I was scared, but I worked on it for hours. I prayed. God took over, and I know he worked through me to help me honor my brother. Afterwards, a few people who knew my dream came up to me and told me I had the gift of speaking, and I needed to do something about it.

A few years passed and I started volunteering for an organization called “Good Grief.” The group helps children and their families deal with the death of a loved one. This organization is dear to my heart. My mom died when I was a teenager, and my family would have really benefited from a program like this. One day the directors asked for a volunteer to speak at their annual fundraiser. I felt God tell me I needed to do this. I waited to see if anyone else would volunteer. I waited until the next day and emailed the director that I would do it. I prayed and prepared. I met with Barb Roose, who is a  full -time speaker and author, and she helped me a great deal. As I was practicing the day before the event, my daughter, Sarah, who is a great speaker, walked in the room. She looked worried after hearing my practice run, but I was determined to do the best I could.

The next day, I was so blessed that many of my friends and family came to the event to support me. I know they were praying for me. I prayed really hard, “God, I can’t do this on my own—please work through me.” I believed with all my heart that he would take over, and he did. I wasn’t very nervous. I felt God’s presence as I walked up on the stage and I felt him take over. Afterwards, I got many compliments. Sarah told me she couldn’t believe it. She said, “I heard you practice and I am amazed at how well you did.” I smiled and told her God worked through me. My mentor, Zonnie, was there that day and told me God had given me talent and I needed to use it. She gave me a journal for my birthday so I would write.

My husband kept encouraging me to sign up to write for the LivingItOut, but I was scared. Every time I thought about signing up to write for the LIO, I remembered what my college instructor had told me so long ago. I finally got the courage to sign up. I didn’t tell any of my friends for a long time about my writing. Every time I write for the LIO, I pray, “God please speak to me and help me.” I read and study about the topic or Bible verse. I meditate on it; I read the Bible verse or chapter in different versions. While I am writing, I pray, “God help me! I can’t do this on my own.” Each time God takes over and helps me. Each time one of my submissions is published, I am so honored that God can use my weaknesses to bring him glory.

I hope 2 Corinthians 12:9 will motivate you to step out and let God use your weaknesses to bring him glory.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Questions:
What is God calling you to do? Do you trust God to use your weaknesses for his Glory? How is his power made perfect in your weakness?

Next Steps:
Think about what God is calling you to do. Pray about it. Plan and prepare. Then follow God’s lead and do it.

Prayer:
Jesus, I am so grateful that you turn my weaknesses into strengths. Help me to focus on you, and not my weaknesses. Fill me with your power and help me to fulfill the purpose you have for my life. Give me the desire to obey you fully and immediately. Help me to remember I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Amen.


This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Speak Life

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11

This weekend, we heard how important it is to live like connections matter. Life was meant to be shared, but not everyone plays nice in the sandbox. I have experienced someone “talking about me behind my back.” I can tell you that it’s unkind, unloving, and it hurts. Even still, life is better in bunches!

People in Corinth talked about Paul. They said he was weak and cowardly. Chapter 10 begins with, “Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ—though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write from far away. Well, I am begging you now so that when I come I won’t have to be bold with those who think we act from human motives.”

Paul began to speak out! He wanted them (and us) to understand that sharing the good news should be done—share freely the good news that has been shared with you! Paul boasted about doing just that and his boasting brings both a challenge and a warning for us today. There are many false teachings out there. Paul shares some wisdom about what to watch out for in this chapter.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15
12 But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. 13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.  

Paul lived for Christ and had one of the greatest adventures of all time! He was passionate about spreading the good news and building up the body of Christ, although it wasn’t always a pleasant journey. He was imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, and faced danger on a daily basis, but he never stopped sharing the good news of Christ! He loved the communities that had sprung up. He nurtured the relationships and kept them on an honest and pure path. His life’s work was to know people and to be known by them. He spoke life and unconditional love into the lives of others and challenged them to do the same.

Questions:
Who is in your life circle? Do you trust them? If not, why? What is keeping you from reaching out?

Next Steps:
Reach out to someone, an acquaintance, in your life, and start a conversation with them. Invite them to go for a walk, or coffee, and get to know them better. Invite them to church or ask them about their church.

Join a Group at church this semester. There are a variety of Groups to choose from and chances are you will find one that works for you. Visit the Group directory at cedarcreek.tv/groups to find your Group.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for creating in us a desire to do life together. Give us courage and wisdom to share our faith with others. Open our eyes to see someone who may be in isolation and in need of kindness. Help us to get out of the way and let you move through us to do the work that only you can do.  Help us, Lord, to speak life. In Jesus’ name, amen. 


This post was written by Julie Estep, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


This Is How We Fight Our Battles!

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10

Do you ever struggle with random thoughts? As difficult as it may be to contain those thoughts, both Paul and Jesus seem to think your thoughts are pretty important. If you recall from our study of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says that if we are angry with someone (an emotion that begins as a thought), you are subject to judgment. Later, in that same chapter, Jesus talks about lust and adultery. Verse 28 says if you look at a woman with lust you have already committed adultery. Where does that lust begin? With your thoughts! How are we to control these thoughts? Well, 2 Corinthians 10:5 has a great suggestion.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (emphasis added)
We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

The commentary in the New Living Translation Bible says, “We, like Paul, are merely weak humans, but we don’t need to use human methods and plans to win our battles. God’s mighty weapons are available to us as we fight against the devil’s ‘strongholds’. The Christian must choose the method to use—God’s or the world’s?”

What weapons does God supply? Prayer, faith, hope, love, God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit—these are powerful weapons. This is how we fight our battles! These weapons can break down human arguments that are supported by our pride and our unwillingness to submit to God. These tools can tear down the walls that Satan tries to build to keep people from seeking and building a relationship with Christ.

How can we use these weapons? I found that Scripture memorization works for me! I’m getting old, and memorizing Scripture is more difficult with each passing year. But like anything else, it’s a discipline, a muscle you can exercise to gain effect. When my thoughts begin to wander to a place I realize is displeasing to God, I try to recall one of the verses that I’ve memorized.

As we’ve been reading through the New Testament this year, I’ve even had the opportunity to write about some of these verses. 1 Corinthians 10:13 is one of them.

1 Corinthians 10:13
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

The passage I’m writing on today is another. A couple of years ago, I memorized all of 2 Peter using a YouVersion plan. It’s doable, and the benefit for me is that by the time I finally remember the verse specific to combat the thought, I’ve totally forgotten the thought itself! That’s what works for me. You should try it!

Questions:
Have you ever tried a Scripture memory program? Have you tried to find and memorize Scripture that speaks God’s truth about something you are struggling with?

Next Steps:
Find a verse that speaks to your heart and memorize it. Make it a goal to memorize the foundational verse chosen for each series from now until the end of the year. Ask someone to hold you accountable. (Ouch!)

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I thank you so much that you have given us your precious Word with which we can tear down the strongholds that keep us from trusting you wholeheartedly! Thank you that we can trust the truth of your Word. Thank you for loving us too much to leave us defenseless against Satan, who roams the world looking for those he can devour. Our faith gives us the victory! Amen.


This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


S. O. A. P.

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9

One of my favorite ways to connect with God when I read a chapter in the Bible is to use the S.O.A.P. Bible study method. It is a quick, easy, and effective way to capture key take-aways from the chapter that you are reading. The S.O.A.P. study helps you interact with your Bible by taking notes and spending time reflecting. This method of study is often used by our LivingItOut writers as they reflect and pray about what to share with our readers. For today’s post, we are going to share an example of S.O.A.P. Whether or not you have done S.O.A.P. studies before, I hope it can serve as an encouragement to spend more time studying God’s Word.

Here is how it works:

After reading through the chapter, identify one or two key verses that stand out to you. Those verses are the “S” of your S.O.A.P. study.

S- The S stands for Scripture. Write the verse or verses down and begin reflecting and praying about why it stood out to you. The act of writing it down also helps you slow down and think about each word.

O – The O stands for observation. What do you notice about this Scripture? Who was its original audience? What word or words stand out to you?

A –The A stands for application. Ask yourself, is there a promise from God that I need to receive? Is there a command to obey?  Is there a sin to avoid? Is there a truth about who God is that I need to trust or maybe a truth about who he says that I am?

P – End your time of study and reflection in prayer. Incorporate the scripture in your prayer to God.

Here is an example of S.O.A.P. for today’s chapter, 2 Corinthians 9.

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 9: 6-10
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Observations:

  • Paul is writing to a group of Christians who have a reputation for being generous. In these verses, Paul is encouraging them to be generous with their giving to Titus and the others that he is sending to them.
  • In this letter, Paul writes that there are two types of farmers. One farmer who holds on to his seed and spreads it sparingly and another farmer who plants generously trusting that parting with it will produce a future harvest.  Like these farmers, this group of Christians has a choice to hold on to what God has given them or to share it generously.
  • Paul assures them that their good deeds will be remembered and that God will provide for them as they share their resources with others.

Application:
These verses are an invitation to trust God. Like the early believers, we are also invited to be generous with what God has given to us and to believe that God will provide for us in the future. As we read about the generous farmer, we can learn from his example. He realized that having seed in the storehouse after the planting season was useless and that planting the seed generously would lead to the blessing of a generous harvest. This example leads me to identify things that I am holding on to too tightly and to ask myself what is keeping me from being more generous. As I learn to trust God more and more with my resources, I will see that he is faithful and will provide for my future.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for being a God who generously provides all I need. Help me to live generously and to trust you with my resources. As I go through my day today, open my eyes to the opportunities around me to bless others.


This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


What’s Your Next Move?

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8

Have you ever said: “I’m blessed,” “We’re blessed,” They’re blessed,” “I feel blessed”?

We say it or hear it when we really do feel blessed. You welcome a child into this world, are newly married, get a promotion at work, have a successful business, or a healthy familyto name a few. Now, don’t get me wrong. I totally understand why we say it, but there are times when I just want to challenge myself.

We are blessed in so many unique ways and moments. God blesses us with amazing gifts. But the question I always want to ask myself is, “How am I going to honor God with these amazing blessings?” After all, God did bless me.

Yes, we are feeling that presence and amazing feeling. But, it wasn’t just a random spiritual lottery. We’ve been provided with a blessing by God’s grace, and now it is up to us to glorify him further and advance his kingdom. So what are we going to do about it? How will we utilize these blessings, whatever “they” might be, to do God’s work?

The church of Corinth was blessed. They excelled at everything when it came to the early churchfaith, knowledge, earnestness, and LOVE. But Paul also wanted them to be leaders in giving.

2 Corinthians 8:7
Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.   

The Corinthians used God’s blessing upon them to further the kingdom of God. They gave out of love!!! They led by examplenot because Paul ordered them to, but because they had sincere hearts that loved the Lord.

They were blessed, and they were thankful to God. So, naturally, the love they had for God was shown through them to complete strangers within a church in need. That’s a great way to be using the blessings of God to advance his kingdom!

Questions:
How has God blessed you in your life? How can you use that blessing to honor God?

Next Steps:
Advance God’s kingdom and use his blessings to make a difference. No matter the size or significance, God wants you to use his blessings. How will you use these gifts to advance the kingdom?

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, we are blessed in so many ways. It is hard to fully comprehend.  Open our eyes and hearts to know your purpose for us. Give us the wisdom to use the gifts and blessings in our lives to their fullest potential. Because we know that you cause everything to work together for the good of those who love you Lord, and that we are called according to your purpose for us. We are blessed—and we are so thankful. Help us and use us, to maximize the blessings you have brought into our lives. Amen.


This post was written by Mike Bilik. Mike is a father to three amazing daughters and one awesome son. Spare time is rare, but given the opportunity, you are likely to find him with friends: hiking, hunting, or fishing.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media