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Bible Study

LIO 1/01-How We Can Change, Part I

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

THURSDAY – How We Can Change, Part I
Big Point: We have to want our sins to go away, otherwise we make it comfortable for them to stay.

 

The prayer that begins with trustfulness, and passes on into waiting, will always end in thankfulness, triumph, and praise.

- Alexander MacLaren

 

Happy New Year! Welcome the Year of our Lord 2015!

In many parts of the world, it is customary to make New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of a new year. People resolve to make changes in their lives, hoping to make the coming year better than the last. Are you a New Year’s resolutions-maker? If so, have your past resolutions been successful? Or do you find that you’re not very good at achieving them? Maybe a better way to bring about change in your life is to start the new year asking God to lead you in a closer walk with Him for His purposes through prayer.

Prayer is the first step in leading our hearts to God. But, knowing how to pray is not common knowledge. Even the disciples asked for help, “Lord teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1) When a person is born again in Christ, the life of the son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. For example, we often look on prayer simply as a means of getting what we want. In contrast, the biblical purpose of prayer is so we may get to know God, Our Father, Himself.

In Scripture, Jesus teaches the disciples, and us, to pray by praising God first. Then he made his requests. Praising God first puts us in a frame of mind to talk with Him about our needs. Too often our prayers are more like shopping lists than conversations. We complain before God, and sometimes we are apologetic or indifferent to Him, but we actually ask Him for very few things. Yet a child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask! Our Lord said, “…unless you…become like little children…” (Matthew 18:3) So we must ask in that way, and God will do it. Give Jesus the opportunity and the room to work. The problem is most of us won’t do this until we are desperate.  

When a person is at wit’s end, the barriers come down and it no longer seems cowardly to pray; in fact, it is the only way we can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself. Be yourself before God and present Him with your problems–the very things that have brought you to Him. But as long as you think you are self-sufficient, you will miss out on this great gift from God.

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
1.
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he made forgiveness the cornerstone of their relationship with God. God has forgiven our sins; we must now forgive those who have wronged us. To remain unforgiving shows we have not understood that we, too, are deeply in need of forgiveness.

 Question: Think of some people who have wronged you. How will God deal with you if you refuse to offer them forgiveness?

Luke 11:2-4 (New Living Translation)
2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. 3 Give us each day the food we need, 4 and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin

against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.

 Answer:

 

 

  1. Persistence, or boldness, in prayer overcomes our insensitivity not God’s. To practice persistence does more to change our hearts and minds than His, and it helps us understand and express the intensity of our need. Persistence in prayer helps us recognize God’s work and our total dependence upon Him.

Question: A child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask. List ways to make your prayers more childlike.

Luke 11:9 (New Living Translation)
And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking; and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened.

 Answer:

 

 

  1. Even though good fathers make mistakes, they treat their children well. How much better our perfect Heavenly Father treats His children!

Question: What is the most important gift our Heavenly Father could give us?

 Luke 11:11-13 (New International Version)
11 Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will you give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

 Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?
Think back to the last time you were at your wit’s end? How did you handle the situation? Would you handle it differently now? What would you do?

 

 

Why do we do the things we don’t want to do, and don’t do the things we’d like to do?

 

 

What would you like to change in your life? Do you think prayer can help you make that change? Are your prayers as bold as a child’s?

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Try this prayer: Lord of all creation, we praise You and love You greatly. Give us the strength to boldly do Your work. Help us to forgive. And teach us to love each other. In Your name we pray. Amen.

Digging Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click below to watch a promo video from Hans and Freda to help get you in shape for the New Year!

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

 

Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you!

Looking for a 2015 Bible Reading Plan? We’ve got a basic plan on this site. CLICK HERE to download a basic plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

 

 

LIO 12/31-Why Can’t We Win Against Sin?

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

WEDNESDAY –Why Can’t We Win Against Sin?
Big Point: We try to live good lives, but for very selfish motives.

When sin lets us alone, we may let sin alone; but sin is always active when it seems to be the most quiet, and its waters are often deep when they are calm… If sin is always acting, we are in trouble if we are not always mortifying.

-Tim Keller

 

In the spring of the second year of Israel’s siege of Rabbah, King David, who had remained in Jerusalem, arose one evening from his bed and saw from the roof of his palace the beautiful Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, bathing. Inflamed with passion, the king sent for the immodest temptress and committed adultery with her.  

From this sinful union, a child was conceived. When David was informed of Bathsheba’s pregnancy, he was determined to conceal the sin. King David had Uriah summoned from the battlefront under the presumption that, while on furlough, he would visit his wife and thus when Bathsheba’s child was born, it would appear to be the offspring of Uriah.

Uriah, however, being the patriotic warrior that he was, refused to indulge in matrimonial pleasure so long as his comrades-in-arms were “encamped in the open field”, and thus slept in the courtyard away from his wife. Frustrated, David then sought to intoxicate the soldier to break down his resistance so that he might go to his wife and therefore cover up the illegitimate conception. But, again, Uriah “went not down to his house”. Finally, in a truly desperate measure, the king sent him back to the battlefront and, by his hand, he sent a message to Joab, his captain. Uriah was to be placed in “the forefront of the hottest battle. The troops were to withdraw from him that he might be slain. Thus did the courageous warrior expire, never knowing of his wife’s infidelity with the king.” (www.christiancourier.com)

David’s struggle might have been lust, but the underlying factors were pride (I can have anything I want), possessions (I see her, I want her) and fear (I have to make sure that I don’t get caught). His prideful, selfish motives ultimately led to Uriah’s death. As the prophet Nathan pointed out to David—God knew all of it. He sees the heart. No one can hide the reason and no one can hide the sin from Him.

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
1.
Psalm 32:1-5 sums up David’s journey, how sin impacted his life and how freedom finally came.

Question: According to verses 1-2, how can you find joy?

 

 

When David tried to deal with sin on his own, what was the result? When David trusted God with his sin and asked for forgiveness, what difference did it make in his life?

 

Psalm 32:1-5 (New Living Translation)
1 Oh, what joy for those who disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! 2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. 4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. 5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

 

Answer:

 

LIVE… What will you do now?
Our motives are often the birthplace of our sin. Take a look at what motivates you. What was the last thing you did for someone else? What motivated you to perform that act? Was it for praise, the expectations of others, your reputation or a guilty conscience? Ask God to show you your motives as you reflect on the question.

 

 

 

Tim Keller told us three signs to show that our motives are sinful and selfish:

  1. Can’t admit flaws (because we think that we are “good people”).
  2. When failure happens, we’re riddled with guilt and shame.
  3. We look down our noses at people who don’t have the same identify factors. For example, if you’re a hardworking person, you’ll look down your nose on “lazy” people. If you’re identity is based on wealth, you’ll look down on those who don’t have as many resources.

 

Which one do you identify with the most? Why?

 

 

 

 

“People in Western societies are crushed with anxiety; in Eastern, with guilt.” What is the difference between anxiety and guilt? Why do you or why don’t you believe Tim’s statements? How does this affect your choices in life and the issue of sin?

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
When praying today, confess your sins to God. Ask Him to help you recognize your true motives and to change them to honor God. Ask for God’s help in any area you are struggling to change.

 Digging Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click below to watch a video from Hans and Freda to help get you in shape for the New Year!

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

 

Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! Starting tomorrow, January 1st, 2015 we will not provide a Daily Bible Reading plan, however, we encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you!  We’ve got a basic plan on this site. CLICK HERE to download a basic plan.

Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

 

 

LIO 12/30-Fools Try to Win Against Sin

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

TUESDAY – Fools Try to Win Against Sin
Big Point: Sin is deeper than we think, and only a fool tries to outwit it

Men are willing to admit that they are sinners, but not that they are sinning.

—Ivan Panin

 

If we are being honest, we will agree that sin is a BIG problem. Sin separates us from God, so how much bigger could a problem get? Well, what about the idea that you can somehow make yourself right with God through being a good person and doing good works? Doing good deeds has to count for something, right?     Although doing good works is not in itself a bad thing, thinking that it can be used as a way to put us back in God’s good graces is prideful and foolish. Sin goes much deeper than mankind could ever imagine, and even gets passed on from one generation to the next. Bottom line — no amount of good deeds could ever pay the price of sin.      “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) That is the price for sinning and the good news is God provided His son as the one and only one who could pay that price. So the question becomes, if we can’t pay the price for sinning, why not just avoid it altogether? Then, there would be no price to pay. The truth is you cannot “avoid” sin. God’s law is written for all to follow, but human nature is defiant and we want to have the control to make the good outweigh the bad.

You cannot pay the price for your sins. In fact, the more you try to make up for your sins with good works, the more you’re telling God, “I don’t accept this gift you have given me. I’d rather try to do it myself.” This pride keeps you separated from God. But when you say, “God, thank you for this gift of Jesus, for your grace and his obedience to come and pay the price for my sin so I could be with You for eternity. I know I can’t do anything without you.” That humility opens the door to a relationship with the one who made the ultimate sacrifice for you. Don’t be foolish in thinking that there is a scoreboard for sin versus good deeds. The board has been cleared. Accept the gift that has been freely given only by God’s grace.

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
1. When Christ died on the cross, God saw our sin as dying with Him. It is by grace, and grace alone, that we have also been raised with him. We are reconciled with God and free to grow in Jesus.

Question: Why is grace meaningless when you try to keep a tally of your good works? What does it say about Jesus’ sacrifice?

Galatians 2:21 (New Living Translation)
I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Answer:

 

  1. Sin looks good to you precisely because God says it is wrong. When tempted to rebel, you need to look at the law in the light of God’s perfect grace and mercy.

Question: Why is God’s written law important to have and read?

Romans 7:7-10 (New Living Translation)
Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10 and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead.

Answer:

 

 

  1. Christians, even after they have been given the gift of salvation, feel obligated to try to work their way to God. Because salvation is a gift, you should respond with gratitude, praise and joy.

Question: What is the only way to receive salvation?

Ephesians 2:8-9 (New Living Translation)
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?
What sin in your life are you struggling with right now? What impact is this sin having on your life and your relationship with Christ?

 

 

When did you last try to “fix” yourself without God’s help? How did it differ from the help you’ve received from God when you asked for His guidance and grace?

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Tell God about the sins you are struggling with right now and ask Him to reveal to you any sin that you may not be aware of. Humble yourself and let Him know that you realize you cannot fix yourself and you need His help. Thank Him for His mercy when Christ died on the cross.

Digging Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click below to watch a video from Hans and Freda to help get you in shape for the New Year! 

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

LIO 12/29-What it Takes to Change Ourselves

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

Always be killing sin or it will be killing you.

- Tim Keller, pastor

 

Now that Christmas is over, many of us have turned our attention to saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming the new one. Between football games and Buffalo chicken wings and dip, we’ll click every Buzzfeed list out there counting down the “Best of Anything and Everything” that happened in 2014. We’ll pay homage to the best couple, best movie, best app and so on. Do you find it the least bit curious that we spend the last six days of each year trying to sum up the biggest, boldest and best of the other 359?

Think back to December 31, 2013. Do you remember what you were doing that day? How did you feel about your life? What were your goals, hopes or dreams for 2014? Did any of them happen?

By the age of ten, most of us know that the success rate for most New Year’s resolutions is pretty pitiful. Only a narrow sliver of the population loses the weight and keeps it off or quits smoking for good, while the rest of us stopped trying after the first few days.

Let’s face it, real change is hard. Unfortunately, more often than not, we feel that since change is hard, maintaining the status quo is the best that we can accomplish and, therefore, we give up.

We humans are prone to self-delusion, especially when it comes to our own shortcomings. We rationalize to ourselves that the consequences of not changing aren’t really a big deal. It doesn’t really matter if I forgive my dad… Sure, I’m probably drinking too much, but whatever… Look, nobody gets hurt by what I see on the computer screen—and, besides, it’s nobody else’s business.

We all have a blind spot — a behavior or attitude that is just wrong. The question is whether we take ownership of it or not. Denial is powerful. Ask any addict. Every person that has ever struggled with a significant hang-up or addiction—whether drugs, gambling, overeating, shopping—knows that nothing changes until we acknowledge we have a problem. Just to be clear, though: all of us have some sin problem. All of us have at least one blind spot that God wants to reveal to us. How many of us refuse to open our eyes and address it?

In this weekend’s message, pastor and prolific writer Tim Keller warns us about the dangers of self-delusion when it comes to sin. In his talk, “What It Takes to Change Ourselves Permanently, Deeply and Enduringly”, Keller reframes our understanding of sin. It’s not just something that puts a barrier between God and us, it is a powerful, debilitating destroyer. To be free of the bonds of sin, we MUST acknowledge our sin. But how do we get to that point?

Hebrews 4:12 states that the power of God’s words in the Bible will break through our denial and illuminate the truth of who we are and what God wants to change in us. Next, we must embrace the reality that lasting change only occurs when we let go of self determination. Then, ALL of us need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to transform us, equip us and sustain us if we are ever to experience real, lasting and enduring change — change that impacts us and everyone in our path for the glory of God.

 

THIS WEEK’S STUDY IS ABOUT WHAT IT TAKES FOR US TO CHANGE PERMANENTLY, DEEPLY AND ENDURINGLY.

MONDAY – Sin is Much Bigger Than We Think
Big Point: When we underestimate the power of sin, it will overcome us every time.

Sin is more than an act or a series of acts;

it is a man’s make-up.

- A.W. Pink

 

The scene opens on a beautiful gazelle grazing lazily amongst tall swaying grass. If you’re a Discovery Channel buff you know what comes next. The camera pans to a lion crouching low in the grass, only the tip of it’s tail twitches. He’s waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on his unsuspecting prey. Within seconds, it becomes a struggle of life and death. Imagine how different the outcome could have been if the gazelle had been more alert and reacted faster. It is no coincidence that God created the circle of life as a metaphor of our struggle with sin.

Genesis 4 introduces us to Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, and his brother, Abel. Cain, a farmer, presents his crops to God as a gift. His gift, however, was not accepted (for reasons the Bible does not specify), but his younger brother Abel’s was accepted. Cain becomes very angry but God offers Cain a second chance to do what is right. He warns Cain that sin is crouching at his door and he must learn to subdue it in order to master it. Cain ignores God’s warning and goes on to kill Abel out of jealousy. Because of his decision to ignore God’s counsel, he is driven from God’s sight and fellowship with Him. Cain had an opportunity to change paths, but he allowed his jealousy to keep him on the path of sin and separation from God.

We all fall prey to the sin. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, “Be alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 7 about being a slave to sin. He says he wants to do what is right, but does not. How true is this in your life? Relying on your own strength to overcome sin is like the gazelle who relies on the tall grass to protect itself. The tall grass is indeed where sin hides! Your tall grass may be pride, anger like Cain, lust or addiction. Whatever it may be, the only way to rise above it is to run straight to Jesus.

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
1.
Paul is writing to the Christians in Rome. He is telling them that when they died with Christ, they also died to the power of the law. They had been released from the law but the law still gave them guidelines that revealed their sin.

Question: What is the power within us that Paul is referring to? This verse uses the word “I” a lot. Why is that important to focus on?

Romans 7:21-24a (New Living Translation)
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But 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.   24 Oh, what a miserable person I am!

 Answer:


2. Cain had just presented an unworthy offering to God. The Bible does not name why it was rejected but we can guess his heart condition was wrong or even that he did not offer the first crops of his harvest. God graciously offers Cain a second chance.

Question: Why is the imagery of sin crouching so powerful? How do we subdue and master sin?

Genesis 4:7 (New Living Translation)
You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.

Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?
Have you ever been presented with two paths and chose the one you knew was wrong? How does knowing what is right, but not doing it, give sin a foothold? How did that choice affect your life?

 

 

Sin disconnects us from God, but God restores the connection through Christ. What kind of connection have you experienced with God this year? If your connection is lagging, in what way? What can you do to restore it?

 

 

How has your thinking changed about God over the last year?

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Thank God for second chances and warning signs where sin may be hiding. Pray for an alert mind so you can run from sin before it strikes. Ask God to help you make good choices and to guide your daily decisions.

 

Click below to watch a promo video from Hans and Freda to help get you in shape for the New Year!

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

LIO for the Week of 12/29-What it Takes to Change Ourselves

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

Week of December 21 – LIO Christmas Devotions

We hope you enjoy today’s Christmas Daily Devotional, a special edition of the LivingItOut Bible Study, only available online this week at LivingItOut.tv:

 

Friday, December 26

John 10:10b (New Century Version)
I came to give life – life in all its fullness.

 

The day after Christmas can begin what writer Jeff Goins refers to as a mini-season of limbo – an awkward in-between time. “Some are still running on fumes from the emotional high that opening presents and seeing family brought.  Others feel guilty for over-indulging in holiday sweets and are on a weeklong shame fest, already starting to make those New Year’s resolutions. Even others are dealing with the disappointment of another year gone by, another December 25th come and gone.”

Are you experiencing any of those feelings today? Or feeling like you missed it?

If you are, Wayne Stiles reminds us what we can do in his poem entitled ‘Twas the Night AFTER Christmas:

I, too, was as guilty, from my head to my foot,

My conscience was tarnished like ashes and soot;

I focused, this season, on presents and things,

And not on my family, my friends, and my King.

 

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,

Ran into my house (I’d been such a jerk!),

Right up to my wife I came with a hug,

And kissed all my kids, right there on the rug.

“The night after Christmas is better,” said I,

“Than never recalling in Christmas is Christ!

The best of all gifts, which to us has been given,

Is Jesus, who died for our sins . . . and is risen!”

LIVE:

  • If it’s been a race up to Christmas Day, how can you take a little time today and slow down?
  • Who can you connect with in a meaningful way that maybe you didn’t have a chance to yesterday?
  • Other suggestions for today: Get outside for a few minutes and take a walk alone if you can. Or find a picture on Instagram of nature and really look at it. Take in all its detail. In all these things, ask Jesus to continue to show himself through his Word and in all the details of your life.

Week of December 21 – LIO Christmas Devotions

We hope you enjoy today’s Christmas Daily Devotional, a special edition of the LivingItOut Bible Study, only available online this week at LivingItOut.tv:

 

Thursday, December 25

Matthew 1:23 (New Living Translation)
Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us”.

As children, we could hardly wait for Christmas Day to arrive so that we could find out if we received the gifts that we had asked for. As we grew older and more mature, we began to realize that Christmas gifts, while wonderful when first received, were many times impractical, impersonal and either ran out or wore out and never really lived up to the great expectations we so many times had.

The good news is that Christmas is not about the gifts we receive or the gifts we give, but it’s about the gift that God so lovingly gave to us. Pastor and author Rick Warren presents four main features of God’s gift to us:

  1. God’s gift is personal. It is custom made to you. It is the most personal gift you will ever receive.
  2. It is practical. This is the most practical gift you’ll ever get. You need this gift that God has to offer you.
  3. It is priceless. Jesus Christ paid for it with his life. That’s how much it cost to pay for this gift.
  4. It is permanent. It will last forever throughout eternity.

Where are you going to get a gift like that? Nowhere, except from God! God truly wants you! He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him and that is THE gift. The gift that will heal your deepest hurts, forgive every single mistake you’ve ever made, help you understand the purpose of your life, make you a better person, fill your life with confidence, joy and peace and eternally secure your future in heaven. God is with you – Merry Christmas!

LIVE:

Ask God to show you (or show you again) how wonderful and marvelous His gift is to you so that you can receive it and then share it with those around you.

 

Week of December 21 – LIO Christmas Devotions

We hope you enjoy today’s Christmas Daily Devotional, a special edition of the LivingItOut Bible Study, only available online this week at LivingItOut.tv:

 

Wednesday, December 24

Ephesians 3:14 (New Living Translation)
When I think of all this [the wisdom and scope of God’s plan], I fall to my knees and pray to the Father.     

 

Wrapping paper is something that many of us will see a little too much of over the next few days. Although there is something special about all the colorful designs and papers we use to wrap our gifts, the excitement quickly fades. A few hours into Christmas morning, we realize we have an excess of garbage bags to fit into our trash cans. Thankfully, God wrapped a gift for us called peace and He did not use paper. He used prayer and thankfully, no prayer is thrown into the trash can.

The reality is that we encounter so many incredible things in our lives through prayer including love, wisdom, patience and understanding; but, peace ties all of these things together and calms our spirit. It is a light in the darkest of places and peace through prayer is a promise of God. Prayer is always available to us and it connects us directly to our Heavenly Father, the Almighty God.

So the question is: How do we recognize and access today the peace we are given through prayer?

  1. The first step is finding peace through forgiveness. God has forgiven you. His love for you is great and when you trust in His plan for your life, finding peace within your prayer life becomes easier.
  2. Step two involves praying to God in all circumstances. There is no judgment or condemnation with God; believing this and acknowledging it with thankfulness helps peace flow more freely in your prayer life. You no longer live putting your hope and peace in the worldly things around you. On this day, when gift giving ramps up to its height of the season, open your heart and unwrap God’s peace in your life through prayer.

LIVE:

What can you pray about today that will help focus your hope on God?

 

 


Week of December 21 – LIO Christmas Devotions

We hope you enjoy today’s Christmas Daily Devotional, a special edition of the LivingItOut Bible Study, only available online this week at LivingItOut.tv:

 

Tuesday, December 23

John 12:46 (New Living Translation)
I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness.

What are some of the traditions you have for this week? Do you look forward to them? Or do they cause more stress than they’re worth? Local area licensed therapist, Tim Butler, talks about how sometimes we can set such unrealistic expectations for ourselves for Christmas that after it’s over, people are not only exhausted, but often feel empty inside. This normally happens if we hype something up so much that it becomes impossible to live up to those unrealistic expectations.

 

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. For some, it’s a wonderful day of gathering with family and friends. For others, however, it will not be as joyous. What happens when you feel this way? Or when people go back to their everyday lives after the holidays and the warm feeling of community is gone?

 

God had this in mind when He sent His Son to earth. Mary would give birth to the one who would lift the weight of loneliness and fill the void that not even the closest of family can satisfy. Once you have a relationship with Jesus, you will experience a form of intimacy and love that cannot be duplicated or found in anyone, or anything, else in the world. You have an everlasting relationship with someone who knows everything about you and still loves you… unconditionally. No matter what traditions you have planned, ensure the one you always celebrate is allowing God to love you and to love Him back. It really is the best tradition you can pass on at Christmas.

 

LIVE:

During the Christmas season, many people are lonely, desperately looking for someone to feel close to. Have you ever experienced this or known someone who has? How did you cope? Did you turn to God or to other means?

 

If this isn’t you this season, how can you help someone else cope with this feeling, especially those who you’ll see during the next few days?

 

 


 

Week of December 21 – LIO Christmas Devotions

 We hope you enjoy today’s Christmas Daily Devotional, a special edition of the LivingItOut Bible Study, only available online this week at LivingItOut.tv:

 

Monday, December 22

 John 1:1-5 (Living Bible)
1-2 Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God. 3 He created everything there is – nothing exists that he didn’t make. 4 Eternal life is in him, and this life gives light to all mankind. 5 His life is the light that shines through the darkness – and the darkness can never extinguish it.

 

 Many people hold back on becoming followers of God because they don’t want God to put a crimp on their lifestyle. They see Christians as stodgy, boring “do-gooders” who don’t really know how to have any fun. Or perhaps they see them as blatant hypocrites that preach one thing, but don’t live up to those high standards themselves.

Satan started telling us lies back in the garden and we’ve been believing them ever since. It created a “God-size” hole in us and we use numerous things to try to fill it up. In fact, we become slaves to trying to fill that hole with whatever we think will make us happy. Unfortunately, those things don’t ever fill that hole and we become more and more enslaved. Just look at all the ways we try to fill the hole during the holidays!

The truth is, giving your heart to God means incredible freedom: freedom from guilt, freedom from condemnation, freedom from isolation, freedom from your past, freedom from feeling worthless, freedom from addictions, and freedom from darkness without light.

LIVE:

God loves us and wants us to be in a close relationship with Him. He sent His Son so that we would be freed from our sins: past, present and future. That’s what freedom in Jesus means.

  • What is weighing you down?
  •    What sin has you currently trapped from experiencing the full light of Christ?  Remember: The condemnation you feel can be gone with one simple conversation with God so that you can be free to be the person He created you to be.

 


2015 Memory Verses

March, 2015
"I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark."
John 12:46

February, 2015
“ Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Hebrews 12:1

January, 2015
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8

Past Memory Verses

Click here to download the 2014 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2013 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2012 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2011 Memory Verses.