Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.19.11.
Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Home For Christmas
It’s the week before Christmas. Most of us are running around trying to make last minute preparations and purchases. We know some of you might be reading this Bible study while in long checkout lines—it’s okay—we think that’s pretty cool that you have created some space to focus on God.
In this past weekend’s message, Kyle talked about how we have to create a home in our hearts for Jesus. During this time of year, many of us are either traveling to a place we called “home” or we are waiting for loved ones to come “home.”
What’s so important about “home?” Well, “home” is supposed to be a warm shelter where you are safe. “Home” is supposed to be the place where those who know you best welcome you with open arms. Most importantly, “home” is supposed to be the place where you are loved unconditionally.
Spiritually speaking, our hearts are the center of our bodies. It’s where we store all that we hold most important in our lives—the good, bad, ugly and beautiful. This Christmas season is a reminder that God sent Christ away from his heavenly home into our world so that one day we could choose to ask Christ to come into our heart home.
As Christ-followers, the evidence of Christ living in our hearts should be seen in the world around us. One of the ways we’ve chosen to show Christ’s love to others is through a new initiative called “IMPACT419,” a Northwest Ohio food drive happening December 26—January 1. This is the largest food drive in Northwest Ohio to help our hungry at Cherry Street Mission, Vision Kitchen, Food for Thought and the Seagate Food Bank. IMPACT419 will collaborate with many corporate partners, such as The Andersons, Toledo Blade, Buckeye CableSystem, Cumulus Toledo, Promedica and CedarCreek Church. Together, we will feed our hungry!
When we ask Jesus to come and make a home inside of our hearts, his presence should make a difference in our lives and the lives of those we touch. When Jesus comes to live in our hearts, he is there to be more than just a friend staying for dinner—yet sometimes, that is how we treat him. Without question, one of the most remarkable blessings of our existence is that Jesus will actually enter into our hearts and be at home there and his presence will have an indelible effect on all that we think, say and do.
As this week unfolds into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we hope that you will carve out a little time each day for this Bible study as you finish shopping, wrapping, baking, rushing, reflecting, driving, and all of the other things on your todo list this week. Let’s all focus on truly giving Jesus a home in our hearts.
We can all make a difference!
1. Take a collection bag.
2. Shop for items on the list.
3. Drop off bag(s) into
IMPACT419 bins at any
CedarCreek.tv or The Andersons locations between
December 25—January 1
MONDAY —You Must Create a Home for Jesus
Big Point: You have to create a home in your heart for Jesus and allow him to live fully in every space.
During the Christmas season, stories about coming home always warm our hearts. Who doesn’t shed a tear when watching the Folger’s Christmas commercial when the son returns from West Africa in time for Christmas? We feel sentimental when his sister puts a bow on him and says, “You’re my present this year.” What about when Rudolph decides to return home only to learn from Santa that his parents, along with Clarice, left to go looking for him. Rudolph courageously goes to search for his family, finds them and returns home again, now a hero.
Families get excited when a loved one returns from being away from home— it may be a student returning home after their first semester at college or a soldier returning home from war in a foreign country. When loved ones arrive on our doorstep, we throw the door open wide and welcome them with open arms into our home. Chances are they will say these words: “It’s so good to be home.”
God knew that we were spiritually homeless because sin separated us from God. Many of us know what it was like to wander around looking for God—and then the joy that we experienced when we found Him. The theme of this week’s message was that we need to create a home for Jesus in our hearts—not make him wait by the front door. Rather, we should enthusiastically welcome him into our hearts with open arms.
READ…What does the Bible say?
Revelation 3:20 (New Living Translation)
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
Mark 12:30 (New Living Translation)
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.
About Mark 12:30...a reference back to Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. “Love the Lord your God…” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” are identified as both the first and second greatest commandments. The command to love God was constantly before the Jews as they recited the daily prayer known as the Shema. The reference to “love” in Mark 12:30 isn’t a reference to feelings, but rather to actions—living it out, as we’d like to say.
THINK…Find the answers
In Revelation 3:20, what are we to do when we hear Jesus’ voice and knock? What does Jesus promise to do? Underline the word “all” in Mark 12:30. How must we love the Lord? What does that really mean?
LIVE…What will you do now?
Every week, we know that there are a number of people who are still exploring what it means to have a relationship with Christ. We’re glad you picked up this Bible study, but we want to ask you this:
If you haven’t welcomed Jesus into your heart, what’s stopping you? (It’s okay to be honest, we can’t read your answers…) If you would like to talk about this with a CedarCreek staff member at your campus, we’d love to talk to you! Just go to the Welcome Center and get connected.
For those who are Christ-followers, you acknowledge that Jesus has a place in your heart, but the question remains as to how much of your heart you have given to him. What kind of “living conditions” does Jesus have in your heart right now?
Reflect on Mark 12:30 again. List the ways you can show Jesus that you love him with your whole heart this week.
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. Give Him full access to your heart and enjoy the fellowship that you will have with Him.
DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Esther 1-5
Ch. 1: The kingdom of Ahasuerus extended from India to Ethiopia. King Ahasuerus and his queen, Vashti, gave a banquet. Ahasuerus ordered Vashti to display herself before his guests; she refused and was deposed, opening the door for a new queen.
Ch. 2: The king decides he wants another queen and so all the beautiful young women in all 127 provinces gather in Susa to compete. They spend one year in the palace undergoing beauty treatments, and then one night with the king. Esther, a young Jewess who has been orphaned and raised by her uncle Mordecai, is chosen to be the new queen. Mordecai instructs her not to reveal her nationality. Mordecai uncovers a plot to assassinate the king and the culprits are executed.
Ch. 3: Ahasuerus promotes Haman the Agagite to second in command…everyone must bow and Mordecai refuses. Haman learns that Mordecai is a Jew and determines to eliminate the entire race. The king approves and passes his signet ring on to Haman. Jews mourn.
Ch. 4: Esther does not know of the decree. Mordecai sends word to tell her and asks for help. Esther fears death but Mordecai says perhaps she has risen to this position for “such a time as this”. Esther asks all to fast for her to go to the king.
Ch. 5: Esther goes before the king, her life is spared, she invites the king and Haman to a banquet. Haman leaves, brags about eating with the king and queen and eventually builds gallows 75 feet high to hang Mordecai on the next day.