February 2015

Explore the Bible Lesson for February 22: Commit Your Way to the Lord

February 10 2015 by Randy Mann, lead pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson

Focal Passage: Nehemiah 10:28-39
 
We find it easy to segment our lives in many different ways. You likely have work clothes, church clothes, play clothes, and so on. We do this with time as well. We have work/school time, family time, church time, play time, etc. I don’t want my church time to encroach too heavily on my play time or family time. So it is with our money. I don’t want to use my eating-out money for car repairs.
 
God did not create us for segmented lives. It is not that any of these individual divisions are bad inherently. But they must all be governed and guided by God’s rule over our lives.
 
The people of God were exiled due to their rebellion and their lack of faithfulness to God’s covenant. While they worshipped as God had commanded, they also followed the rituals of their pagan neighbors. Their lives were segmented. They had their God-box where they kept things related to Him, and they had their other-box where they kept the rest of their lives.
 
In this week’s passage, God’s people restore their commitment to God’s covenant – no more segmented living. Their commitment to God as the sole ruler of their lives was demonstrated by their refusal to marry foreign wives, because God was king over their relationships. They gave faithfully because God was king over their material possessions. They also worshipped God alone, because He alone is worthy of worship. All of their lives belonged to Him.
 
Though God’s people pledged to follow Him faithfully, they eventually waned in their commitment. However, Christ came and fulfilled the law where we could not. He died to take the penalty for our rebellion against God. Christ rose from the dead to give us hope of new life, reconciled to a right relationship with God where He rules as King over every aspect of our lives. God calls us, as His people, to walk in surrender and holiness before Him in every way. Is there any aspect of your life you are trying to keep outside God’s rule and reign?

2/10/2015 1:41:47 PM by Randy Mann, lead pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 22: Ready When Pornography Controls

February 10 2015 by Thomas Marshall, Spring Hill Baptist Church, Wagram

Focal Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
 
Sex was created by God and is a beautiful expression of love in marriage. Satan takes what God creates and corrupts it “to steal and to kill and to destroy” (John 10:10). No matter what Satan intends, we must always come back to what God says about the issue. Today, we are considering what many believe is an unimportant issue. After all, viewing something pornographic is an individual event, and it does not harm others. So, what could be so bad about it?
 
Revelation 2:23 reminds us that God knows everything about us. Every place we go, every thought we have – God sees them. We may think we are getting away with something, but God sees it all.
 
In 2005 statistics were released that said 68 million pornographic search requests (about 25 percent of all searches) occurred daily. Research has found that with any form of addiction, there is a progression that draws a person ever deeper into that which provides satisfaction. What starts as dabbling may satisfy for a while, but it never lasts. This creates a desire for more, enticing the person to seek a more thrilling experience to achieve the same level of satisfaction. And the cycle repeats over and over.
 
So, what can we do? We have hope for those caught in the web of pornographic addiction. First, identify all the locations and activities that start the temptation. Then set up safeguards to avoid the situations and places. This might mean changing web surfing patterns, or installing protective software on a computer. Identify the emotional triggers that cause the desires – hungry, angry, lonely, tired. It is important to see the behavior as sin. Remove all the rationalizations used to excuse it. Refocus your thoughts and relationships upon Christ. Bible reading, prayer and Scripture memorization help in this area. Enter into accountability with a group of believers who will edify and support you.
 
Is there hope? In Christ, we are victors.
2/10/2015 1:18:55 PM by Thomas Marshall, Spring Hill Baptist Church, Wagram | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for February 15: Return to the Restoring God

February 9 2015 by Randy Mann, lead pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson

Focal Passage: Nehemiah 9:32-37
 
I am a person who is very “directionally challenged” – a real problem for someone who likes to hunt.
 
On far more than one occasion, I have found myself in the middle of the woods, wondering where I was, how I got there and how I was going to get back to my truck. In order for me to find my way back to my truck, I always had to first come to an accurate assessment of where I was.
 
Our spiritual lives are much the same. In order for us to return to the place we need to be spiritually, we must first come to an accurate assessment of where we are.
 
That does not happen by looking at ourselves, but rather by looking at God. When we have a right view of God, we will come to a right view of ourselves and of where we are spiritually.
 
The people of God had rebelled against God and had suffered the consequences as they ended up separated from the land of promise and living in the land of their enemies. God, in His covenant-keeping love, mercy and grace, had returned this remnant of His people to their land.
 
In this process, as they heard the word of God and were reminded of God’s character and faithfulness, they once again began to see God clearly.
 
As that happened, they saw themselves clearly, bringing them to the point of brokenness, confession, repentance and restoration.
 
The people of God, with their eyes fixed upon Him, quickly saw that God had always been faithful.
 
If the Israelites had ended up far from Him, it was because they moved away from God, not vice versa.
 
He will restore His people to fellowship with Him when His people acknowledge their sin, repent and return to Him.
 
Today, as God’s people, our relationship with Him is secure in Christ.
 
When we find ourselves in broken fellowship with God because of our sin, the first step is to regain once again a clear understanding of God.
 
When that happens, we will see the reality of our sin and be drawn to repent and return to Him.

2/9/2015 1:11:34 PM by Randy Mann, lead pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 15: Ready When Homosexuality Devastates

February 9 2015 by Thomas Marshall, Spring Hill Baptist Church, Wagram

Focal Passages: Romans 1:18-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
 
When we use the term homosexuality, it refers to both an orientation and a behavior. The orientation is a condition in which a person is sexually attracted to persons of the same sex. The behavior is any sexual activity between persons of the same sex. While this is an ongoing discussion, there has not as yet been any research that supports the existence of a “gay” gene – thus giving us no conclusive evidence of a biological reason for it. We are concerned here with the issue of choice.
 
In the scriptures, we see that God’s intent and purpose for sexual relations was to be an expression in a covenant relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24; Hebrews 13:4). Paul says that homosexuality is “unnatural” (Romans 1:26, HCSB); in other words, it is against what God had planned for sexual relations. The acts are called “shameless” (Romans 1:27), and the passage says that there will be a penalty for this error. It is considered a moral issue in both the Old and New Testaments because it goes against God’s plan. So, how do we address this issue so prevalent in our society today? First, we need to remember that all sin is sin. James reminds us that if we “fail in one point, [we are] guilty of breaking it all” (James 2:10, HCSB). We need to enter into what God experiences (even with us) of loving the person, hating the sin and remaining true to God’s standards. We must remember that there is a huge difference between loving a homosexual person and supporting homosexuality. We are called to be the heart, hands and witness of God to those who are caught up in sin.
 
As in any sexual (or any other) sin, one must be willing to radically submit to the Lord Jesus Christ in full obedience. One must choose to sacrifice all fleshly desires and develop a deep identity with Jesus. As we are exposed to those who profess this lifestyle, we must seek the heart of God in loving them unconditionally, and lovingly leading them into the truth of God’s Word.

2/9/2015 1:06:44 PM by Thomas Marshall, Spring Hill Baptist Church, Wagram | with 0 comments