Alumni Bible Study

A Bible study initially set up for alumni of the Senior Sunday School Class at the First United Methodist Church of Lufkin, Texas. It is our hope and our prayer that this study touches the hearts of those who participate and helps spread the love and grace of Our Lord and God. All who want to learn more about God are welcome

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Location: lufkin, Texas, United States

I am a Christian family man, Lay Pastor and writer from Deep East Texas. I love life, and I enjoy working with young people. I have published two books; "A Small Mind Among Tall Trees" and "God If You Are Not Too Busy, Can You Give Me a Hand". If you want to obtain a copy drop me an e-mail or go to or barnesand . I have been a salesman, cowman and athlete in my past. I still have a strong sense of humor and am not afraid to use it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Romans 1:8-17

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. 13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
14I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[
a] just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."[b]
Paul wanted to go to Rome. Even though Rome was a pagan city, the Christians at Rome had a good reputation. Paul was very aware of the church there, and had prayed to God that he would have the opportunity to visit. Paul was a missionary to the Gentiles, and was making a difference all over the world. He believed in the power of the Gospel, and had faith.
Here is the irony. Paul wanted deeply to go to Rome, and prayed fervently for the chance. Now he was getting that opportunity, but he was being taken to Rome as a prisoner. First he would have to endure a beating, shipwreck, and being bitten by a poisonous snake. Be very careful what you ask God for; your prayers may be answered in ways you are not prepared for.
Prayer- Lord, send me where you need me, and let me do Your work. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Romans 1:1-7

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4and who through the Spirit[

] of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul sends greeting to the church at Rome. Interesting enough, Paul had never been to Rome-yet, and none of the original disciples had made yet. Rome was the center of the world, at least the western world. Evidently, some of the Jewish Christians commissioned at Pentecost had gone to Rome and spread the news of Christ.
In verses 2-4 Paul summarizes the Christian Faith. Now that is a way to start any letter. He also states right off that God has called him to be an apostle, and as such has authority to counsel and guide the young church.
Paul wants to go to Rome, and has bought himself Roman citizenship, a wise purchase that saves his life several times during his ministry. Rome is the big city, and residents probably considered themselves to be a little superior, but Paul is not afraid. It is also the place where Paul is finally condemned and executed, and he knows this. Because of the power and prestige of Rome, if the growing church was to survive and be a force in the world, all roads led to Rome. If Christianity had stayed in Jerusalem, or even branched out into Asia Minor, it would always just be a local custom. By changing Rome, it changed the world.
Prayer- Lord, help us to read this letter to your church in a long gone time and learn. Help us decide what sin is, and how to live and grow in spite of sin. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ruth 4:13-22

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
The Genealogy of David
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth."
16 Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, "Naomi has a son." And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
18 This, then, is the family line of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron,
19 Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab,
20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, [
21 Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed,
22 Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.
Why is the genealogy of David important? Several reasons. To the writers of this book ,(Old Testament,) David was the Great Jewish king, God’s favorite. Showing how this insignificant widow was a direct ancestor of David was big. It would show how God works through His people. To the Old testament writers, it was very important to show that the king was part of the people-all the people. He was not sent down directly to earth by God and a God. Many pagan people of the time believed their kings and rulers were gods, Jews knew there was one God, and the king was not it.
As we look at this story, we remember that Christ was a direct descendent of David’s. Therefore; we also see how God sent his son to people of royal and very common background. If God can use Ruth as part of the big picture-can’t He use us as well?
Prayer- Lord, use my life for Your greatness. Not because of me-but in spite of me. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ruth 4:9-12

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, "Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon's widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from the town records. Today you are witnesses!"
11 Then the elders and all those at the gate said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah."
Boaz secures Ruth. That does not sound very romantic, but that is what happened. Did Boaz ask Ruth if she wanted to be his wife? Not in the story. He was willing to take on all the property and the debt of her late husband.
Second paragraph is interesting. Ruth is compared to Rachel and Leah, the sisters that Jacob married. The second reference is to Perez. Perez was the child born to Tamar after she pretended to be a hooker to her father in law Judah after her husbands (plural) had died. When we look at these stories, these are not the kinds of things we would want our family tree to reveal. Actually, these are things most families would hide today. God used these situations to do great things. Tomorrow we will learn how this ties into Christ.
Prayer- Lord, even though we may not understand at the time, help us to take our lives and live them. We know that you do great things is different situations. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ruth 4:1-8

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go- Fight-Win. Amen.
1 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat there. When the kinsman-redeemer he had mentioned came along, Boaz said, "Come over here, my friend, and sit down." So he went over and sat down.
2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, "Sit here," and they did so. 3 Then he said to the kinsman-redeemer, "Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you [
a] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line." "I will redeem it," he said.
5 Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the land from Naomi and from Ruth the Moabitess, you acquire [
b] the dead man's widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property."
6 At this, the kinsman-redeemer said, "Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it."
7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)
8 So the kinsman-redeemer said to Boaz, "Buy it yourself." And he removed his sandal.
That Boaz, he is clever. He knows how to do deals. Evidently, there was some property that Naomi owned that was now being sold. Her brother in Law could claim it , or redeem it, since he was the nearest relative to her dead husband, The fellow say’s "sure-give me the property." Boaz reminds him that with the right to redeem, comes the need to marry Naomi. Since Naomi is old and has no surviving sons, the man no longer is interested in the deal. He tells Boaz to "Buy it yourself." What do you think Boaz will do?
Wee all get caught up with the "something for nothing" mentality. But there is never anything absolutely free, except for God’s love. There are catches in any business deal here on earth. Taking on an old widow woman did not seem like a good thing, but Boaz sees the big picture. Shouldn’t you? How can we get this vision?
Prayer- Lord, give us the ability to make wise decisions, and the strength to make them. Go- Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ruth 3:10-18

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
10 "The LORD bless you, my daughter," he replied. "This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning."
14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, "Don't let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor."
15 He also said, "Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out." When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he [
a] went back to town.
16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, "How did it go, my daughter?" Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, "He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, 'Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.' "
18 Then Naomi said, "Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today."
Naomi and Ruth thought that Boaz was the person in line to legally accept them. Jewish law stated that if a man died and his widow should marry his next of kin. Boaz was a relative of Naomi’s but not the next in line. Oops!
Boaz is a honorable and hardworking man, and Naomi knows this. She knows that he will fix things if he can. She also knows that Boaz likes Ruth, and will do what it takes to take her as his wife.
So, what can we learn from these verses? Boaz had something we all should strive for- honor. He is a man of impeccable reputation. That is what we should strive for. When we see an opportunity, we should be honorable in our dealings to acquire things. To often, we get a reputation for taking shortcuts or not doing things properly. God had honor, shouldn’t we ?
Prayer- Lord, let us act in honorable ways. Let the world know that our reputation is one of honesty and hard work, because we want to shadow you. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ruth 3:1-9

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1 One day Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, should I not try to find a home [

] for you, where you will be well provided for? 2 Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours? Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don't let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do."
5 "I will do whatever you say," Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet.
9 "Who are you?" he asked. "I am your servant Ruth," she said. "Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer."
Naomi wants to fix her devoted daughter in law up. Boaz is working late, and after a little food and drink he needs to sleep. Ruth goes in and lies at his feet, a sign of submission.
Sometimes we need to submit. God may never sleep, but still we need to dress up and make ourselves available. Naomi wanted to fix up Ruth, we need to fix up our friends-and our enemies.
Prayer- Lord, We submit to you, because you are great. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ruth 2:20-23

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our heart and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
20 "The LORD bless him!" Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. "He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead." She added, "That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers."
21 Then Ruth the Moabitess said, "He even said to me, 'Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.' "
22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls, because in someone else's field you might be harmed."
23 So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
This is one of the main themes, Ruth is a foreign widow who is taking care of her old mother in law. She has been noticed by an available man, who is a kinfolk of the mother in law. Even though Ruth and Naomi’s life would be difficult, things had possibilities. God works is different ways. If Ruth had not thrown a fit to stay with Naomi, Naomi would probably would have starved to death. Boaz would still be looking for a wife and who knows what rif-raf Ruth would have been hooked up with.
Even in very simple stories, God does complex things. It could have been easy for any of the main characters in this story to give up hope. That is giving up on God. One of the great things about God is that anything is possible through him, and we can always be optimistic about our future.
Prayer- Lord, Thank you for always working in our lives. Help us to remember that great things can be ours, no matter what the present holds. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ruth 2:9-19

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled."
10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, "Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?"
11 Boaz replied, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."
13 "May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord," she said. "You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls."
14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar." When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, "Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don't embarrass her. 16 Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her."
17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. [
a] 18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.
19 Her mother-in-law asked her, "Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!" Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. "The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz," she said.

Ruth and Boaz are courting. This is a real Bible type story, all of the characters are so good. Even though Naomi is kind of bitter, she still has faith in God. Ruth has courage, loyalty and is a hard worker. Boaz is very generous.
He goes beyond what the law says, and even has his servants help this forien girl out. Usually if the gleaners got too close to real workers, the workers would rebuke them. Boaz tells his people to leave Ruth alone. She works hard ands gets enough grain to feed her and her Mother in law. Naomi knows.
Even if this sounds like a fairy tale, it is still very applicable. Loyalty and hard work will be rewarded. When we are told to give, give a little more. When times look bad, they will get better.
Prayer- Lord, help us learn through your word, and help us use these lessons in our life. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ruth 2:1-9

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen
Ruth Meets Boaz
1 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz.
2 And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor." Naomi said to her, "Go ahead, my daughter." 3 So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The LORD be with you!" "The LORD bless you!" they called back.
5 Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, "Whose young woman is that?"
6 The foreman replied, "She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.' She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter."
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, "My daughter, listen to me. Don't go and glean in another field and don't go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls.
Jewish law stated that the corners of every field should not be harvested by the owners. This had two purposes; first was a form of soil conservation. The entire field would not be cut at once, so there would be less wind erosion. This was also a form of early welfare. The poor would come after the harvesters and harvest these leftovers, as well as picking out the grain that had fallen in the dirt as the harvesters hand cut and bound each bail of stalks, (shocks.) This helped give the poor that followed the harvest food. The law was very specific about the handling of the harvest so that there would be grain left for this purpose.
Ruth was a foreigner in a strange land. Instead of waiting for things to happen, she immediately went to work to make things better. Gleaning the fields was a very demeaning job, literally picking up the scraps, but Ruth knew she needed to do whatever she could to help her and her mother in law.
She attracted Boaz, and he offered her a job. He could tell she was a hustler, plus she was a young widow, so she was available.
What do we do when we come to change in our lives. Do we patiently wait for good fortune? Or do we go out and do what ever we can to bring good fortune to us?
Prayer- Lord, help us be eager in our work for You. When we come to unknown times, help us to immediately work to make things better. Go- Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ruth 1:19-22

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, "Can this be Naomi?"
20 "Don't call me Naomi, [
a] " she told them. "Call me Mara, [b] because the Almighty [c] has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted [d] me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

Poor Naomi, when she left Israel she had a husband and security. Now she comes back a widow and poor, and she copped a ‘tude. She was in great sorrow and depressed, but did not notice the gifts she had. She had God, and a very loyal daughter in law that could have-and should have deserted her.
We tend to act like Naomi. When times get difficult we focus on the bad things that happen. Many times there are good things that come out of bad situations, but if we are too busy feeling sorry for ourselves we can miss them. God is always with us, even when we deal with unpleasant things. When things get bad, look and see what God has given you to help you cope.
Prayer- Thank you God for never leaving us, even when we turn our backs on You. Help us see the good around us, even if we have to look in a different place than we are used to. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ruth 1:11-18

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
11 But Naomi said, "Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons- 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD's hand has gone out against me!"
14 At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her.
15 "Look," said Naomi, "your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her."
16 But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
Ruth will not leave her mother in law. She is very loyal. "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay." That is the loyalty and commitment we all look for in family. Ruth accepted Naomi’s people and her God. Ruth was a Moabitess, but she was loved by God. It is interesting that the Old Testament includes this. She was not Jewish, yet she was loved by God.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all had this loyalty with God. Many of us leave and go home when things get tough. God is always with us. The only times we separate, is when we leave Him.
Prayer- Lord, Wherever You go I will go, and where You stay I will stay. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ruth 1:1-9

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Naomi and Ruth
1 In the days when the judges ruled, [
a] there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
3 Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
6 When she heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. 9 May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband." Then she kissed them and they wept aloud
So times were hard and this man Elimmelech took his family from Bethlehem to a foreign country. There his two sons married "local" girls, but Elimelech and his sons all dies. Leaving a house full of widows.
Naomi, the mother in law, herd that things were better back home, and since she was a old widow with no husband or sons to provide for her, she decided to go home and try the charity there. Her daughters in law had been nice to her, but they were not her people, so she told them to stay and start over. They were young, besides they needed to think about themselves.
Naomi knew her life was all over but the crying, no since dragging others down. She loved her daughters in law, that is why she cut them loose. They would have a much easier life without her.
Prayer- Lord, when times are tough, help us make the right decisions, help us help others by setting them free. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ruth - The Overview

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

No reading of scripture today! This is a day of preparation. We will start on the Book of Ruth Monday. Ruth is in the Old Testament between Judges and the Samuel Saga. It is very short, and very easy to read.
Ruth deals with faithfulness, kindness, and integrity. It is a love story and the only book in the main Bible to be named for a girl. Prepare emotionally as well as spiritually, physically as well as mentally.

Prayer- Lord, Help us all prepare. Help us see you in all our activities and protect us. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Thursday, March 08, 2007

1 Timothy 6:17-21

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.
Timothy was in Ephesus, and this was a happening place. There was a lot of trade and wealth in this town. There was also a lot of education and refinement. Paul tells Timothy that basically, with great wealth comes great responsibility,(sorry Spiderman.) God blessed the people of that town, and expected them to be generous and willing to share.
No other country in history has been blessed by God more that the United States. We live in a land of great wealth and power. How do we use these gifts God has given us? Do we spend our time and money on others? Why not?
Prayer- Lord, Thank you for giving us all the gifts we enjoy. Help us use them to keep the devil horrified and God glorified. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

1 Timothy 6:11-16

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our heart and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
Paul uses active verbs to encourage Timothy. He uses flee, pursue and fight. Sometimes we all need cheerleaders to stand on the sidelines and tell us to win. Not just win, but to win big. This is Paul’s job here and our job as well. Everyone knows the signature way I end prayer. It is more than just a cute little expression to get attention. It is a command and a request, it is encouragement and a promise. This is the Christian life. A life with Christ is not passive, it is active. We are not told to make friends for Christ, we are commanded to show Christ to our friends! We are not meek, we are God’s children and His foot soldiers. We are literally fighting a war we will not loose.
Prayer- I am ready God. Lead me in the way you want me to go. With you in front of me leading, beside me encouraging and behind me to push me, I can not fail. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

1 Timothy 6:1-10

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.
Love of Money
3If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Slavery was a real institution in Paul’s day. Like Christ before him, Paul was not preaching a total change of Law, but in the new church slave and masters were equals. As equals, they should treat each other with respect. We can still use these verses today as an outline on how employer/employee should treat each other,(enter your own deduction of slavery here.)
The real slave, is the one who is a slave to money! The love of money is the root of lots of evil. Paul starts by warning against teaching and preaching just to get rich, then expands by saying expands by saying that godliness with contentment is great gain,(v. 6.)Money does not bring salvation-only Christ does. Seeking money first only brings sadness and destruction, and end the end-damnation. We bring nothing into the world and can take nothing out of it,(v.7)
Is money evil? No, the love of it is. Remember-money is not living, it is only an image. We all remember what happens when we love and worship images.
Prayer- Lord, help me treat everyone with respect and help me escape the shackles of slavery to money. Help me provide for my family, and help us all remember that only You are worthy of praise. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 05, 2007

1 Timothy 5:21-25

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Dear Lord,Open our hearts and open our mind and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
21-23God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don't appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don't want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don't worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it's good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.
24-25The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don't show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.
After I read these verses, I started to cringe. I have preaching to you guys "don’t drink" for years. I used "The Message" paraphrase for a reason. It states this as more of a for instance than a suggestion.
Paul wants Timothy to be more deliberate when dealing with the church. Take time, do things right. Do not add to sin because you need to fill a vacancy. This is something we all do from time to time. We start to do things on our schedule and needs and forget who is control. In case there is doubt, God is. Do things that are good for you and your walk with God, do not worry about what others think.
Prayer- Lord, help me do what You would have me do. Do not let me worry about what critics think, your time is my time. Go- Fight-Win. Amen

Friday, March 02, 2007

1 Timothy 5:16-21

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

16If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
17The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,"[
a] and "The worker deserves his wages."[b] 19Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.
21I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
Paul believes that church leaders should be rewarded and appreciated, and so do I. This may sound like a given, but many times criticism of leaders is stronger inside the church than from outside. People do not understand that leaders are not perfect humans, only Christ was that. Even the best teachers and leaders do not reach everyone. I, myself have fallen short on occasion. Because of this fact, leaders are bound to disappoint someone. Get over it! We Christians get enough flack from non-believers. We should lift up and reward each other.
That being said, even preachers, teachers and leaders should be held accountable. However, Paul insists that the church be very careful about accusations against leaders. But sin should be punished, even in the church.
Prayer- Lord- Help us reward, both spiritually and physically, our leaders, teachers and preachers. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

1 Timothy 5:9-15

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
9-10Sign some widows up for the special ministry of offering assistance. They will in turn receive support from the church. They must be over sixty, married only once, and have a reputation for helping out with children, strangers, tired Christians, the hurt and troubled.
11-15Don't put young widows on this list. No sooner will they get on than they'll want to get off, obsessed with wanting to get a husband rather than serving Christ in this way. By breaking their word, they're liable to go from bad to worse, frittering away their days on empty talk, gossip, and trivialities. No, I'd rather the young widows go ahead and get married in the first place, have children, manage their homes, and not give critics any foothold for finding fault. Some of them have already left and gone after Satan.

This passage is from "The Message" paraphrase. It is still dealing with advice to widows, elders and slaves. Again I need to point out that widows had no form of social security or pensions in Paul’s time. If their husbands did not leave them provided for, they had a tough time. Paul wants the church to take care of widows, but has strict rules, (over sixty, faithful to one husband, and a good reputation.)
Paul knew that people outside the church would be looking for things to hold against the Christians, and he did not want to give them any foothold. A young widow would be under certain pressures sexually, and even if they remained pure, might be the source of scandalous talk. Paul wanted these women to go ahead and find another mate, and be part of a nuclear family so the church could propagate.
Do we leave ourselves open for ridicule by using the church as a place to find dates? It goes to reason that people in church should be a little safer risk than ones met in a bar, but if we give non-believers ammo by having single mixers, dances, and date nights are we doing the right thing? I don’t know for sure. Fellowship with other Christians is a great way to find compatible mates, but we should remember the real reason we go to church, and that is to worship and glorify Christ and to support other believers.
Prayer- Lord, Help us live lives in and out of church that will show the world your love. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.