Blog: Online Communities Bible Study

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Ted Whitney

Ted Whitney

I am a Believer first, husband and dad.  Grab a Bible, notebook and pen and let's study the Word together.  God bless.


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Blog: Online Communities Bible Study

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Loving the Difficult Person

Who comes to mind when you think about the title of this blog?  Is it a family member?  Is it a classmate?  A coworker?  Is it someone who might have a different opinion than you on a discussion board?  Is it someone in your Bible study?

What prohibits us from demonstrating the love of Jesus with that difficult person?  As much as I want to blame someone else for their bahavior, my decision to not love someone is completely on me.   The Apostle Paul writes about serving others in Galatians 5:13.  

"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."

Then, Paul tells us how to love one another in Galatians 5:22-23.  He writes the fruits of the Spirit are:

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Patience
  5. Kindness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faithfulness
  8. Gentleness
  9. and self-control

This is a great place for us to focus our attention for a while.  Think about it.  With God's help, we have an opportunity to demonstrate Jesus Christ to those around us.  Even to the annoying, the rude, and the unloving.  We have an opportunity to shine a light in the darkness. 

Do you have any thoughts about this blog?  How do you love those who are difficult to love?  Comment below and God bless.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 3:12 PM | Comments (3) | Permalink

Thursday, October 9, 2014

There is a Time to Listen

Listen for a moment to the sounds around you.  That is life you are hearing.  Life is busy, noisy, and sometimes it is quiet.  Some reading this blog may have little children talking and playing nearby.  Others may have teenagers who are discussing the challenges of junior high or high school.  Some of our readers are grandparents and they long to see those grandkids so that the house will have just a bit more activity and joy.

Listen.  There are noises coming from the factory, farm, the fire station, the office conference rooms, the school cafeteria and more.

Listen.  Birds are singing, bees are buzzing, the wind is blowing and trees are bursting with the song of autumn. 

Listen for a moment to the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart.  Be quiet for a moment and listen. 

Being Quiet

Being quiet requires an intentional decision to turn off or get away from the noise.

  • Psalm 46:10 reads, "He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth'."
  • Exodus 14:14, "The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be quiet."
  • Lamentations 3:26, "It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

Are We Tuning Out God?

Most people find it difficult even awkward to be quiet.  Try this: turn off the radio, television, and other noises.  After a couple of minutes, our inclination is to turn on the noise because we have trained our brains to hear something in the background.  Perhaps having the noise brings us some form of comfort or stability; however, perhaps we are unintentionally tuning out God.

Practical Application

Here are some things to listen for when waiting on God to speak to your heart:

  1. Guidance and direction.  Many times we pray for God's will.  Proverbs 3:5-6 reads, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.   In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths."
  2. Provision.  Have you been praying about a need in your life?  Philippians 4:19 reads, "And my God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."  This does not mean God will give you everything you ask for; however, He does provide what is best for us.
  3. Endurance.  Sometimes we pray for strength to go on.  2 Corinthians 12:9 reads, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Encouragement for Others

How have you trained yourself to be quiet and listen to God?  Let's offer some encouragement to our online community.  Select "Comments" below.

God bless.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 9:34 AM | Comments (3) | Permalink

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Reach Out and Take It

A group of my friends and I were discussing Exodus 3 - 4 recently and I wanted to share a thought with you.

Exodus 4:1-4 reads

"Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”  Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”  “A staff,” he replied.  The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”  Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand."

Note that God turned the staff into a snake.  Something that most of us find a bit scary.  Something that is dangerous.  Something that Moses probably had to deal with as a shepherd for the forty years he was in Midian.

God told Moses to "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail".  Since Moses had "ran away from it", he had to return to it.

Then, Moses had to touch it and grab hold.

Also note that God did not turn the staff into a bunny rabbit or a cute puppy.  Something adorable might have distracted Moses from the lesson God was teaching him.  Something cute may not have required Moses to exercise his faith.  It was probably difficult for Moses to obey, and he did.

Application

Sometimes God sends us difficult circumstances to capture our attention.  In these times, we need to:

  1. Listen to God's guidance and instruction.
  2. Face the issue.  Come back to it instead of running away.
  3. Pick it up and grab hold.

Is God asking you to "Reach Out and Take It"?  Is there something you are avoiding because you are afraid?  This might be a speech you have to give, a discussion that is overdue, a paper to write, a request to be made, or a prayer to be prayed.  What is it that you need to trust God for?

Fix Our Eyes

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:18

Please share your thoughts using the comments below.  Someone in our online community may need some encouragement from you today.  God bless.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 3:48 PM | Comments (14) | Permalink

Friday, September 19, 2014

Going the Extra Mile

Have you had to "Go the Extra Mile" recently? 

For a ministry?  For a class?  For your family?

I remember others who went above and beyond for my family.

  • When I was a teenager, a family from a small church dropped off all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner at our front door.  Everything we needed was supplied for my large family.
  • Years ago my wife was not feeling well and a bunch of ladies from church came over to clean the house, wash and fold the laundry and cook supper. 
  • When my daughter was hospitalized, we came home and found an envelope on our front door with some cash in it.

Jesus' Example

The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) record thirty-seven of Jesus' miracles.  One miracle should have sufficed; however, Jesus did lots more.  John 20:30 reads, "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book."  Simply amazing.  Jesus gives us a great example to follow.  We may not be able to give the blind their sight, but we can love our neighbor more in His name.

Check the Attitude and Pray

This past week, I had to make some decisions for my dad and for his care.  These decisions required taking time out of my routine to be with him at his time of need.  I could have complained, but I found myself in prayer most of the week.  I prayed for wisdom from God, I prayed for my dad's healing and salvation, and I prayed for those taking care of my dad.  God intervened and helped me go the extra mile.

Luke 5:16 reads, "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."  He was giving His everything and then chose to get away to pray.  When we are called upon to give more of ourselves, we should follow Jesus' example and pray.

Challenge

What is your response when you are called upon to do more?  You might be exhausted.  You might be at your wits end.  I challenge you to spend some time in prayer.  Let's take that "Extra Mile" to God in prayer.   What are your thoughts about this?  Let's encourage each other.  Select "Comments" below.

God bless.

Ted Whitney

Online Communities on Facebook

Posted at 3:35 PM | Comments (7) | Permalink

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thanks Verbalized

We all have been given instructions to say "Thanks".  Do we do it?  Do we verbalize our thanks to those around us?  To those who have had a positive impact on our lives?  To those who may be ministering to our children and family?  Do we take time to say "thanks" to God?

Saying "Thanks" reflects

  1. Our heart's devotion
  2. A desire to see someone else edified and/or praised
  3. An intentional decision to not be the center of attention

Let's Take a Look at Psalm 138, ESV

"I give You thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things your name and your word. On the day I called, You answered me; my strength of soul You increased.  All the kings of the earth shall give You thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of Your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. For though the Lord is high, He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me.  The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.  Do not forsake the work of Your hands."

Notice the actions:

  • "I give You thanks" and
  • "I sing Your praise"
  • "I bow down. . . "

Just like the writer of Psalm 138, we can look back at our life experiences and say "thanks" to God.  We can acknowledge God's current work in our lives and we can praise God for what He will do in the future.

Let's establish a habit of saying thanks.  Do not delay.

Online Community, what are you giving thanks to the Lord for? 

Let's fill up the comments with hundreds of praises to our Lord.  Please share with us by selecting "comments" below.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 9:51 AM | Comments (24) | Permalink


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