Blog: Online Communities Bible Study

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Meet the Writer

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.


 

 

Blog: Online Communities Bible Study

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Hope of Christmas

Luke 2:11 reads, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."  This verse has hope embedded within it.  Let's take a closer look:

For Unto You - Hope specifically for us

The angel informs the shepherds that God has provided a gift for mankind.  What an honor that the angels went to the shepherds to proclaim the news!  I wonder how many gifts these lowly shepherds had been given.  By verse 16 of Luke 2, the shepherds go quickly to find the baby announced by the angels.  Hope.

Is Born this Day - Hope born on a specific day

God in His wisdom deemed it was time to provide Hope to the shepherds first and then to all the world.  The angel announced that Hope was born that day.  It is interesting to note that the angel did not say something like "in a year or so . . .".  The baby was born that day and the angel wasted no time in getting the word out.   Galatians 4:4-5 reads, "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."

In the City of David - Hope born in a specific city

Micah 5:2 reads, "But you, O Bethlehem, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for Me One who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days."  Did you know that the meaning of Bethlehem is "House of Bread"?  With that in mind, it is neat that Jesus refers to Himself as the "Bread of Life" in John 6:35.

A Savior, who is Christ the Lord - Hope with a specific purpose

The birth of Jesus had a specific purpose: To save us from our sins.  John 3:16-17 reads, "16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him."

Making It Personal

How does this passage impact you?  Does it fill you with hope?  Does it inspire you to tell someone else?  Share your thoughts below and merry Christmas.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 2:18 PM | Comments (2) | Permalink

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Purpose of Christmas

I have found that many people are open to having this conversation just before Christmas.  Ask the question and you will find the responses interesting.  Let's take a look at the Bible's explanation for Christmas.  This is certainly not exhaustive; however, it is a good place to start.

1. Christmas is God's Idea

John 3:16 reads, "“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."  Did you notice that God gave us a gift?

2. Mary's Acknowledgement

Luke 1:46-46 reads, "And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." 

3. The Angel Speaks to Joseph in a Dream

Matthew 1:21 reads, "She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

4. The Angels Proclamation to the Shepherds

Luke 2:11 reads, "For unto you is born this day in the city of Daivd a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

5. Simeon's Praise to God

Luke 2:29-31 reads, "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples."

6. Paul's Understanding of Jesus' Birth and Purpose

1 Timothy 1:15 reads, "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost."

7. No Other Name

Luke 4:12 reads, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

____________

Challenge and Prayer

What are you going to do with God's Christmas gift to you?  Have you placed your faith in the One who came to die for you?  

Christians, do you have someone in mind this holiday that you would like us to pray for?  Comment below and we will pray with you.  God bless and Merry Christmas.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 11:58 AM | Comments (4) | Permalink

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Christmas Story

Online students and others, how do you incorporate the Christmas story into your activities and events throughout December and the rest of the year?  Do we do that?  Let's ponder the question for a moment.  Please read through the Luke 2 passage below and comment.  We want to help our online community as much as possible.  Perhaps you have ideas that would help each of us.

From Luke 2:1-20

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Community Engagement

How do you incorporate the birth of Jesus and Christmas into your family events?   Share with our online community and God bless.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 1:45 PM | Comments (7) | Permalink

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving to our online community.  Online students of every age, we pray that you will be encouraged as you read your assignments, engage in your discussion boards and write those papers.  More importantly, we pray you will know the love of Christ this Thanksgiving.

From the Liberty University Online Communities Staff

  • Brian: I am thankful for the opportunity to work for Liberty University and Online Communities.  After I graduated I felt like God was saying my time here was not done.  After two years of trying, I was finally able to return to Liberty and have been loving my new role working with the online population.
  • Courtney:I am thankful to be living close to family.  I am thankful for dance and music and being able to study at Liberty University.
  • Jade: I am thankful for each day spent with my husband and each of our families.  The older I get the more I realize that tomorrow is not guaranteed.
  • Michael: "I am thankful for my amazing wife, who is a blessing to me in every way.  I am thankful for all of the opportunities that have been given to me over my lifetime."
  • Victoria: "Healthy children - especially my oldest recovering from a four year-long illness.  God's grace, mercy and love.  Time with extended family."
  • William: "I am thankful for eyesight.  How our eyes and brain are able to accurately perceive light, distance, and details in daily life is beyond me.  I am thankful for the reality of Jesus."
  • Ted: "I am thankful for Jesus who thought of me when He was on the cross.  I am thankful for my wife and kids who love and encourage me."

Psalm 136:1-3 reads, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.  Give thanks to the God of gods, for His steadfast love endures forever.  Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His steadfast love endures forever."

Your Turn to Share

What are you giving thanks for today?  Please share with us - select "Comments" below.

God bless.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 11:04 AM | Comments (12) | Permalink

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Soul Finds Rest in God

What does it take to really get you shaken? A messy house, financial difficulties, a math class, a broken relationship, poor health?  Do you find your rest in God?

Psalm 62:1-2

Read through Psalm 62:1-2:

"Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
    He is my fortress, I will never be shaken."

Read the passage again.

"Truly My Soul Finds Rest in God"

Perhaps you are reading this and think "My life is a mess and I do not find rest in God."  Take some time to honestly inspect what is frustrating you or getting you to a place where you are shaken and then get alone with God and pray.  Talk with Him about your frustrations and worries.  Open your Bible to Psalm 62 and read.

"My Salvation Comes from Him"

Faith believes God.  Faith waits for God.  Faith listens to God.

"Truly He is My Rock and My Salvation"

It is fascinating to look back at the time when David* was hiding in a cave (inside a rock).  While our circumstances may change, we can find great assurance and comfort in knowing that God does not change.  He is our rock and stability.  He is our source of hope and salvation.  *1 Samuel 24

Psalm 32:7 reads, "You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."

"He is my fortress, I will never be shaken"

A fortress: I imagine a city on a hill surrounded by a huge wall.   I remember visiting Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York and just being amazed at the structure, the engineering and the design.  The fort was built to withstand the enemy and provide protection for those within the structure.  God is our fortress.

Some encouragement

Before you get shaken by life's events, take some time to read the Scriptures and focus on God's promises.  He loves you and that will not change. 

How does this blog impact you?  Share with us below and let us encourage one another.

God bless.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 12:38 PM | Comments (11) | Permalink


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