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, 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 (7) | 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 (23) | Permalink

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Don't Get Comfortable

When I walk into a furniture store and see a large sofa or recliner, my inclination is to walk over and sit down.  When I am invited to someone's house and the host says, "Make yourself comfortable", I usually do. 

We want to be comfortable.  We want to be comfortable in our cars, in our homes, in the back yard, on the bus, in the airplane, in church, at work, etc.  We want comfort in all areas of our life.  There is an area of our life that we really should not get comfortable in and that is in our pursuit of Biblical wisdom and in the area of knowing Jesus. 

Some folks are quite content with the way things are.  Friends, that may be a red flag.  We should be growing and maturing in our relationship with the Lord.  We should be talking about that process with our family, friends, and others.  Let's not get comfortable with the "I've always done it that way" attitude.  A relationship with Jesus requires growth and this includes some Bible reading, prayer, telling others about your faith in Jesus, fellowship, and more.

Joshua 1:8 reads, "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." ESV

We provide some Bible-Reading resources for our Online Community:

  1. This Week's Scripture Challenge
  2. Verse(s) of the Day
  3. Set up a Bible-Reading Plan
  4. Feedback from our Students
  5. Bible-Study Resources

Let's challenge each other to grow in our faith.  Have you been impacted by your Bible-reading?  Did you hear something in church or online that has brought you to a deeper faith in Christ?  Share with us - select "comments" below.   God bless.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 1:20 PM | Comments (4) | Permalink

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's Time to Study

Well, the fall semester is under way.  Online students everywhere are reading, studying, preparing and are feeling the pressure of academics.  Students are trying to balance work, family, church, volunteer activities and so many events with their studies.

In the midst of your busy-ness, let me encourage you to find a quiet place and study.  Slip away, shut the door and open your books.

Look at Colossians 3:23: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

"Whatever you do"

  • Studying for that Math 115 exam
  • Writing that last-minute paper
  • Selecting the topic for a difficult course

"Work at it with all of your heart"

  • With all that is in me, not just 50%
  • Similar to an athlete who is striving for a goal
  • With as much effort (or more) as when I watch a great football game

"As working for the Lord"

Struggling?  Let's take some time to pray for each other today.  After prayer, let's open our books and get some studying done.  Do you want our online community to pray for you?  Share a request below (select "comments").  We'll make sure our Campus Pastors also see your request.

God bless.

Ted Whitney

Posted at 1:46 PM | Comments (14) | Permalink


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