MONTHLY ARCHIVES: September 2015

A Protected Promise

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Karah

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Skim over Genesis 24 in your Bible to prepare your heart for today’s devotion. Ask God to reveal new truths as you study His Word.

Read Genesis 24:1-67 again, more closely this time. Imagine the story by making a movie in your mind. Once you have read it, fill out the following scenes:

Scene 1: Abraham’s request:

Scene 2: Servant’s prayer:

Scene 3: Answer to prayer:

Scene 4: The conclusion:

“Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his household who managed all he owned, ‘Place your hand under my thigh, and I will have you swear by the Lord, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live, but will go to my land and my family to take a wife for my son Isaac.’” —Genesis 24:2-4

Ponder these questions:

How would Isaac marrying from Abraham’s clan ensure the purity of his descendents? Why was that so important to God? Explain.

Letting Isaac marry a Canaanite woman certainly would have been easier, but to do what honored God, Abraham needed to keep his lineage pure. When have you been tempted to take the easier route instead of obedience? What did that experience teach you?

The Point

God protected His promise by ensuring the purity of the line from which the Messiah would come.

Respond

God’s plan was bigger than Abraham’s immediate family. He had promised that nations and kings would come from this lineage—ultimately the Messiah. And God was dedicated to protecting His promise and moving His plan of redemption forward.

Think over your life. How can you see God’s hand guiding your story, bringing you to specific places and people so that you could know Him and grow in relationship with Him? Record your thoughts and prayers in your journal.

For further study, read Deuteronomy 7:3-6.

Behind the Story

Read Genesis 22:20-24. It would be easy to skim over these verses and think they are unimportant. However, these verses point to the provision of God. When the news came to Abraham about his brother’s children and grandchildren, it was a sign that God would ensure the purity of his descendants through his own family.


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True Messiah

Posted on September 22, 2015 by Karah

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Have you ever had a preconceived idea about someone that you found out wasn’t true after you met that person or got to know them better? What happened?

Journal your thoughts.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples.’” —John 8:31

The Jews had a lot of ideas about what the Messiah would be like and what He would do. Jesus surprised—and even upset—many of the Jewish leaders because He didn’t fit their preconceived ideas. That animosity is clear in John 8. Read John 8:31-59 in your Bible. As you read, jot down the things the Jews were depending on to make them right before God.

The Jewish leaders trusted their heritage as “children of Abraham” to make them right with God and free them from sin, but Jesus said that only He could set people free from bondage to sin. They were trusting in the wrong thing.

What “wrong things” do you see people trusting to make them right before God today? List a few ideas.

Why is a heritage or family history of faith not enough to free someone from the bondage of sin? Explain.

According to these verses, what are the characteristics of a true follower of Christ? Do those describe you? Why or why not?

The Point

We live in a world where people are putting their faith in the wrong things. We must be faithful to proclaim the truth.

Respond

Are there people in your life who are trusting in the wrong things to set them free from sin or make their lives fulfilling? Pray by name for each person the Holy Spirit brings to mind. Ask for opportunities this week to share the hope of the gospel.

How can you know what the truth is? The primary way is studying God’s Word. What steps will you take this week to commit to reading Scripture, meditating on it throughout the day, or memorizing verses? Jot down two ideas.

For further study, read 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; and Psalm 119.

Behind the Story

John 7–8 include Jesus’ teachings during the Feast of Tabernacles. During the feast, Jews would build booths in Jerusalem to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and live in them during the seven days of the festival. Later additions to the ritual included drawing water from the pool of Siloam and lighting huge menorahs, which provide background for Jesus’ words in John 7:37-39 and 8:12.


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Radical Faith

Posted on September 15, 2015 by Karah

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Consider this quote from A.W. Tozer:

“Christians should be the boldest people in the world—not cocky and sure of ourselves, but sure of Him.”

Think over what you’ve learned about Abraham’s life over the last few weeks. God had done some incredible things in Abraham’s life, some that seemed humanly impossible. And, in faith, Abraham chose to obey to God.

Read a synopsis of Abraham’s faith story in Hebrews 11:8-19. As you read, underline any words, phrases, or actions that point to Abraham’s absolute faith and trust in God and His promises.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac.”

—Hebrews 11:17a

 Consider these questions:

Look closely at verses 17-19. Abraham was willing to give up the thing that meant the most to him when God commanded him to because he had faith that God knew what was best. What possessions, dreams, or relationships are you afraid of trusting to God? Why?

After reading these verses, what words would you use to describe Abraham? Why? Could those same words be used to describe you? Why or why not?

What distractions, habits, or barriers are keeping you from living a more faithful life?

The Point

God calls us to a bold faith that results in action because we believe He can do what He has promised.

Respond

Being obedient to God isn’t always easy or safe. Usually, God calls us to do things beyond our own abilities because, through our obedience, we learn to depend on Him more and those experiences deepen our faith.

Take a moment to write in your journal anything that you think God is calling you to do, regardless of how scary it may seem. What is keeping you from being obedient in these tasks? What steps will you take this week to be obedient?

Look at the list you created earlier of things you’re afraid to trust completely to God. Pray over those things, asking God for the faith to trust Him with them. Record your commitment to trust Him below.
For further study, read Joshua 1:1-9 and Jeremiah 1:1-12.

Behind the Story

Hebrews 11 is often referred to as “The Hall of Faith.” However, if you study deeper the individuals named in this chapter, you may find yourself questioning why some of them are listed. While many of these people exhibited tremendous faith, they also were fragile human beings with faults and failures. Don’t let what you’ve done—or haven’t done—in the past keep you from being all that God has prepared, equipped, and planned for you to be.


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Staff Applications 2016

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Karah

11990609_10156061782340188_1644115270679078391_nStaff applications for 2016 are OPEN!

This is not your average summer job. Apply today to work at Camp Crestridge for Girls, summer 2016!

http://ridgecrestcamps.com/girls/howtoapply


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By Grace

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Karah

_MG_3285Pause

Take a moment to acknowledge your dependence on God. Thank Him for loving you and saving you despite your faults.

Have you ever disobeyed your parents?

Have you ever told a lie?

Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you?

You probably answered yes to all three of those questions. Since you’ve already admitted to breaking three of the Ten Commandments, let’s agree that no one is capable of keeping the law to perfection, and we are all in need of God’s grace.

With that in mind, read Galatians 3:6-14 in your Bible.

“For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed.”

—Galatians 3:10

Consider these questions:

Look at verses 10-11. What do these verses teach you about trying to earn salvation based on your own merit? Explain.

What does it mean to say that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law? Explain.

List some things that people think will make them right with God. How do those things compare to what these verses teach about salvation?

The Point

You are saved by grace through faith.

Respond

Abraham was saved because of his faith in God, not because of his own effort or because he was a good person. You are saved because of your faith in God.

In your journal, write out a brief testimony of how you came to the point of putting your faith in Christ. Make a commitment to share at least a part of your faith journey with one person this week. Jot down that person’s name in the margin.

As a Christian, you’re a bearer of good news that sets people free, not just a rule-keeper or rule-giver. Which do the people closest to you consider you to be? Why? What changes, if any, do you need to make to be a bearer of hope?

For further study, read Ephesians 2:6-10 and Romans 3:9-20,27-31.

Memory Verse

Use several 10-minute breaks throughout your day to review Romans 4:23-25. Repeat this process every day for five days, then recite the verses and see how you do!

Behind the Story

Paul wrote Galatians as a letter to the churches in Galatia. In it, he warned the new believers of the false teachings of the Judaizers. The Judaizers were a group of Jewish Christians that believed the Old Testament laws and rituals still applied to believers, especially the new Gentile converts. Paul wanted to make certain that all of his readers understood that salvation came through faith alone, and that through faith in Christ, they were free from the bondage of the Law.


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Shock and Awe

Posted on September 1, 2015 by Karah

IMG_2547Pause

Contemplate this quote:

“Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him.” —A.W. Tozer

Has a complete stranger ever paid for your meal? If so, your first reaction was likely one of shock. It’s rare that someone would show such generosity. Then, typically, the shock turns into gratitude. Our hearts are overwhelmed that someone would pay a debt that he or she didn’t owe. Someone paying for a meal he or she didn’t eat is an occasional life experience. But, Jesus not only paid a debt that He didn’t owe; He paid a debt that we could never even begin to pay.

Think about what you’ve learned over the past few weeks. Mull over how God provided a sacrifice in place of Isaac. Then, realize that your sin also demands a sacrifice, and God has already provided it: in Jesus, His only Son.

Read Romans 4:13-25 in your Bible.

“He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” —Romans 4:25

Who delivered up Jesus? Ultimately, it was God Himself who brought Jesus’ crucifixion to pass in order to reveal His plan of salvation.

Trespasses is from a Greek word meaning “unintentional error” or “willful sin.” What does this word help you to understand about the amount of sin Jesus’ death has defeated? Explain.

Justification comes from the Greek word “diakaiosis” which means “acquittal for Christ’s sake.” Think about that. If that is true, what does it mean in the life of a believer?

The Point

Our sin called for a sacrifice. God provided it in Jesus.

Respond

Our sin demanded a sacrifice, and God provided it in His Son. Jesus died for our sin, and He rose again so that we could be made right with God. That is the gospel in its simplest form.

The gospel demands a response. Have you placed your faith in Jesus and His finished work?

Perhaps your first reaction to God’s act of grace is shock because you know you deserved death and hell. If so, allow God’s grace to affect the daily decisions you make. Make spending time with your Savior a daily priority.

Perhaps you responded to God’s act of grace with gratitude. If so, write out a prayer thanking God for the mercy and grace that He has lavished on you.

For further study, read Isaiah 53; Romans 3:23-26; and 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

Behind the Story

The doctrine of substitutionary atonement holds that because of God’s perfect justice, the only satisfactory payment for the sin of humankind is death. Instead of leaving all of humanity without a means of payment, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die as a substitute in our place. Through this perfect sacrifice, our sins are atoned, God’s justice is satisfied, and we can have eternal life.


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