Thursday, 30 April 2015
How to Experience God's Forgiveness
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How do we see the cycle of deception in Joseph's family broken?  See Matthew 6:12, 14-15.

Matthew 6:12, 14-15

12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

This looks like a quid pro quo situation.  But it actually isn't.  Unless we actually act in such a way that is actually forgiving of others, we cannot begin to experience the benefits of the forgiveness that God have given us.  Forgiveness is actually loving someone who has done something that causes them to not deserve to be loved.  The hurt has interrupted and stopped fellowship.  Dishonesty or deception interrupts true fellowship.  God is honest and true with us; He does not deceive us.  If we truly want to worship God, if we really want fellowship with Him, we will do as He does by truly loving other with no deception as part of the deal. 

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Posted on 04/30/2015 9:01 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 30 April 2015
Paul's only Message
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How do Luke 12:8-12 and 21:12-19 resemble Paul's experience and actions.

Luke 12:8-12

8 "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9 But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

Luke 21:12-19

But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life.

Everything that happened to Paul is described beforehand.  He was brought into the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, not just once but many times, culminating with being brought before the Roman court.  In every instance none of his adversaries is able to prove that he was guilty of anything.  But the thing that remains constant is Paul's testimony about Jesus.  Actually it was pretty basic to everything he said; it was his defense.

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Posted on 04/30/2015 3:39 PM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 29 April 2015
The Importance of Realizing that God is in Control
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Why didn't Joseph succumb to despair in slavery and prison for thirteen years?  Does his experience offer any encouragement to us?

The big thing that Joseph does is to acknowledge that God is in control; he believes and trusts God.  Joseph apparently thinks that God knows what He is doing; He has the plan and that ultimately things will work out.  This is so much better than believing that there is no rhyme or reason for life, no meaning.

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Posted on 04/29/2015 8:57 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 29 April 2015
PRISONER IN CAESAREA -- Acts 23:11-26:32
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On the day of Paul's baptism, the Lord had said of him "This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.  I will show him how much he must suffer for my name" (9:15-16).  Paul's mission was to be a witness for the Righteous One (22:14-15), to testify to the gospel of God's grace (20:24).  In God's eyes, these years in prison were as crucial to His plan as the years in Corinth and Ephesus. 

Before you begin this lesson, read Luke 12:8-12 and 21:12-19. Then read Acts 23:11-26:32 prayerfully, observing how Paul acted before governors and kings and imagining yourself in his place.

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Posted on 04/29/2015 3:31 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 28 April 2015
Self Control -- Dealing with Resentment
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Did Joseph resent his brothers?  How can you tell (Genesis 43:30, 45:1-15)?

Joseph probably did resent his brothers; he was human.  He was torn and hurt by what they had done to him, but he still cares for them and his father Jacob.

Was Joseph cruel to deceive his brothers or did something more than vengeance justify his scheme?

What Joseph did wasn't done to be cruel.  He struggled to come to grips with his emotions and feelings.  He remains aloof until he's actually in control and he understands what to do in the situation.

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Posted on 04/28/2015 8:54 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 28 April 2015
Reconciling Events -- Understanding What's Going On
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What one truth from these passages would you like to take to heart this week?  How can you apply it?

I think the one truth that comes to mind is spoken of in the previous question.  God's will, what He has planned, what he has said, this will be done.  It's going to come to pass.  Nothing is going to stop it.  The application thing brings one word to my mind---trust.  I think it means that when God says something is going to happen, we need to trust Him to provide the means and circumstances to bring it about.  Now what does that mean to us?  How do we apply that knowledge?  I don't know.  Maybe it means something as basic as we just need to open our eyes to see his providence in action, to see the pieces start to fit together.  I don't think this implies some kind of wishful thinking or some kind of feel-good, health and wealth teleevangelist garbage.  …."Be still and know that I am God."  Maybe applying this also means pointing out to people how God is working in the world today, how He is bringing about what He has said.  Reconciling events.

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Posted on 04/28/2015 3:27 PM by Larry G
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Monday, 27 April 2015
Beliefs and Principles to use to Avoid Temptation
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If we consider the beliefs and principles that Joseph used to avoid temptation, what similar ones should Christians also have?

  • All sins are sins against God

  • Flee from situations that could cause you to sin

  • Remember that all your abilities and everything you have has been provided by God, so that you are equipped to do everything that He has specifically appointed you to do

  • Don't judge others; God will do that.

  • You must take steps to stay separate from the world around you.

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Posted on 04/27/2015 8:51 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 27 April 2015
THY KINGDOM COME -- THY WILL BE DONE
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What does Acts 21:16-23:11 contribute to the overall message of the book?

In Acts 1:8, Jesus, God the Son, the Messiah, tells his disciples what was going to happen, what God's will is.  This particular passage just provides an account of how these men served as God's emissaries to Judea, Samaria, Asia and Europe and ultimately Rome and the entire world.  I think this passage speaks to the fact or truth that God's kingdom is going to come and His will is going to be done.  It's going to happen.  This passage also speaks of God's providence.  Whatever is required, whatever is needed to facilitate things, to make events manifest, God will supply.  God knows the details….WOW!!!

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Posted on 04/27/2015 3:23 PM by Larry G
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Sunday, 26 April 2015
Dealing with Temptation
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Joseph faced repeated temptations during his life.  Specifically how did he resist each one?  What beliefs, principles, or priorities did he turn to?

The temptation of adultery (Genesis 39:6-12)

Here Joseph acknowledges the importance of his loyalty to Potiphar first; then as the final and most important reason for not committing adultery, he acknowledges that such an act is in fact, a sin against God.  He then flees from this temptation.  He doesn't linger in the area. 

The Temptation of pride in his abilities (Genesis 40:8, 41:16)

He acknowledges that God owns everything; He is the cause of everything and the source of all wisdom.  Joseph admits that God gives him the ability to interpret dreams; he doesn't inherently possess this ability.

The Temptation of bitterness and vengefulness against his brothers (Genesis 45:7-8, 50:19-21)

Joseph adopts or develops an wide view of things; he tries to see things from God's perspective, attaching significance and reasons to events in his life.  He tells his brothers that it is not his place to judge them; God would do that.

The temptation to assimilate into Egyptian culture (Genesis 50:2, 22-26)

Joseph reaffirms his faith/trust in God when he takes steps to ensure that both he and his father's remains will not remain in Egypt.  He makes sure that his father is buried in Canaan and when he is about to pass on, he makes his brothers acknowledge that God will visit them in the future.  He then makes them swear that they would also take his remains with them back to Canaan, the land where their father was buried. 

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Posted on 04/26/2015 8:47 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 26 April 2015
GOD'S WORKING!!
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What was God's role in the events of Acts 21:16-23:11?

Jesus had told His disciples that this was going to happen.  They, meaning Jesus' Apostles would be brought into the synagogues and they would be persecuted but not to worry about how to defend themselves because God, the Holy Spirit would put the right words in their mouths.  Jesus and God, the Holy Spirit had also brought Paul to Jerusalem where he did in fact carry out his assigned task of being His witness.  In everything God's will, His plan was brought about.  Interestingly enough, through all of this, God/Jesus is with Paul reassuring him all along the way and providing guidance as events progress.  Everything is working out just as God said it would.

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Posted on 04/26/2015 3:21 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 25 April 2015
The LORD was with Joseph
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The account in Genesis 39:2-3, 21, 23, repeats "The LORD was with Joseph" in slavery and prison.  What the implications of this fact for us?  Why is it important that God gets the credit for Joseph's successes-for our successes?

GOD determined the ultimate purpose of Jacob's life; He also sets the ultimate purpose and meaning of our lives.  We can see how He ties everything together for Joseph.  If GOD had not preordained the ultimate purpose of Joseph's life; everything would have been unrelated; everything would have had no meaning.  Joseph would have died a rich guy whose life would have led nowhere.  But Joseph's life did mean something; there was purpose to his existence-the salvation of a nation and ultimately the world.  God is with us and He will give us the grace or power we need in any situation we face.  Like with Joseph, GOD will empower us to do what He has appointed for us to do. 

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Posted on 04/25/2015 8:44 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 25 April 2015
Jesus the Messiah -- the final destination
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In what sense was the division between the Pharisees and Sadducees at the heart of the issue for which Paul was on trial-the issue of whether Christianity was the true fulfillment of Judaism?

Acts 22:6

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead."

  • All nations of the earth will be blessed through Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob, through Judah, through Jesse, through David.
  • The Messiah would come through this line
  • Men would walk with God and willingly follow His laws.
  • There would be resurrection day
  • All men would be judged
  • The Sadducees thought/think there is nothing beyond this life, no resurrection, no judgment.  We are our own masters.
  • I think that the Sadducees think that God belongs in the temple and there is no correlation between worshiping God and living our lives. 
  • The Pharisees believed that there would be a resurrection and judgment and that somehow how you live is related to how you worship.  God is not just in the temple.  They also believed that Messiah would come to rule and judge the world. 
  • So it comes down to this: either there is something beyond this life or there isn't; how we live has eternal consequences or it doesn't; God is either part of our lives or he isn't; either we will be judged or we won't. 
  • God is trustworthy; He does what He says.

Sadducees.  Most of the priests and elders belonged to this political party or sect, including the chief priestly families from which the captain of the guard and the high priest were chosen.  The Sadducees were wealthy, aristocratic Jews who supported Roman rule in exchange for Rome's protection of their power. Luke probably means that some of the

Rulers, elders and teachers of the law.  The three groups who composed the Sanhedrin, the high council that governed Jewish affairs.  The rulers were probably the chief priests who held "various official positions in the administration of the temple."  The elders "were the lay leaders of the community, no doubt the heads of the principal aristocratic families, mostly of Sadducean outlook."  The teachers of the law ("scribes" in RSV, NASB, KJV) interpreted  and taught the rules and beliefs of Judaism according to their view of the Scriptures and the oral law.  The teachers were mostly Pharisees.  The Pharisees and Sadducees were at odds for many reasons.  The Sadducees were aristocrats and priests who considered temple worship most important; most Pharisees belonged to the craftsman class and regarded the written and oral law above the temple ritual.  The Pharisees considered the oral tradition (including teaching about angels and demons, the immortality of the soul, reward and punishment after death, and laws for behavior) as equal to the Scripture; the Sadducees accepted only the five books of Moses (Genesis-Deuteronomy), which they interpreted literally.  The Pharisees awaited a Messiah to liberate Israel, inaugurate an age of peace and prosperity, and raise the dead; the Sadducees disbelieved in a personal Messiah and the resurrection, and they said that the Messianic age already existed.  The Sadducees actively served and were supported by Rome; the Pharisees tolerated Rome but hoped for the Messiah.  The Sanhedrin was the recognized voice of God for the Jews; it was both the pastoral and the civil leadership.

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Posted on 04/25/2015 3:15 PM by Larry G
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Friday, 24 April 2015
Beside the Still Waters
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How does God work in the world around us and what are the implications of this?

Consider that He is the One who declares the end from the beginning; He is the originator of time and therefore, outside of time; past and future are all the present for Him.  He knows what is going to happen.  Before a thought comes into our minds He knows about it.  He brings people to appointed places and times.  He is our Creator, the Creator of everything.  He is life and apart from Him there is no life, no being, no nothing.  He holds everything together and therefore, He is present everywhere.  Here is a final thought: He has made us for "green pastures" and "still waters";  He is the only one who can heal our souls, our innermost being; and here's the thing-He really wants to do this.  It pleases Him to provide for us.  Why?  Well, because that's how He is.  Think about this.  SELAH.

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Posted on 04/24/2015 8:40 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 24 April 2015
The God who is personally involved in our lives
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What do you think was the purpose of the promise in 23:11?  What does it tell you about the Lord?

Acts 23:11

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."

The thing that comes immediately to my mind is that Paul was afraid.  He had just come through a horrible emotional and physical traumatizing event.  I would think that at about that moment he was very unsure about his future.  It was at this point that God, realizing what Paul was going through and what he was thinking and feeling, comes to him in a very personal way.  He provides the direction and reassurance that Paul desperately needs for what lies ahead.  God knows what we are going through; He knows what we are thinking.  He knows when we are so weak that we cannot go on.  But in those moments He is there personally for us and he gives us what we need.  

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Posted on 04/24/2015 3:12 PM by Larry G
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Thursday, 23 April 2015
God Desires a Real Relationship with us
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What can we learn about God that we should think about and act on?

Jacob wrestled with God.  He didn't just go to Him with namby-pamby issues; he went to God with significant difficult things.  He went to Him about problems that had a big impact on his faith, on his trust in God.  Going to God about everything is huge, particularly when we try to understand what is going on in the world today.  We can't treat this like a totally sanitized, saccharine relationship. Solid relationships deal with tough issues.  So, what should we plan to do?  We go to our Heavenly father, to Jesus-with EVERYTHING.  When we can't understand what is going on, when our understanding fails us---we go to Him.  No vanilla relationship here.

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Posted on 04/23/2015 8:31 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 23 April 2015
Paul's Mission--You Will Be My Witness!
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Paul might have known that Acts 22:21 would infuriate the Jews.  Why do you think he risked his life to say Acts 22:6-21, instead of just refuting the charge of defiling the Temple? 

10 " What shall I do, Lord?' I asked. " Get up,' the Lord said, and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.'…..12 "A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him. 14 "Then he said: The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.

It was his assigned task to be a witness to all men of what he had seen and heard and been instructed to do by the Risen Lord Jeshua.  Wow, he also knew that he had been brought to Jerusalem for a specific purpose and while, he may not have know all the specific parts of God's plan, he trusted God as it was being revealed moment by moment.

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Posted on 04/23/2015 3:09 PM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Learning more about God
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What do God's purposes and actions in the lives of Jacob and his sons tell you about Him?

  • GOD sees value in things or people that we see as worthless

  • He provides hope where we only see hopelessness.

  • He is patient.

  • He is dependable.

  • He is loyal and Faithful.

  • He is always there and watching over us.

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Posted on 04/22/2015 2:32 PM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 22 April 2015
How people react to the Gospel
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Why did Acts 22:21 make the Jews interrupt with rage?

Acts 22:21

"Then the Lord said to me, Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.' "

The Jews absolutely had no use for any concept or idea that God was not just their God but the God of all men.  They saw themselves as being absolutely exclusionary.

What might make people of your country react as in 22:22 to an evangelist?  What aspects of the gospel seem offensive or unethical to your people?

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

People might be offended when an evangelist would imply or say that he had been appointed by God.  People might be skeptical or cynical and just downright deny anything about Jesus, that He existed, that He rose from the dead.  People may even be outraged that someone would imply that they weren't close to God to begin with.  I also think that people would be offended by the idea that they were individually sinners, individuals who had a real problem with sin.  I think they would also be offended by the idea that their individual sins were in fact, ghastly, horrible and deserving of eternal damnation. 

 

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Posted on 04/22/2015 3:05 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 21 April 2015
How Paul talks to people
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How did Paul Shape this speech to appeal to the Jews? (Observe the details in Acts 21:40-22:21.)

First, he speaks them in a manner that they are comfortable with and in a manner that they can understand.  He builds or shows their common backgrounds.  He presents the background to what happened to him.  He speaks to them about things that they know to be true.  In his speech he is asking, challenging them to think about things that they have seen or heard, things that they know are verifiable facts.  Everything he tells them is a verifiable fact.  He sets the stage by telling them that what he was telling people had actually happened to him.  

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Posted on 04/21/2015 2:47 PM by Larry G
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Monday, 20 April 2015
Is there enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?
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What would you say in your country if you had a chance to give a "defense" as Paul did?  Plan out some the things you could say.

What Paul did was a personal testimony/witness of how Jesus had come into his life.  He talks about where he came from, what he had previously done and what he had been told and assigned to do.  He specifically talks about how Jesus the Messiah had changed his life.  The big thing that comes to mind is that God has place all of us as individuals as nations, in a specific place in time and space, so that we could seek Him and find Him, if we so chose.  The Gospel is the message that He wants everyone to hear.  We are sinners; we all have this internal problem that drives us away from God and toward destruction.  All we have to do is look around us at our world, at our lives and we can see the out working, the fruits of this inner problem.  We need to be saved from ourselves.  Now you can accept this or reject this.  I would also refer readers to our Facebook page and the posting for April 16th.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calvary-Free-Church-Muskego/354918291198652?fref=nf

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Posted on 04/20/2015 2:42 PM by Larry G
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