Guest Post – Reluctant Obedience

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Please note: The views & opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of LifeWay Christian Resources.

My dad worked the evening or night shift so that he could work our family farm during the day. He got us started on our chores and then left around lunch time for work, leaving my mom in charge. My dad expected us to obey immediately when we were told to do something. He didn’t have the time to go behind us and double check our work. He expected us to obey his second-in-command (my mom) as if we were obeying him.

My mom was a bit more lenient in our more mundane chores (cleaning our rooms, washing the dishes, taking out the trash).  She knew that we would do what she asked, eventually. She might have to gently remind us, but those chores also got done.  When my dad would see us delaying our obedience to her, we would have a “come let us reason together” moment and we reasoned that it was better to obey immediately than later.

During a recent personal study of the genealogy line of Jesus in Genesis 9-10, I read Genesis 11, regarding the building of the Tower of Babel, trying to put it into the time frame of the families and their generations. Chapter 10 tells us that the families had their own languages (vs 5, 20, 31) and at one point (vs 25) the land was divided (which means it was undivided before that). Genesis 11 starts with telling us that the whole earth had the same language and the people wanted to stay together. I conclude from that, in my simple thinking, that chapter 11 took place as the families in chapter 10 were developing.

I wondered why God didn’t want them to stay together. Wouldn’t it be simpler if we were all of the same language?

I had to go back in my study to Genesis 9:7, to God’s command to Noah. Fresh off the boat, so to speak, God tells Noah to “be fruitful and multiply, spread out over the earth and multiply on it.”

How could this command be carried out if they all stayed in one place, as was the people’s desire in chapter 11?

There is also another little statement the people made that might have rubbed God the wrong way, “let’s make a name for ourselves.”

Verse 7 is a “come let us reason together” moment if I’ve ever seen one! God says, “Come, let us go down there…” I envision my mother at the bottom of the stairs, calling out to me and my brothers as we argued in our rooms; “don’t make me come up there!” Only punishment would come if she came up those stairs.

God came down and confused the languages. The people gathered by languages and were scattered over the face of the whole earth (vs 7-9). To my way of thinking, that was when the land was divided, (10:25) and how we have the different people groups in the different continents. The people probably saw this as a punishment and it was.

God had to force the people to do what He had commanded in 9:7. He also had to make it clear that the people were to glorify God, not themselves. The work they were doing for themselves, to make themselves great – building the city and the tower, was stopped. The people were forced to do the command of God, to spread out over the earth. Let’s face it – God has a plan and He will not be deterred from that plan.

I learned quickly from my earthly father that immediate obedience is better than forced obedience. The same is true with my heavenly Father. Reluctant obedience is the same as disobedience.

I quote my dad when I say “come let us reason together” because he says it often, however he is quoting this from Isaiah 1:18-20.

“’Come, let us discuss this,’ says the Lord… ‘If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’”

How quickly do you respond to the command of your heavenly Father? I want the good things, not the sword. How about you?

Lord, find me willing and obedient!

wordsearchbibleDeborah Boutwell is a wife and mother to 2 grown children. She works for B&H Publishing Group and serves in her church as a women’s leader. Deborah blogs at www.apurplecloth.com. She lives outside Nashville and enjoys quilting and reading.

 

 

 

John MacArthur Calls This “The Most Comprehensive Material That Has Ever Been Written on Prayer”

exposition on prayer, wordsearch bibleToday I’m delighted to announce the new release of a 4-volume commentary that is unlike anything in your digital library. An Exposition on Prayer by Dr. Jim Rosscup is a masterpiece of scholarship that covers the entire Bible. An Exposition on Prayer is normally $149.99, but, for the next 14 days, you can take it for our introductory price of $99.95. Click here to add this outstanding resource to your digital library today. Or, call us at 1-800-888-9898 and mention special offer 8375.

An Exposition on Prayer – Here’s What Impressed Me:

Jim Rosscup realized that prayer is one of the most fundamental disciplines of every believer. The Bible is filled with prayer; in fact it appears in 61 of the 66 books of the Bible. Rosscup spent 15 years researching and writing this commentary that walks you through each book of the Bible, with a laser-like focus on acts of prayer.

This commentary is written in a way you’ll find useful for preaching and teaching. It covers every prayer and reference to prayer in the Bible. This includes the prayers of Christ, along with every man, woman, child, and even demons. I was amazed and inspired by what I learned about prayer each time I consulted this work while studying the Scriptures. Prayer pops up everywhere, seeming like it has been hiding in plain sight. Rosscup draws us into it, showing how prayer plays a significant role in every book of the Bible except for Esther, Song of Solomon, Obadiah, Haggai, and 2 John.

Beautiful Outlines and Alliteration

Rosscup certainly wrote this with the preacher and teacher in mind. He often outlines his points just like you would for a sermon or a lesson. He also finds a way to alliterate his points so they’re ideal for preaching and teaching. For example, in Matthew 8, you’ll find the prayer of the centurion. Rosscup’s main points are titled:

The Entreaty of the Centurion
The Emphasis of the Centurion
The Exhibition of Jesus

Later in Matthew is the story Rosscup titles Prayer in the Terror of a Storm. His commentary is divided into these sections:

The Crisis on the Ship
The Cry of the Servants
The Calming of the Storm
The Consideration of His Sufficiency

Tap Into the Power of Prayer and Share it With Others

We’re blessed that the Bible makes over 1,000 references to prayer, and Rosscup takes us on a journey through each instance. Prayer is the one thing we all do, yet all of us want to do it better. Imagine the benefits of injecting the element of prayer into every Scripture you study and every lesson you preach or teach. This is how An Exposition on Prayer can minister to you as you minister to others. Click here to add this work to your digital library now. You’ll be enjoying it within minutes. Or, call us at 1-800-888-9898 and mention special offer 8375.
In His Service,

Jim Baird

Quick Tips – Narrow Your Search with Topic Explorer

The Topic Explorer in WORDsearch is a powerful tool that searches your entire library for a single subject in seconds. Instead of searching every word of every book for your search term, the Topic Explorer narrows your search by looking only at the the titles of articles and chapters that include or are related to your search term. Imagine searching the subject indexes of all of your books in an instant, and you’ll have imagined the Topic Explorer.

Let’s say we want to teach a lesson or create a sermon on the broad topic of “love.” First, we’ll click on the Topic Explorer icon to open the window.

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There are two different types of searches we can do with the Topic Explorer. The first and fastest type, “At beginning of topic,” looks only at the first word in our subject indices for our search term. The second and more thorough type, “Anywhere in topic,” searches every word in our subject indices for our search term.

Let’s look at how to get the shorter list first. To do this, we’ll follow these steps:

  1. Type “love” in the Search for: bar at the top of the Topic Explorer window
  2. Choose “At the beginning of topic” from the Find topic text drop down option
  3. Select a collection of books to search or choose to search all books
  4. Click the search button

As expected, all of our results start with the word “love,” because we chose to find only the index entries that begin with the word “love.”

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For the second type of search we can do, we follow the same instructions as above, but choose “Anywhere in topic” in step two, we’ll see a longer list of results. For example, our search results now include “Beloved Disciple,” “Brotherly Love,” “Family of Love,” and more. This is because we chose to find index entries that include the word “love” anywhere within them.

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When we click on the plus sign next to one of our search results, for example, the “Beloved Disciple”, we’re shown the book that includes the topic (sometimes there is more than one). From there, we can click on the entry in the book to read what the book says. If we want to continue reading a particular entry in a new window,we can click on the button “Open in new window”.

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The Topic Explorer defaults to sorting our results by Topic alphabetically, but we can also sort our results alphabetically by book title or book category (i.e., location). Another helpful feature within the Topic Explorer is the red level button. When we click this button and then expand a topic, book, or category, every sub-folder underneath that topic, book, or category will also be expanded, so we don’t have to keep clicking through the levels to get to our results.

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The Topic Explorer is one of our favorite features of WORDsearch, because it makes finding relevant material so easy and so efficient.

Have you made an exciting or surprising discovery because of the Topic Explorer tool lately? We’d love to hear about it in our comments below!

Free Friday! Prophecy and History in Relation to the Messiah

prophecy and history, wordsearch bible, edersheimHappy Friday everyone! Today’s featured free download is Prophecy and History in Relation to the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim.

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Christianity in its origin appealed to a great Messianic expectancy, the source and spring of which must be sought not in the post-exilian period, but is found in the Old Testament itself. The whole Old Testament is prophetic. Its special predictions form only a part, although an organic part, of the prophetic Scriptures; and all prophecy points to the Kingdom of God and to the Messiah as its King. The narrow boundaries of Judah and Israel were to be enlarged so as to embrace all men, and one King would reign in righteousness over a ransomed world that would offer to Him its homage of praise and service. All that had marred the moral harmony of earth would be removed; the universal Fatherhood of God would become the birthright of redeemed, pardoned, regenerated humanity; and all this blessing would centre in, and flow from, the Person of the Messiah.

The heart-felt goal of Alfred Edersheim’s books was to help the average Christian gain a better understanding of the Jewish customs and the historical significance behind Scripture.

This work, which chronicles Edersheim’s Barburton Lectures from 1880-1884, discusses the prophetic history of the Messiah from the time of Garden of Eden to the coming of John the Baptist. Unlike Edersheim’s other works, this volume involves a much higher degree of criticism on the topic of prophesy, and other sub-topics such as prophetic and heathen divination, the moral element in prophecy, true and false prophets, the progressive character of prophecy, and its spiritual element.

Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889) was born in Vienna, Austria to Jewish parents, and was brought up in the Talmudic traditions and customs of the Jewish faith. He was converted to Christianity in Budapest through the ministry of a Scottish missionary, John Duncan. When Duncan was appointed professor of Hebrew in New College, Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1843, Edersheim accompanied him and enrolled as a student. After studying at the University of Berlin, Edersheim became a minister and also a missionary to Jews in Romania.

Edersheim’s unique position as a scholar trained in both the Jewish and the Christian traditions including all the biblical languages and his extensive knowledge and understanding of the culture and religious beliefs in early first century Roman-ruled Judea made him quite an authority on all things biblical.

After you have read the book, we would love to hear what you thought in the Customer Reviews box on the bottom of the book’s page. Have you read anything that has inspired you lately? Let us know!

5-Vol. Standard Reference Library – Genesis-Revelation – $29.95

standard reference library, wordsearchHere’s an affordable, easy-to-read commentary that covers your entire Bible. The Standard Reference Library is a 5-volume reference set that brings you solid teaching on each Bible passage from Genesis all the way through Revelation. This helpful commentary set normally sells for $99.95, but, for a limited time, you can have it by direct download foronly $29.95. Just click here and you can begin using it today! Or, call us at 1-800-888-9898 and mention special offer 8381.

What the Bible Says and What the Bible Means
Standard Publishing is known for producing outstanding lesson material for Sunday school and Bible study. In this series, you’ll find the authors take a straightforward approach to bring you deep insights on each Bible book. They have divided this commentary into the following 5 volumes:

The Pentateuch takes you through the first 5 books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

The History of Israel covers all the Bible books from Joshua through Esther.

Poetry and Prophecy points to the coming of Christ, starting with the book of Psalms and continuing through Malachi.

The Life and Ministry of Jesus examines all 4 gospels simultaneously.

The New Testament Church guides your studies from the book of Acts all the way through the book of Revelation.

Just the Right Amount of Commentary on Each Verse
The Standard Reference Library recognizes that some Bible passages require more intense examination than others. You’ll find the authors often pause on important verses to give you the in-depth treatment each verse deserves. Plus, you’ll appreciate all the charts and timelinesthat are inserted to give you graphic overviews. Add this excellent resource to your digital bookshelf and I’m sure you’ll be delighted. Just click here.

NEW! An Exposition on Prayer
Check out this new release of a 4-volume commentary unlike anything in your digital library.An Exposition on Prayer by Dr. Jim Rosscup is a masterpiece of scholarship that covers the entire Bible. Rosscup offers detailed commentary on every prayer and reference to prayer in the Bible. This includes the prayers of Christ, along with every man, woman, child, and even demons. Dr. John MacArthur calls this work “the most comprehensive material that has ever been written on prayer.” An Exposition on Prayer is normally $149.99, but, through Sept. 16, you can take our introductory price of $99.95. Click here to add this outstanding resource to your digital library today. Or, call us at 1-800-888-9898 and mention special offer 8381.

Gift Card Sale - $120 of Credit for $100
Over the next several weeks, WORDsearch will be releasing some outstanding new content for your digital library. We often offer these new resources at reduced prices for a short period of time, so by purchasing a WORDsearch Gift Card now, you canenjoy an additional 17% off future purchases. These are electronic gift cards for your WORDsearchaccount, and, through Sept. 8, you can purchase $120 gift cards for $100. For example: a month from now you might find a $200 commentary on sale for $120. Simply apply your gift card credit (for which you paid $100) and it will be like you got your new commentary for half-off! Click here for complete details. This sale will end in 7 days.

Take advantage of these sales specials now, before they expire. Building your digital library is a worthy investment, especially as you invest in the lives of  those who benefit from your ministry.

In His Service,

Jim Baird

The Pastor/Teacher’s Toolkit – Syncing Sermons

pastor/teacher's toolkit, wordsearch bible, sermonsSometimes, when creating a sermon, writer’s block hits, or the specific point you want to make seems to elude you, or you have trouble outlining your sermon. Have you ever wished you could see the opinion of another pastor on the topic you’re studying to help nudge you over the block?

WORDsearch publishes sermons from prominent preachers, and reading them can give you training from some of the best preachers in the world, past and present. Recently, we updated our published sermons to make them sync with Scripture. This helps you more quickly navigate to sermon content based on the Scripture you’re analyzing. This helps you see how the preacher divided up Scripture, and how they preached on that verse.

Let’s say I have my HCSB and Bible Knowledge Commentary opened and synced to Mark 6, where Jesus is rejected in Nazareth. In my commentary, I get background information about how far Jesus traveled to get to His hometown and who was with Him.  In verse 2 where the people ask, “What is this wisdom given to Him, and how are these miracles performed by His hands?” the BKC explains how their tone was disparaging and that they were offended. And that’s when writer’s block hits. How do I write a sermon about this?

Leaving my Bible and BKC open, I open up Wells of Living Water, a collection of sermons by Robert E. Neighbor. It immediately opens to Mark 6, because it’s syncing with my opened Bible. Here I find a sermon titled “How Unbelief Hindered Christ.” There are multiple parts of this sermon, with topics that could easily be split into a sermon series. Some of them include “Holding Jesus of Nazareth Down to a Human Genealogy,” “Making it Impossible for Christ to Do Mighty Works,” and “Marveling at Their Unbelief.” It also provides an illustration Neighbor personally used to help bring the point across.

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I can easily open up another set of sermons and navigate to Mark 6 to see if it contains any messages on that verse. Also, as I progress through Mark 6, the sermon follows along with anything it says about the verse I’m clicking on.

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Reading Neighbor’s words reinvigorates my enthusiasm for the text and fills me with fresh ideas on how to present it.  I decide I like the focus on the unbelief in these verses and how Jesus was not able to do any miracles in His hometown because they didn’t believe in Him. I craft my outline, add my ownl illustration of unbelief, and use WORDsearch to find other stories of how active faith allowed Jesus to do amazing things.

Scripture-synced sermons allows you to find great ideas by some of history’s finest preachers with the click of a button. As a result, your sermon prep time is greatly reduced. This is an excellent way to find fresh inspiration from renowned preachers and their sermons. And syncing makes it easier than ever to find just the material you’re looking for.

If you own any of these sermons sets already, simply go to Help, Check for Book Updates, then choose the sermons you want to update. This added functionality is free!

For more tips, don’t miss out on the other posts in the Pastor/Teacher’s Toolkit series, Bible Dictionaries and Bible Surveys.