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Tag Archives: Ezra

  • Gifted Bible Teachers

    Posted on August 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

    A gifted Bible teacher is a gift from God. He equips them with the discernment of His Word and the ability to apply it to everyday life. Gifted teachers dissect facts from Holy Scripture and then bridge their relevance into contemporary society. This requires prayerful preparation. Biblical facts without application become dry, dusty, and boring. Indeed, factual information without individual life change facilitates our pride.

    “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:1–2).

    The danger is to fill our minds without a change of heart; so the gifted Bible teacher presents his message to both mind and heart. Of course, the other extreme is a potential problem. Bible teachers who attempt to apply the Scripture without proper biblical context and grounding in God’s Word run the risk of sharing opinion rather than absolutes and Scriptural principles. Truth needs to be released, not watered down or overexplained.

    “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 nkjv).

    The teacher’s role is to harvest God’s truth and humbly deliver it to the sheep of his flock. Like a seasoned chef, he wants the delivery to invite interest. The presentation of a delicious meal is inviting to the eye and stomach; so the proper presentation of God’s Word is to the head and heart. One quality of an effective delivery is a humble spirit.

    People do not want to be talked down to. They want to be taught by a fellow learner and struggler. People respect you for your strengths but connect with you for your weaknesses. “Perfect” Bible teachers build walls between the people, while “imperfect” ones build bridges to the people. The best Bible teachers are those who perceive themselves as growing in the process of their own Christian maturity.

    Another good quality of a compelling presentation is stories. Jesus told stories. Stories illustrate truth with clarity. Like the sun shining through a freshly cleaned window, you can see much better. Interesting storytellers are students of people who understand their hopes and fears. Gifted Bible teachers comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

    Lastly, the gifted Bible teacher loves to read, research, and engraft God’s Word into his own soul. The Bible oozes from his being. Scripture is not just a source for sermon preparation, but first a source for heart preparation. He opens the Word of God and asks God to speak to him and to change him. Private study with personal application leads to public connection.

    God, change me first, so I can present your truth to others in need of You. Pour me out as a broken vessel to others who are hungry and thirsty for Your truth!

    “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

    Prayer: Do I allow the Word of God to change me first, before I teach it to others?

    Related Readings: Ezra 7:6; Ecclesiastes 12:9–11; Hebrews 5:12; James 3:1

    Post/Tweet: People respect you for your strengths but connect with you for your weaknesses. #giftedbibleteachers

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • A Grateful Nation

    Posted on November 2, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “In that day you will say: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted” (Isaiah 12:4).

     

    A nation born out of the womb of religious liberty has much to thank Almighty God for. We can thank Him that man’s tyranny lives oceans away and that we are free to worship, vote, and treat our fellow man with civility and respect. “With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers; you crushed the peoples and made our fathers flourish” (Psalm 44:2). He is the initiator and sustainer of our nation’s freedom; without the Lord, we lose.

    A large lump fills our throats with the memory of men and women whose blood saturated the soil of foreign fields to preserve our freedom. A nation like ours that encourages free enterprise, free speech, free press, and free worship comes with a severe sacrifice. When was the last time you thanked the Lord for those on the front lines who risk their lives for your liberty? His blessing remains where gratitude is retained; so thank Him often.

    Indeed, it is a country with character that positions itself for God’s blessing.  Therefore, do not just ask God to bless America, but in addition, thank Him for already blessing America. “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: ‘He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever’” (Ezra 3:11). A grateful nation gives God the glory for His goodness. Out of our national appreciation, the world wonders what God can do for them.

    So when the United States of America appreciates almighty God, we become a shining light from shore to shore as men and women around the globe take notice of our humble dependence on Him. Jesus described the collective role of God-fearing people: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

    If we extinguish our light by abandoning the faith we came from, He will raise up other nations to take our place. However, He smiles when He sees a nation acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. It sets a standard for those who admire our freedoms to see where they originate. Thanksgiving Day is the Lord’s Day to privately and publicly give Him the glory and gratitude for His incredible favor and blessing on our nation.

    Prayer: How can I lead our extended family in a sincere prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord? What are some specific freedoms I can thank God for in blessing my country? How can I pray for our president to be an example of a Christian leader the world will follow?

    Related Readings: Psalm 102:15; Malachi 1:14; Acts 10:34–36; Revelation 15:4

    Post/Tweet: A country with character positions itself for God’s blessing. #character

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
  • Attitude Adjustment

    Posted on July 28, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.”  Ezra 6:22

     

    Attitude is everything; it can lift you up or bring you down. It is the barometer of your heart. If your heart is not right, your attitude will suffer. Attitude is critical because it influences your course of action. If your attitude is negative, then your words and your behavior will be too. There is a difference in being a realist about negative circumstances, and living with a chronic bad attitude. Naïve are those who ignore warning signs of trouble, and carry on oblivious to the storm clouds of sin. However, your attitude is rooted in who you are in Christ, so there is no need to be fearful, guilty, or insecure. 

    The attitude that Jesus exhibited was one of humility and servant leadership. His attitude reflected submission to His heavenly Father, which resulted in service, generosity, and love for people. Jesus was joyful and hopeful because He rested in the will of God. Do not allow others’ bad attitude to influence yours. Be the attitude influencer instead. Greet a frown with a smile, crush criticism with affirmation, and listen patiently until fury loses its steam. A positive attitude will eventually outlast and overpower a negative one. Most of all, pray for those who thrive on negativity. Pray for them to be set free from their hurt, anger, guilt, and insecurity. God has you in their lives to reflect the Almighty and to encourage an attitude adjustment through Him.

    God is the genesis of a right attitude. He is the right attitude sustainer. He wants His attitude to be our attitude. This is why you need a daily attitude alignment from your heavenly Father. Each day, your attitude gets knocked around and abused by life. If left unattended, your attitude will drift into wrong thinking, harsh words, and bad behavior. Self-pity and anger can begin to replace selflessness and forgiveness. With just a little bit of daily tweaking, your attitude stays in line with His. It is subtle, but sometimes attitudes need to be adjusted moment by moment.

    Lastly, slow down and pray when you feel your attitude eroding. When you’re in the midst of a bad attitude, don’t make important decisions; the time isn’t right for that. You will regret every decision you make during a time of emotional upheaval. Be patient, and wait until your anger has subsided, your heart is cleansed, and your attitude is objective. Almighty God is into attitudes that trust Him and reach out to others with compassion and understanding. Open-minded and reasonable attitudes lead to rich and robust relationships. Anyone can be negative; so don’t be anyone, be different. Allow God to shape your attitude on the anvil of His heart.

    An attitude molded by God is infectious and transforming. Allow Him to change yours, and then trust Him to change another’s. The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).

    Taken from the July 26th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: A right attitude leads to rich and robust relationships. #attitude

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB

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