Category: From: Bible Studies

God’s Word – The Life Blood of the Christian

By Pastor Neil Kenyon, Salem, IN.

For the word of God is alive 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)

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

When I first entered the ministry, as a pastor, I had a talk with my dad who had been a preacher for many years of his life. I was wondering how I should answer the call to preach. He said, “As long as you stick to the Word of God you can’t go wrong.”

“Stick to the Word of God.” That struck a chord with me and has been a guide to me since that conversation with him in 1990.

I was saddened, therefore, when I recently read that it was suggested that the Sunday Sermon be relegated to a short devotional or addendum to the music or some sort of drama presentation. Or, that it be done away in favor of some form of entertainment!  God’s word should never be excluded (or watered down) from worship! It must be essential, and central, to the worship. Genuine, reading, and commentary of God’s Word is what confronts the listeners with nothing less than the living and active Word! Such confrontation shapes and guides individuals as The Holy Spirit opens eyes and applies the Word of God to human hearts.

Thus, like the Apostle, Paul wrote to Timothy, and as my father warned me,

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2,3,4)

God’s Presence and Our Daily Struggle with Sin

By Tim Exelby

Why does there seem to be a contradiction between our “faith” and our “actions?”

To give an example of what we’re talking about is our struggle with pornography, anger, resentment, etc. We know the draw to such things and it’s usually after we’ve given in to such temptations and are left to ourselves afterward that we start with the thing that we just gave into. The conviction is a good thing and it is definitely a sign that God is still moving and working on our behalf for forgiveness and healing. But the danger comes when we start to doubt our faith. We think to ourselves, “if I really believed in God then why did I do what I just did?” “If I knew that God was really at all places at all times then how could I have done what I just did?”

These are good questions that should be asked but we need to be careful as to where we go to find the answers to such questions. As Christians, we all know that we should be taking these questions to the Holy Spirit and seeking answers in God’s Word.

My own experience with this very contradiction of faith and sin:  

As a police officer, I was required to carry a microphone on me at all times while on duty. There was also a camera mounted inside my patrol car which turned on every time my lights were activated. I also had the option of turning the camera/microphone on or off from my vest.

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Are you Passionate or Lukewarm?

By Pastor Neil Kenyon, Salem, IN.

It seems that many are passionate about many things, except for Christ! One can have a passion for movies or actors – but not for Christ. It is okay to have a passion for certain styles of clothing,  but not for Christ.  A visible passion for certain foods or restaurants or hobbies or sports teams or individuals is okay – but not so for Christ, who often is obscured, even hidden, in one’s life.  It is okay to support a cause such as gun rights and the second amendment, or animal rights, that’s fine….. but when it comes to Christ,  passion, for many, seems to have become lukewarm!

In His revelation to John, as recorded in Revelation 3,  Jesus described the church at Laodicea as being lukewarm. They had lost their passion. Their drive and dedication for Him had become stale and dry! They were serving the Lord half-hearted without gusto or dedication. It is clear that they were going through the motions but they had lost their desire – their passion!   Jesus compared their relationship with Him to the temperature of something to be consumed:  A drink, or food,  that is to be served hot is not good if it is not hot, and that which is to be served cold is not good if it is not served cold – therefore, it is spewed out of one’s mouth! It follows, then, that a Christian who has lost his passion for Christ – a lukewarm person, who is only going through the motions of being a Christian, has lost his usefulness to the cause of Christ!

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Rev. 3:14-16)

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire…… (Rev. 3:18)

Christ counseled the church at Laodicea to, “Buy me gold tried in the fire.” (Gold  tried in the fire is a reference to a process in the refining of gold that removes the impurities.)

Behold, He knocketh!  If, for some reason, your relationship with Christ has become stale, or dry – even lukewarm,  may you have ears to hear that the first and the last – the alpha and omega – the one standing at the door, counsels you to invite Christ to enter in and remove the impurities and refine your passion for Him!

Usefulness to God

By Pastor Derl Keefer, Three Rivers, MI.

Here is a thought I had about being useful to God.

Usefulness to God is an important element in the life of a Christian. Usefulness binds us together as brothers and sisters of faith, improves our own character, and makes an impact on society.

Need a Bible verse to chew on? Here is one from Paul writing to Timothy: “Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guest for their blessing” (II Timothy 2:20-21 MSG).

Hold onto your seats as we jet through some ways to be used by God!

1. Love Your enemies. Generosity will surprise them

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The Devil had a Going out of Business sale

Bill Anderson told the story about the day the devil decided to go out of business. He decided to have a sale in which he would sell off the tools of his trade.

On the night of the sale, the devil’s tools were all attractively displayed. Malice, hate, jealousy, greed, sensuality, and deceit were among them. To the side lay a harmless wedge-shaped tool, which had been used much more than any of the rest.

Someone asked the devil”What’s is that? It’s priced so high.” The devil answered, “That’s discouragement.” “But why is it priced so much higher than all the other tools?” the onlooker persisted. “Because, replied the devil, with that tool I can pry open and get inside a person’s consciousness when I couldn’t get near him with any of the others. Once discouragement gets inside, I can let all the other tools do their work.”

How does the devil get us discouraged? By lying to us. Jesus said Satan is a liar and the father of lies. There is no truth in Him (John 8:44). He knows what lies to tell each of us to get us discouraged. To name a few:

You’re not going to make it!  You’re not good enough!  You’re not pretty enough! Nobody likes you! Everybody’s against you! You can’t trust anyone! You’re a failure!

These are just some of the lies Satan will use on us. Don’t believe his lies. Don’t let Satan steal your joy. God created each of us unique and special. God doesn’t make mistakes. He loves each of us more than we can humanly understand. He loved us before we were born, He has always loved us and always will. To God, you’re not a failure. You are more precious than gold. There is nothing we can do to keep Him from loving us. All He wants is for us to love Him back.

Discouragement comes from the devil.

Discouragement never comes from God. 

God: The Light of the World

Have you ever waited for the morning light? Sometimes the night can seem so long, especially when we are going through difficult times. With what intense longing, have many waited for the morning light. With the morning light comes hope and relief. Other times, we may wait for the morning with great anticipation rather than with despair. What a great joy it can be to see a beautiful sunrise.


Just as the sun shines its beautiful life-giving light upon the earth, so God shines into our hearts the light of His glory and His love. We were meant to have that light shining into and through our lives.


“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

If we look at the natural world around us we see the trees of the woods, the grass and crops of the fields, and all the beautiful flowers. What do they do to keep the sun shining on them? They do nothing; they simply bask in the sunshine when it comes. The sun is millions of miles away, but over all that distance it comes, bringing light and joy. We depend on the sun, with its life-giving light. We need it for our very existence. Do we do anything for it? No, we simply count on it, and receive it, and enjoy it.
The only difference between nature and grace is this, that what the trees and the flowers do unconsciously, as they drink in the blessing of the light; is for us, through faith, to be a willing and open vessel for accepting His love and grace. God’s light is infinitely brighter and more beautiful than the sun.
Faith, simple faith in God’s word and love, is to be the opening of the eyes, the opening of the heart, to receive and enjoy the unspeakable glory of His grace.


Just as the trees and the flowers day after day stand soaking up the sunshine, growing in beauty and fruitfulness, so it should be with our Christian life just to abide in the light of God, letting it fill us with Love. You may ask, can it really be that simple to bask in the light of our Lord’s love? Yes, it can be when we open the shutters of our hearts to God. God’s light will dispel the darkness in our lives. The light of God in our lives will be an unceasing source of joy and gladness. Through His light, His grace, we will blossom and bear fruit.


We are all very familiar with the physical light and darkness of this world. But the spiritual darkness is just as real. Many are living in spiritual darkness with no hope in eternity. Jesus is the only hope for those living in spiritual darkness. Jesus is the light of the world.


“Then again Jesus said to them, I am the light of the world; he who comes with me will not be walking in the dark but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Satan’s Greatest Tool

One of Satan’s primary tools to use against us is discouragement.

Bill Anderson told the story about the day the devil decided to go out of business. He decided to have a sale in which he would sell off the tools of his trade.

“On the night of the sale, the devil’s tools were all attractively displayed. Malice, hate, jealousy, greed, sensuality, and deceit were among them. To the side lay a harmless wedge-shaped tool, which had been used much more than any of the rest.

Someone asked the devil, What’s that? Its priced so high.
The devil answered, That’s discouragement.

But why is it priced so much higher than all the other tools? the onlooker persisted.

Because, replied the devil, with that tool I can pry open and get inside a person’s consciousness when I couldn’t get near him with any of the others. Once discouragement gets inside, I can let all the other tools do their work.”

    How do we fight against the devil’s tactics? By being aware of his attempts to discourage us and refusing to accept them. Whether we are discouraged in our church, our job or in our own personal lives, it is never a good thing, and we can be certain Satan is probably behind it. I’m not saying that every time you get discouraged Satan is behind it, but the odds are very good that he is. The next time you’re discouraged; examine the reason you’re discouraged, you might be surprised.

Discouragement comes from the devil.
Discouragement never comes from God. (more…)

What Is God’s Presence? 7 Ways to Experience It

  • Cindi McMenaminCrosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 202024 Jan

What Is God's Presence? 7 Ways to Experience It

What Is God’s Presence?

According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary, God’s presence carries a wide range of meaning. It may be something people fear. Adam and Eve‘s sinfulness drove them to hide from the Lord in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8). God’s holiness cast light on Isaiah’s sinfulness (Isaiah 6:5). Many people who encountered God or His angel feared for their lives (Judges 13:22Luke 1:11-12;2:9). Others tried unsuccessfully to escape His presence (Jon 1:3). As God displays His presence through His great power, the whole earth trembles (Judges 5:5Psalm 68:8). False gods also become powerless before Him (Isaiah 19:1). Fear and trembling are proper responses before the One who controls all creation (Jer 5:22).God’s presence provides comfort in times of trouble or anxiety (Joshua 1:5). The downcast seek Him and find encouragement and strength to praise Him (Psalm 42:5).

Although our feelings tell us that at times, we shouldn’t be driven by our emotions when it comes to our trust in God. Because Scripture says the “righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17)  and “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), we shouldn’t have to feel God to know He’s there. But I know how you feel if you find yourself discouraged at times because it seems like God just isn’t around.  

Unanswered prayer, a series of disappointing events, or a betrayal by someone close to you can cause you to think that God has checked out of your life. Other times we get so busy with our day-to-day lives that we feel guilty that we’re not doing enough for Him to want to be around us. But because God has promised He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5),  we can be assured of His constant presence whether we are struggling with a painful situation or just too busy to notice He is near.  

When God feels far away, here are 7 ways you can experience and sense His presence. 

1. Come Clean with God.

 Sometimes you can’t sense God’s presence because there’s something blocking the communication between the two of you. He hasn’t left, but your sensitivity to His presence might be affected by unconfessed sin in your life. David, the Psalmist, said, “When I kept silent (about His sin) my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalms 32:3-5).  If you feel God isn’t around because the two of you haven’t talked in awhile, or because you’ve avoided the thought of Him for so long,  confess to God what’s on your heart and mind and ask Him to give you an ear to hear His voice again. 1 John 1:9 tells us: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  When your fellowship with Him is restored, the communication can flow again. So get clean (through the forgiveness of Christ) and let it flow. 

2. Read Scripture Aloud.

When you audibly speak God’s inspired Word,  you will sense its power and His presence. The Bible says God’s Word is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). That sharp sword will either make you aware of its weight or prick your heart through conviction, inspiration, or determination. A pricked heart is better than a dull heart any day, wouldn’t you agree?  

3. Sing God a Love Song.

God inhabits the praises of His people. Ever wondered why you sometimes feel closer to God when you’re in a church service,  singing hymns or praise songs?  Could be because that’s where worship tends to take place. When you start praising Him, regardless of where you are, you’ll sense His presence, probably because you’re no longer focused on yourself, but on Him. When we open the door of our hearts to love Him, He will meet us there.

4. Say God’s Name and Call Upon Him.

People around you may be using God’s name right and left (as a swear word in anger, or as a thoughtless expression). But Scripture says there is power in the name of Jesus because “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Say His name aloud — as the Answer to all you seek, as the Source to calm your soul, as the One whose presence you long for and you will sense the power of His presence…and His peace.  

5. Say a Breath Prayer for His Presense to Take Over.

 There are times we need Him but we just don’t know what to say or where to start. Start by saying His name and then speak your heart’s cry. For me, often times it’s just “Jesus, I need You” or “Jesus, give me a heart for You.” I believe the simplest of cries are the ones that penetrate His heart — and ours — the quickest. 

6. Take a Walk for His Presence in Creation.

Exercise brings your body, mind, and heart to life. Feel spiritually dead? Get outside, move around, confess to Him what’s on your heart and let Him waken you up, spiritually. My best times with God are when I’m walking while I pour out my heart to Him.

7. Breathe Deeply.

 Sometimes we can’t sense God’s presence because there’s too much of everything else going on. Too much noise. Too much traffic. Too much confusion. Too many thoughts running rampant in our minds. Too much anxiety. Center your mind on Him and start to breathe deeply.  Try it. Exhale the distracting thoughts. Inhale a desire to sense His presence. Exhale your pre-occupation with self. Inhale a desire to know Him more completely. Exhale the worries of the moment. Inhale His peace. Now, don’t you feel better already? Can you begin to sense that you’re in His arms? There’s a reason His Word says “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10).


Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of several books that help women develop intimacy with God.  For more on sensing God’s presence, see her books  When Women Long for Rest, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs or When God Pursues a Woman’s Heart. You can find out more about her books, ministry, and free resources to strengthen your soul and marriage at www.StrengthForTheSoul.com

Cindi McMenamin is a pastor’s wife, mom, Bible teacher, and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationships with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including the best-selling When Women Walk Alone(more than 140,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts,When God Sees Your Tears, and When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection, which she co-authored with her husband, Hugh. For more on her speaking ministry, coaching services, or books and resources to help you grow in your relationship with God, your marriage or your parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.