Go to BlessEveryHome.com and sign up to receive a daily email with the names and addresses of five of your neighbors so you can pray by name for them. This ministry is incredible! Here are 5 reasons you need to use Bless Every Home:
You are praying by name for people.
This prayer ministry guides you to pray specifically. Imagine what the Lord would do if his people are praying for their neighbors by name. Real people. Real close to you. You might not know them or their needs but you can pray for their salvation, family, or whatever else comes to mind. When you sign up, you receive an email every day (or on whatever days you choose) with five names of families near you.
You are conscious of opportunities to pray, care, and share.
When you log in to your account, you will see 5 main metrics on your dashboard: households adopted, households prayed for, households cared for, households shared with, households discipled.
You can click on the map option of your account and view the locations of your neighbors. When you click on a neighbor’s icon, you can record notes, or click on an icon to show that you prayed, cared, shared (the gospel), or are discipling that neighbor. Just having a system like this reminds you that your neighbors are there and that we need to love our neighbors (Matt. 22:39).
You can see others in your neighborhood who are praying.
Called “Lights in Neighborhood,” you can see who else is praying (they must be sign up for this ministry obviously). Imagine the power of the Holy Spirit you are inviting by connecting with others in your neighborhood and praying together for your neighbors!
Go sign up! What do you like about Bless Every Home?
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By Ryan Strother — 7 months ago
Since I grew up in church and “knew all the answers,” I was blinded to the fact that I needed to be saved from my sin. I thought the message of Jesus and the cross was just for others out there who were doing the really bad stuff. Essentially, I thought I could save myself by my knowledge and behavior.
If you are in a similar situation like I was, Samson could be helpful. Samson might be the most popular person in the Bible who was under the Nazarite vow, but it is also thought that Samuel was under the vow (1 Sam. 1:11-28; Hannah specifically mentions not cutting the hair); John the Baptist (Luke 1:15; no wine or strong drink); and the Apostle Paul (Acts 18:18; he cut his hair because he was under a vow-maybe at the end of a Nazarite vow). Nazarite is a word that derives from a Hebrew word (Nazar) meaning “consecrated or devoted one.”
Let me highlight details from Numbers 6 where we first read about the Nazarite vow:
- Voluntary vow by Israelite to separate himself to the Lord
- no wine and strong drink
- no vinegar made from wine or strong drink
- no juice of grapes, no grapes (fresh or dried)
- nothing produced by the grapevine (not even seeds or skins)
- no razor shall touch the head
- nowhere near dead bodies
- for a specific period of time
Three things are unusual concerning Samson’s Nazarite vow:
- He did not take it voluntarily; it was his lot from the womb (Judg. 13:5, 7).
- It was not limited in time; it was to last to the day of his death (vv. 5, 7; cf. 1 Sam. 1:11; Luke 1:15 for similar situations).
- He broke every one of its stipulations: his head was sheared (Judg. 16:17, 19); he associated with the dead (14:6–9; 15:15); and he undoubtedly drank at his wedding feast (14:10–20; see note on 14:10).
Still, God called Samson out for a specific mission. At the end of v.5, we are told that Samson would start to save the Israelites from the Philistines. The cultural situation isn’t anything new to us by now. The Israelites had turned to their own ways and were serving other gods. God gave them into the hand of the Philistines for 40 years. The Philistines would continue to oppose God’s people and the Israelites wouldn’t find relief from them until near the end of King David’s life as you can read about in 2 Samuel 21. There are a few mentions of the Philistines after David, but David was able to break their power.
So, Samson was given great strength to be able to basically single-handedly take care of the Philistines. We know this was God’s strength upon Samson because the strength stopped when Samson’s hair was cut, which was the last part of his vow to be broken.
You can look at this information about Samson and a Nazarite vow and say so what? Here’s what I hope you will see:
The Nazarite vow was a voluntary claim to say I’m going to be holy.
Salvation today is God’s claim to say I’ve made you holy.
Samson is an example of someone who tried to be righteous but failed apart from the power of God–like me before I understood the power of Jesus and salvation.
Jesus Christ did what no Old Testament leader did—He broke the power of sin and death, and now you can be declared righteous and enabled to live a life of holiness if you profess faith in Jesus and trust Him to save you.
Even the strongest man in the Bible wasn’t powerful enough to save himself. If I were you, I wouldn’t try either.Post Views: 348
By Ryan Strother — 7 months ago
I’ve heard it said that pride is the only disease that makes everyone sick but the one who has it.
Last week, we saw how pride connives and manipulates. This week, let’s explore how pride disregards other people by returning to Abimelech in Judges 9 as an example. Specifically, he disregarded others by murdering and getting revenge. If you search your heart honestly, you might find yourself acting in the same ways.
Murder. Abimelech certainly disregarded his brothers by killing all but one of them who escaped. Jotham, the one who survived, gave a scathing prophecy to the leaders of Shechem in Judges 9:7-21. The “Fire from Abimelech” in that prophecy is exactly what happened. Not only did Abimelech murder his own brothers to gain power, but he even murdered people from Shechem to maintain that power (v.49), even using fire to accomplish the job.
Revenge. The leaders of Shechem eventually turned against Abimelech, especially when a man named Gaal moved into the city and took some shots at Abimelech. Shechem began trusting Gaal as a leader more than Abimelech. Abimelech wasn’t happy at all about that. An arrogant person can’t stand the thought of someone turning on him, so he unleashes his vengeance on Gaal and the people of Shechem, murdering many more.
You can read this and think that you aren’t that bad. But these actions (murder, seeking revenge) stem from motivations of the heart. Jesus taught this principle in Matthew 5 regarding murder:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21–22, ESV)
So, when you honestly check your heart, you will probably find more pride there than you thought. And pride will influence you to disregard other people, maybe through extreme ways of murdering and seeking harmful revenge, or by less subtle ways, like ignoring, gossiping about someone, acting in ways that purposely make life difficult for someone else, undermining authority, or destructively criticizing.
How else can pride influence people to disregard others?Post Views: 414
By Ryan Strother — 4 months ago
Maybe one of the most asked questions by Christians is: how do I know I am saved?
We all want a good guarantee with important parts of our lives.
• You want insurance on your home to guarantee the replacement of your belongings.
• You buy that extra protection on that electronic device or appliance so you are guaranteed that it will be fixed or replaced.
• You make sure there is a good warranty on that vehicle so you are guaranteed that it will run like its supposed to.
• You want your bank to be insured so your money is guaranteed to be there.
In very simplistic terms, then, how do you know that your salvation will have its effect on your life? How do I know I am saved?
One area of Scripture that answers this question (not the only one) is 1 John 4:13-15, so we will look deeper into this passage.
Verse 13 says ”By this…” John uses this phrase to introduce a concept he really wants to make sure his listeners grasp. In fact, it appears 11 times in this letter.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us. So, what is this? The guarantee of the Holy Spirit. I hope you will be encouraged and gain confidence through this post. this message.
I want to point out a natural movement we see in the text, which consists of three parts. Let’s start at verse 14 first. We see apostolic authority here– John was one of many who saw and testifies about Jesus. So, understand here that it’s not just someone talking without experience. You can trust what you’re reading because it is written by someone who is speaking out of what he has seen.
1st Part of the Movement: v.14
The movements follow a pattern: this happened, then this happened. The first movement: He saw and testified that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)
Apart from Jesus Christ, you are perishing and will perish eternally under the wrath of God. But God has made redemption possible for you. The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
2nd Part of the Movement: beginning of v.15
That happened. Then this: whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus came to this world and finished the work that is necessary for you to be redeemed. But Romans 10:9 tells us, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The second part of the movement is that you have to confess Jesus. It’s not enough just to know that Jesus came into the world. Many people are smart enough to know that Jesus was a real man on the earth, but there must be a belief behind this confession, like Romans 10:9 says.
So, the 1st part is that the Father sent his Son into the world. That happened.
Then, what is to happen is that every person has to decide to confess Jesus Christ. To believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead and that he has paid the penalty for sin and brings victory in this life.
That happens. Then, the 3rd movement.
3rd Part of the Movement: end of v.15
When you confess your belief in Christ, you will be saved. So this happens: God abides in you and you abide in God. Theologically this is called our union with Christ. Wayne Grudem summarizes it: “We are in Christ, Christ is in us, we are like Christ, and we are with Christ” (Systematic Theology, p. 1256).
Millard Erickson gives 4 implications of our union with Christ (Christian Theology, 3rd Edition, p. 882-883):
• We are counted righteous.
• We now live in Christ’ strength.
• We will suffer.
• We have the prospect of reigning with Christ.
Now, even with these three events being true in your life, some might wonder, how do I know this has all happened?
This is where the guarantee of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance.
Let me ask:
• Do you feel the conviction of sin?
• Are you conforming to the image of Christ?
• Are you learning and discovering biblical truth?
• Are you finding liberty/freedom over sinful thoughts, words, actions?
• Are you experiencing the guidance of the Holy Spirit, often evidenced by peace you will feel?
• Are you telling others about Jesus, being his witness?
• Are you loving others?
This is the work of the Holy Spirit in you. That is evidence of the salvation inside of you.
Look at the similarities to what Paul wrote:
13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV)
Specifically, the Holy Spirit seals the believer and guarantees the believer’s inheritance.
“Seal” generally means to put a mark upon something as a sign of its authenticity. Believers are sealed. And the Holy Spirit is the “guarantee” of the inheritance we have in Christ. The Holy Spirit is valuable enough to give the believer a sense of security by which to live faithfully until that great inheritance comes.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t come and go. You are sealed, which is the link to the secure eternity we have in Christ (inheritance). This should give you confidence.
photo courtesy of Xavier Mouton PhotographiePost Views: 247