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A Good Report Yields Opportunity (Saturday, September 17, 2016)

Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Introductory Thoughts

With the need so great, Christians frequently wonder why they are not used more in the Lord’s service and work. They fail to realize that their reputations have limited many of their opportunities. Until their reputations are repaired, their opportunities will remain hindered. In the early church, a problem came to the attention of the apostles when the “widows were neglected in the daily ministration” (Acts 6:1). As the apostles gave counsel for a solution, they suggested that the believers look out among them “seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” (Acts 6:3). Why was it so important to consider the reputations of those men who were potential candidates? The apostles knew that the reputation of man hinders or helps in the service of the Lord.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): David kept sheep for his father. He had an excellent reputation. Even one of king Saul’s servants knew his stellar reputation. When Saul needed someone to play a harp, David was offered the opportunity and later became Saul’s armourbearer (1 Samuel 16:17-22).

• (For everyone): God can overcome someone’s reputation, but men require more time. Why is it important to have a good reputation among the saved and among the lost?

• What are some other areas of service in which the Lord demanded a good reputation as a qualification for service? What does this suggest about our reputations?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask the Lord to give you a good report and opportunity to serve.

• Thank God for the light He has given in His word.

 

SONG: OUR BEST

 

 

 

Quotes from the next volume

(VOLUME 4, WEEK 38)

Subject: Sin

When man avoids the words of God, he avoids his only hope for knowing what sin is and how it affects him both now and in eternity.

The word of God is truth (John 17:17). As such, it does not always paint man in a positive light but, rather, always portrays him accurately.

The Lord knows man’s foolishness (Psalm 69:5); He can search it out though it is hidden in the very depths of man’s heart (Psalm 44:20-21).

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A Reputation Worthy of Thanks (Friday, September 16, 2016)

Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Introductory Thoughts

No doubt Paul spoke to the Lord about Hymenaeus and Alexander and their wickedness (1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 4:14), but he most likely expended his strength thanking God for believers like those in Rome (Romans 1:8). All believers should thank God for those whose reputations have been carefully maintained. Throughout the world, people spoke of the faith of those in Rome. The Bible tells us that news of their obedience spread abroad unto all men (Romans 16:19). Although Paul would commend them for their godly reputations, he knew who ultimately deserved the thanks. In like manner, believers today should put forth more strength thanking God for good reputations.

 

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Read why Paul was thankful for Philemon (Philemon 4-7); for the saints in the church at Colosse (Colossians 1:1-4). Name someone who lives for the Lord and for whom you are especially thankful.

• (For everyone): When is the last time you thanked God for the good reputations of certain believers? Do you spend too much time complaining about the carnal saints and too little time thanking God for those who bear a good testimony?

• Do you have a good reputation? How did you ultimately gain that reputation? Have you thanked God for it?

Prayer Thoughts

• Thank God for the godly reputations of those you know.

• Ask God to protect these believers.

 

SONG: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

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Well Reported Of (Thursday, September 15, 2016)

Acts 16:1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.

Introductory Thoughts

The brethren have become notorious about speaking of one another, not always in the best light. Frequently, the individual’s reputation who is the subject of the conversation dictates the tone of the conversation. We have several examples of the brethren speaking of Timothy. Thankfully, each instance involved a report of praise. If someone chose to speak evil of Timothy, the conversation would have had to revolve around some sort of baseless accusation. According to the Bible’s testimony of Timothy, he had a wonderful reputation among believers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul likewise gave a good report of Timothy when he said, “I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. . . . But ye know the proof of him, that as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel” (Philippians 2:20-22). Every Christian should live in such a way that any evil report would be baseless and rejected by those who know you best.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Many people in the Bible had a good reputation. Consider Ruth (Ruth 2:11-12; Ruth 3:11); Timothy’s mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15); Demetrius (3 John 12); Cornelius (Acts 10:2, 22).

• (For everyone): What were the keys to Timothy’s development of a good reputation? How could those keys be instrumental in your own development of a good reputation?

• Can you dictate everything that people are going to say about you? Can you dictate any of the things that people will say about you? How can this dual understanding change your life?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God to give you a reputation like Timothy.

• Ask the Lord to give you the wisdom to maintain a good report.

 

SONG: SAVED, SAVED!

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From Murder to Meekness (Tuesday, September 13, 2016)

Exodus 2:14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

Introductory Thoughts

The Bible has many examples of reputations that were changed. For instance, Moses grew up in Egypt, specifically in the house of Pharaoh. One day, when he was a grown man, he witnessed an Egyptian smiting a Jew. Moses killed the Egyptian in order to protect his kinsman. Bad news travels fast and Moses immediately developed a reputation as a short-tempered killer. He learned of this when he attempted to intervene during a dispute between two Hebrews. After the Pharaoh found out Moses’ identity, Moses ran for his life and spent the next forty years in hiding. Eventually, the Lord spoke to Moses and called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into a land of promise. Moses failed to lead the people into Canaan, but he succeeded in changing his tarnished reputation into something that God commended (Numbers 12:3).

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): On Paul’s first missionary journey, John Mark left the work (Acts 13:13). To Paul, he had the reputation of being a “quitter” (Acts 15:36-40). Mark proved himself and Paul later commended him for his good reputation (Colossians 4:7-11; Philemon 24; 2 Timothy 4:11).

• (For everyone): Moses was forty years old when he left Egypt as a killer and eighty years old when he returned as Israel’s saviour. In the least, how long did it take Moses to change his reputation? What does this teach you about the importance of time and patience especially once we have made a mess of things?

• What is your reputation? Is there anything you would like to change? What are you willing to do to redeem your reputation?

Prayer Thoughts

• Thank the Lord for the opportunity to change your reputation.

• Ask God for the diligence to change what needs to be changed.

 

SONG: AMAZING GRACE!

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Church Day (Sunday, September 11, 2016)

Reputation—Of the seven occurrences in scripture, Philippians chapter 2 contains two of them (Philippians 2:7, 29).
Variations: reputation, reputed
Last usage in the Old Testament: Daniel 4:35 (reputed)
First usage in the New Testament: Acts 5:34 (reputation)
Interesting fact: Prior to the Lord’s incarnation, Jesus was reputed as “the Word” (John 1:1) in heaven. As the Word, He “was with God and . . . was God.” Yet, when He came to this earth, He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7), condescending “a little lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:9). Why did He do all this? For “all the inhabitants of the earth” who “are reputed as nothing” (Daniel 4:35). Now, the redeemed of the earth (those truly saved) can claim the reputation of “sons of God” (1 John 3:2).
Bible study tip: Timothy was the bishop or pastor of the church of the Ephesians (1 Timothy 1:3 along with the postscript found at the end of Second Timothy). Titus was the bishop or pastor of the church of the Cretians (Titus 1:5 along with the postscript found at the end of the book of Titus). As such, Paul’s epistles to these two pastors are identified as the Pastoral Epistles and contain the qualifications along with the job descriptions of the pastor.
Sunday, Day 260—Church Day (no devotional)

Monday, Day 261—Your Reputation Precedes You

Tuesday, Day 262—From Murder to Meekness

Wednesday, Day 263—Church Night (no devotional)

Thursday, Day 264—Well Reported Of

Friday, Day 265—A Reputation Worthy of Thanks

Saturday, Day 266—A Good Report Yields Opportunity

 

Day 260: Church Day

Ecclesiastes 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

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Love and Rebukes (Saturday, September 19, 2015)

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Introductory Thoughts

The purpose of rebuking someone has been completely distorted in these days of emphasizing political correctness and personal self-esteem. The world now associates a scriptural rebuke with hatred, anger, and envy. In reality, a godly rebuke demonstrates a supreme act of love. The spiritual mindset helps all of this to make sense; whereas, the carnally minded will reject God’s perfect ways. When it is known that an individual is heading in a dangerous direction, hate remains silent; love cries “stop.” Many people under the guise of “secret love” have allowed friends and family to head off into the ways of the world thinking they were doing those people right. Yet, the Bible plainly says, “Open rebuke is better than secret love” (Proverbs 27:5). Once again, the carnal mind struggles to receive this truth, but godly rebukes are based upon love and result from an expression of that love.

Devotional Thoughts

 (For children): Dad and mom warn us when we are not doing what God wants us to do. They hope we will pay attention and do right. If we do not listen and they have to take a harsher action, does this mean that they don’t love us (Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 29:15)?

 (For everyone): Do you love others enough to offer them a godly rebuke when they are headed in a direction that will harm them spiritually? What would keep you from helping them?

 Why does our mind naturally think the opposite of scripture to be true? What can we do in order to be more spiritually minded? How can this benefit us in our service to the Lord?

Prayer Thoughts

 Thank God for His loving rebukes in your life.

 Ask God to give you that pure love for others.

 

SONG: TBD   

Quotes from the next volume

(VOLUME 3, WEEK 38)

Subject: Reputation (con’t)

Paul was converted in Acts chapter 9, but it took years for his reputation to change.

Sometimes people wonder why they are not used more in the Lord’s service and work. They fail to realize that their reputation has limited many opportunities. These opportunities will remain hampered until their reputation is repaired.

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A Mixed Reaction To Rebukers (Friday, September 18, 2015)

Proverbs 28:23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

Introductory Thoughts

When someone receives rebuke from another person, it is rarely easy to accept. The person receiving the rebuke may lash out in anger even when the rebuke is scripturally made with longsuffering. The Bible confirms this type of reaction when it says, “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly” (Amos 5:10). This type of reaction is not one of a wise man, nor is it from one who has taken the time to consider the godly rebuke’s content and intention. The Bible also says that afterwards the one who rebukes finds “more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” Ultimately, the Lord’s reaction is what matters and the scriptural practice of rebuking others within the authority of scripture pleases Him.

 

Devotional Thoughts

 (For children): When Amaziah was rebuked, he got angry and told the prophet to leave him alone or be killed (2 Chronicles 25:14-16). When David was rebuked, he was sorry for his sin (2 Samuel 12:9, 13; Psalm 51:3-4a). When we are rebuked, we should respond more like David.

 (For everyone): How should we expect others to react when we must rebuke them from the scriptures? How can it help us to think upon their reaction before the rebuke is offered?

 How should we react when others become distraught because they have received a rebuke? How can a godly reaction on our end help them to be restored?

Prayer Thoughts

 Ask the Lord to prepare you for various responses to rebukes.

 Thank God for His longsuffering when you respond poorly.

 

SONG: TBD

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Rebuking With Authority (Thursday, September 17, 2015)

Zechariah 3:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

Introductory Thoughts

Too many people have assumed that believers may freely rebuke in their own authority, but there exists no scriptural basis for this. The LORD gave us an excellent example when He said, “The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan.” When rebuking the Devil, the LORD emphasized the importance of authority. No believer should ever rebuke except according to the God-given authority of scripture. In Zechariah 3:2, the LORD was His own authority, but believers do not have any such authority in themselves apart from the Lord and His word. Paul spoke expressly about this when he charged Titus to “speak, exhort, and rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15). It is not sufficient to flippantly invoke the Lord’s name; one must base any rebuke upon the scripture. Henceforth, it is the Lord that rebukes, never the believer.

Devotional Thoughts

 (For children): Paul said the only way he knew right and wrong was from God’s word (Romans 3:20b). We need to know God’s word (2 Peter 3:18) so we can sufficiently warn the unruly (1 Thessalonians 5:14a) and warn one another (Romans 15:14). The scripture is our authority.

 (For everyone): How can we rightfully rebuke others apart from the authority of God’s word? How do we know that the actions of another are wrong if we do not have God’s word on the matter?

 What is the only source of truth that we have in this world? How can you accurately rebuke others apart from that source of truth? How could you harm others by doing so?

Prayer Thoughts

 Ask the Lord to help you use His authority when rebuking.

 Ask the Lord to show you the importance of authority.

 

SONG: TBD

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