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Bible Minute

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 18, 2013

Topic: Jesus

Who Am I?

In a hospital waiting room, one rather self-important individual became impatient. Unwilling to wait any longer, he barged in and demanded to be seen by the doctor. "Don't you know who I am?" shouted the man.

The secretary calmly pressed the button on the microphone of her loudspeaker system and asked the waiting patients. "I have a gentleman here who doesn't know who he is. Can someone please assist him in finding out? Thank you."

Surprisingly enough, many people today don't know who the real Jesus is. Some think He is a great prophet, a wonderful teacher or just a kind and thoughtful man. But are they right? Let's let the Bible assist us in finding out.

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"He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God'" (Matthew 16:15-16, ESV).

"And demons also came out of many, crying, 'You are the Son of God!' But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ" (Luke 4:41, ESV).

"Jesus said to her [Martha], 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world'" (John 11:25-27, ESV).

Whom do we find in these verses acknowledging Jesus as the Christ?

In addition to being Christ, what else do they confess about Jesus?

Because He is the Christ, what promise do we find Jesus making in John 11:25-27?

Reflect

Christians can disagree on many things and not affect their salvation. They can disagree about the day of worship, the mode of baptism (immerse, sprinkle or pour) or the timing of the Rapture (pre, mid or post). But we'll all get to heaven. What we can't disagree on is who Jesus is. It is because Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) that He can say, "Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:26).

From before the foundation of the world, God planned on sending His Son as the Messiah (see Revelation 13:8 )--the one who would reconcile sinners with the Father (see 2 Corinthians 5:19). A great prophet, a wonderful teacher, a good man would not be sufficient because all have sinned and fall short of God's perfection (see Romans 3:23). Not even an angel would be good enough (see Job 4:18-19). It took Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, to accomplish our salvation.

Respond

Who do you say Jesus is? Are you confessing Him with your life as well as your lips? List three facts about your life that indicate you truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 19, 2013

Topic: Salvation

Trust the Promises

Have you ever heard someone use the expression, "The honeymoon is over"? Whether referring to an actual honeymoon or not, it's that time after the emotions of something new have worn off and the routine of life sets in.

Many new Christians experience the same thing. When they first trust Jesus and His promise of a new life and eternity with Him in heaven, it is a wonderful, joy-filled time. But that joy often fades eventually and newborn Christians are left wondering, "Am I really saved?"

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As we look at what God says about this in the Bible, let's first notice what He doesn't say. The Bible never says that our emotions are an indication of our salvation. Your new birth as a child of God is as certain as your first birth as a human being. How you feel doesn't change that.

So, now that the honeymoon is over, can you be certain that you are saved? Absolutely. Here's what John wrote in his first letter. "Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself....And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:10-12, ESV).

Ask a married couple how they can be certain they are married, and they'll point to their anniversary date. Ask a Christian how they can be certain they are saved, and they can point to the time they trusted in the promises of Jesus. Your salvation doesn't depend on what you feel today, it depends on what Jesus did in your life on the day you believed.

Let's look more at what this means for us today, and how we can respond on days when we feel uncertain.

Reflect

As you read our verses for today, think about the following questions:

1. Describe the "testimony".

2. Where is the "testimony"?

3. What do you have when you have Jesus that you don't have when you don't?

4. What would it say about God if our salvation could somehow be lost?

5. In what ways should your salvation be evident in your life?

6. How can you respond when you don't "feel" your salvation?

Respond

It's true, there are a lot of married couples out there who are married in name only--they feel nothing of the love they once held for each other. In our relationship with God, it's a bit more one-sided. God's love and God's care for us never waver, but sometimes we drift away. Maybe you're just having a bad day today but looking over the last week or month, how much of your time have you spent with God? What are some ways you can draw nearer to Him in the coming days? Write out an action plan to do just that.

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

Distributed Freely by Back To The Bible

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 20, 2013

Topic: Salvation

Eternal Life

Outside the head office of the White Star Line in Liverpool after the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic sank two lists were posted. The lists were not divided between "British" and "Other Nationalities" or by prominence and obscurity or by wealth, race, gender or reputation. On one list were the names of those who had died, and the other list reported the names of survivors.

The Bible says that God also divides the people He created into only two lists: those who are alive in Christ, and those who perish for eternity.

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"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15, NLT).

Who was seated on the throne according to verse 11?

Who was standing before the throne?

What was opened?

Who was judged by what was written in the books?

What happened to someone whose name was not in the "book of life"?

How can you find your name written in the Book of Life so that you will be in heaven with Jesus? The Bible teaches us:

"For it is my Father's will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day" (John 6:40, NLT).

"And anyone who believes in God's Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgment" (John 3:36, NLT).

"I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life" (John 6:47, NLT).

Who has eternal life?

Whose will is this?

What must someone do to have eternal life?

Reflect

I cannot think of anyone who would not want to be on God's list of those who will live for eternity. Can you? Could you think of one reason that someone would willingly face the consequences?

Respond

Do you have the certainty of eternal life in Christ? He is the only One in all creation who can assure you of life everlasting. Jesus does not have the answer. He, and He alone, is the answer.

"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me! (John 5:39, NLT).

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23, NLT).

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

Distributed Freely by Back To The Bible

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 21, 2013

Topic: Faith/Trust

Facing Problems God's Way

When Jesus called His disciples, He knew the tremendous odds they would face in their future. He planned to send them into the whole world to preach the good news of salvation. They would be scorned, slandered, persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and killed for their faith.

The Lord, therefore, spent much of His earthly ministry training the disciples to trust in Him. Living by faith was something they would all have to do. Furthermore, the very heart of the message they would one day proclaim to the lost world was that belief in Jesus Christ is essential for eternal salvation.

The same is true for believers today. Let's see what God tells us in His Word.

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Read John 6:1-7 (ESV): "After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, 'Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?' He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, 'Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.'"

Why was the huge crowd following after Jesus?

What did Jesus ask Philip?

Why did He ask the question?

Was Jesus interested in Philip's answer or his attitude?

Do you believe Philip's answer was based on the circumstances or his faith? Why?

Did Philip give the answer that Jesus was looking for?

Read Hebrews 11:6 in your Bible. Why is faith so important?

After listening to Jesus teach some difficult lessons on life, what was the response of the apostles (Luke 17:5)?

Reflect

Faith is not a vague thing. It must have an object. You trust a chair when you plop down in it. You have faith that it will hold you without breaking. It is trustworthy. Saving faith is also based on two absolutely trustworthy objects: One is the revealed, written Word of God, the Bible; the other is the person of Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior. Faith for the Christian life is necessary not only for the big challenges but also the daily routine.

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13. With what attitude did the believers in Thessalonica accept the Word of God? What does it do in those who believe?

See Galatians 3:26. What is necessary to become a son of God?

Respond

Read the great "Faith Chapter" in the Bible--Hebrews 11. As you meet each person in this "Hall of Fame of Faith," ask yourself, Did this person base life's decisions on circumstances and visible facts or on the living God?

How do you live your life? Do you feel like Philip and say, "It just can't be done"? Or do you trust the Lord, who already knows what He is going to do?

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

Distributed Freely by Back To The Bible

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 22, 2013

Topic: Faith/Trust, Bible Study/Theories

Memory Loss

Do you have a problem with short-term memory loss? I don't mean the glitches that come with (gulp!) getting older; I mean the kind of memory loss that affects your faith, the kind you get when stressful circumstances make you to forget everything God has already done. Let me give you an example.

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One of Jesus' disciples was a man named Philip. When he first met Jesus, he was eager to go when Jesus said, "Follow Me" (see John 1:43-45). Philip's willingness showed significant faith. But later, in a crowd on a hillside, Philip didn't exhibit the same trust in the Lord. Let's see what happened.

In John 6:5-7, we read, "Lifting up his [Jesus'] eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, 'Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?' He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, 'Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little'" (ESV).

Philip saw the crowd, knew the limits of their grocery budget and promptly forgot all the extraordinary things he'd seen Jesus do (or knew Jesus did). Flip through John 1-5 and look at the power Jesus had already demonstrated: the power to read the heart of a man (1:46-51); the power to turn water to wine (2:6-11); the power to cleanse the temple (2:13-17); the power to offer living water and changed lives (4:7-41); the power to heal at a distance (4:46-54); and the power to make the lame walk (5:1-17).

Yet somehow, when the circumstances grew beyond his comfort level, Philip forgot all he'd learned about Jesus.

Now, Jesus had a reason for asking Philip that question that day on the hillside. John 6:6 tells us, "He [Jesus] said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do" (ESV). He wanted to help Philip understand where his faith needed to grow. Would Philip put his faith in Jesus who had the power to do all things? Or would he be defeated--and forget all Jesus had done in the past--because of the circumstances?

Well, you can read the rest of the story to see how it all worked out. But Philip failed this test. He failed to take everything he knew about Jesus and apply it to this new situation.

Like Philip, we should apply the lessons that past trials have taught us about the Lord and His power to each new challenge. That's the way faith works. Each test and learning experience increases faith. And whenever it's exercised, it expands and grows.

Reflect

Hebrews 11 recounts examples of people whose faith was tested by their circumstances. Read Hebrews 11:7-40 and jot down some of the people and the circumstances you find there.

What's the common description or action you see in their stories?

Where did they place their faith?

What did they receive from God?

Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus as "the founder and perfecter of our faith" (ESV). How does that provide solidity or certainty to your faith?

Second Corinthians 5:6-7 says, "So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight" (ESV).

How did Philip walk?

Which way of walking best describes you?

How does faith give you courage?

Respond

When the circumstances of your life overwhelm you, do you have trouble remembering what God has done for you in the past? Does your faith falter because it feels like Jesus' power has "expired" or it's inadequate for the job?

Instead of living by sight as Philip did, follow the example of Andrew in John 6:8-9: "One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, 'There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?'" (ESV). Andrew saw the same situation Philip did, but he took what was at hand and offered it to Jesus, to do whatever He would with it. Andrew recognized that Jesus had the power to do a lot with even a little. That's faith.

So, what do you already know about Jesus? What have you seen Him do in your life?

How can you apply that knowledge, in faith, to your present circumstances? When you do that, you're exercising your faith, giving it a chance to grow and not succumbing to short-term memory loss.

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

Distributed Freely by Back To The Bible

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 25, 2013

Topic: Faith/Trust, Christian Living/Situational

Tested for Strength

Vance Havner observed: "How long you've been a Christian tells you how long you've been on the road, but it doesn't tell you how far you've come."

How can you tell how far you've come in your walk with Jesus--how much you've matured and grown in your faith? You might not like the answer.

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"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12, NASB).

That's what the Bible says. It teaches that often the ordeals and trials we experience are tests of our faith. Read on.

"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world" (1 Peter 1:7, NLT).

Reflect

Reread 1 Peter 4:12 and 1 Peter 1:7; and then answer the following questions:

1. What are we not to be surprised about?

2. Why will we face trials?

3. What will be the result if our faith remains strong?

4. When will we see that result?

5. Are you facing a "fiery trial" right now? Indicate what it might be.

6. In what ways has this trial surprised you?

Respond

Since God's Word says your faith will be tested, consider how you can prepare for the trials you will face. Look at the instructions given by the apostle Paul below:

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm" (Ephesians 6:13, ESV).

Discover how to take up your armor by studying Ephesians 6. Divide a sheet of paper into two columns. List the various components of your armor in one column and; in the other, list what that part of armor is used for.

Since the best time of preparation is before the testing comes, and you don't know when that might be--right now is the time to begin.

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 26, 2013

Topic: Christian Living/Situational

It's Your Personality, Not an Excuse

I've met, and gotten to know, a lot of people in my life so far. Some remind me of others I know, but all of them are unique. That's never more evident than when comparing personalities. I tend toward the introverted side of the spectrum. I enjoy working with others but have a hard time just socializing. Other people I know are different and opposite and mostly the same and partially alike.

But whatever our personalities, I've learned that we can miss some golden opportunities to grow in our faith when we make our personality our excuse.

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Philip, one of the twelve disciples passed on a wonderful opportunity to introduce some Gentiles from Greece to Jesus. We can read about it in John 12. "Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, 'Sir, we wish to see Jesus.' Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus" (vv. 20-22, ESV).

It's hard to find fault with Philip here. It's easy to read these verses without noticing that something went wrong because, really, nothing did go wrong. Philip wasn't wrong for talking to Andrew. For all we know, Philip had a perfectly legitimate reason for going to Andrew first. But it makes you wonder, Did Philip miss an opportunity to grow in his faith?

For some people, it's easier to work in the background, away from the spotlight. For others, the spotlight is all they know and stepping out is the hard thing to do. But some of the best opportunities to grow in faith occur when we allow God to pull us out of our comfort zones--when we trust in Him and not ourselves.

Yes, your personality is a defining aspect of who you are. But don't let it become the excuse that holds you back from knowing more fully the love and provision of God.

Reflect

As you read through the story of Philip's encounter with the Greeks, think about the following questions:

1. How would you have responded in Philip's situation?

2. How might Philip had grown in his faith if he had gone straight to Jesus?

3. What opportunities has God placed in your life for you to grow?

Respond

Try to remember the last time you had to do something that you weren't comfortable doing. Spend some time writing about how you felt; write down some of the arguments you may have directed at God. And then ask God to show you how He used that opportunity to grow you. Praise God for the work He's done in your life.

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

Distributed Freely by Back To The Bible

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 27, 2013

Topic: Faith/Trust

Faith Walk

Many places are set aside to honor people who have made outstanding achievements especially in sports. There is the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts; the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana; the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Then there's the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in Indianapolis, Indiana; the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island; the NFL Hall of fame in Canton, Ohio, and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

But the most important Hall of Fame is not found in any of these places. It's found in Hebrews 11. It's called "God's Hall of Fame." Let's see what it takes to become a part of this hall of fame.

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"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

Hebrews 11:5-6 (ESV).

How did Enoch qualify for God's Hall of Fame?

What is necessary to please God?

What two beliefs are essential to draw near to God?

Reflect

Many athletes spend years of hard work and sacrifice hoping some day to be honored by being included in their sport's hall of fame. While athletic excellence is the qualification for these earthly halls, the Bible tells us that it's faith that will earn us a spot in God's Hall of Fame. How, then, can we develop the faith that earns us this honor? Consider the verses below:

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17, ESV).

How does faith come?

What are we supposed to "hear"?

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13, ESV).

What must we do keep our faith growing?

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love" (Galatians 5:6, ESV).

How is this faith shown?

Respond

Enoch walked with God by faith; we are to walk the same way. Second Corinthians 5:7 says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." What circumstance in your life is requiring that you "walk by faith"?

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

Distributed Freely by Back To The Bible

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 28, 2013

Topic: Salvation

Beyond the Facts

Suppose a friend gives you a book about Abraham Lincoln. You're happy to get the book because you've really wanted to learn about such a great man. So, you read the book and devour all the facts that you can about Lincoln. But you feel something is missing. You check other books out of the library and watch some biographical movies hoping that you can get to know Lincoln better. Then, one day you realize you will never perfectly know Lincoln as he really was because he died early in the morning on April 15, 1865. To truly know him, you would have to meet him personally.

Some people read the Bible like that. They search the Scriptures to find the facts about Jesus Christ because they want to know all they can about Him. They learn that the Old Testament foretells His coming and the New Testament reveals Him. They read the book, but they never meet the Savior who, unlike Lincoln, arose from the dead, is living and may be known today personally.

It is possible to know tons of facts about Christ and yet fall short of finding a saving relationship by faith in the Person that the facts point to. You come to know God by trusting Christ, not just by knowing the facts about Him. Read below about some people who knew plenty of facts:

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In John 5:39-40, Jesus was speaking to some Jewish leaders and scholars who didn't believe Him. Look up the verses in your Bible and answer these questions:

Why were they searching the Scriptures?

What did they fail to see?

What did they refuse to do?

What did they lose sight of because of their unbelief?

Reflect

Philip was one of Jesus' disciples. And he knew a lot of facts about Jesus, even before he met Him, but Philip followed and observed Jesus for a long time before he saw the Lord as He truly is. Only then did he come to the personal relationship with Christ that is necessary for salvation.

Here are a few events in Philip's life. Read about them and answer the related questions.

John 1:43-45 (At the beginning of Jesus' ministry)

What facts did Philip know about Jesus at the time he started following Him (v. 45)?

John 6:5-7 (About a year into Jesus' ministry)

What was Jesus' question to Philip (v. 5)?

Why did He ask it (v. 6)?

What does Philip's answer reveal about his grasp of who Jesus really was (v. 7)?

John 14:1-11 (Near the end of Jesus' earthly ministry)

Who is able to come to God the Father (v. 6)?

What do you have to know in order to know God the Father (v. 7)?

What did Philip want Jesus to do (v. 8 )?

What essential truth about Christ had Philip missed (vv. 9-11)?

Philip's experience shows us the patience Christ has with honest seekers. We know that Philip came to understand God's truth about Jesus. He found a personal salvation in Him. The Bible tells us that Philip was with the believing disciples in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost (Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-4).

No one can have a personal relationship with Christ without believing the truth that is written of Him in the Word of God, but it is possible to read the Bible and miss the Person the Bible reveals. It is Him you need to know and love if you are to be saved.

Respond

Memorize the words of Jesus in John 14:24 (ESV):

"Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me."

If you are not certain that you know Jesus as your personal Savior, take time now to read the Meet Jesus page.

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Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

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Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 29, 2013

Topic: Christian Living/Situational

The Christ in Christian

There's a phrase that gets used during the Christmas season, "Keep the 'Christ' in Christmas." It's a call to remember what the season is all about--the birth of Christ, our Savior.

Here's another phrase that's just as important: "Keep the 'Christ' in Christian."

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On the final night before His Crucifixion, Jesus shared with His disciples many things. Among them is this memorable verse: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.'

"Philip said to him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.' Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father'" (John 14:6-9, ESV).

Jesus is essential for our salvation. Who He is and what He has done for us provide the pathway to a relationship with God. He is the reason we are called Christians--followers of Christ.

There are people today who say, like Philip, "Show us God, and that's enough." But if we don't appreciate Jesus' person, and we don't appreciate Jesus' words and we don't appreciate the works of God done through Jesus, we can say we're Christians, but are we?

Let's keep the Christ in Christian. Let's not be content with having obtained salvation; let's live like Jesus lived. Let's take that message of love and forgiveness to a world that needs to hear it. And let's model those principles in our own lives. Let's be "Christ"ians.

Reflect

Read John 1:1-14 and think about the following questions:

1. How might Jesus respond to someone who says he can know God apart from Christ?

2. How has Jesus promised to help those who follow His example?

3. How do you keep the "Christ" in Christian? How do you take the message of love and forgiveness to those around you?

Respond

What does it mean to you to be a Christian? Is it just another label or does it define your life? Spend some time today and write out a "mission statement." What do you want your life to be about as a Christian? What are your goals as a Christian? Keep your statement in your Bible or somewhere you'll see it often.

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