devos from the hill


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Willing to Be Made Willing

Man’s role and God’s role.
Lesson 12 from The HOPE Study Guide

Introduction

Adam was given the freedom to choose, a freedom central to God’s purpose. For man was created to love God and to be loved by God. And love is not truly love without the freedom to choose love. So Adam had a choice, to taste the fruit, or not; a choice with a consequence, life or death.

– The HOPE, Chapter 2

Observe & Consider

From the moment God told Adam not to taste of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam was confronted with a choice. Much has been written on the seemingly great tension between the ideas of God’s sovereignty (or control) over this world and man’s responsibility (or freedom) to make choices.1

Some say that God determines the destiny of every person; others say that man is a free moral agent who by his own choices determines his destiny. The fact is that both ideas seem to be taught in the Bible. For example, in Joshua 24:15 Joshua exhorts the Hebrew people: “…choose for yourselves today whom you will serve …as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
And, in John 15:16, Jesus says to His closest friends and followers, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain…”

This study guide is not meant to exhaustively examine and resolve the tension between God’s control and man’s choice. That theological argument lies beyond our scope. However, it may be helpful for you to reflect upon the following thought from those who have prepared this material. Continue reading


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Creation – Part 2

A scientific case for creation.
Lesson 8 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

According to His story, God spoke all of creation into existence. By His Word He made everything out of nothing… According to His story, God created the heavens, the earth, and every living thing in six days.

– The HOPE, Chapter 1

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

Even among those who believe that the world was created by God, there are different interpretations of the creation account found in the Bible. However, among the predominant Biblical views there is also agreement on many key concepts. After reading the preceding excerpt from The HOPE video, let’s consider a few of these concepts.

First, because God is all powerful, not limited by anything, He can create however He chooses, even simply by speaking. This concept is clearly presented in the Bible:

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

“…by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed.” (2 Peter 3:5)

Secondly, God made everything that is, out of nothing. Think about that. When we humans create, we must utilize or draw upon things that existed before us. When we “create” we are really “re-creating.” But God, who created from nothing, is creative in the ultimate sense: Continue reading


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The Need for a Reference Point

Lesson 2
What is a reference point and why do we need one?

Observe & Consider

In Lesson 1 we considered the question of life’s meaning and purpose. We also recalled this line from The HOPE: “For those who seek answers, for those who are listening, there is a voice.” (The HOPE video, Introduction). And finally, we concluded with the question, “Am I listening?”

Perhaps you are listening for answers to questions about life and meaning. The problem is there are so many competing voices. Beyond the major world religions (i.e. Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Christianity), there are hundreds of religions and world views. All of these advocate a particular approach to life. In many cases, each of them claims to be the way to find God. However, none of them fully agree (and most radically disagree) on the nature of God and how He may be found. With so many conflicting teachings, how can a person know which way is the right way? It would help to have a reference point.

Every traveler needs help to find his way through a strange land. Some might rely on a trusted guide – one who has successfully completed the journey and is able to help others do the same. Some might use a map or instructions from one who knows the way. Others have depended upon a landmark or a star as a fixed reference point by which they can know their position and measure their progress. Continue reading


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Prayers of Faith and Cries of the Heart

This Week’s Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. (18) Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” James 5:14-18 NASB

 

In James 5:15&16, we read about the effectiveness of a “prayer offered in faith.” And in verses 17&18, the prayers of Elijah are cited as an example of such a prayer. These examples are recorded in 1 Kings 17:1 and 1 Kings 18:1 & 18:42-46.

Elijah’s prayer In 1 Kings 17:1 reads more like a confident prophetic proclamation than a request, “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” Because Elijah was a righteous man (Jas 5:16) and a prophet of God, we must conclude that these words did not originate from Elijah’s self-initiative, but from God’s revelation to Elijah. Elijah was praying in accordance with God’s will.

In chapter 18, we find it explicitly stated that God told Elijah exactly what to do and say, (18:1) “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” Then Elijah went up Mt. Carmel, got on his knees, and again, prayed in accordance with God’s revealed will. This account is given to us in James 5:17&18 so that we might know how to pray today. Continue reading


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From Mars Hill to Times Square

Mars Hill Staff Devotional

The Sermon given was rooted in Acts 17.

In 1957 Rev. Billy Graham preached to a crowd of some 125,000 in the middle of Times Square, New York! Using the passage from Acts 17 where Paul delivered the gospel to the learned men of Athens gathered on Mars Hill, Rev Graham also spoke a simple and powerful message of Christ to those gathered. Do you think this kind of event could happen today? Why or why not? Click on the link below to watch an incredible vintage video!

http://espace.wheaton.edu/bgc/NYC57/cn54f149.html

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Does God Love Everyone?

Mars Hill Staff Devotional

“Does God love everyone or just Christians?”
God is love. God does love. But does God love everyone or just those who follow Him?

Join us in spending some time reading scripture and thinking through this tough question posed in the devotional below.

http://www.gotquestions.org/does-God-love-everyone.html


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Someone Worth Losing Everything For

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from David Platt

Bigger is better, right?

How many disciples did Jesus have? How many followers? This morning we looked at an excerpt from David Platt’s book, Radical, Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.

Check it out right here: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/someone-worth-losing-everything-for-11632224.html