Archive of Daily Bible Lessons
May 1-10, 2004

  No Bible lessons were issued on May 1-2, 2004


How to Experience Triumphant Living - victory in Jesus


MORE Than Conquerors! - victory in Jesus


How to Smell Really Good... to God - sanctification


How to be *Noble* in the eyes of God - good & bad teachers


Godly sincerity {how to be *without wax*} - sanctification
  No Bible lessons were issued on May 8-9, 2004


You are an *Epistle of Christ* - the blessing of hard times

Bible Lesson
May 3, 2004

How to Experience Triumphant Living

When I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia. Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:12-14)

Triumphant living is one of the huge blessings that God wants you to experience daily, by the work of His grace. Even when you are going through tough times, God wants you to have the joy of walking in the victory that is available to you in Christ.

The Apostle Paul encountered a very difficult situation in the little town of Troas, as he traveled on one of his missionary journeys:
"When I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit."

  • As Paul arrived in Troas, it was apparent that the Lord had granted an open door to preach the gospel. Nevertheless, Paul was distressed within his heart.
  • The reason for Paul's turmoil was the absence of a key ministry partner. "I did not find Titus my brother."
  • In some situations, ministry cannot be conducted properly, if all of the strategic parts of the body of Christ are not fully engaged. So, Paul departed that town, postponing his preaching in Troas for another time. "Taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia."

Circumstantially, this looked like a defeat. Yet, Paul had a more profound perspective than what the eyes of man could see or what the mind of man could conceive. "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ." Paul gave thanks to the Lord for a truth that was greater than the obviously frustrating and disappointing situation that he had just experienced.

Whenever you allow the Lord to be the One who is leading your life, He always will lead you "in triumph in Christ."

  • Despite Paul's disappointment in Troas, he was reassured by the fact that he was yielded to Christ as His Lord, his Leader.
  • Thus, he knew that Jesus was leading him in triumph. Why? Because, when you depend on Jesus to lead you, He "always leads" you triumphantly. That's why!

In spiritual battles, it is Christ who gives you the victory. You do not win it for yourself. This victory is a spiritual triumph that belongs to you by being in Christ. "Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ."

Jesus won the *forever* victory at the cross. Now, He wants to lead YOU to *daily* victory, each and every day of your life.

How can you be a *spiritual winner*? By leaning on Jesus, that's how!

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things
I have learned both to be full and to be hungry,
Both to abound and to suffer need.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4.12-13)

Dear Jesus, my victorious Lord, how often I attempt to be the one who directs my life. I confess that when I lead, victory is not the result. Lord, help me learn to lean on You -- ONLY You! -- to lead me in Your triumph, even in the difficult situations that I frequently encounter. In Your triumphant name, I pray, Amen.

Bible Lesson
May 4, 2004

MORE Than Conquerors!

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution,
Or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written:
For Your sake we are killed all day long.
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors
Through Him
{Jesus} who loved us.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,
Nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
Nor things present nor things to come,
Nor height nor depth,
Nor any other created thing,
Shall be able to separate us from the love of God
Which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8.35-39)

Two questions:

  • Does achieving *victory in Jesus* sometimes look like an impossible task?
  • Do you sometimes get the feeling that you are failing to meet God's goals for holiness?

If you answered "Yes" to either or both of these two questions, don't be too hard on yourself. Victorious Christian living does NOT come easy when you are surrounded by the temptations and difficulties of this present sinful world.

Take heart! Today's Bible verses offer you some surprising encouragement.

  • According to the Bible, all of God's children {including YOU} "are more than conquerors through Jesus."
  • This means that, while you may sometimes lose a battle or two, you CANNOT lose the war.
  • Why can't you lose the war? Because, for you to be ultimately defeated, you would have to be totally and permanently separated from Christ's love for you.

To lose the war, you would have to be separated from the love of God...

  • The Bible poses the question as to WHETHER such a separation is at all possible: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"
  • The Bible then answers its own question as follows:

"...neither death nor life, nor angels
Nor principalities nor powers,
Nor things present nor things to come,
Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing,
Shall be able to separate us from the love of God
Which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Based on the above quoted Bible verses, here is God's *list* of persons and things that absolutely CANNOT separate you from His love...

  • Neither death nor life can separate you from God's love
  • Neither angels nor principalities nor powers {that includes Satan and all his demons} can separate you from God's love
  • Neither things present nor things to come can separate you from God's love
  • Neither height {things/persons in heaven} nor depth {things/persons in hell} can separate you from God's love
  • Nor can ANY OTHER created thing separate you from God's love

In other words, NO spiritual foe or circumstance can separate you from God's love. Nothing! No-way! No time! Never! CANNOT HAPPEN!

  • No matter what trials and difficulties life might throw at you, you are already more than a spiritual victor.
  • By God's limitless grace and power, you have already been made a participant in a mighty, eternal, abundant victory -- the victory that Christ accomplished on the cross and in the resurrection. "We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

Your victorious position in any situation is not dependent on your power, but on the power of Almighty God. The Bible proclaims that you "...are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1.5)

By God's unchanging grace, you are united by faith to the victorious one, the Lord Jesus Christ! "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Dear Father, I praise You for the constant provision of victory through Your triumphant Son. I thank You that through my faith in Christ I am already more than a conqueror no matter what life may send my way, Amen.

Bible Lesson
May 5, 2004

How to Smell Really Good... to God

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the fragrance of His knowledge . . . For we are to God the fragrance of Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15)

In addition to the characteristic of triumphant living, God also wants to mark your life with the fragrance of Christ. "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the fragrance of His knowledge."

There are physical fragrances, and there are *spiritual fragrances* ...

  • If you take a long shower, you will go forth with the sweet aroma of soap and shampoo clinging to your physical self.
  • If you spend lots of time with Jesus, you will go forth with the delightful "fragrance of Christ" clinging to your spiritual self.
  • The fragrance of Christ is that spiritual aroma that wafts Heavenward from you, because you know Jesus. It is a validating reality that the Lord Jesus Christ is dwelling in you, and is shining forth in your life.

As you get to know Jesus more and more, your spiritual aroma of Christ becomes an ever greater delight to God Himself. "For you are to God the fragrance of Christ."

Your ministry and testimony are always primarily unto God.

  • As a believer in Jesus Christ, you are called to be "proving what is acceptable to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:10)
  • You are not here on earth simply to please yourself. "Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10)
  • You are here to please your God. What a privilege! "Brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God." (1 Thessalonians 4:1)

What is your favorite aroma? Freshly baked bread? Flowers? Newly mown grass? The astringent clean smell of a brisk breeze, just before a rainstorm?

Guess what -- God, also, has a favorite aroma! It is the fragrance of His beloved Son emanating from your life.

  • When the Father looked down from heaven at the baptism of His Son, He exclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)
  • When your Father looks down today upon YOU, He wants to delight in the lovely fragrance of His Son wafting Heavenward from your life.

"For you are to God the fragrance of Christ."

Heavenly Father, I long to bless You by the fragrance of Christ in my life. Help me to grow, and grow, and grow some more -- in the love and grace and sweet aroma of Jesus living in my heart. In His holy name I ask this, Amen.

Bible Lesson
May 6, 2004

How to be *Noble* in the eyes of God

For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17)

Today's Bible verse puts emphasis on the fact that those who teach you God's Word are to teach you SINCERELY. "For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity . . . we speak."

  • The manner in which your teachers relate to the Word of God is a high priority to your Lord.
  • In the early church, some teachers were relating wrongly to God's word. "For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God." They were using the word of God for self-gain.

The Bible warns you to beware of teachers who use the Bible to promote their own notoriety, or to attain their own selfish purposes. "There are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain." (Titus 1:10-11)

The Bible also warns you about teachers who may be motivated by the power and influence that a cleverly distorted message might produce. "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." (Acts 20:29-30)

True teachers follow the Lord Jesus, and teach others to do the same. On the other hand, deceptive teachers seek to exalt themselves, so that others will follow them.

When sharing God's Word, a Bible teacher is to proclaim the truth with simplicity and sincerity.
"But as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ."

  • When you are taught, be alert as to whether or not your teacher proclaims a message that is from God (the Bible), and does it with genuineness.
  • Carefully check your Bible to confirm the correctness of what you have been taught, for then God will call you *noble-minded* -- "Now these {the Christians in the Berean church} were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." (Acts 17.11)

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote of his own preaching as follows...

When I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ,
and Him crucified.

I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 2.1-5)

Bottom Line: As you depart from church after Sunday services, the thought resounding in your heart and soul should be: "What a wonderful God I have" and NOT "What a wonderful preacher I have." Selah

Dear God and beloved Father, move my heart to receive the teaching of Your Word with great eagerness. Grant me the strength, wisdom, and will, to search Your Scriptures to see whether what I have been taught is so. And when I share Your Word with family and friends, teach me how to do so with simplicity and sincerity. In Jesus name, Amen.

Bible Lesson
May 7, 2004

Godly sincerity {how to be *without wax*}

We conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. (2 Corinthians 1:12)

"Sincerity" -- The word "sincere" comes from the Latin word "sine" {which means "without"} plus the Latin word "cere" {which means "wax"}. Thus, "sincere" originally meant "without wax."

In ancient days, wealthy people oftentimes would pay a sculptor to prepare a statue of themselves, or of one of their loved ones.

  • The marble used by sculptors to make statues was very expensive.
  • As the sculptor fashioned the statue he might uncover a previously unseen, ugly flaw in the marble. Or he might accidentally scar the marble with his chisel. Such events could ruin the entire statue, and cost the sculptor a lot of money.
  • Dishonest sculptors would take dust from the marble, and mix it with wax. They would then use that imitation marble to repair the statue's flaw.
  • The purchaser wouldn't realize that the expensive statue had a flaw until a hot day caused the wax to melt. Thus, buyers of statues would usually demand a written guarantee that the marble was sine cere -- "without wax."

God wants your life to be *without wax* -- a life that is characterized by godly sincerity. "We conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity . . . and more abundantly toward you."

  • The world is filled with pretense and attention to outward appearances.
  • Many Christians have yielded to temptation in those directions, by presenting a "holier-than-thou" appearance to the world around them.

If you surrender to this kind of temptation, you might be enticed to develop a phony exterior image that does not match the real you.

  • Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day for putting on airs of hypocritical piety. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation." (Matthew 23:14)
  • These men were actually taking advantage of the helpless widows. Yet, they stood in public and made long prayers, hoping to be considered as godly in the eyes of the people.
  • Their hypocrisy was not only a matter of observable, contradictory behaviors, but the very core of their being was drastically different from what they appeared to be outwardly. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." (Matthew 23:26-27)

God loves for you to be sincere. He hates for you to practice hypocrisy. However, it takes a working of God's grace in you, to bring about the total sincerity that God desires. "We conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God."

Your human will and ingenuity cannot produce the genuineness that God wants to see in your life.

  • God's grace is the only sufficient resource to bring about this godly characteristic in your life.
  • God's grace works within your heart, where true sincerity must be formed. "First cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also." (Matthew 23:26)

It is this which God requires of you -- that you shall speak the truth in your heart, always, and be sincere -- *without wax* -- in every aspect of your life.

LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

"He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart."

(Psalm 15.1-2)

Dear Lord, I humble myself before You. I do not want to be a hypocrite. Work in the depths of my spirit, by Your mighty grace, to create in me godly sincerity and a truthful heart. In Christ I pray, Amen.

Bible Lesson
May 10, 2004

You are an *Epistle of Christ*

You are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:3)

"Epistle"- An ancient word that means "a personal letter." Several Bible books are called "epistles" because they are personal letters written to a person or group of people. For example, today's Bible verse comes from "Second Corinthians," which is an epistle/letter written by Paul {under the inspiration of God} to Christians in the town of Corinth, Greece.


Today's Bible verse says that you are "an epistle of Christ." That is, you are a living letter from God, to all the people who know you.

  • God wants the people around you to learn something about Jesus by *reading* how you live your life.
  • That is, God wants to make you a living explanation of who Christ is, and all that He offers.

To a significant degree, unbelievers *judge* the value of becoming a Christian by what they see in YOU. It's an awesome responsibility as well as a great opportunity.

  • As you go about your daily life, lots of folks are reading your life so as to discover what this *Christianity stuff* is all about.
  • They pay particularly close attention to how you deal with stress and disappointment -- the *acid tests* of character.

When a big problem comes your way, it's only natural to ask God for a fast solution. But sometimes a solution does NOT come quickly, and the problem lingers on, or even gets bigger.

Your family and acquaintances watch you very closely at such times. They watch you because they want to know...

  • Do you still trust God when things go wrong?
  • Do you continue to love God, and worship Him, even when it seems He isn't meeting your needs?
  • Do you continue steadfastly in prayer, even when it seems your prayers are going unanswered?

Nobody enjoys problems, but consider this...

  • It is during the worst of times when you have the greatest opportunity for reaching unsaved friends and family with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • At such times, your testimony can go far beyond what mere words can accomplish.
  • Days of tribulation are your golden opportunity to SHOW God's power in your life through manifesting spiritual courage and strong faith.
  • USE the bad times for God's glory, and THEN you will be a very very special letter from Christ to a lost and dying world.

God said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,
For My strength is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,
That the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities,
In reproaches, in needs,
In persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

(2 Corinthians 12.9-10)

Dear God of all grace, I humbly admit that I need to be more and more changed into a living letter of Christ. So often, those who read me see only me. I ask You in faith to inscribe the character of Christ upon my heart, that others may see Him in my daily walk, Amen.


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