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First Fifteen
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First Fifteen

Author: Ron Oltmanns

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How you start the day sets the course and tone for the rest of the day. Spend your first fifteen minutes of the day listening to God and responding in a personal way. This podcast will show you how and teach you in an easy to follow process.If you are getting started in a relationship with God, trying to have a quiet time or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In fifteen minutes (or less) you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day. What a perfect way to get started!Get started listening and subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word and grow in your relationship.Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.com
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Murder. Intrigue. Outrageous behavior.  Those sound like elements of a crime story.  It’s actually part of the story in the first book of the Bible, Genesis 4.  In season five we're listening to Bible stories and learning to pray them.  We started in the middle of things with the beginnings of the story of Samuel before turning back to the very start with creation and how the first couple chose to go their own way, to know good and evil on their own apart from God's clear teaching.In our podcast we take time to listen to God's word, reflect on it and then pray it back to God as well as carry that word with us through the rest of the day.  We are focusing on narratives or stories in this season. From a good God creating the world to mankind's exile from a garden of paradise, we have a narrative about beginnings that includes the effects of disobedience and sin.  When a simple story gets more complicated, we say the plot thickens.   That's what happens in the story of the first two brothers, Cain and Abel and the fallout from sin and the spiral of violence.  Sin leads to death as God told Adam back in Genesis 2, and now man himself is making it happen in an awful way.  Genesis 4 has two main parts:  the story of the first two brothers in which Cain murders Abel, in vv. 1-16, and the descendants of Cain contrasted with a third brother named Seth in vv. 17-26.   One of the wordplays in Genesis 4 that we emphasize is Cain being called a fugitive (na`) and a wanderer (nad) on the earth, and then later he is sent out east of Eden to the land of Nod (wandering).  What is God telling us in this story?  We explore a few messages, one underscoring the seriousness of sin and the need to master it (seen in Cain's life), as well as the spiraling into aggression and violence that Lamech's life shows.  Contrast this with the note about Seth and his son Enosh and the fact that humans at this time began to call on God's name, and we can see that there is an ongoing choice between darkness and deciding good and evil for ourselves, or call on God's name and deciding to serve him.  After this story continue the Genesis narrative by praying the family tree in Genesis 5.  Listen to the podcast here.Connect with us on one of our social channels:Twitter  @WordofPrayer15 Instagram @WordofPrayer15 Facebook Page at Word of Prayer 15.Support our show with your purchase of one of our products:Etsy store WordofPrayerAmazon Ron Oltmanns and Angela S OltmannsWe use a four step process for reading/hearing, meditating, praying and then living out scripture demonstrated here.Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
Most good stories have a strong visual component, and the stories of creation and beginnings in Genesis 1-3 are no different.  In this conversation we explore how the first couple is portrayed imaginatively in art as an extended meditation on the imagery of creation and the fall.   In season five we're learning to pray the most common type of scripture: narrative or stories.  They make up almost half of the Bible so it's important we learn how to read and pray this very common type of Scripture.  In our regular episodes we take time to listen to God's word, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with through the rest of the day.  We use the entire Bible to do that and not just the psalms, prayers or "uplifting" parts of it that seem suited for devotionals.  On today's episode we take time for a conversation between Ron and Angela about the imagery of the early stories and how they have been imagined through the ages. Make sure you follow or subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.Angela found a series of reliefs with images online that picture creation.  These come from the Orvieto cathedral or Duomo di Orvieto ( aka Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta ) in central Italy.  Six reliefs of creation are on the outside of the church just left of the entrance.  You can see them at http://bit.ly/AdamEveOrvieto  or on the travel channel by Rick Steves here. The Action Bible is a great resource for visually engaging with Bible stories, both for older children and adults who are young at heart.  See our review of this book on our Youtube channel.Want to go deeper into reading narrative parts of scripture?  We recommend these four short videos done by The Bible Project to get you further into reading, understanding and praying Bible stories:   Plot,  Setting,  Characters, and the Bible as Ancient Jewish Meditation Literature.We use a four step process for reading/hearing, meditating, praying and then living out scripture demonstrated here.Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.comConnect with us on one of our social channels:Twitter  @WordofPrayer15Instagram @WordofPrayer15 Facebook Page at Word of Prayer 15.Support our show with your purchase of one of our products:Etsy store WordofPrayerAmazon Ron Oltmanns and Angela S OltmannsSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
The Fall (Genesis 3)

The Fall (Genesis 3)

2021-05-1721:28

The goodness of creation and the close relationship that man and woman shared with God gets severely tested and ultimately changed because of a series of decisions.  Genesis 3 takes us from the ideal state of "everything was good" to a serious rupture in the relationship.  What happened?  Is there any hope?    In season five we're listening to Bible stories and learning to pray them.  Our focus today is the very human story of how the first couple on earth used their freedom and choices to go their own way, to know good and evil on their own.In our podcast we take time to listen to God's word, reflect on it and then pray it back to God as well as carry that word with us through the rest of the day.  We use the entire Bible to do that and not just the "uplifting" or inspirational parts of it.  On today's episode we listen to Genesis 3 as a rival to God's voice appears in the garden and small actions with big consequences unfold.Many of the words used in Genesis 1-11 are important even beyond the immediate context of the story and get repeated later on in the stories of the Bible (either verbatim or in echoes).  We’ll return to this point in future episodes.   In this reading, pay attention to the words and themes used repeatedly:  life (and death), seeing (and hiding from sight), and eating.The wordplay in Genesis 2 between the Hebrew word for man, adam, and ground, adamah is carried over and continued here, as well as the  word for woman or wife, ishshah.  In fact, the woman is named a second time at the end of Genesis 3:  she is called Eve , which means "life".  This reading of Genesis 3 is based on a fresh translation from the Hebrew original so we can  ponder what it means before we pray a prayer to God shaped by this passage.This passage is traditionally called The Fall, and we are concerned with identifying the themes and recognizing patterns that intersect with our own lives. Connect with us on one of our social channels:Twitter  @WordofPrayer15Instagram @WordofPrayer15 Facebook Page at Word of Prayer 15.Support our show with your purchase of one of our products:Etsy store WordofPrayerAmazon Ron Oltmanns and Angela S OltmannsWe use a four step process for reading/hearing, meditating, praying and then living out scripture demonstrated here.Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
If "In the beginning" is the perfect way to start a story of creation, why not have a flashback and tell the story again but with a close-up camera angle?  That's what Genesis 2 does, touching on some of the common themes already introduced, but advancing the plot and conflict further by zooming in on the human scale of things in a garden.   In season five we're listening to Bible stories and learning to pray them.  They make up almost half of the Bible so it's important we learn how to read and pray this very common type of Scripture. In our podcast we take time to listen to God's word, reflect on it and then pray it back to God as well as carry that word with us through the rest of the day.  We use the entire Bible to do that and not just the "uplifting" or inspirational parts of it.  On today's episode we listen to Genesis 2:4-25 and hear about God creating the world, but from a different perspective than Genesis 1.Genesis 2 gives us a different view of the creation story, a ground level perspective that focuses on the human actors.  We're striving to let the story speak to us with its own logic and power as God teaches us about his purposes in creation. Some of the themes of this chapter are goodness and relationship.  There is an interesting wordplay between the Hebrew word for man, adam, and ground, adamah.   It is repeated so many times it can't be just a coincidence.  Then at the end of chapter two the other word for man or person, ish, is used in contrast to the word for woman or wife, ishshah.  Listen to this fresh reading of Genesis 2 from an original translation from the Hebrew original and then ponder what it means before we pray a prayer to God shaped by this passage.The first three episodes of season 5 focused on 1 Samuel 1-3, and Angela Oltmanns has written a month-long series of family devotions based on 1 Samuel.  Get a copy of the book 1 Samuel: How to Be a Child After God's Heart on Amazon (or the ebook).The Action Bible is a great resource for visually engaging with Bible stories, both for older children and adults who are young at heart.  See our review of this book on our Youtube channel.Want to go deeper into reading Genesis 2?  We emphasize reading the scripture as meditation literature, and we recommend a short video done by The Bible Project to get you further into practice: the Bible as Ancient Jewish Meditation Literature.Connect with us on one of our social channels:Twitter  @WordofPrayer15Instagram @WordofPrayer15 Facebook Page at Word of Prayer 15.Support our show with your purchase of one of our products:Etsy store WordofPrayerAmazon Ron Oltmanns and Angela S OltmannsWe use a four step process for reading/hearing, meditating, praying and then living out scripture demonstrated here.Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
"In the beginning" seems like the perfect way to start a story, even better than "once upon a time".  This is especially so if we're telling a true story about things that really happened that answers some of our deepest, most basic questions about where we came from and our place in the world.  In today's episode we are reading Genesis 1 together and going back to the beginning.  In season five we're learning to pray the most common type of scripture: narrative or stories.  They make up almost half of the Bible so it's important we learn how to read and pray this very common type of Scripture.  We also need to grasp the overall storyline of the entire Bible.In our podcast we take time to listen to God's word, reflect on it and then pray it back to God as well as carry that word with us through the rest of the day.  We use the entire Bible to do that and not just the "uplifting" or inspirational parts of it.  On today's episode we listen to Genesis 1:1-2:3 and hear about God creating the world. Genesis 1 has become a battleground even though no fighting or military action is described.  A modern, scientific viewpoint seems to contradict Genesis 1, and a number of people have criticized this account of how the world began for various reasons.  While we acknowledge those debates do influence how we hear this story, we're striving to let the story speak to us with its own logic and power as God speaks creation into existence.  Listen to this fresh reading of Genesis 1 from an original translation from the Hebrew original and then ponder what it means before we pray a prayer to God shaped by this passage.You can follow up this podcast by reading Genesis 1 in another translation or version of the Bible.  I also encourage you to read one of the Psalms that speak about creation:  Psalm 19, 33, ,104 or 148.  Make sure you follow or subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.Angela Oltmanns has written a month-long series of family devotions based on 1 Samuel.  Get a copy of the book 1 Samuel: How to Be a Child After God's Heart on Amazon (or the ebook).The Action Bible is a great resource for visually engaging with Bible stories, both for older children and adults who are young at heart.  See our review of this book on our Youtube channel.Want to go deeper into reading Genesis 1?  We recommend two short videos by The Bible Project to get you further into reading, understanding and praying this essential Bible story:  Genesis 1 and the Bible as Ancient Jewish Meditation Literature.We use a four step process for reading/hearing, meditating, praying and then living out scripture demonstrated here.Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
Do you live a storybook life?  Most of us don't.  In fact, our daily routines and happenings often seem so ordinary to us that we seek excitement, adventure or escape through songs, movies or stories of other people that attract us (or at least distract us).  But the truth is, you are living out a story whether or not you are aware of it, and the things that happen in your life become elements of your own personal story.    In season five we're learning to pray the most common type of scripture: narrative or stories.  They make up almost half of the Bible so it's important we learn how to read and pray this very common type of Scripture. In our regular episodes we take time to listen to God's word, reflect on it and learn to pray to God and carry that word through the rest of the day.  We use the entire Bible to do that and not just the psalms, prayers or "uplifting" parts of it that seem suited for devotionals.  On today's episode we take time for a conversation between Ron and Angela about how to read and pray Scripture stories especially in the family setting.1 Samuel 1-3 introduces several parents and children: Elkanah and Hannah and their son Samuel along with Eli and his two sons Hophni and Phinehas.  The story helos us notice the contrast between Eli's two wicked sons and young Samuel growing up in Shiloh under Eli's supervision.  One natural question is how is faith formed in children (or deformed by adults making their own choices)?  Ron and Angela reflect on that in light of their own experiences and offer some guidance about  intentionally sharing stories from the Bible with young people.Make sure to follow or subscribe to this podcast.Angela Oltmanns has written a month-long series of family devotions based on 1 Samuel.  Get a copy of the book 1 Samuel: How to Be a Child After God's Heart on Amazon (or the ebook).We also have a study based on the stories of Elisha called Spirit of Elisha: A Double Portion for Moms on Amazon (the ebook is here).The Action Bible is a great resource for visually engaging with Bible stories, both for older children and adults who are young at heart.  See our review of this book on our Youtube channel.Want to go deeper into reading narrative parts of scripture?  We recommend these four short videos done by The Bible Project to get you further into reading, understanding and praying Bible stories:   Plot,  Setting,  Characters, and the Bible as Ancient Jewish Meditation Literature. Connect with us on one of our social channels:Twitter  @WordofPrayer15Instagram @WordofPrayer15 Facebook Page at Word of Prayer 15.Support our show with your purchase of one of our products:Etsy store WordofPrayerAmazon Ron Oltmanns Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
The story of your life can be told with a few words.  Your story is really about who you are, where you've come from, what you're overcoming, and where it's all headed.  We get the story of Samuel's life in summary form in 1 Samuel 3 as he first hears the word of the Lord and has to decide how to respond to it.  In season five we're learning to pray the most common type of scripture: narrative or stories.  They make up almost half of the Bible so it's important we learn how to read and pray this very common type of Scripture.  We also need to grasp the overall storyline of the entire Bible.If you are getting started in a relationship with God, trying to have a quiet time or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.Spend your first minutes of the day listening to God and responding in a personal way.  This podcast will show you how and teach you in an easy to follow process.We will listen to God's word, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with through the rest of the day.  It's the perfect way to get started in each day's journey of faith!1 Samuel 1-2 sets us up to understand Samuel's background and the important background of Eli and his sons.  By looking at the first three chapters of Samuel, we learn a few key things about stories in general as well as how stories in the Bible are a little different.  We mentioned before the three key parts of any story are the plot, setting and characters.  Plot is the basic action sequence, and two additional parts of it are conflict and resolution.  You really don't have a story without some kind of conflict.  If we didn't have the all-important information from v. 1, we wouldn't really have a conflict in this story.1 Samuel 3 starts and ends with an emphasis on the word of Yahweh, and Samuel's story is distinctive because he listens to God and fearlessly speaks it to others regardless of their position.  That's what makes him a prophet.  Even with the lack of many details, description or even a moral judgment on the actions of the characters, the Bible creates a big impact with a very few words.Go ahead and get started listening and follow or subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word. We have a Youtube video based on this scripture that you can watch here.The four step process demonstrated in this episode is available here.Angela Oltmanns has written a series of family devotions based on 1 Samuel.  Get a copy of the book 1 Samuel: How to Be a Child After God's Heart on Amazon (or the ebook).Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
What comes next?! A good story pulls us in and makes us look forward to where we're going next.  In the Bible book of 1 Samuel we start with a sad wife who is ridiculed and she becomes a grateful mother through God's goodness.  What comes next is what we cover today in 1 Samuel 2.  We began season five with a focus on praying the most common type of scripture: narrative or stories.  In this season we will learn to read and pray the half of the Bible filled with narrative or stories and also grasp the overall storyline of the entire Bible in the process.If you are getting started in a relationship with God, trying to have a quiet time or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.Spend your first minutes of the day listening to God and responding in a personal way.  This podcast will show you how and teach you in an easy to follow process.We will listen to God's word, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with through the rest of the day.  It's the perfect way to get started in each day's journey of faith!Like most good stories, we begin this podcast season "in the middle of things" by featuring 1 Samuel 1-3.  By looking at the first three chapters of Samuel, we observe a few key things about stories in general as well as dive into the storyline of scripture.  In later episodes we'll turn to Genesis and then to other narrative parts of the Bible. We mentioned in episode 1 the three key parts of any story are the plot, setting and characters.  Plot is the basic action sequence, setting is where it happens and characters are the main actors we pay attention to in the story.  The setting of today's episode is still ancient Israel over 3,000 years ago in the town of Shiloh.  The key characters are Hannah, Eli and his sons Hophni and Phinehas--and of course God, the hero of every Bible story!  The main plot points are summarized on this episode.  Beyond that, we reflect on the theme of parents and children and how that theme stretches across the books of 1-2 Samuel and really the larger narrative of Genesis 12-2 Kings.Go ahead and get started listening and follow or subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.  The four step process demonstrated in this episode is available here.Angela Oltmanns has written a series of family devotions based on 1 Samuel.  Get a copy of the book 1 Samuel: How to Be a Child After God's Heart on Amazon (or the ebook).Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.comConnect with us on one of our social channels:Twitter  @WordofPrayer15Instagram @WordofPrayer15 Facebook Page at Word of Prayer 15.Support our show with your purchase of one of our products:Etsy store WordofPrayerAmazon Ron Oltmanns and Angela S OltmannsSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
It began with a story.  When we were young we listened to stories being told or read to us and it's one of those human activities we never outgrow.  Whether in gatherings with family or meetups with friends, at work or afterwards, at school and in our movies we tell and listen to stories throughout our entire lives.  The Bible is a book filled with stories (almost half of it is narrative), and what's more it tells one coherent over-arching story from beginning to end.We begin season five with a focus on praying the most common type of scripture: narrative or stories.  In this season we will learn to read and pray the narrative half of scripture and also grasp the overall storyline of the entire Bible in the process. If you are getting started in a relationship with God, trying to have a quiet time or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.Spend your first fifteen minutes of the day listening to God and responding in a personal way.  This podcast will show you how and teach you in an easy to follow process.In fifteen minutes (or less) you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.  What a perfect way to get started!Like most good stories, we begin this podcast season "in the middle of things" by featuring 1 Samuel 1.  We'll use the first three chapters of Samuel to make some comments about stories in general as well as dive into the storyline of scripture.  In later episodes we'll turn to Genesis and then to other narrative parts of the Bible.  Three key parts of any story are the plot, setting and characters.  Plot is the basic action sequence, setting is where it happens and characters are the main actors we pay attention to in the story.Go ahead and get started listening and follow or subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.  You can also watch other videos on Youtube at the Word of Prayer channel (link).The four step process demonstrated in this episode is available here.Connect with us on one of our social channels:Twitter  @WordofPrayer15Instagram @WordofPrayer15 Facebook Page at Word of Prayer 15.Support our show with your purchase of one of our products:Etsy store WordofPrayerAmazon Ron Oltmanns and Angela S OltmannsAngela Oltmanns has written a series of family devotions based on 1 Samuel.  Get a copy of the book 1 Samuel: How to Be a Child After God's Heart on Amazon (or the ebook).Additional resources at https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
Doing Good (Titus 3)

Doing Good (Titus 3)

2021-02-2622:24

"Do Good."  It seems so basic, like something you don't have to even say.  If you follow Christ, you should no doubt be active in doing good.  Yet, throughout Paul's letter to Titus there is a repeated emphasis on "doing good." Today we explore that and focus on the third and final chapter of this short letter. If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In each episode you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.In season four we have been praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  We conclude the short letter to Titus today.  As one of the "Pastoral Letters" (along with 1 & 2 Timothy),  Paul writes to one of his co-workers about how to strengthen the church in Crete as well as how to teach, appoint leaders, and leave a legacy of faith behind.   Throughout the letter to Titus Paul repeats the importance of "doing good."  We explore that theme further in this episode as well as look at the concrete way that Paul says it can be done.  The Christian faith has a bias for action; we should be doing good rather than spending most of our time on arguments and interpretations and controversies.  Paul also shares another summary statement about what God has done through us through his Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ in Titus 3:4-8.  From his opening emphasis in Titus 1 on character and leadership to a wider focus on living out our faith in our given roles in community (Titus 2), this letter sets forth simple but foundational truths that God's people in all places at all times should practice.  We have used the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .  Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.   You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a course on Philemon and Colossians for in-depth Bible study called "Christ Supreme".  If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page. Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
There is a type of growth that's harmful to the body.  We call it cancer.  When Paul wrote to Titus on Crete, he was deeply concerned about a type of teaching that was growing like cancer among the young churches on the island.  In Titus 2 we see Paul describe the effects of healthy teaching in the church and how it would produce people bent on doing good.  If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In each episode you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.In season four we are praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  We are listening to Paul's letter to Titus, one of his shortest letters.  Paul turns from instructions about leaders to the roles that each separate group plays in a healthy body, old or young, male or female, slave or free. In the last few verses of chapter 2 Paul grounds his teaching in God's grace and what God himself teaches us through the example of the Son, Jesus Christ, who gives us instruction and power to turn away from ungodliness and toward virtue.  The key word in this chapter is "teaching" and especially healthy teaching which grows good people.  We are using the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .  Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.   You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a course on Philemon and Colossians for in-depth Bible study called "Christ Supreme".  If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page. Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
We seem to have a perpetual shortage of leaders.  That's really nothing new as we see today in Paul's letter to Titus.  The problem isn't that we have no leaders, but the ones we have aren't very good.  Paul was concerned as he looked at the small households of faith scattered over the Roman world and instead of good strong leaders, he saw the body of Christ being misled and deceived.  He doesn't waste time complaining about it. Instead he gives instructions to Titus about what to look for and prioritize in good leaders for God's people. If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In each episode you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day. In season four we are praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  We begin the short letter to Titus today.  Besides Philemon, this is Paul's next shortest letter.  It gives us a lot to reflect on, meditate about and to pray on in its 46 verses.  After briefly considering the context and situation that Paul is writing to, we turn to the main theme of the first part of this letter: leadership.   Paul gives Titus specific instructions about appointing elders to guide and oversee the local churches on Crete (for more background, watch the video here).  These small groups of believers were already facing the challenge of many wayward teachers coming among them and leading them astray.  In Titus 1:10-16 we get a vivid picture of this "anti-leadership" or the opposite of what the body needs.  Paul shares with Titus in 1:5-9 the key desirable characteristics of leaders, and it really comes down to character or virtue.  These are old-fashioned words, but the need for leaders of strength never goes out of fashion.  What is the prime virtue of character trait that leaders need according to Paul?  They should be "blameless" or "irreproachable" (Titus 1:6, 7).  Paul paints a vivid picture of desirable leadership, and the key themes center around self-control and social conscience.  In other words, leaders of the local body need to have the character of Christ and good emotional intelligence.We are using the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .  Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.   You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a course on Philemon and Colossians for in-depth Bible study called "Christ Supreme".  If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page. Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
Do you like to have the last word?  1 John has a lot of truths for us, and in the last chapter it circles back to many of those that we've visited before.  John's final word about why he is writing and what's most important and even the last verse in the letter all hold something rich and powerful for us.    If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In each episode you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.  In season four we are praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  We are finishing 1 John by listening to chapter 5 in this episode.  The language is simple but the truths are rich and plentiful.  We explore three of them and they all lead us deeper into faith.  These 21 verses offer a lot to meditate on and perhaps you should focus on just one or two at a time.  In our daily walk with God we can listen to him and watch how he gives us opportunities to live out the truth in this passage. We are using the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .  Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.   You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a course on Philemon and Colossians for in-depth Bible study called "Christ Supreme".  If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page. Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
What is God like?  1 John tells us a lot about this, and it also says that how we behave toward others and live our lives shows what we think about God.  Love, fear, faith, trust...how we approach our relationships gives us plenty of opportunity to answer on a practical level what we think of God.   If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In each episode you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.  In season four we are praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  We are reading 1 John and listening to chapter 4 in this episode.  It gives us another simple but striking way of seeing God based on elemental truth.  God is love, and to embrace him means not being driven by fear.  These 21 verses give us a lot to meditate on.  In our daily relationships we get to decide if we will come from love or selfishness, faith or fear.   We are using the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .  Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.   You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a course on Philemon and Colossians for in-depth Bible study called "Christ Supreme".  If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page. Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
True Love (1 John 3)

True Love (1 John 3)

2021-01-0923:47

Love is what we are called to, and God calls us his children.  That's our identity:  children of God.  That's immense if we let it sink in.  As children of the Creator God, we experience his love and are called to practice it in our lives.  1 John 3 takes us into the heart of this letter and it reveals God's heart as well.  God commands us to believe in Jesus Christ and to love one another. If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In each episode you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.  In season four we are praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  We're continuing through 1 John and listening to chapter 3 in this episode.  It's challenging because it brings up the reality of God's commands and his love, which is quite different from what the world means when it uses the word "love".    There are a lot of words in these 24 verses, and we focus on vv. 1, 16, 19-23.  We talk about what to do with our feelings when our hearts condemn us.  The main two points, in this passage are to obey God's commands and to practice love toward others.  This simplifies what we need to focus on even if it's not easy.  We are using the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .  Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.   You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a course on Philemon and Colossians for in-depth Bible study called "Christ Supreme".  If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page. Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
"I write these things to you so that you may not sin.  If anyone sins we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ, the righteous one."  These words begin 1 John 2, and clearly the desire is that we avoid sin.  Jesus Christ is the answer to our sin problem, and it is essential that we abide or remain in him.  If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In each episode you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.  In season four we are praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  We're continuing through 1 John and listening to chapter 2 in this episode.  It's quite a bit longer than chapter 1, but it gives us a lot to meditate on and pray back to God in our walk with him.   There are many things mentioned in this chapter--sin, our desire for things of the world, the end times, antichrist, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and other topics as well.  The central point, however, is to focus on Christ, remain in him and abide in fellowship with him.  We talk about some practical ways to do that in this episode before praying the themes of this chapter together.  We are using the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .  Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.   You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a course on Philemon and Colossians for in-depth Bible study called "Christ Supreme".  If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page. Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
"God has come.  We have heard and seen him and touched him with our own hands..."  This is John's boldly audacious claim in 1 John 1, and he has more bold and striking things to say.  John sticks to the truth and boils it down to the essence, which is why we're listening to him. If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In fifteen minutes or less you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.  It's a perfect way to get started!In season four we are praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  Today we are starting 1 John.   Although the author never introduces himself and the name John doesn't appear anywhere in the letter, the language and themes are so strikingly similar to the gospel of John that there can be no coincidence.  John's community is dealing with division and very real questions about how to live out their faith.  The problems ultimately involve you see Christ and how you live in fellowship with him and others.The central focus of this letter comes down to something simple yet profound:  love.  How do we love God and show proper love to other people?   John gives us some very helpful insights.  We are using the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .  Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.   You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a course on Philemon and Colossians for in-depth Bible study called "Christ Supreme".  If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page. Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
"My soul magnifies the Lord."  Who said those words?  What do they mean?In this special bonus episode we take a deeper look at Mary's prayer in Luke 1 and how we can pray them ourselves led by co-hosts Ron and Angela Oltmanns.If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In this podcast you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day. In season four we have been praying through some of the letters in the Bible, but today we take a break from that to look at a special prayer from the gospel of Luke: Mary's prayer as she meets her older cousin Elizabeth and shares the gracious news of how God has blessed both of them with unexpected pregnancies.     Luke 1 -2 has four separate songs or prayers offered by different people:  Mary, Zechariah, a chorus of angels to the shepherds, and Simeon in the temple.  Each one is traditionally referred to by a Latin title like "Magnificat" or "Gloria in excelsis Deo", but there is nothing mystical about the words.  In this episode we listen to the first prayer, Mary's song in Luke 1:46-55.  It echoes several much older songs from the Old Testament such as Exodus 15 and most strikingly Hannah's prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.   The themes and language speak of God's great reversals and his salvation for his people, the poor and oppressed and those overlooked.  While we use Mary's song, the Magnificat, to grow closer to God in this season, we can't exhaust the riches in this part of scripture.   You can go deeper into it on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .  Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word.   You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15. Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.com.  If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
Sin is all around us and certainly in us, even if it’s not popular to call it that.  The message of Jesus Christ is one of the few to take sin seriously and the only one to deal with it effectively.  James 5:7-20 shows us the key concern of this short letter and draws the major themes of the letter together so we will be active in winning people back from the way of sin.  If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In fifteen minutes or less you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.  It's a perfect way to get started!In season four we are praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  In this episode we finish praying through James, one of the General Letters filled with practical teaching and wisdom.  We see again today that James' letter is very gospel-centered and also rooted in the Jewish Torah.  The last few verses of James show us the overriding concern that James has as he writes this letter.  There are two ways, wisdom and foolishness, and following the world's "wisdom" or pursuing its riches will lead us down the wrong way and encourage us to sin. James wants to be active in restoring people back from sin and praying with them and for them.  At the beginning of the letter he told us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.  Now at the end, he says the same thing essentially but with different words:  be patient, don't grumble against a brother or swear an oath vainly, and instead of getting angry, love and forgive your brother.  James also points to the example of Job and Elijah to encourage forbearance and faith, especially expressed through prayer.  The key application question is are you saved from sin beyond doubt?  If not, contact us.  If so, take the next step of faith and  win someone back from the path of sin.  We have been using the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .   You can find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a book on Matthew 1-7 that goes more in-depth into the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 5.  It's called Journey with Jesus: Praying Your Way through Matthew's Gospel on Amazon (or ebook on Kindle).  Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
Money is like a mirror for our character.  It reflects back to us what is really there.  If you like what you see in the mirror, or you don’t, it’s not because of the mirror, it’s because of your own heart.     James 4:11-5:6 points us back to our hearts, whether it's speaking against our brothers, judging others, or using riches to oppress others--all of these go against the law of freedom. If you are trying to have a quiet time, getting started in a relationship with God or seeking guidance at this point in your life, you're in the right place.In fifteen minutes or less you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day.  It's a perfect way to get started!In season four we are praying through some of the letters in the Bible.  in this episode we finish praying through James, one of the General Letters filled with practical teaching and wisdom.  We see again today that James' letter is very gospel-centered and also rooted in the Jewish Torah.  James says in 4:11-12 “Don’t speak against your brothers...”  and this idea can be traced back to Leviticus 19:16.  Similarly, Leviticus 19:13  talks about oppressing and withholding wages from workers just as James 5:4 does.  At the same time, James tells us not to judge others, echoing Jesus in Matthew 7:1-2.   We looked at James 4:13-17 previously in season 1 of First Fifteen and we won't repeat that lesson here.  Our desire for riches, our treatment of the rich, our planning for and pursuit of riches, the trap of riches and treatment of the poor—all of these come under James’ teaching and what he does, simply, is take us back to Jesus’ teaching about the heart.  Have you internalized the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself?  Spend time meditating on what you've heard/read from his word.  James emphasizes being a doer of the word in this passage, not a judge of others. We have been using the letters to grow closer to God in season four.  We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process.  You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 .   You can find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.We have a book on Matthew 1-7 that goes more in-depth into the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 5.  It's called Journey with Jesus: Praying Your Way through Matthew's Gospel on Amazon (or ebook on Kindle).  Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=30142397)
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