Sunday, February 4, 2018

Bible Study: Living a Mature Life In Christ - How to grow in God




'The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!'


Mark 4:18-20


"...but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced…."




Consider the location, company, environment of the seed that thrives compared to the seed that is choked out- these are all things we have the power to choose with intentionality, (especially those of us with access to the internet!)

Where are we living? Are we living among the godly? Is that with whom our roots are going down deep?  Or are we growing roots of intimate relationship among wild uncultivated plants, not of the Lord’s planting?

The good and fertile soil, is soil that has been worked, plowed, fertilized, weeded, and planted by the Lord, the real people of God, the church. The company we keep here surrounds us with a healthy place where we can grow and be fruitful in our faith.

Alternatively we may choose to grow in a place overrun with these things that have the power to choke out God’s word in our lives: the worries of this life, lure of wealth, and desire for other things.

This is why we should earnestly seek to build our deepest relationships, lifestyle, and intimacy with and around those in Christ rather than those in the world. We must remember when we are in the world (maybe our workplace, or school, or community), that we are not called to be OF the world, but to TRANSFORM the world as God’s holy ambassadors, relating to others in the love of God that compels us to pull them out of the fire of hell, showing mercy and fear that hates anything touched with sin. Life is not a picnic, it is a war with eternal consequences for all those we are in proximity with.

Verses to Think About:

keep yourselves in the love of God as you await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you eternal life.

save others by snatching them from the fire; and to still others, show mercy tempered with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.

2 Cor 5: 14,15
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.…

2 Cor 5:19, 20

And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God.

Prayer:

Lord, help me to develop and grow in close relationship with others who love You so that I will become fruitful in my faith.

Watch The Visual Bible where Jesus shares the parable of the seeds and the sower:




Wednesday, January 24, 2018

How To Walk By Faith In Impossible Circumstances


Bible Study

January 24, 2018 Jacob and Moses Show Us How to Receive God’s Promises. How to walk by Faith in Impossible Circumstances.

Joseph, Jacob’s favorite boy was borne when Jacob was 90 years old.
Jacob Loses Joseph to slavery Jacob when Joseph is 17 years old? Jacob is 107.

Jacob missed Joseph for 23 years. He enjoyed a total of 37 years with his favorite boy, Joseph; his first 17+23 years after Joseph became a ruler in Egypt  

He suffered w/o his beloved son, less years than he enjoyed with him.

Jacob was 130 when he discovered his son Joseph was alive and his spirit revived. 17 more years he enjoyed knowing this.

  • Jacob lived for seventeen years after his arrival in Egypt, so he lived 147 years in all. 37 of those years he was able to enjoy knowing his son was alive and well. For 23 years Jacob grieved for Joseph.

I am comforted to see that Jacob spent more time with the comfort of his son, than he did grieving his loss. 37 years comforted with his son Vs. 23 bitter over his son’s loss.

I’m glad too, he got to end his days well after grieving for 23 years. I think this gives hope to those who have been suffering emotional pain for 23 years, because it shows that even after 23 years of sorrow, God is able to revive a person’s spirit and give them more total comfort than suffering and a good end even before they reach those pearly gates.

How to Walk By Faith Through Impossible Circumstances

"I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes." God had spoken to Jacob this word- because Jacob had received strict instruction from the Lord before about staying in Canaan. Now, through this famine, he was provided for in Egypt and God gave him this word and promise.

What is interesting to me, is that 1) God redirected Jacob. 2) God promised to surely bring him back to Canaan, but Jacob died in Egypt. And Jacob forced a solemn oath from his son Joseph, to bury him in Canan- so in this way, God’s promise was fulfilled by Jacob’s initiative and effort in making this command concerning his body after his death.

Sometimes when God gives us a promise, He does everything to make it happen and we simply stand back and watch- but more often than not, it is we who must enforce it with our commanding initiative in agreement with His word.

I think of Moses, when he faced the Red Sea. God did not open the sea for him until Moses placed his staff over it and commanded it to be so.

“It would be better to be slaves there than to die here in the desert.”
13 Moses answered, “Don't be afraid! Stand your ground, and you will see what the Lord will do to save you today; you will never see these Egyptians again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and all you have to do is keep still.
15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out for help? Tell the people to move forward. 16 Lift up your walking stick and hold it out over the sea. The water will divide, and the Israelites will be able to walk through the sea on dry ground.”

This is fascinating. We see Moses saying, “God will do it, just keep still.”
THEN in stark contrast we see the Lord say, “Why are you crying out for help (Moses)? Tell the people to move forward. (YOU) lift up your walking stick and hold it out over the sea (denoting your intent to pass through) THE WATER will divide and (you will be enabled to walk through)

What are the responsibilities of God’s people when it comes to following and obeying him in impossible circumstances?

Is it the people’s place to cry to God for help when God has already shown them what to do?
No.

Is it the people’s place to stand still and wait it out?
No, not when God has already given them his directive.
Is it God’s job to command the sea to move while the people looked to Him for help?
No, God moves to enable us when we look to the impossible path he commanded us to take and express our determination to walk in it.

What does God expect from his people when it comes to receiving his promises, following and obeying him in impossible circumstances?

God expects us to, like Jacob, and Moses, express our intent to go where God has called us to go, defying the obstacles. God expects us to command the situation according to His expressed will/word and go forward. When we give the order to the situation, “I am going there. Make way people/ water/ impossibility”, THEN, God moves the obstacles enabling us to go where he said we would go. Not when we cry and pray for help.

Summing it up:
God tells us his will.
We express intent to follow despite any obstacle and make arrangements to do so (Jacob telling Joseph where to bury him, Moses standing at the edge of the water holding out his staff ready to pass)
God enables us to do His will


How do the obstacles move?

21 Moses held out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind. It blew all night and turned the sea into dry land. The water was divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on both sides.

The Lord works with our expression of intent in obedience and faith concerning His expressed word.

Notice it appears Moses may have held his hand out ALL NIGHT! Either way, God did not instantly open the water with the power of mighty invisible angels, God used the earthly natural supply of wind, to open the path, in a supernatural way. How long did Moses stand there with his staff pointed over the water, before that wind arrived and was felt and seen? An hour? A minute? 5 hours? Could be any of these.

Lord, increase our faith! In Jesus name, Amen.