Thursday, January 19, 2017

God Never Leaves Us nor Forsakes Us

Photo by Rock and Robin Photography
Scripture: Jeremiah 1:8b
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.

Insights: Yesterday we learned God is aware of our fears and doubts because He knows us personally.  Today, we learn what actually drives those fears away.  The power that drives fear from our lives is the Lord Himself.  This personal God intervenes in human history and specifically in our lives.  He is actively involved in our lives.  He is always with those who have received His Son, Jesus’ gift of salvation.  If one has entered into this relationship, then God never leaves him/her nor forsakes him/her.  God will deliver us.  He will be there with us.  In fact, in the New Testament, we are instructed to draw near to God and Satan will have to flee.  God is always with those of us whom He personally knows.  Beloved, we know these statements to be true, but all too often we do not draw near to the Lord.  Instead we remain in our fears and doubts and then wonder why God is not doing anything in our lives.  We start to wonder how God can be personally involved with us and at the same time allow such heartache and fear.  The reality is we treat God like a genie in a bottle and run to Him in crisis, but do not abide in Him.  We then wonder why He does not answer.  Imagine if your child came to you only when they wanted or needed something.  They never hugged or kissed you.  They never talked to you.  They never shared a meal with you.  They never interacted with you.  The only time they came to you is when they were in trouble.  In that kind of scenario you would not have a very good relationship with them.  It would be strained and difficult with which to relate.  We treat God like this and then wonder why there is a strain in our relationship.  Beloved, let me encourage you to abide in Him, and as you do, He will deliver you.  He will always be with you.  He will never forsake you.  Rest in Him and be blessed.

Questions:
 1. Is Jesus always with you?
 2. Do you understand for Jesus to always be with you that you need a personal relationship with Him?

Prayer: Father, thank You for receive me into Your family.  As a result, You are always with me.  Your presence removes fear when I lean into You.  May I ever draw near to You and be in awe of Your power.  Amen.



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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

God Knows Our Fears and Doubts

Photo by Vic
Scripture: Jeremiah 1:6-8a
Then I said, “Alas, Lord God!  Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth.”  But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak.  Do not be afraid of them.

Insights: When Jeremiah makes his petition about his age it is not the real issue.  We know it is not the real issue because of God’s response to Jeremiah.  God tells Jeremiah not to be afraid.  This reality of God’s presence to remove our fears is amazing.  God literally tells Jeremiah, “Do not be afraid of them.”  How many times have you found yourself called by the Lord to an assignment and were immediately caught up in fear.  These fears are often times irrational and have no real basis for existing.  The fact we experience the fear, however, is undeniable.  It exist and we are called to move forward in obedience in spite of our fears.  This movement forward is a step of faith.  In fact this fear gives us opportunity to demonstrate our faith in the Lord.  Faith is not the absence of fear, but rather the movement toward the personal Lord God.  As we walk in obedience toward Him, the fear has an amazing way of disappearing.  This dissipation, however, does not happen until action of faith is first taken.  This personal God knows we are going to be afraid.  Tomorrow, we will learn what He does to help us overcome our fears.  Until we learn this next part regarding our personal God in whom we believe, let me encourage you to feel the fear and move forward in faith.  Be amazed as that fear disappears because of your obedience.

Questions:
 1. Of what are you afraid?
 2. Does the realization of God’s personal presence give you comfort?

Prayer: Father, thank You for calming my fears and giving me a peace that surpasses all understanding.  This peace and calm comes as a result of knowing You.  Thank You for letting me know you.. Amen.



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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

God Knows Us Before Our Birth

Photo by Marcelino Rapayla Jr.
Scripture: Jeremiah 1:4-5
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Insights: Last week we learned about the Triune God.  He is the ONE and only God.  He is not only the One and only God, but He is also a personal God.  I love the four attributes we will learn about this week from the this passage out of Jeremiah chapter one.  This personal God knew us before we were born.  He has always known when in human history you were going to be born.  He orchestrated your place in the scope of eternity before you were even thought of by human parents.  He knew you perfectly and knew your course for life exactly.  This reality gives me a great deal of hope because it tells me no one is an accident.  No one is a mistake.  God formed us.  In our church, FBC Bowling Green, we have a man who has down syndrome.  He is one of our greeters.  We have another man who has autism that is also a greeter.  I can honestly say they are some of the most precious people in our church.  They were not a mistake.  They both love Jesus and have an abiding relationship with Him.  They worship Him and they love Him.  This personal God loves them as well.  It is my hearts desire that you know this personal God.  He loves you and He sent His Son to die on a cross in order for you to have a relationship with Him.  I pray you will come to know Him.

Questions:
 1. Have you expressed gratitude to the Lord for knowing and creating you in a wonderful fashion?
 2. Do you know this personal God who moved heaven and earth to know you?

Prayer: Father, thank You for desiring a personal relationship with me.  You are wonderful and majestic in Your creative power and purpose.  May I grow in my knowledge of You. Amen.





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Friday, January 13, 2017

The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Photo by Wesley Fryer
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:14c
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Insights: Today I am going to provide you a brief passage from Ted Dekker’s book The Forgotten Way.  I think it will help you grasp this concept of fellowship with the One True God better as He communicates through His Spirit.  Dekker wrote, “‘Father, the glory you have given me, I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one, I in them and you in me.’  You do indeed have the glory that the Father gave to Yeshua.  Paul confirms this when he declares that you have been glorified already.  The powerful mystery of your restoration and union with God in Christ will forever change the way you view yourself and the world you live in.  How can you not love yourself now?  How can you not love your neighbor as yourself?  How can you stoop in misery and bemoan your life unless you do not believe in your identity in Yeshua?  It is true that pain and hardship are unavoidable in this life.  But suffering is optional and the prerogative of the old mind.  Only the old mind and the deceiver stand against the truth of your true identity.  They lie with silver tongue, tempting you to believe that you have not been remade in the likeness of your Creator, the Word, Yeshua.  Today, listen to the voice of the Spirit within you, because you are the body of Christ, joined with Him, reborn unto the Father.  Surely, this is your incarnation now.  When you see this truth in the Light, all the darkness that has clouded your mind from the great and glorious truth of who you are will vanish.  Walking in Yeshua, you will do as He did.  You will find peace in the storms, you will move the mountains of trouble that rise before you, you will tread on that serpent who lies with a forked tongue.  Remember: it’s never what you believe about yourself that defines you; it’s your Father opinion of you that defines you.  Your opinion of yourself only defines the experience you have in this life.  Indeed, to believe in Yeshua is to believe like Yeshua.  To believe like Yeshua is to believe in your risen self, because you were raised with and in Him.”

Questions:
 1. Do you have fellowship with the One True God?
 2. Has this fellowship helped you to see yourself as you truly are?

Prayer: Father, thank You for having a relationship with me.  May I learn more of who You are as we grow together.  May I reflect Your life in me better each and every day. Amen.




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Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Love of God

Photo by 

Art4TheGlryOfGod by Sharon

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:14b
and the love of God

Insights: In 1 John 4:8 and 16 we are informed that God is love.  Love is who He is.  Love is His character.  Love defines Him along with a myriad of other attributes.  Because God is love, it is the character trait that drives all of His activities in this world.  In other words, He created out of love.  In John 3:16 we are informed love is what moved the heart of God to save humanity.  The verse reads, “God created and loved us.  He loved us even while we were His enemies and demonstrated that love by sending Jesus.”  Love also stirs the Lords pleasure.  In Luke 3:21-22 we see the picture of Jesus baptism.  After the baptism has occurred there is a commentary in verse 22 which states, “Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’”  God is pleased in His Son’s obedience to the call of righteousness.  Beloved, I just want you to understand that this Triune God with whom we are discussing this week is a loving God.  His love moves Him and sustains Him.  This attribute is the very core of His being.  It is my hope that those of us who have experienced His love will display that love back to a world in desperate need of love.  Humble yourselves before the Lord and let Him use you as His instrument by which He extends His love to humanity.  I promise you, the more you love, the greater joy and pleasure you will experience here on this side of eternity.  To God be the glory as He manifests His love on us and the world.

Questions:
 1. Have you grasped how much of God’s activity is driven by His characteristic of love?
 2. In what ways have you personally experienced God’s love?

Prayer: Father, thank You for loving me.  I am not always lovable, but You love me anyway.  How can I ever show You my gratitude for Your love.  May I spend all of eternity expressing gratitude for Your amazing love.. Amen.



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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Grace of Jesus

Photo by Dale Chumbley
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:14a
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Insights: Last year our five major sermon series centered around the subject of being “Joyfully United.”  This year our focus is going to be on being “Christ Centered.”  These two themes obviously come out of our mission statement, “FBC Bowling Green is Christ centered, gospel driven, joyfully united, and prayerfully obedient.”  In order to know Christ Jesus even more we are going to go through a series which is inspired by Randy Frazee’s curriculum Believe.  As a result of this information we started off our “I BELIEVE” campaign with a sermon on the oneness of God.  Deuteronomy 6:4 states, “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”  God is only One, but He manifests Himself in three essences, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  2 Corinthians 13:14 identify all three aspects of God’s One nature.  The first part is that of Jesus.  In this portion of the verse we are told Jesus is full of grace.  Grace is unmerited favor.  In other words, we receive what we do not rightly deserve.  We deserve punishment and eternal separation from the Lord, but instead He extends grace.  Anyone who receives Jesus as Lord and Savior will not experience this punishment, but rather a restored relationship with the Lord Almighty who is One God.  John 1:1 and 14 help us to understand this deity aspect of Jesus a little bit more.  John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  When we jump to verse 14 we are told, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  So, Jesus is the Word and we know this because He became flesh and dwelt among us.  We got to see the glory which came from the Father and this glory was full of grace and truth.  We know what Jesus says is truth because He Himself declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through me (John 14:6).”  Jesus is declaring to us He is God and He is One.  He is clarifying His message by telling us the grace we receive from God comes from Him, the One true God.  Let us rejoice that we know the Lord God and have experienced His grace.

Questions:
 1. Have you experienced the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?
 2. Have you extended the grace which has been offered to you to other people who have wronged you?

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your grace which you extended to me through Your Son, Jesus.  May I be willing and compelled, also by Your grace, to extend grace to those around me.  Let the love of Jesus permeate my life. Amen.



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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We are Never Alone

Photo by Chris Yarzab
This blog ought to have been January 6, 2017

Scripture: Matthew 28:20b-c
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Insights: Our final blog regarding the Great Commission deals with the presence of the Lord Jesus.  Notice with me were He resides.  He resides with us.  He is ALWAYS  with us.  He never leaves us.  He never forsakes us.  How long does He reside with us you may be asking.  The answer is He resides with us for ALL of eternity.  Praise the Lord for this incredible promise and truth about our Savior, Jesus Christ.  If you have never encountered our Lord Jesus, then this later part of verse twenty really does not mean a whole lot to you.  If, however, you do know the Lord Jesus, then this second half of the verse is a comfort beyond description.  I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have wanted to give up, but then the Lord has reminded me that He is right here with me.  He is going to grant me His strength.  He is going to give me His wisdom.  All I have to do is surrender to Him and He takes over from there.  Oh, the joy this singular truth brings in my life.  It is my prayer you personally know and can relate to about what I have just written.  Jesus loves you.  He desires an eternal relationship with you.  You will face dark days, but He is a light shining in the midst of them.  May this singular truth grant you peace this day.  I know it has me.

Questions:
 1. Have you ever felt alone?
 2. In what ways does the eternal presence of Jesus comfort you at times of difficult and pain?

Prayer: Father, thank You that You never leave me nor forsake me.  Thank You for walking with me through the dark days and days of doubt.  Thank You for Your eternal presence always being there with me in the good times and the bad.  You are wonderful beyond compare and I am grateful You are always with me. Amen.



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