Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Praying in Faith


On a scale of 1 to 10, what would you say is your current level of faith when you pray?

Read the following verses:  Matthew 6:7-8; Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:14-16.  What do these verses say about approaching God with confidence?

There is a relationship between faith and prayer.  Jesus frequently taught His disciples about that relationship.  What do you learn about faith and prayer from Mark 11:20-26; John 14:8-15; James 1:5-8; 1 John 5:13-15?

Read Romans 10:17; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:6-7.  According to these verses, what are some ways to build your faith?

Get a sheet of paper.  Write down three things you’re praying about this week.  Does your request match God’s revealed will?  If not, how would you change the request to better match God’s will?  How might you demonstrate faith in God for that request?  What Scripture could you link with each request and pray over that request?

A tiny bit about God’s will.  Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.  Read Matthew 6:9-13.  If you pray in alignment with the Lord’s prayer, you’ll be praying in alignment with His will.  What other Scriptures can you find that teach you how to pray within God’s will?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Prayer = Delighting in God!


This week, our Prayer of Preparation is Psalm 73:25-26.  Pray those verses before we begin.

How do you define “delight”?  If someone were to delight in you, what would they do?  Do you delight in the Lord?  How?

Now compare your methods of delighting in God with His definition of how to delight in Him:  read Nehemiah 1:11; Psalm 1:1-3; Psalm 40:8; Psalm 111:2; Jeremiah 15:16.  How will what you’ve read in these verses change the way you delight in God?

Here are a few verses of Scripture that reveal contrasts in what God delights in and what He doesn’t:  1 Samuel 15:20-22; Proverbs 11:20; Proverbs 15:8; Hosea 6:6.  What does He delight in?  What doesn’t delight Him?

The opposite of delight is discontent.  In Numbers 11:4-8 and Psalm 78:17-18, how did Israel show their discontent with God?  How do you show your lack of delight in God?

As we contemplate prayer, what are some qualities God delights in that lead to a more intimate prayer life?  What steps will you take to renew your delight in God?

In our Prayer of Preparation, the psalmist declared his first desire was whatever pleased God.  How may we make this our desire, too?  What action will you take to deliberately focus on what pleases God rather than what pleases you?

Friday, May 08, 2015

Homiletics - Romans 9


Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture):  Where?                                                                Who?

1
1-2
I spk truth in Christ, conscience confirms thru HS, I have great sorrow/anguish in heart.
2
3-5
Could wish I cursed/cut off from Christ for sake of Israel; theirs=adoption, divine glory, covenants, law, temple worship, promises, patriarchs; from them=Messiah.
3
6-8
Not tho G’s word failed; not all descended from Is=Is; nor descendants all Abe’s children, “thru Isaac offspring reckoned”; not phys children=God’s, but children of promise.
4
9-13
Promise: I return, Sarah have son; Rebekah’s children conceived @ same time by Isaac; before twins born: “older will serve younger”; written: “Jacob loved, Esau hated”.
5
14-15
God unjust? No; to M: “I have mercy on who I have mercy, compassion on whom I have comp”.
6
16-17
Doesn’t depend on human desire or effort, but G’s mercy; Scripture to Phar: “I raised you for this purpose, I display my power in you & my name proclaimed.”
7
18
Tf G mercy on whom He wants, hardens whom He wants.
8
19-20
“Why God blame us?  Who able to resist?” Who are you to talk back to G?  “Shall formed say to one who formed: why you make me this?”
9
21
Does Potter have right make of same clay special and common?
10
22-24
What if G, choosing show wrath/make pwr known, bore w/patience obj of wrath to make riches of glory known to obj of mercy (prep in adv for glory), not only Jews also Gents?
11
25-26
In Hosea: “I call ‘my ppl’ who not, I call ‘my loved one’ who not; in place where said “you not my ppl’ they called ‘children of the living God’.”
12
27-28
Isaiah: “though Israelites like sand, only remnant saved; L carry out sentence w/speed & finality”.
13
29
Isaiah previously: “unless L left descendants, we like Sodom, Gomorrah”.
14
30-33
What we say?  Gentiles didn’t pursue righteousness, obtained by faith; Israel pursued law as righteousness not by faith, stumbled; as written: “I lay stone causes stumble, who believes in Him never put to shame.”

 


Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture):

1
1-13
Paul’s burden for the Jews
Principle:
Salvation is from the Jews but not only for the Jews.
2
14-21
God’s mercy
Principle:
God is merciful and compassionate toward His creation.
3
22-33
God’s relationship with people
Principle:
God’s choices benefit the objects of His mercy.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure):

Paul writes about God’s purpose in election and mercy.

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMATK God is sovereign over all things and as Creator of the universe and everything in it (and beyond), He has the right to do what He wishes with that Creation and He uses what He created to benefit those on whom He chooses to have mercy – those He has drawn to Christ – the children of the promise.

 

Application:

1
What truth can you speak in Christ about your feelings for others?
For whom are you burdened spiritually?  How do you minister to these people?
How can you develop a Christ-like, self-sacrificial love for those to whom you minister?
According to 9:4-5, what belongs to Israel and what is the significance that these things belong to Israel and not the Gentiles?
How might God’s word have failed according to verses 1-6?
What does it mean that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel”?
Paraphrase verse 7 in your own words.
Who are the children of the promise?
Describe God’s purpose in election according to 11-13.
2
How is it just that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy?
What does 9:14-21 teach you about God?
What does 9:14-21 teach you about people?
How does 9:14-21 make you feel about your relationship with God?  How will you express your feelings to the Lord?
How does the illustration of the Potter and the clay in 9:20-21 help you understand your relationship with God?
3
What might it look like for God to bear with great patience the objects of His wrath (9:22)?
Why do you think He would do such a thing?  (See 9:23-24)
What does Hosea say about God’s people?  What does this mean to you?
What does Isaiah say about God’s people?  What does this mean to you?
What is the stumbling stone?  Who stumbled over it?
What is your relation to the stumbling stone?

 

No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason

 

No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason
 

She'll defend her friend until the bitter end--but is she in over her head?

It's not every day you see your childhood friend and onetime crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can't believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she's determined to find him and help him clear his name. Unfortunately, she's not the only one looking for him. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and prevent a catastrophe.

Lynette Eason delivers nonstop action as Jackie and Ian travel a dangerous road--one that may lead straight to destruction.


Praise for the series

"For any reader looking for 'edge-of-your-seat' thrills, this series is the perfect gift."--Suspense Magazine

"Fans of Eason's and readers of Christian suspense will definitely want to check out this new series. I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment."--Fiction Addict

"An exciting new series with action and thrilling chase scenes."--RT Book Reviews


Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to Trust and Nowhere to Turn. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College, and she lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.


Here is my review of this suspenseful romance:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Lynette Eason and her publisher for sending me a copy of "No Place to Hide" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

No Place to Hide” by Lynette Eason is a fast-paced suspense read with lots of twists and turns.  A lot has transpired since Jackie and Ian were childhood friends.  Ian is now a wanted man suspected of terrorism and he swears he’s being set up to cover up something big.  Jackie makes her living helping people disappear, making her the best person to assist her friend as they attempt to decipher the clues to clear Ian’s name.

This book brings home the concept that sometimes bad things happen to good people through no fault of their own, but because evil exists.  It also demonstrates that trusting God is the best decision we will ever make.  It’s also nice to have people we can trust in our lives, too.

I don’t want to spoil anything about the book, so I don’t want to go into detail regarding why this is not my favorite Lynette Eason novel.  I will say it has to do with the “whodunit” part of the story.  But the novel overall is enjoyable and I would still recommend it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Prayer = Intimacy with God!


Why don’t you pray?  Busyness, distance from God, inexperience with prayer, sin, pride, laziness, fear of answers?  What do you choose to do instead?  What lies do you believe that keep you from the throne?

When you DO pray, WHY do you pray?  Desperation, to have needs met, to give thanks, because of sadness or loneliness, to obtain peace or guidance, for fellowship, forgiveness, to intercede for others?

So begins our four-week study on prayer based on Cynthia Heald’s book “Becoming a Woman of Prayer”.  Don’t be dissuaded, gentlemen.  This is for you, too.

Prayer is an invitation to intimacy with God.  Read Jeremiah 29:11-14.  What does this invitation say to you?  Now read Romans 8:14-17.  What is God’s invitation in these verses?  Look at Revelation 3:14-22.  How does God want to meet with you in these verses?

Do you see prayer as being initiated by God or by you?  Believe it or not, God draws us to prayer.  We don’t initiate it.  How does knowing that affect your view of prayer?

It pleases God when we want to be with Him.  God receives our prayers like incense.  Read Psalm 141:1-2 and Revelation 8:3-4.  Have you ever burned incense?  It fills the space in which it burns with fragrance.  Our prayers rise to God like incense, permeating, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice.

Is it a priority for you to spend time with God?  What sorts of sacrifices do you make for special people in your life?  Time, sleep, money, preferences, goals?  Are you willing to make those sacrifices for God?  If your answer is yes, hallelujah!  If your answer is no, I am willing to argue that you don’t have a time management problem, but rather a love problem.  When we don’t sacrifice for God, we are demonstrating that we don’t love Him enough.  I am guilty of this, myself.

Daniel is a wonderful person to study.  God was a priority to him.  Read Daniel 6:5-16.  What did Daniel sacrifice to spend time with God in prayer?  What are some things you need to sacrifice to deepen your intimacy with God?

In closing, pray Psalm 27:7-8.