Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.09.12.
THE GAP SERIES
“LOVE FOR GOD”
Love is a verb—
that means it’s never too late. If you don’t feel the love anymore choose to act the love.
– Stephen Covey
Have you ever found yourself saying “my spouse and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other that we used to; I guess we don’t love each other any more.” Steven Covey counseled a man who said the exact same thing and Covey’s simple response to him was to “Love her.” The gentleman responded by saying, “No, you don’t understand, the feeling of love isn’t there any more.” Again, Covey responded, “Love her; my friend, love is a verb. Love, the feeling, is a fruit of love; the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Af-firm her. Are you willing to do that?”
What about your relationship with Christ? Take a moment to ask yourself that question. Are you willing to do that? Do you ever feel as though you move the heart of Christ with your love? Are you wondering what that would even look like? Consider the woman who poured very expensive oils from her alabaster box over Jesus’ head as referenced in Matthew 26:6-13. The disciples were so mad at this woman based on the type of woman she was. They claimed she “wasted” these very expensive oils that could have been sold at a higher price. Jesus silenced their accusations by honoring this adoring worshiper. Jesus knew this woman would never write a book or speak at a conference or do anything of worldly significance, but despite her obscurity, no one would ever forget how she moved the heart of Christ with her love.
The basic element that moved this woman to act out her love was that she was grateful to Christ. Perhaps she understood that she was filled with sin, she understood why she sinned and she new that Christ could take away her sins. This makes you wonder, why do we even sin in the first place? We sin because we enjoy the pleasure it brings. John Piper says, “Sin is what we do when our hearts are not satisfied with God.” But, when we remain in a state of gratitude, we can make God our constant pursuit and remain satisfied with Him. As we study God’s word and build our lives around Him our hearts will fill with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7 says our faith will grow strong in the truth we were taught, and we will overflow with thankfulness. That Gratitude will give rise to Obedience to the Christian life and in return, we will become a Disciple of Christ. Did you catch the acrostic—that’s God!
Make “love” a verb by taking action to live with a more mission-minded focus. Love Jesus with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This Living it Out study contains portions of the Missional Membership on loving God. Not only will your life be richly blessed by this study, you will complete the Highest Level of Commitment here at CedarCreek Church. If you’ve already made that commitment, take the time to review this study again, disciple someone else and share what it’s like to live mission focused.
MONDAY — God’s Grace!
Big Point: Loving Jesus means we get to receive the gift of eternal life—no if’s, and’s or but’s about it!
* The Response Questions for Loving Jesus are on pages 12 and 13. You will need to answer these questions before completing the Commit-ment portion of the Missional Membership Process.
Loving Jesus begins when we transfer our affections from wherever they are now and divert them toward Christ. You might not have thought about this before, but long before you can change your beliefs, your attitudes or your actions, you must first transfer your affections…otherwise, the transformational work God de-sires to do in your life will stall—not because God isn’t powerful enough, but be-cause your affections (desires) are still focused on people or things instead of God.
In this first section of Loving Jesus, we will explore God’s Grace. Grace may be a somewhat unfamiliar term to you, or like so many, you hear it sprinkled in spir-itual conversations but aren’t exactly sure how to define it (you may have even used the word without really knowing what you were saying – it happens!). You also may have come from a spiritual tradition where the term had a usage different from what is found in the Bible. So we all need to understand the Biblical meaning of grace and then solidify our understanding of our own beginning with God. For some of us, this very study will be the doorway into that first experience of grace that enables us to say, “I finally understand what grace is, and I’m sure I’m a recipient of it.”
READ and THINK … Find the Answers in the Bible
1. Some people assume that they are not that much worse than anyone else, so they don’t need any special help from God. How would you put in your own words the message of the following verses to those who think themselves mor-ally ―acceptable? (See also Isaiah 59:2 and 64:6 and Galatians 3:22)
Romans 3:10-18, 23 (New Living Translation)
10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. 11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” 13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15“They rush to commit murder. 16 Destruction and misery always follow them. 17 They don’t know where to find peace.” 18 “They have no fear of God at all.” 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
2. What do we deserve because of our sin? What does God offer and how?
Romans 6:23 (New Living Translation)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
3. According to Romans 5:8, how and when did God show His love for us?
Romans 5:8 (New Living Translation)
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
4. After reading carefully Ephesians 2:8-9, write a letter to yourself explaining why you can’t, and don’t have to, earn God”s acceptance. (See also Titus 3:4-7)
Ephesians 2:8-9 (New Living Translation)
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
5. In the spiritual realm, God’s forgiveness means we’re released from spiritual debt. But our sins don’t just vanish into thin air. According to this verse, how is our debt forgiven in a spiritual sense? (See also Hebrews 10:10-14)
1 Peter 2:24 (New Living Translation)
He personally carried away our sins in his body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you clearly understand and accept God’s grace and to know that it’s just right for you.
Looking for the Daily Bible Reading Commentary for John 19-21?
As of January 2012, we are no longer providing commentary in our printed LivingItOut copy. Instead, we invite you to go online and sign-up for the electronic version at www.livingitout.tv. There you can click on the Daily Bible Reading commentary link that will allow you to go deeper into your Daily Bible Reading.