Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 06.27.12

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WEDNESDAY— Trust God No Matter What!
Big Point: When everything seems to be going wrong in life and the arrows always seem to be directed at you, believe that God is going to help you and He has plans to prosper you.

Over the years, we have seen superhero Captain America evolve, but the one thing that has remained steadfast is that he always carried a shield. Not only did this shield offer a sense of protection, but there was always a deep sense of pride inherent in carrying this shield with its red, white and blue markings.

All superheroes know, whether fictional or real, that you must never discount the importance of armor. Armor is to be used for offensive and defensive attacks. But in the case of a shield, its most effective use is to block and intercept attacks. To this day, police officers and militia use shields as a means to defeat their opponent.

 

What do you do with the
dart of doubt?
Here’s what you do:
You doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs!
A lot of people are stupid and they do the opposite.
That’s dumb!
Doubts are meant
to be doubted.
Beliefs are meant
to be believed.
-Rick Warren

 

As we learned earlier this week, the enemy will always attempt to shoot arrows at you. He wants you to be distracted and fall prey to his attempts to destroy you. Don’t discount your need for the shield of faith. You must carry it every single day of your life. Carry it with pride, courage and boldness! If the statement “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” makes you feel the least bit cowardly, you will fall susceptible to the enemy’s attack. Carrying the shield of faith involves a deep-seeded trust and belief in Christ, that no matter what happens in this life, we will be shielded. At the end of the day, God’s truth isn’t based on whether you believe it or not. It’s still true even if you don’t believe it—because God cannot lie.

So, where’s your shield of faith?

 

READ and THINK…Find the answers
What does Ephesians 6:16 say we are to use in fighting the fiery arrows of the devil?

 Ephesians 6:16 (New Living Translation)
…hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

Answer:

 

What promise does Romans 8:28 give if we are called according to God’s purpose?

Romans 8:28 (New Living Translation)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Answer:

 

What does Hebrews 11:6 say happens when we don’t have faith? What’s the definition of faith according to Hebrews 11:1?

Hebrews 11:6 (New Living Translation)
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek Him.

Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation)
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
How often do you find yourself following what your feelings tell you and what your eyes see around you as opposed to what God says is true?

 

 

The fiery arrows are all mental. They likely involve doubt (Did God really say that—isn’t that just an interpretation?), discouragement (Why do we even try?), delay (Why is this taking so long?), difficulty (Why is this so hard?), and depression (I just feel like giving up!). Which fiery arrow(s) seem to be most prevalent in your life and what have you done to shield yourself from them?

 

 

Describe a time or instance in your life when you knew the fiery arrows were just plowing away at your life and you used your shield of faith to fight back?

 

 

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you to carry the shield of faith that makes you walk through life with confidence, even while at war for your life. Tell Him that you want to please Him, above anything else. Ask Him to help you read the Word of God and study its truth in order to grow deep roots in your heart to trust in it without any question or hesitation.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 06.26.12

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TUESDAY — Pursue Holiness & Share the Gospel
Big Point: Sharing the Gospel comes easy to those who relentlessly endeavor to obtain holiness.

In the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, actor Will Smith stars in the real-life story of Chris Gardner, a man driven by his desire to succeed as a Wall Street stock broker while remaining committed to his only son. Gardner endured homelessness, separation from his wife who grew weary of his failed dreams, and many sleepless nights studying for his license and no doubt wondering how he would live the next day. He was on a mission. He was in pursuit—relentlessly clawing his way to the top. Eventually, he met his mission and wrote a best-selling book (followed by a hit movie) about his life. What if we all pursued holiness with the same vigor and relentlessness that Gardner applied to his pursuit of success? It sure is inspiring to hear the stories of individuals who have a dream and understand what they had to endure to pursue that dream. We read story after story of those individuals in the Bible.

The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil.
-Marcus Cicero

When we put on God’s righteousness by pursuing holiness, we’ll likely endure sleepless nights, people who doubt our commitment to Christ, and what seems like unending trials and long days; but God promised us we will always get what we need. What a blessed assurance. Along the way, God simply asks us to put on shoes of good news and share our faith. You best believe that others will be inspired by your life. Write it down. Share it on Facebook, in a blog, on a card. Whatever you do, don’t keep it to yourself.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
What pieces of armor does God ask us to put on in Ephesians 6:14-15 and Romans 13:12?

Ephesians 6:14-15 (New Living Translation)
…the body armor of God’s righteousness … For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.

Romans 13:12 (New Living Translation)
… put on the shining armor of right living.

Answer:

 

What does Matthew 6:33 say we should pursue above all else? What will God give us in return for pursuing this?

Matthew 6:33 (New Living Translation)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Answer:

 

What does 2 Peter 3:14 tell us we are supposed to do while we wait for God to give us what we need?

2 Peter 3:14 (New Living Translation)
And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

Answer:

 

In order for us to have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ, what does Philemon 1:6 suggest that we do?

Philemon 1:6 (New International Version—1984)
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
What are you pursuing, and does it all reflect a pursuit of holiness?

If not, what are you willing to do to put on the full and shiny armor of right living?

 

 

How often do you put on the shoes of peace and goo and share your faith with others?

 

 

Do you find that you struggle most days to live a peaceful life? If you are not a peaceful person, what steps do you need to take to live that way?

 

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you stay focused and pursue holiness above all else so that you can get all that you need. Ask Him to help you endure any trials that may come. In addition, ask Him to help you have the boldness and the courage to share how your faith was strengthened in order to inspire others to make their first priority the pursuit of holiness!

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 06.25.12

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We live in a fallen and tattered world. There are many issues with our world, including wars, hate, poor economy and lost and hurting children. Sometimes it seems that disaster and devastation are overcoming us. But who is to blame for this mess? Go with your gut reaction. Some of you may say it’s the Democrats; others, the Republicans. No, not them. Who is responsible for the problems? Some of you may answer that it’s the Muslim extremists, atheists, the gay agenda, or the media. Still, you’d be wrong. They are not the real enemy. We often think our enemy is other people. It’s not. Our real enemy is Satan. There’s no pause for “but what about…” here. Satan is that prowling lion, seeking to devour you.

It’s important to know about the spiritual wickedness around you. There is spiritual light and spiritual darkness, good spirits and bad spirits, righteousness and evil. Not all things spiritual are good. Satan doesn’t fight fair and he will often put thoughts in your mind to tempt or frighten you. This is when you must catch him in the act. He cannot physically attack you, but does everything by suggestion. The battle — the spiritual war that you are fighting — is a mental battle.

Ephesians 6:12
(New Living Translation)
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

The first thing to keep in mind is that Satan uses everyone, not just non-believers. Yes, he even uses Christians. He slithers into the smallest of cracks and seeks to tear you apart from God in any way possible. He might suggest a nasty comment for your spouse or feed you lies about your worth, leading to anger, depression and discouragement. Second, Satan is a liar; the Father of Lies. You are no match for Satan. You trying to take on Satan is like arriving for a sword fight armed with a toothpick. You will lose. He is not afraid of you; he doesn’t tremble at your presence. You can’t hurt him. In the song, “The War Inside” by Switchfoot, they sing: “I get the feeling that we’re living in sci-fi; I get the feeling that our weapons are lo-fi.”

It’s true. The weapons we have, or think we have, are not powerful enough to destroy Satan. He is not affected by guns, knives, bombs or physical attack. None of these will work. However, as we learned last week, God’s most used command is, “DO NOT FEAR”. You cannot defeat Satan, but God can! Satan is going to come after you. He is a deceiver and he seeks to separate you from God, but you need to be prepared. Know your enemy and be ready to fight against him. How? Put on the full armor of God.

This armor includes: the Belt of Truth, Breast Plate of Righteousness, Shoes of Good News, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation and Sword of the Spirit. Each of these pieces is necessary and will protect you as you fight the battle. Think of it this way: How many superheroes do you know that fight without their special suit? We are God’s superheroes here in this world, and He has provided us with the perfect armor. Pick it up and fight for your soul!

 

MONDAY — Use The Full Armor of God to Fight
Big Point: The full armor of God is our defense and weapon against Satan, and we take it up as Jesus taught us — to fight for our souls.

We know our enemy is Satan, and now we fight! As we start to discover who our enemy is and understand exactly what he is capable of, we need to apply the full armor of God to resist him. In Ephesians 6:13-17, Paul lists all the pieces of armor, their bodily positions, and their uses. First, the belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s righteousness will help us to stand firm. Next, our shoes of the Good News and its peace will prepare us. Then, we take up the shield of faith to stop Satan’s fiery arrows. Finally, we affix the helmet of salvation and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

I Choose Jesus
Moriah Peters © 2011

I stand unashamed,
trusting in one name
‘cause I have seen the cross
and I believe

 

Today, we put on the belt of truth! In his message, Lee suggested that we think like Jesus. Jesus is the greatest example of someone with his belt of truth tightly fastened. When Jesus was faced with temptation from the enemy, he always countered with the truth. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” And so we deepen our roots in Jesus. He is the foundation that strengthens our faith and teaches us the truth. How do you make sure your belt of truth is secure? Grow deeper into relationship with Jesus and allow him to show you the truth.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
When we are exposed, we feel vulnerable and weak. Think about the expression “shaking in your boots”. That’s us, standing without armor against Satan. Read Ephesians 6:10-13. Who can we trust to protect and empower us? What must we do to stand firm against the devil?

Ephesians 6:10-11, 13 (New Living Translation)
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

Answer:

 

You may be thinking, how can I get a belt of truth? Where do I find it? Read Colossians 2:7-8. What does it say about rooting ourselves, whom should we build our lives upon? What should we ignore in favor of this person?

Colossians 2:7-8 (New Living Translation)
7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. 8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Take another look at Colossians 2:7-8. We are overrun by “empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense” in our society today. There are numerous people and companies that work to convince us about different paths. It even seems like so many advertisements entice us to sin. This is where you turn around and tell Satan, “I know this comes from you.” How, then, can you gain the confidence to face him? It starts with the belt of truth. Let’s think like Jesus. Put on your belt of truth and stand firm. Write down a few problems, issues or people you think are causing problems in your life.

1.

2.

3.

How can you acknowledge the work of Satan in these situations?

 

 

What can you do today to grow down your roots into Jesus and to become strong in the truth he has taught you?

 

 

 

Pray … God, what do you want me to know and do?
God does have the power to defeat the devil. The devil was defeated on the cross, but he still roams here looking for prey, doing anything to separate us from God. Ask God to strengthen your spiritual senses. Seek Jesus to wrap the truth deep inside your soul. Ask God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help you understand your enemy so that you can apply the armor of God in this spiritual war.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 06.22.12

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FRIDAY — How will you fight your fear?
Big Point: Those that successfully fight their fear always have a clear cut fear-fighting strategy for when (not if) fear strikes again. 

How did you do this week? Do you feel bold, confident and excited about fighting your fear? Or, are you still trembling, stuck or overwhelmed with the idea of even approaching the subject?

Our prayer is that you have begun to establish a pathway toward fighting your fear. We learned this week that we must begin by identifying our fear. After that, we need to adjust our habits followed by magnifying our view of Christ. It’s important to understand that this process may take some time. But, we must be intentional with our approach and not take this subject lightly. The enemy knows the best place to attack us is in our mind, where fear lives. So we must always be on the offensive, ready to fight back any fear that may come our way.

Today, let’s take some time to read one final scripture and write out the steps you will take when fear strikes.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible Say?
Are you feeling powerless or weak? If so, read Isaiah 40:28-31. What must we do to gain new strength?

Isaiah 40:28-31 (New Living Translation)
28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

 

LIVE … What will you do now?
After completing this week’s Bible study, what is the most important thing you learned?

 

 

Look back to Monday where you identified your fears. Did that particular fear strike you between Monday and today? Were you able to implement anything you learned from this week? Did you notice any difference?

 

 

ACTION STEPS MOVING FORWARD: Take this time to write out the three steps you will take when fear strikes. Be sure to look over the past few days to help you write out your answers.

1.

2.

3.

 

If you find your fear to be obsessive and compulsive, to the point where it is harming you and keeping you from maintaining and/or building relationships, perhaps you need to take some more active steps, such as:

  • Life Support: Life Support is a 13-week program that helps people who are trying to overcome a hurt, habit or hang-up. Life Support meets on Tuesday evenings at 7pm during the summer at the Perrysburg and South Toledo Campuses. Go to cedarcreek.tv under the “Get Connected” tab to learn more about Life Support.
  • One-On-One Coaching or Therapy: Perhaps you could use the assistance of a Life Coach or clinical therapist, similar to Tim Butler who spoke last week on the topic of “Fight for your Marriage” (www.tim-butler.com). Additional therapists are listed on our “Counseling Referral List” located on our Community Care page at cedarcreek.tv under the “Get Connected” tab.
  • Medically supervised attention or medication: After praying and seeking out wise counsel, you may find it necessary to rely upon medical supervision.

 

PRAY … God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you take the steps necessary to fight your fear and to create a strategy that will help you stand with bold and courageous faith.

 

Weekend Updates!

  • Looking for a fun way to get involved and give back? Sign-up to run a 5k on Saturday, June 30th at 10am. The cost is only $16.00. Contact globaldistance@cedarcreek.tv. Perhaps golfing is your thing. Get a team together and golf in the CedarCreek golf outing on July 14th. Contact johm@cedarcreek.tv for more information.
  • Want to have a vote at CedarCreek? If you are a CedarCreek member, you can vote on issues related to our elders and our budget at the next CedarCreek business meeting to be held on Thursday, June 28th at 6:15pm at the Perrysburg Campus. Pick up your annual business packet at any Welcome Center. Please be sure to complete your membership renewal so that your vote counts.
  • The Leadership Summit is coming to CedarCreek again. Willow Creek Association Leadership Summit will be held at CedarCreek Church on August 9th and 10th. The early bird special is only $75.00 and you can sign up online at cedarcreek.tv.
  • Interested in getting baptized? New Community is scheduled to take place at the West Toledo Campus this Sunday, June 24th at 6pm. If you are interested in getting baptized, you can attend the 4pm baptism class at the West Toledo Campus if you have not already attended a baptism class.

Living It Out: June 2012
“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT)

 

Living It Out
It is the dream of CedarCreek that everyone who calls this their church home will be reading and studying the same topics, both individually and in groups. Each week, join with thousands of others at CedarCreek Church in applying God’s Word, the Bible, into your daily life. Our hope is that while we learn and grow together, as individuals and as a church, we will collectively live out the weekend message.

Living It Out resources, such as the Daily Bible Study, Daily Bible Reading Plan, Discussion Questions and Scripture Memory Verses are designed to help us embrace a missional mindset…a mindset that compels us to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.

Living It Out: Daily Bible Study…Daily Bible study activities to reflect on the weekend message

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan…Read through the Bible in 1 year—Old and New Testament will alternate month to month.

Living It Out: Discussion Questions…Weekly questions to discuss with others

Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

All of these resources are also available electronically at www.livingitout.tv, where you can subscribe to have any or all of them emailed to you as they are updated.

We Want Your Feedback!
Tell us about any questions or comments you have about this week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study. Forward them to DianaP@cedarcreek.tv

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan scriptures are listed for each day. By completing each of the daily readings, you will read the entire Old Testament in 1 year. These readings are separate from the Daily Bible Study.

 

RESOURCES:
The New Living Translation Bible

Fear and other Uninvited Guests
Harriet Learner


One Thousand Gifts
Ann Voskamp

 

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Stephanie Coil
Becky Miller
Diana Patton
Barb Roose 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 06.21.12

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THURSDAY – Magnify Your View of Christ
Big Point: In the midst of our fear we forget who Jesus really is…how powerful he is. 

The Bible gives us many examples of people who forgot how powerful God is in the midst of their fear. In the Old Testament, Moses had lots of fears about his ability to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and how he should explain who God really is. Moses asked God, “Who should I say you are?” God simply responds, “I AM.” Not… “I was such and such” or “I will be ________ in the future.” God is simply present with us, no matter what we are going through.

King David states in Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” David knew who God was and how powerful He is and so David did not let real fears overcome him or diminish his faith.

In the New Testament, the new Christians feared persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. Peter, a leader in the new church, feared persecution just like the others. Acts 12:6-11 describes how Peter was miraculously delivered. The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel rousted Peter and commanded him to get up and get dressed. The chains fell off Peter and they passed through the guard posts and came to an iron gate which opened before them. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him. Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”

When we trust God, even when there are real threats and real fear, God is always present and makes a way for us to survive.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
Jesus told his disciples that he was powerful as he commissioned them to do his work. Read Matthew 28:18-20 and answer the questions below:

Matthew 28:18-20 (New International Version)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

According to Matthew 28:18, how much authority had been given to Jesus?

  1. A little
  2. None
  3. A lot
  4. All

 

In verse 20, where does it tell us Jesus is now?

 

In Romans, the Bible tells us that victory is ours through Christ. What are the things that cannot separate us from God’s love according to these verses?

Romans 8:37-39 (New Living Translation)
37No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Answer:

 

To magnify our view of Christ, we need to remember who gives us strength and what we can do through Christ. What can I do through Christ? Who gives me strength?

Philippians 4:13 (New International Version)
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Where is your faith today? You’ve identified fears that you may have. Now you need to look at each of those fears with the knowledge that Christ is with us always.

 

Make a list of your fears and then respond to that fear knowing Jesus gives you the strength to overcome them. Use your Bible’s concordance to find verses that address your fears. Consider memorizing those verses.

My Fear:

What the Bible says about my fear:

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
As you work on fighting your fear this week, ask God to reveal Himself to you and to remind you that He is with you always. There is nothing that He cannot accomplish through you. Ask for His help to give you the courage and strength to face your fears.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 06.20.12

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WEDNESDAY: Adjust Your Habits
Big Point: Be disciplined in Christ and change that nagging bad habit for good!

Here we go again. That same nagging issue comes up and we respond the exact same way with fits of rage, panic, hysteria, doubt, screaming “the sky is falling” and “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Oh surely, we want to change. We say we don’t want to fall victim to the same trap that we always seem to fall into. Yet, when our backs are against the wall, we completely forget about Christ and fall into our same old habits. You are not alone.

The disciples who hung out with Jesus responded the exact same way that blustery night when Jesus was just snoozing in the back of the boat. These guys knew they had the almighty God in the boat with them, but fear struck and they lost sight of who God is. They shouted, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are going to drown?” Really? Can’t you just see Jesus rubbing his eyes after waking up and shaking his head? Jesus responded in Mark 4:40, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples lacked faith. When we respond that same way, we lack faith.

The definition of insanity:

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

 

By now, you likely get the fact that you can’t work on changing a habit like this on your own will and might. When fear strikes, our brains trigger automatic responses that say “flee or fight.” This automatic trigger can only be changed by intentionally allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Maturity in Christ allows us to respond to our fears with a settled and strong disposition that shows a transformed character—ready to fight whatever comes with the sword of the spirit, belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
What does Galatians 6:7-9 say will happen to us if we always live by our sinful nature versus if we live by the Spirit?

Galatians 6:7-9 (New Living Translation)
7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Answer:

 

What does James 1:22-24 say happens to us when we simply listen to God’s word but don’t obey? What does verse 25 say happens to us when we look perfectly into the word of God?

James 1:22-25 (New Living Translation)
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Answer:

 

What will happen to us if we train in godliness?

1 Timothy 4:8 (New Living Translation)
“….but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

Answer:

 

LIVE …What will you do now?
What negative or positive habits do you have that affect you physically, mentally and spiritually?

  • Negative physical habits:
  • Positive physical habits:
  • Negative mental habits:
  • Positive mental habits:
  • Negative spiritual habits:
  • Positive spiritual habits:

 

Is there something you know you should be doing but fear keeps you from doing it? Is there something you should not be doing but fear keeps you from confessing?

 

How often do you read the word of God and find yourself responding to what it says in your everyday life? Would you say you “live” out the word of God most days?

 

 

In order to change a habit, we need to train in godliness. Have you established a godliness training program? What does it look like?

 

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you listen and obey the word of God and to develop a daily godliness training program. Ask Him to help you adjust your habits to help you fight your fear.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 06.19.12

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TUESDAY — Fear Makes Your World “Small”!
Big Point: We must overcome our fears in order to experience ALL that Jesus came and died to win for us!

In the best-selling book, One Thousand Gifts, author Ann Voscamp chronicles her lifelong struggle with fear, anxiety and depression. Her earliest life memory is when her two-year-old sister was hit and killed by the milk truck that delivered fresh milk to her family’s rural Canadian farmhouse. Voscamp shares about how she was gripped by deep anxiety that was both spiritual and physical. As the wife of a farmer and mother to six children, Voscamp was continually challenged to fight the overwhelming pressure of fear and anxiety in order to live a life of faith.

As she reflected on her fight to overcome fear, she delivers the following insight:

“Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear. To lack faith perhaps isn’t so much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God, as fear and distrust that there is a good God. If I don’t emotionally believe, practically believe in the goodness of God, am I a believer? Don’t the believers have to believe? Don’t the saved have to trust the Savior? For yes, salvation from sins, but this too: the salvation from fear…

If I deeply trusted God in all the facets of my life, wouldn’t that deep trust heal my anxiety, my self-condemnation, my soul holes? The fear is suffocating, terrorizing, and I want the remedy, and it is trust. Trust is everything.

If fear keeps our lives small, does a life that receives all of God in this moment grow large, too?”

READ and THINK…Find the answers
In John 10:10, Jesus is speaking to believers to let them know that Satan desires to create crippling fear in the lives of anyone who desires to live as a follower of Christ. Yet, what is Jesus’ desire for our lives?

John 10:10 (New Living Translation)
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Answer:

 

What does Jesus mean by the phrase “rich and satisfying life”? What does that look like for the follower of Christ?

Answer:

 

When fear exists, we are constricted and constrained. Fear keeps us closed in and captive—our lives become small and suffocating. Yet, God tells us that He has the power to free even the most fearful people from their fear-based prison mindset. What help does God promise in Isaiah 40:28-31?

Isaiah 40:28-31 (New Living Translation)
28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Answer:

 

LIVE …What will you do now?
Yesterday, you were asked to identify your fears. Now, in what ways are your fears constricting your life? How has fear made your life “smaller” instead of “larger”?

 

Imagine for a moment that Jesus was sitting right next to you whispering the words of John 10:10 to you. Then, he went on to describe what the rich and satisfying life in him would look like. In the space below, complete the following statements according to what you know Jesus promises us in scripture:

 

Without fear, I would be free FROM:

 

Without fear, I would be free TO:

 

Without fear, I would no longer:

 

Without fear, I would look forward to:

 

PRAY … God, what do you want me to know and do?
When we dare to trust that Jesus has come to give us a rich and satisfying life, our hearts should instantly fill with hope. Why? Because Jesus has never defaulted on a promise to us. Therefore, the fears we have are powerless in comparison to Jesus’ promises. Today is your opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ words in John 10:10. Ask Jesus to give you a picture of what a “rich and satisfying” life in him would look like. Make sure to make note of anything you sense as a result of today’s prayer so that you can reflect on the rest of this week’s study.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 06.18.12

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Some people say that fear is our strongest, most powerful emotion. In fact, fear is often characterized as the “mule” driving our actions as well as our motivations. What is fear? It is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Fear is what causes us to double or triple check our doors at night to make sure they are locked so that unwanted intruders don’t break into our homes. Fear compels parents to constantly warn their children about accepting candy or rides from strangers. Rightly or wrongly, fear can be the motivation behind many of the things we do. Too often, fear is what chains us to inappropriate relationships, bad jobs or a variety of sins.

What are you afraid of? Some people think that fear is a sin. Fear isn’t always bad. It’s good to be afraid of some things! We should be afraid of house fires, chest pains, burglars and a high fat diet. It is important that we understand which fears we need to fight to overcome and which fears we need to respect.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

In 2011, the movie “The King’s Speech” won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The movie was based on the true story of Bertie, the son of England’s King George V, who ended up becoming king after his brother’s scandalous abdication of the royal throne. Bertie ascended to the throne as England teetered at the brink of war and the country desperately needed a strong leader. However, the new king had a debilitating speech impediment—a potentially catastrophic handicap for a king who needed to inspire and lead his country. Bertie’s wife, Elizabeth, hired a speech therapist and “The King’s Speech” portrays the unorthodox course of treatment to help Bertie overcome his speech impediment. He would overcome his fear and courageously deliver a powerful speech over the radio that both inspires and unites the kingdom in battle.

When it comes to the topic of fear, one of the worst things we can do is refuse to identify our fears or pretend they don’t exist. God knows that we have fears. There are hundreds of references to fear in the Bible; therefore, we need to acknowledge them. Once we acknowledge our fears, then we must choose whether or not we will adjust our reaction to our fears—in other words, we must ask ourselves the question: “What are we going to do differently in order to overcome the fear?” We must evaluate which habits perpetuate our fear and develop habits that enable us to overcome those fears.

One of the most important keys to overcoming our fear is to magnify (enlarge) our view of Christ. In this week’s LivingItOut, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in over a dozen verses regarding how to live above our fears. When we take our eyes off what we fear long enough to gaze upon the face of Christ, we realize that our fears pale in comparison to his tremendous power, love and sovereignty. Jesus Christ came to earth to die on the cross to remove the debilitating power of fear and failure from our lives so that we could live in freedom from fear. Sure, there are a lot of things to fear in this world. However, when we live in Christ, we have his power and the tools to fight our fears…and WIN!

MONDAY — Identify Your Fear
Big Point: When we listen to and identify our fears, we can begin to fight against them.

Fear can be crippling. Perhaps you fear the dark, spiders, heights, small spaces or crowds. Phobias.com lists a wide variety of fears, over 500 in fact, including: Homilophobia-fear of sermons; Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia-fear of the number 666; and Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia-fear of long words. Often, we struggle to identify our fears because we are zeroed in on the surface issue. We focus on the emotion of fear, instead of the belief that causes it.

In his message, Ben discussed the idea that God’s forsaking or punishing us may be the deepest fear that drives most of our lives. The threat of condemnation and abandonment terrifies us and we bury it, hoping it will never come true. The most frequent command in the Bible is, “Do not fear,” but not all fear is bad. It can act as a warning system, alerting us to danger or to our needs. However, when we fail to identify our fears, they become our masters, driving us into isolation. Fear then works as our guiding principle, instead of love.

 

“Fear is a message–sometimes helpful, sometimes not–but often conveying critical information about our beliefs, our needs, and our relationship to the world around us.”
HARRIET LERNER
“Fear and Other Uninvited Guests”

 

Fear is a message and when we listen to it and label it, we can begin to learn more about ourselves, our relationships and God. Identified fear illuminates those things we try to hold onto and control or protect. Once aware of it, we can use fear to redirect our passions and emotions, relying on God to dispel the fear and His love to strengthen us.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
We often allow fear to rule our lives, basing decisions on it and cowering under it’s so-called power. Read 2 Timothy 1:7. What does it say about us? What kind of spirit did God create in us?

2 Timothy 1:7 (New Living Translation)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Answer:

 

Ben discussed the fear that God will forsake us as a deeply rooted belief. Perhaps you sometimes believe that if you are not good enough, God will abandon you. Maybe you avoid people or situations because you feel alone. Read Deuteronomy 31:6. What does it tell you about God?

Deuteronomy 31:6 (New Living Translation)
Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid of them! The LORD your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.”

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
When we identify our fears, we have a greater chance of fighting against them. What fear have you identified in your life? Some of you may need to take some time to reflect on that question. Here are a few questions to guide you:

 

What events or circumstances cause anxiousness, stress, paranoia?

 

Whose opinion matters way too much?

 

Is there someone or something you are consistently intimidated by?

 

What potential future event are you constantly trying to solve or prepare for?

 

 

In Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, Sarah Young writes from Jesus’ point of view, saying, “I am all around you, like a cocoon of Light. My presence with you is a promise, independent of your awareness of Me.” We’ll look at this more later in the week, but if we can remember that in the darkness of fear we are equipped with a light that casts it all away, we can begin to understand and obey God’s command, “DO NOT FEAR.” How can you clue into God’s presence around you and absorb the perfect love that casts out fear?

 

 

 

Pray … God, what do you want me to know and do?
God’s love is perfect and all powerful. Ask God to help you identify your fears so that you can have the courage to fight against them. Ask Him to make you more aware of His presence so that you can feel enveloped by His light.