Thursday, April 10, 2014

Living So That - Chapter 1:Part 3

Here we 3..still waking up early! I honestly think God has got to be helping me with that or else I would not be able to get up every morning.

"Read Galatians 2:19-20 and share how this verse relates to our discussion."
Our lives are completely transformed when we accept Jesus "into our hearts." We no longer have to be concerned with our old lives because we have spiritually died and been reborn into a completely new way of living.

"Read John 11:1-44. Reread verses 43 and 44. Share how Lazarus' story relates to our conversation."
Lazarus literally died and was resurrected. His sisters showed their faith in God that Jesus could bring him back from the dead to start a new life.

"If sin no longer controls those who are believers in Jesus, who or what controls them?"
I think we are in control of the choices we make or the actions we take. Instead of being strongly influenced by sin, however, we can choose to be strongly influenced by Jesus.

"Contrast ways to feed the flesh and ways to feed the spirit. (See Romans 12:9-21)"
Basically, we should try our best to live like Jesus. Instead of being hateful, be loving. Instead of being selfish, be giving. Instead of being "haughty," be "lowly." Love your enemies instead of retaliating their evil. Don't seek vengeance, let God take care of it instead.

"How do you feed your spirit?"
Choosing to think before I speak when I am not feeling loving. Praying for God's help in ALL situations. Reading my Bible so that I can learn and grow in my relationship with Christ (& hopefully become more Christ-like).

"If you feel your flesh is winning in this struggle, commit today to take one step toward feeding your spirit and write a prayer of commitment below."
Heavenly Father, I know that I can't live this life on my own. I need you. Without your help and your grace, I am drowning in a sea of sinful desires. Help me to recognize when I am not making the right choices, when I am allowing "the flesh" to win. Keep my focus on you, Lord, so that I may live a life that brings others to know You. Amen.

Complete the thought .. "Jesus came so that..."
I can be free from sin's hold on me. I don't have to be chained down under sin's command. I have broken out of those chains, and I can live a life full of love and peace. I don't have to feed the flesh, because Jesus broke its hold over me. I can choose to feed my spirit.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Living So That - Chapter 1:Part 2

This morning is my second day in a row of waking up early so I can have time with God's word. I was really struggling to not snooze my alarm, but I'm up! I literally cleaned dust off of my Bible this morning. Wow. I'm excited about making these changes in my life, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to start my day with God.

"Read Galatians 3:10-14,23-25. What happens to those who refuse God's offer of grace and insist on being made right with God through obeying the law? (v. 10)"
They are cursed.

"According to this passage, how can we be made right with God? (be made righteous) (v. 11)" 
Live by faith instead of by the law.

"How have we been redeemed? (v. 13; see also Deut. 21:22-23)"
Jesus redeemed us from the curse by becoming the curse (cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree).

"Jesus died on the cross so that what? (v. 14)"
So that..we will receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

"Summarize the truth in Galatians 3:23-25 in your own words. What does this mean for your life?"
Without Jesus, we are slaves to sin. Because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross where he put himself in the place of all of us to be punished for our sins, we are no longer "held captive." We are FREE. I think a lot of times I don't truly let that thought sink in. & when I do think about it, I get super emotional. It's hard for my human brain to wrap itself around the fact that God loves me SO MUCH that he would sacrifice his Son to save me from eternal damnation and give me eternal life instead. I don't have to worry about the law of the Old Testament because Jesus took the place of all that. Thank God.

Going Deeper: "Read the verses that follow and take notes on what each verse speaks to you about the purpose of the law, how it relates to sin, and Jesus' role as it relates to the law and sin."

I'm not going to pretend that this "going deeper" section doesn't make me a little nervous. Fortunately, I watched the video of Wendy Blight posted on the Proverbs 31 OBS Blog this morning, and she addressed this issue specifically. God will provide me with my understanding. All I have to do is trust Him. So, here we go...

Romans 5:20-21
The law made people aware of how sinful they were. It didn't create more sin, but rather shined a light on what had already been going on. This made people want some sort of redemption even more. Even though we are breaking the law (sinning) all the time, Jesus came to take our place for God's judgment and made our reputations spotless. God does not see us as lawbreakers any longer. He only sees that we have been forgiven and accounted for by Jesus' sacrifice. 

Romans 7:4-6
I like verse 6 a lot. "But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit." We're not slaves to the law any longer. We don't have to worry about following every little detail of every little law in order to please God. All we have to do is serve Him.

Romans 7:13
I think this verse is talking about how the law made sin so much more obvious to people. Satan would like people to feel hopeless.  He wants us to think that the law is so hard to follow, and we are so sinful anyway..what's the point? Why even try to follow the law if we're always going to fall short? 

Does that mean the law itself is bad? Nope. Rather, it magnified our sins so that we could understand how badly we needed a Savior.

Galatians 3:23-24
Before Jesus, there were very specific laws and rituals that had to be performed to atone for one's sin. Sacrificial offerings were common and necessary. People understood the law and how to do what they were supposed to do. This knowledge prepared them for Jesus coming and becoming the only sacrifice they needed. "The Law has become our tutor, to lead us to Christ.." By understanding the law, we are better able to understand the magnitude of what Jesus offered us by dying on the cross.

Final thought:
Jesus came so that...I can be free from the law and the hold that sin has over me. All I need is Him.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Living So That - Chapter 1:Part 1

As I go through this newest OBS, I am going to try to post each part of each chapter here. I'm much better at typing than writing to get my thoughts out, so I think using this space will be super helpful. I am feeling such a strong calling to this book and what God wants me to learn from it. So, here goes, Chapter 1: Part 1 - "Share your thoughts as to why Jesus came to Earth."

I feel like this is such an easy question to answer, yet difficult at the same time. There are so many things I could say about this topic, but the gist of it is this...The World was full of sin. God loathes sin. God wanted us to be with Him in Heaven for eternity, but the only way to do that at the time was to go through a ridiculously complicated set of rituals & sacrifices to atone for your sin. God had a perfect plan to help us with our atonement once and for all, JESUS! "God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world." 1 John 4:14 (Props to AWANA for teaching me that verse!) With Jesus' sinless life and sacrifice, he took the place of all of us. He died so that we don't have to die. His ultimate sacrifice on the cross paid for all of our sins in the past, present, and future. So why did Jesus come to Earth? To save us, once and for all. FOR ALL. Hallelujah. There is nothing we have done to deserve this great gift, and there is nothing we can do to earn it. Thank you, God, for saving me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Psalm 36:7

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7

I am loving the focus this week of "priceless love." God's love cannot be bought or earned, and there is nothing we can do to make God love us more or less. I have struggled a lot ever since becoming a follower of Christ to understand this concept. Why does God love me even when I'm awful, hateful, mean, judgmental, and so many other not so great things? I strive to live the way God wants me to, but I'm human. I'm bound to mess up eventually. Yet even when I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, God is there. Never changing. Always loving. Always faithful. Always forgiving. WOW! How awesome! I am so thankful for the opportunity to read and study God's word along with A Confident Heart. I already feel my attitude changing, and I have become more positive and felt more peace. I know there is always a place of refuge in the shadow of His wings, and I am thankful that even in a world full of hate, war, and sin (including my own!), He is always there..watching and waiting with open arms.

One of my favorite songs is "One Thing Remains" by Jesus Culture. I think it illustrates the idea of God's unfailing, priceless, perfect love in such a beautiful way. So encouraging!

Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study: A Confident Heart

I am so excited to have started participating in an online Bible study. I'd been longing to join a small group or Bible study, but my church doesn't really offer any. Luckily, my cousin posted a link to the Proverbs 31 site just in time for me to join the newest OBS! I am looking forward to all that I can learn from this book and from God's word, and I'm hopeful that I will make some serious life changes as well. I can definitely use a change in my thinking and attitude, and I believe this Bible study is just what I needed. :)