Sunday, May 30, 2010

Experiencing God - Unit 2

Unit 2 - Looking To God

Verse to Remember
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Day 1 - God-Centered Living

John 12:24-25  24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

I read this verse several times trying to fully grasp it. And that is why I love the workbook concept.  I happened to glance at the title of today's lesson and it all fell so beautifully and simply into place! Don't you just love it when the Holy Spirit opens your eyes so wide!

Verse 24 - Only when we die to this world through salvation can God work through us to save many more. 
Verse 25 - If you love your life on earth you have it all wrong!  Hating this earthly life means that you are aware of the sin of this world and you should then be focused on God by repenting of your sins and eagerly awaiting your eternal life with Him.

Day 2 - God's Plan Versus Our Plan
God works His purposes through us. If we say things like "I can't", "Not right now", "I don't think I am able to" then we are focused on our own inadequacies.  Often God knows that we can't do it on our own, but He can! He wants to do it Himself through us!
Day 3 - God Takes the Initiative
Philippians 2:13 (NIV) for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Philippians 2:13 (NLT) For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.
Sometimes I find that a different translation helps to make a verse more clear.  In this case the NLT showed me that God gives me the desire to obey Him.  How wonderful! He wants me to obey Him and so he helps me to do it. 
Day 4 - God Speaks to His People
God speaks to us by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church.  The deeper our relationship with God, the better we are able to hear Him.
Day 5 - God Speaks with a Purpose
Matthew 25:21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
God speaks to us when he has a purpose.  A small assignment may be to develop your character in preparation for a larger assignment.  If we are faithful in obeying God in the small things He asks of us, we are already blessed.

Experiencing God - Unit 1

Unit 1 - God's Will and Your Life

Verse to Remember
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

I simply adore this verse.  It was even part of the readings at my wedding!  I can nothing on my own, God guides every moment of my life.  As long as I remain on the path God provides for me (my branch) my life will be blessed.

Day 1 - Jesus is Your Way

John 14:6 I am the way, the truth and the life.

Jesus is the way!  When you follow Him your faith and trust grow providing you with a sense of freedom. You do not have to worry about the next step, or any step or situation.  God is planning all of those steps for you, He puts obstacles in your path.  All of it is learn and grow ever closer to Him and His purposes.

Day 2 - Jesus is Your Model

Every experience, every bit of knowledge and wisdom should be brought to a test against the Bible.  We need to hold the truths of the Bible as our guide for everything.  Our faith is guided by the Bible and it will reveal the truth about our experiences.

As you focus on the Word, your focus shifts from being on yourself to where it should be - on God.  God works in our lives everyday, but without knowledge and understanding of the Word, we may be experiencing God but are not able to recognize Him.

Day 3 - Learning to be a Servant of God

The following is directly quoted (in italics) from page 18 of the Experiencing God workbook.  It spoke so loudly to me that I wanted to share it!

The author wrote: 
We are a "doing people". We always want to be doing something. Once in a while someone will say, "Don't just stand there, do something." 
"I think God is crying out and shouting to us, "Don't just do something.  Stand there! Enter into a love relationship with Me. Adjust your life to Me. Let Me Love you and reveal Myself to you as I work through you".  A time will come when the doing will be called for, but we cannot skip the relationship.  The relationship with God must come first.
Maybe this spoke so loudly to me today because for a moment I felt guilty about taking the afternoon to do this, to spend time with this workbook and blog about it. I have preschool lessons to prepare,  accounting cases to grade, never ending laundry to do, so much cleaning to do, tons of unpacking still to do, an incredible amount of yardwork, etc, etc, etc.  Blah Blah Blah you get it!

The funny thing is that when I first did this lesson I did not highlight the "Stand There!" portion.  But today as I reviewed it, there it was - screaming at me!!! 

The relationship with God must come first.  In an effort to change my habits, to make spending time with God a priority, I have been leaving my Bibles and Bible study materials on the table.  I leave it sitting out where I can see it, where it reminds me as I am passing by to spend some time and sit down to do it. Sometimes I may only get in 5 minutes before I am interrupted by some preschooler crisis.  But that is 5 minutes of time with God that I would not have spent before I made this small change!  For those 5 minutes I can stand still and grow! 

Day 4 - God Works Through His Servants, Part 1

Amos 3:7 Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

God reveals His plans as He works through us.  The Bible helps us to understand the ways of God so that when He reveals His plans we can recognize that it is God at work.

Day 5 - God Works Through His Servants, Part 2

God chooses ordinary people to work through.  The Bible calls Elijah, Peter and John ordinary, yet they did extraordinary things.  God working through ordinary people makes them extraordinary.

The author says on page 25 of the workbook:
When you believe that nothing significant can happen through you, you have said more about your belief in God than you have said about yourself.

So do you believe that God can work through you and do significant and extraordinary things?  I believe that!  He is God, and He has the right and the ability to do anything with me!

Experiencing God Bible Study

A couple weeks ago the Wednesday evening Bible study that I attend started a new Bible Study.  The workbook that goes with it is called Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry T. Blackaby & Claude V. King

If you are interested in getting the workbook for yourself, here is a link to where I purchased my workbook on Amazon.  (by the way, I generally purchase used books on Amazon and have always received books in fantastic condition) 

Ok, so I am actually in the 4th unit right now, but thought I would spend the afternoon backtracking and blogging about the study so far.  What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon!  That way I should be able to keep up with it better as I go.  Finish a day, blog my thoughts.  Great plan, right?  We shall see!

This study is a guided workbook study that from what I have seen so far is a fantastic study in the foundations of where a Christian should be focused.  There are five daily studies per unit and each study covers quite alot of information so I think I will simply write about what spoke to me the most while trying to stay with in that day's topic.  At least that is the plan - for now.

Of course, I do want to give credit to the authors for anything that I will be posting about this study.  My walk down the path of my own spiritual growth is simply being guided by the Holy Spirit through the aid of this study.  I am also certain that the authors were guided by the Holy Spirit as they wrote the study.  All credit therefore belongs with God!

The back of the workbook is simple.  It repeats the title Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God then lists three basic but important points.
  • Learn to hear when God is speaking to you.
  • Find out where God is working and join Him.
  • Experience God doing through you what only God can do!
Wow, sounds great doesn't it!  Then let's begin...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A new focus

This blog has been silent for much too long! No excuses, no whining or complaining - just time to move forward. Here is what is new and upcoming for this blog.

Book Reviews
The previous post you will have seen a book review. I have reviewed several books over on my other blog and thought that I would use this blog to review only biblically based books such as bibles or bible reference type books. The first book that came up that caught my attention was the God's Promises book. I then decided that I would include any reviews for childrens books on this blog as well.

By the way, I highly recommend blogging book reviews for Thomas Nelson. Free books just for your opinion. How great is that!

Beth Moore's Daniel Study
As some of you may know we recently moved back to our house in North Carolina. When we got back I joined some wonderful ladies in Beth Moore's Esther study. It has been incredible! So much so that a few weeks ago I raised the question about what study would we do next. Well, that eventually landed me into the role of faciliator of Beth Moore's Daniel study which we will start on June 8.

I have no idea how this will work yet, but I wondered if I could blog about the study as I prepare for each week. Like I said, I have no idea what that means yet! I plan to start to prepare for this study this week so I will blog as I go???

Experiencing God Study
Being back here also means I am back to attending Wed bible study at our church. We just started a new study called "Experiencing God" and it has a workbook that goes with it. Of course I had to get the workbook! I may or may not blog about that, I am currently just trying to catch up as I got the book right before the second week. Meaning I have three weeks to catch up on before Wed! Yikes!!

Summer Siesta - Ruth Study
And then, some of the same ladies from the Esther study will also be doing the Daniel study with me. But one of them found a summer study on Beth Moore's blog, the study will be on the book of Ruth. Maybe I will blog about that too???

All I can say is WOW! You would think I would be overwhelmed by all these workbooks bible studies going on at the same time. But I am not! By faith I am jumping into them and pray I can be a sponge to absorb what I need to hear and learn what I need to grow spiritually. It is time to put this blog to better use... But grow... so let's grow, will you join me? I am praying that you will. Please comment and let me know you have been here.

God’s Promises for Girls by Jack Countryman & Amy Parker

God’s Promises for Girls by Jack Countryman & Amy Parker

You have probably seen “God’s Promises” books before. This book is the same concept. There is a topic followed by three or four scripture verses related to that topic.

It is titled as God’s Promises for Girls but there is only a handful of topics that are written specifically for girls, such as “The Woman You’ll grow up to be” or “Being a Good Daughter”. I assume that most of the topics are the same as the book written for boys. The big difference would be the absolutely darling illustrations for each topic. Cute Cute Cute!!!!

The structure of the topics is organized well and makes it easy to find a topic that you might want to deal with immediately. For example, on the day that I received this book my preschooler stole some candy from the candy jar. I flipped to the topic “God’s Promises When…You are Tempted to Do the Wrong Thing”. The quick story on page 20 read as follows: The smell of fresh cookies fills the air, But you remember Mom saying, “Don’t!” So when a sneaky voice says, “Yes, you can,” Make sure your reply is, “I won’t!” It was followed with 3 verses on temptation. Fit our situation perfectly!

My kids are still talking about what to do when you hear the sneaky voice! I see this as a book we will use for a long, long time.

Disclosure: Thomas Nelson Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their book review bloggers program.

I review for BookSneeze