Experiencing God ~ a poem to wrap it up

Our ladies’ Bible study of Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” is about to wrap up. Our group leader has asked me to contribute by providing a poem, prayer, or blessing to give to the ladies … something they can take home with them at the end of the study.

Well, I’ve been searching through the Internet for something like this, and just not finding what I’m looking for. And, I’ve gone through numerous books in my own collection, and still haven’t found what I’m looking for. So, I finally gave up — and wrote my own poem to sum up “Experiencing God“. I based it off the “7 Realities” found throughout the book. 😉

EXPERIENCING GOD by Kate Matthews
You are at work through every aspect
Of our daily lives
If we’d just pay attention, wait
And open up our eyes

You lovingly pursue us, call us
Into loving arms
Your love is real and personal
Not fake and full of charms

We all have been invited
To do what we see You do
You’ll do a God-sized work through us
And it’ll change us through and through

You speak to us, Lord, to reveal Your plans
Your purposes and ways
Through the church and prayer and circumstances
Your Word comes to life today

Sometimes we get to doubting
That what we’ve heard is from You
But if we act in faith on what we’ve heard
We’ll know it’s true

You ask us to adjust our lives
To join You in Your plans
We can trust that, if we do so,
You’ll hold us safe in Your hands

As we work to obey You, God
In all you ask, we trust
That the world will be changed for the better
By experiencing God through us.

© 2011, Kate Matthews
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What God’s Been Teaching Me Lately… (Feb.27)

Through several sources, the same themes keep popping up… and that almost always means that God is trying to get my attention! 😉

Not only am I learning this stuff from my current Bible study homework (“Experiencing Godby Henry & Richard Blackaby), but I also read it again in my review book, “Lazarus Awakening” by Joanna Weaver… and some of it popped up elsewhere, too!

Lesson 1: We can’t make our plans and then ask God to bless them. Instead, we are to ask God what His plans are, and then join Him in those! (see Proverbs 16:9)

“Part of putting childish ways behind us,
spiritually speaking, involves setting aside
our misconceptions that if God loves us,
He must act according to our specifications,
our scripts, and especially our time lines.”
~ Joanna Weaver, “Lazarus Awakening

Lesson 2: God doesn’t want us following a formula in our faith, or in our relationship with Him.

“I wish I could outline
Ten Easy Steps to Hear God Speak ~ Guaranteed!
That would appeal to our
human craving for formulas.
But God’s communication is far
more individualized and intimate
than anything a self-help bestseller could teach.”
~ Joanna Weaver, “Lazarus Awakening

• Lesson 3: Knowing God better helps me to hear Him better… I need to spend time in growing my relationship with Him.

“Since intimacy with us has always
been God’s goal, it makes sense that
hearing His voice would be linked to that
very thing. The better we get to know Him,
in other words,
the better we hear Him.”
~ Joanna Weaver, “Lazarus Awakening

Lesson 4: God speaks to me, personally.

“…I believe the Lord is speaking to me
more often than I know.
The problem is, I’m not always listening.”
~ Joanna Weaver, “Lazarus Awakening

Lesson 5: God wants a LOVE relationship with me.

“…for I have ransomed you.
      I have called you by name; you are mine
…because you are precious to me.
      You are honored, and I love you
…You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
      and understand that I alone am God.
…(Isaiah 43:1, 4, 10…)

Lesson 6: God’s silence doesn’t indicate His rejection of me.

“The teacher is always silent during a test.”
~ Joanna Weaver, quoting Diane Freitag,
in “Lazarus Awakening

Lesson 7: I need to know who I am, and WHOSE I am.

“…two very important things we cannot
live without: …identity…and security.”
~ Joanna Weaver, “Lazarus Awakening

Learning…

Well, since I did a post, already, about the stuff I’m unsure about, I thought I’d also do a post about what I’m learning / enjoying in this same study, “Experiencing God” by Henry & Richard Blackaby (and Claude King).

p. 14 ~ “Look to see how God generally works throughout the Scriptures. When you learn how God has consistently related to people throughout history, you can expect Him to work in a similar way with you.”

I really liked this! It’s a good reminder, first of all, that God never changes. And, I like knowing that God has provided a guidebook for our lives, so we can see how things were resolved in the past, and have hope for our future.

p.15 ~ The focus needs to be on God, not on my life.” (example: not “What can I do for God?”, but “What does God want to do through me?”)

Too often we make it about ourselves… we forget that we’re playing a part in God’s story, and that life here on earth isn’t about us. I’m certainly guilty of this. I get so caught up in the day-to-day dramas of life, that I forget that there’s a bigger picture.

p. 20 ~ “God wants you to come to a greater knowledge of Him by experience.”

I can definitely say that I’ve gotten to know God better through experiences of Him than I have had than through any reading I’ve done, or through any teaching I’ve heard. God has shown Himself in many different ways, sometimes more powerful, sometimes more subtle, but always in a way that I knew it was Him.

p. 25 ~ “As Moses obeyed God, God accomplished through Moses what Moses could not do in his own strength.”

Over and over, in my reading of the Bible (and through other Christian sources), I’ve learned that I can do nothing in my own strength and actually succeed… it has to be God that does it through me, if it’s going to work. But yet, over and over again, I go back to trying to do things in my own strength, praying that God will help me succeed. How silly! “For apart from me you can do nothing!“, God says in John 15:5. But, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me“, He also says in Philippians 4:13. 😉

p.33 ~ “God-centeredness requires the daily death of self and submission to God.”

A lot of times I’ll think that submission and death-of-self are a one-time thing… I’ll pray for God to take the reins, and think that it’ll all be smooth-sailing from there, only to find out the next day that I have to lay it all down again!

p. 43 ~ “God has not changed. He still speaks to people.”

This is comforting. I love knowing that my God is the same one that I read about through the Scriptures; the same God who sent His Son to die for me; the same God who says He loves me. And, I love that He speaks to me. 😉

p. 45 ~ “Do not assume that the moment God calls you, you are prepared for the assignment.” -and- p.47 ~ “God uses the smaller assignments to develop character… If God has a great task for you, He will expand your character to match that assignment.

Sometimes we have to be patient and wait to see what God will do. Sometimes we’re called by God, but we’re not yet fully ready to take on what He’s asked of us.

I liked how, in the study book, the authors used the example of Abraham… God told him that he’d be the father of many nations, but Abraham had to wait 25 years to start to see anything come from that promise! In the meantime, though, God was preparing Abraham to be able to live that out… He knew that Abraham’s character had to be developed a bit more before Abraham would be ready to be the father of Isaac, etc.

p. 48 ~ “Often God will deliberately ask you to do what you failed to do in your own strength. Now you will do it in His strength.”

Anyone other than me find that they have to go through the same things over and over again, ’til they finally get it? LOL. I’m an awfully stubborn creature, apparently, ’cause there are some lessons that I have to repeat time and time again, in order to fully learn that God is the one who is in charge. 😕

p. 53 ~ “I could say I obey Him, I serve Him, I worship Him, I fear Him. But I cannot say I love Him.

Ugh. This one is a hard one to admit to. But, I think it’s true of me. It’s not that I don’t love God at all — it’s more so that I don’t love Him enough. The Bible tells us that we show we love God when we obey Him, and do what He says. (1 John 2:5) And, I have a hard time doing that. I still too often want to do everything my own way, and I too often live life as if it’s all about me.

p. 55 ~ “If you knew all you had was a relationship with God, would you be totally and completely satisfied?

I wish I could say “yes”, but I’m not to that point, yet. I hope to get there, some day, though. I’m praying that that will be true of me at some point!

p. 58 ~ “Make sure you are investing your life, time, and resources in things that will last, not things that will pass away… Only God can guide you to invest your life in worthwhile ways.”

This was timely, as I’ve just recently made up a list of how I can be more intentional in my daily living. It all started when I read Chris & Kerry Shook’s book, “One Month to Live“. It got me thinking about how I spend my time, and about how a lot of what I do is not really investing in my future (eternity). Much of what I do isn’t really worthwhile, when you look at it from that perspective. So, I’ve decided that I’d like to change that.

This little quote, though, showed me that my list is going to need to be revised… because I left God out of the equation. I didn’t ask Him how He thinks I should best spend my time/resources.

On Self-Control

Product DetailsMy ladies’ Bible study group recently finished up Beth Moore’s study, “Living Beyond Yourself“. I missed several weeks of it, as I got bored and let myself stay home. 😦  Mind you, I also was busy for a few of those weeks with an online course I took, so that’s more of a valid excuse. LOL

Anyway. The last week was on self-control, and as that’s something I struggle with a lot — especially in the area of eating — I figured I’d better get the homework done, and show up for the DVD session. So, I did.

And, these are my notes (some quoted directly out of the book) from that week:

SELF-CONTROL

* Self-control is the decision to remain within the boundaries of victory

* our god is whatever we worship (focus on)

* obsession over the physical body is IDOLATRY!

* from a strictly biblical point of view, physical fitness is probably more about FREEDOM than about size

* Satan wants us to be addicted to things (food, pop, exercise, people, etc) ~ we lose our focus on God and then don’t trust God to free us from those addictions

* we need to find the size that’s right for us ~ the one where we don’t have to obsess about every bite that we put into our mouths, but where we also aren’t totally neglecting our bodies, either.

* one of our goals should be to recapture the lost art (practice) of MODERATION!

* self-control is our protection against the attacks of the enemy … he can’t “steal, kill, and destroy” us if we aren’t giving in to his schemes.

* 1 Corinthians 6:12 ~ “”Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything.”

* Awake every morning to the challenge: “Choose…this day whom you will serve!” (Joshua 24:15)

* any day not surrendered to the Spirit is virtually surrendered to the flesh by default! We will slip back into what comes most naturally for us: our sin nature.

* if we are completely cleansed and yielded to God, we will be submissive to His will, we’ll be restrained, and we will be self-controlled.

* Genesis 4:7 ~ “…sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

* our choosing to eat in moderation, and to exercise our physical bodies, is an act of worship to God ~ we are caring for the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)

* 1 Corinthians 10:31 ~ “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

* it is not God’s will for us to be mastered by anything other than Him. He wants us to be free from obsession (over eating, over how we look, etc).

* Galatians 5:1 ~ “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

LPL: God is Doing a New Thing!

This past weekend, I attended Living Proof Live ~ a Beth Moore speaking event ~ in Toronto, Canada. And, it was fantastic! 😀

Beth’s topic for the weekend was “God is Doing a New Thing“, and it was based on the verse found in Isaiah 43:18-19 (see left sidebar for that verse in The Message version).

Below are some of the notes I took at the conference…

:: Do you seem to battle the same thing over and over in your life? Do you have an issue that never seems to be resolved?

:: Forget about what’s happened in the past, and move on!

:: God isn’t telling us that nothing is important or worth fighting for … there are times, though, when He says it’s time to move on.

:: We often try to make something as it used to be ~ we try to recreate what happened in the past.

:: But, God wants to do something NEW!

:: Be ALERT! ~ Be PRESENT!

:: We lose the moment by repeating the past, and by worrying about the future.

:: Statement #1: GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING NEW!

:: “New” means “fresh; renew

:: every 24 hours we get a FRESH start… we get to start over, new!

:: Our souls were created with a longing for something new.

:: The crave of a new pleasure will never be satisfied. What we need is a new HEART.

:: If we don’t have a new heart, the moment the newness of a thing wears off, we move on to something else.

:: With a new heart or spirit, even the simplest things bring pleasure.

:: Statement #2: GOD RARELY DOES A NEW THING THE OLD WAY!

:: In Isaiah 43:16, God is showing the Israelites that, though He brought them out of captivity in Egypt one way, this time –to bring them out of captivity it Babylon– He’s going to do so in a new way! He’s going to do an old thing in a new way!

:: The Israelites kept going over their history (release from captivity in Egypt ~ a good thing), when they should’ve been focused on the present… on the NEW THING God wanted to do for them.

:: Isaiah 43:16 ~ God made a way for the Israelites through the sea (they crossed on dry ground)
:: Isaiah 43:19 ~ God made a way for the Israelites through the desert (a desert is a dry space)

:: God says, “Stop thinking about the way I did it last time — this time I’m going to do something different!

:: God is a CREATOR, not a conductor ~ there are no “encores”!

:: God says, “Your ideas (of how things should be done) are all wonderful but… that’s not what I’m doing!”

:: EGYPT ~ the Israelites were not captive because of their sins
:: BABYLON ~ the Israelites’ sin was the cause of their captivity

:: In Psalm 137:1-4, the Israelites are sitting “by the rivers in Babylon“, going over their old release from captivity… they wanted the same miracle (release from captivity) again.

:: How often do we look for a formula to try to get God to perform for us in the way He did before?

:: God says, “I’m far more creative than to do an encore performance of the deliverances I’ve given you before!”

:: Exodus 13:21 ~ God says He’ll go before the Israelites as they cross the Red Sea
:: Deuteronomy 31:3 ~ God says He’ll go ahead of the Israelites as they cross the Jordan River
:: Isaiah 43:18-19 ~ God says He might take them through the water… but He won’t let them drown!

:: God is with us!

:: In the Old Testament, a miraculous pregnancy was given to an old woman (Sarah)… In the New Testament, a miraculous pregnancy was given to a virgin (Mary).

:: In the New Testament, Jesus didn’t part the sea — He walked on it!

:: If God must part all of our “seas”, and make it all easy for us, we won’t have the chance to step out in faith and to “walk on the water”.

:: Statement #3: GOD CAN DO SOMETHING NEW IN AN OLD PLACE!

:: Maybe you’re in a desert or wilderness season right now… God can still do a new thing.

:: What do you have faith to believe God for?

:: Don’t miss your miracle by going over old history.

:: Even in a wasteland, a spring can break out.

:: God is in your personal business. 😉

:: “New” is mentioned 44 times, from Genesis through Revelation, in reference to “new wine” ~ in the old times, you didn’t eat and drink with someone you didn’t want a close relationship with.

:: When God calls us to something new, explaining it over and over to others is sometimes pointless.

:: Statement #4: JUST PATCHING UP THE OLD WON’T RESULT IN SOMETHING NEW.

:: the Pharisees were all about a ritual righteousness instead of a change of heart.

:: John 2:7 (?) ~ there are 3 vessels: (1) empty vessel —to be filled; (2) water vessel; (3) wine vessel.

:: “wine” symbolizes the Holy Spirit filling us up

:: water doesn’t change our behavior the way wine does — in the Biblical picture of wine, it has a component of “joy”

:: water = we’re just going through the motions
:: wine = we’re filled with the fruit of the Spirit (abundant life!)

:: the Pharisees took something God had commanded for 1 time per year (fasting) and made it into a 2 times per week thing… not only a “ritual” but a “doctrine”.

:: Luke 5 ~ Jesus agenda that day was healing … he came to heal

:: Luke 5:17 ~ Jesus’ power was there to heal the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, specifically, but they weren’t healed that day. They were blind to their NEED for healing.

:: Statement #5: WE, TOO, MUST BE UP TO SOMETHING NEW.

:: We think “new” is too much trouble, and that the old is better.

:: We honor God more by moving on from mourning over our sins after a short time, rather than holding onto our sorrow and guilt for an extended period.

:: We don’t have to stay in our bondage so that other people can relate to us — they are drawn more powerfully by the witness of the Holy Spirit’s filling us. Someone needs to know that freedom IS possible!

:: If we don’t believe that we’re 100% forgiven, pure, and cleansed, we won’t act like we are.

:: Believe God when He says that you’re new NOW!

:: When we make a decision based on who we are instead of how we feel, God gives us a sort of “holy high-5!”

:: God can’t do you wrong… there’s no sin nature or darkness in Him at all.

:: Lamentations 3:19-? ~ “call to mind“… we can change what we’re thinking which then affects how we feel.

:: Anything we continue to rehearse (go over in our minds) is going to affect our attitudes.

:: Deal with your issues and let God bring healing.

:: Catch yourself in downcast thinking (Ps.42) ~ instead, put your hope in God! All is not hopeless!

:: Change your thinking — CHOOSE the positive! Call to mind Scriptures, and the hope of God.

:: God’s mercies are new EVERY morning!

:: If the enemy can get us to doubt the goodness of God, he’s stolen the victory from us in that season of life.

:: Statement #6: GOD GRANTS NEW MERCIES FOR EACH NEW DAY.

:: John 13:7 ~ “You don’t realize now what I’m doing, but later you will.”

:: Satan’s not after our health, possessions, etc., as much as he’s after our faith ~ he wants our faith to fail.

:: Revelation 21:1-5 ~ “new” heaven and earth ~ “I am making EVERYTHING new!

:: Statement #7: ONE DAY WE’LL GO FROM A NEW THING, TO A NEW EVERYTHING!”

:: Romans 8 ~ the whole earth groans for a new beginning

:: 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ we are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.

:: Are we going to be full-on into God’s agenda & kingdom, or are we going to keep doing our own thing?

:: We are the new thing!

One in a Million” study: Week 6 notes

One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land by Priscilla Shirer

WEEK 6 ~ Notes:

* Joshua made obedience a PRIORITY.

* What do we miss because we don’t obey God immediately?

* Keep your eyes peeled for God’s activity and follow after Him! ~ Ask Him to heighten your awareness of His presence & activity in your life.

* the best example of ministry is when people just point out Jesus (John 1:35,36).

* Start living today like God has already performed the biggest miracle of your life … It takes FAITH to start preparing ourselves for a miracle we haven’t even (yet) seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

* Every good thing isn’t necessarily a GOD thing.

* What “good” stuff do you have to pass up in order to spend more time with God?

:: Many modern Christ followers fall short of placing full confidence in God’s power and abilities.

:: Neither Moses’ nor Joshua’s background made them likely candidates for the roles God chose for them… In both instances, the Lord enabled these faithful men to handle their assignments… Both were sovereignly asked to lead without prior training.

:: Joshua’s quick acceptance showed more than just his willingness to obey; it pointed to an unwavering courage in the face of risk.

:: Joshua demonstrated complete confidence in the One who was on his side (Romans 8:31).

:: God assured Moses that his inability could not override divine ability working through him. The same is true of every circumstance in a believer’s life.

:: Stepping into the abundant life of promised-land living takes courage.

:: The battles you’ll fight and the unconventional means by which the Lord may ask you to fight them will require a firm commitment to do as God asks.

:: The Devil will not wait patiently for you to acquire your God-given inheritance. He knows that once you enter the abundant life of Canaan you will never want to leave. His goal is to scare you off before your palate can grow accustomed to the taste of milk and honey… the task of taking Canaan is upon us. Now is the time to move forward without fear.

:: Will we accept our posts? (those given to us here & now)

:: Often we become so consumed with envy over what God asks someone else to do that we fail to get around to what God asks of us.

:: Promised-Land living is largely about knowing, accepting, and doing God’s will for us.

:: The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to all believers in Jesus Christ. God designed each gift to enable a believer to accomplish His calling on his/her life. When a believer exercises their gift, they build and encourage the entire body of believers. Since every gift is necessary, none is more important or critical than another (1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-31).

:: God uses our current experiences to prepare us for what’s ahead.

((…to be continued…))

One in a Million” study: Week 5 notes

One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land” by Priscilla Shirer

WEEK FIVE — notes:

* when you break the barriers, people SEE the difference!

* “You can’t do what you’ve always done and expect different results”.

* Joshua & Caleb were willing to do things differently.

* Kadesh-Barnea was an oasis: the oasis of complacency. It had just enough for the Israelites to survive… This oasis had the benefits of the Promised Land, but none of the fullness of it.

* Are we at an “oasis of complacency”? You’ll know you are when:

1) the Promised Land starts looking way too risky.
2) you start feeling like you’ve arrived (like there’s not much more you can do in your Christian life).
3) the enemy stops trying to hinder your progress (you’re no longer a threat to him).

* God has given you a ‘cluster of proof’ about His goodness and faithfulness, despite a life of disappointments.

* are you okay with “just enough”, or are you longing for the fullness God has for you? (John 10:10).

* despite proof of God’s goodness, we still choose to say ‘nevertheless’, and refuse to believe in His ability to care for us.

:: God will always send us what we need, exactly when we need it.

:: getting closer to Canaan would mean leaving familiar comforts.

:: change was indeed coming. Following God’s instructions was of the utmost importance.

:: When our souls begin to stir and the Holy Spirit gently begins nudging us to turn, set a new journey, and go, we can know that God is moving us to a new place in our relationship with Him.

:: if I chose not to cooperate within a new set of parameters, I would continue in frustration as I missed the joy in this season in life and potentially delay the new the things God had for me.

:: your destiny of abundance is waiting!

:: Above all else, the Devil hates Christians who intend to enter new territory with God. We, like Moses, must anticipate our Enemy’s desire to thwart our progress as we move toward God’s plan for us… We are going to have to fight for it.

:: We cannot allow complacency or a false sense of security to numb us to Satan’s advances. Complacency is his most valued position for the Christian. So, he uses fear and doubt as tools to keep us from moving into new spiritual territory.

:: Success against any enemy was guaranteed only if God’s presence remained exalted among His obedient people.

:: We must daily seek fellowship with God.

:: I’m convinced that God often gives us a view of Canaan through the lives of other believers so that we might long for the spiritual milk & honey ourselves.

:: Disobedience was actually a sign of unbelief in God’s ability, as well as a defamation of God’s character.

:: Rebellion, disobedience, and unbelief…will keep us from walking in the full measure of freedom and abundance that Christ offers.

:: When rebellion against God marks our lives, it shows our lack of trust in Him. If we don’t believe Him, we won’t fully commit to obedience.

:: God apparently granted Moses divine sight to better view the blessings ahead. I believe He did this so that Moses would (1) develop a better appreciation of God’s provision, (2) truly long for the fulfillment of God’s promise, and (3) recognize the tragedy of missing out on the promised land’s blessings.

:: God’s invitation to experience the milk and honey of Canaan was not for a select few but for the entire group redeemed from Egypt.

:: Our enemy, the Devil, stands behind any feelings that make us consider ourselves outsiders uninvited to a life of relationship with God. Remember, while Christ offers abundant life to us, the Enemy will do everything he can to steal, kill, and destroy its possibility in our lives. (John 10:10)

:: God doesn’t revoke invitations to a dynamic relationship with Himself.

:: God often asks us to embrace a new phase of the journey that sometimes requires that we leave behind the familiar to embrace the new.

:: Whether we’ve lost a friend, relinquished a job, or even said goodbye to a long-time, comforting habit, we need time to mourn… The Bible clearly supports the idea that sometimes people need to grieve. (Romans 12:15)

:: …they made a choice to stop participating in the traditional mourning activities and continue moving forward in the journey.

One in a Million” study: Week 4 notes

One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land” by Priscilla Shirer

WEEK FOUR ~ notes:

* Steady as you go!

* uphill portions of our journey cause us to refocus on God and His purposes for us.

* you can always find God in the wilderness because there’s always a glimpse of Him.

* even when we’ve left Him [God], He still loves us, and wants to romance us.

* The wilderness reveals to us:

– the PASSION of God
– the POWER of God
– the PURPOSE of God

* how can the wilderness be attractive? … because of its end result: our strengthened character, and our improved perspective of God and His ability, etc.

* God wants DAILY interaction with us.

* the twelve disciples left everything to follow Jesus… and He provided everything they could ever need!

* there is HOPE on either side (of the wilderness)

:: God wants intimacy (a close association) with His people and wants us to hunger for it too. We should desire Him above all else. God will do whatever it takes to keep our minds purposed on this goal — even if that means delaying the satisfaction of Canaan (our Promised Land).

:: the primary reason why God allowed the wilderness was to bring the Israelites to this place, where the process of intimacy would begin.

:: your wilderness experience is to bring you to remember what Christ did for you, acknowledge what He is currently doing, and recommit to personal intimacy with Him.

:: God graciously works to stir in us a fresh passion for Him.

:: God has a master plan far better than anything I could imagine!

:: sometimes God allows hardship to graciously show us we desperately need Him

:: the place that seems distant from your desired destination provides fertile soil for God to reveal Himself to you.

:: unholy humans cannot fellowship with a holy God as long as the filthy stench of sin hovers around our lives. When our souls stink with the putrid odor of rebellion, the Father is forced to hold us at arm’s length (Isaiah 59:2).

:: if we continue to sin against God, He still loves us but He restricts fellowship with us.

:: holiness connotes the idea of living in dedication and devotion to God’s service.

:: the sheer joy of knowing all that God had done for them in spite of their shortcomings and disobedience should have glued them to His side (Romans 8:1).

:: God desires for His children to hear His voice and see His activity.

:: He will often allow wilderness journeys to position us so that our spiritual ears are more receptive to His message.

:: …they settled for less than a face-to-face encounter with their mighty Deliverer. I think Christians still tend to ‘stand at a distance’.

:: in addition to what God may teach us through those whom He places in our lives, you and I need a personal connection with the Lord.

:: The ancient Middle Eastern shepherd’s relationship with his sheep was complex and intimate. Without a shepherd’s loving guidance, the sheep would stumble upon disaster and perish. When a shepherd found that a particular lamb refused to obey, he would break the rebellious lamb’s leg so that it would need to be carried. Slung across the shoulders of his shepherd, the lamb became accustomed to the voice of the shepherd in a new way. When healed, the lamb followed the shepherd without question. Why? Because through a season of pain, he’d become acquainted with the voice of the one who loved him.

:: obedience to God was a requirement if the people were to receive the benefits of their covenant relationship with Him. Only after their commitment did God offer to let them hear Him clearly.

:: we must choose to commit to obedience if we want to walk in the fullness of an intimate relationship with God. Without our obedience, we will find that our connection with Him seems distant and out of sorts.

:: the more fully you set your heart to follow Him, the clearer His voice will become.

:: ‘Trancendence‘ means God is distinct, above and separate from all earthly and heavenly creation. ‘Immanence‘ means that God is everywhere present with His creation, sustaining it by its presence and power ((God has an equal balance of both… He is both transcendent and immanent at the same time.))

:: As we neglect the Lord’s transcendence, we allow Almighty God to become so personal that we treat Him more like a casual friend than our holy God (Psalm 33:8). We must remember that He is intolerant of rebellion and is characterized by His wrath and justice as much as by His mercy and grace… Though He is incredibly holy and all-powerful, He [still] chooses to seek a relationship with us.

:: God cannot be treated with casual indifference.

:: a  healthy reverence should mark the believer’s relationship with an awesome God.

:: God didn’t display His glory on the mountain so that the people would run from Him, but so that they would run to Him.

One in a Million” study: Week 3 notes

One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land” by Priscilla Shirer

WEEK 3 ~ Notes:

* God is predictable in His character, but He is complete unpredictable in His activity.

* Our God is good and kind.

* It may seem impossible, but God has already guaranteed your victory in Scripture.

* It causes you to walk through the wilderness a little differently when you know your victory is sure.

* Moses gave the Israelites 4 instructions:

1) Be FEARLESS ~ by the Holy Spirit’s power in you, you do not have to fear!
2) Be STILL ~ don’t sit down, or you’ll fall asleep on the job! Engage your will, and have a firm resolve.
3) Be WATCHFUL ~ we’re often too busy looking forward to the next season of life that we miss what God is trying to do for us right now! Don’t wait for the problem to go away — open your eyes to God’s blessings today!
4) Be SILENT ~ train yourself to be quiet and to stop complaining about your circumstances.

* If we really believed that there was Someone out there who is in complete control, we wouldn’t get so flustered and stressed when life got chaotic.

 
* Two of the greatest sicknesses plaguing Christians today are in the “IF” family:

1) What If…?
2) If Only…

* Ask God for a continual awareness of His activity in your life.

* What concerns you, concerns God. He cares about the little things as much as the big things.

* Abundant life, promised land living, is not for tomorrow — it’s for today! Watch for it.

:: one of the reasons for the wilderness seasons of our lives is so that we’ll start expecting more out of God than ever before.

:: stop complaining, and start asking for and anticipating God’s supernatural activity. Expect the unexpected.

:: God can work out every ‘impossible’ situation for His glory.

:: when we see that following God includes challenges, we start to question His authority. Worse yet, we long for the very thing from which Christ freed us… The idea of relying on a God we can’t see makes us feel out-of-control and weak.

:: when God allows you to face a ‘Red Sea’, don’t become discouraged. Don’t whine and question the Lord’s ability. Expect that God is positioning you to see Him work in your life in a unique and unusual way.

:: every wilderness journey has a ‘Marah’, where refreshment and hope seem imminent but fail to deliver …’Marahs’ position us to put our hope not in ourselves or in the world but in God. We can’t anticipate and provide for life’s trials, but the Lord can and does.

:: Without God’s influence, nothing in this world can really quench the deep thirst of our souls.

:: Scripture is clear that God hears and responds to the cries of His people… He can take your biggest heartache –the one that causes your chest to ache with frustration– and turn it into the sweet spot on which your spiritual outlook hinges.

:: God is both powerful and reliable. He could effectively rescue [the Israelites] from anything.

:: we can’t have the benefits and blessings of Canaan without first learning how to walk through the wilderness in dependence and faithfulness.

:: Yahweh allowed the Hebrews to experience an inner emptiness that they did not have the ability to fill. He wanted them to experience the abundant supply that only God’s pantry can offer.

:: a time of waiting and patience followed each miracle. The Israelites had to trust in God’s love and protection even when the miracles decreased in frequency.

:: the spirit of complaint often takes this pattern. It begins as frustration and spreads into a raging flame of disgust, whining, and longing for something other than what God provides. Complaining is what kept God’s people from passing their spiritual tests… Grumbling blinded them to the fact that the in-between time was part of God’s plan.

:: we must choose to carefully guard our reaction to in-between times (Phil.2:14).

:: discipline your mind to focus on the good.

:: the wilderness is a blessing meant to help us see God more fully and completely, to help us love Him more wholeheartedly, and to show us the importance of committing to Him above all else. It provides a vital and necessary prerequisite to reaching the spiritual abundance He wants to give.

:: God wants for you to give Him, His influence, power, and ability more weight in your life.

:: we must trust that God will choose to work in a way that both brings Him glory and serves His purposes for our lives… the Lord is not bound to our whims… we cannot make demands of God and grow disappointed and angry when He doesn’t move in the way we expect.

One in a Million” study, Week 2 notes

One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land” by Priscilla Shirer

WEEK 2 ~ Notes:

* God CHOSE the wilderness for the Israelites… it was no accident!

* When we get eye-to-eye with a challenge, it calls out the potential in us.

* Wilderness times help us to see God (and ourselves) in a new light.

* Isn’t it just like God to NOT do things the way we think He should?

* The best way to learn to be disciplined is to be in a situation where you have to exercise self-control.

* God wants to develop us, and He uses the wilderness to do it.

:: What seemed, to the Hebrews, like the best path to freedom, would have caused trials that they were not ready to face. (Proverbs 16:25)

:: The road God chooses for us is often not the road we might expect. He often chooses a wilderness journey for us to give us an opportunity to experience Him in a way that we might miss in a place of ease & convenience… His goal is to make us more dependent on Him.

:: Only wholehearted devotion would ensure their entry into the promised land.

:: You can be certain that God is looking out for your greater good…

:: God sees the end result.

:: God doesn’t mind our questions, but we must never allow our questions to overshadow the fact that God has all the answers.

:: God wanted their allegiance, their loyalty in the face of difficulty, and their thoughts focused not on the big, threatening enemy but on Him as Provider and Protector.

:: Freedom from Pharaoh was to set the people’s hearts on the complete service and worship of God… to acheive intimacy with Him.

:: We must synchronize our primary purposes with God’s… we can neither accomplish abundant life with God nor overcome the enemy’s advances without the Lord’s help… He wants us to lay aside our determination to do life our way and follow Him.

:: God is ALWAYS in control.

:: Never forget that God is the source of all good things.

:: The key to taking full possession of the land God promised was obedience, but the key to finding full appreciation of it was found in remembering God’s goodness and protection through their extended years in the wilderness.

:: The true test of our commitment is best seen when there is no refreshment in sight, just plain after plain of dry wasteland.

:: God still chooses to display Himself to people today when, for reasons we’ll never know, He orchestrates nature or circumstances to dramatically show His presence… He still wants to make Himself fully known to us and does so by working through what He’s created.

:: God gave the weary, thirsty Hebrews exactly what they needed to suit their precise circumstances… God knows exactly what is needed to refresh you, too!

:: Our Father will remain mindful of us, knowing our needs and caring for us in the midst of our journeys.

:: Reminding ourselves of God’s love for us in the wildnerness is always of utmost importance.

:: The Lord will abundantly supply all of your needs. (Philippians 4:19)

:: God strategically places “Elims” (oases) in our paths that will refresh us when we think we can stand no more.

:: Keep your head up and your feet moving forward as you travel on your life’s journey. God loves you and has not forgotten you… Press On!