Prayer

Waiting for God

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Family Devotional 6-11-17 Adult

Family Devotional 6-11-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Sometimes it’s hard to wait. In a culture of microwave dinners, Keurig coffee brewers, and on-demand video content, it can seem downright criminal when God doesn’t answer prayers quickly. When the answer doesn’t come in the time we expect it to, though, the problem is not God’s timing… it’s ours.

2. Bible Verse 

2 Peter 3:9 [ESV] “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God’s timing works differently than ours, with many factors we may not take into account. Remember, He’s patient, and He’s working for your good.

Q. What’s a prayer you’ve prayed that didn’t get answered as quickly as you wanted?

Q. What’s an example of a time when God was patient with you?

Q. Would you rather have God’s answers – and judgment – happen on your timetable, or on His?

3. Application

Matthew 7:11 [NLT] “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

God will give good things to you, but He’s the one who determines what is truly good. If you find yourself not getting what you want, that thing you’re asking for might not be as good for you as it seems.

Q. What’s something that humans used to think was good or healthy, which we now understand is bad or unhealthy?

Q.  Is it possible that something that seems good for you could actually be bad for others? If God loves all humanity, could His delay in answering be for the greater good?

Q. Sometimes a good thing can become bad if it comes at the wrong time or in the wrong amount. Can you think of a few examples?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for caring enough about what’s good for you to answer prayers in His timing. Ask Him to give you patience to wait for His answers and to help you trust in His character while you’re waiting.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“I Will Worship God With All My Heart!”

Give everyone a pen and piece of paper and have them write down the name of their favorite celebrity—an athlete, a singer, an actor, a public figure, or whomever.   Once everyone is finished, tell them to imagine that they’ve been invited to spend an hour alone with this person.

2. Bible Verse

Psalm 100:2 “Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.”   

Then talk about the following questions:

Q. What is the first thing you would do when you saw this famous person?

Q. How would you feel while you were in this person’s presence?

Q. How do you think you would feel once you left this person’s presence?

Q. What are some of the things you might say to that person?

When you’re discussing some of the things you might say, suggest to your children that they may say something like:

“You’re the best quarterback ever.  The way you run the ball is awesome.”

“You’re so funny in all of your movies.  I love the way you can make me laugh.”

“The way you dress is so cool, I would love to look just like you.”

3. Application 

Tell your children that while they may never get the chance to be in the presence of their favorite celebrity, they always have the opportunity to be in the presence of God. 

Sometimes our biggest problem in worship is we can’t really think of anything to say other than, “Thank you, Jesus” over and over.  Maybe it’s because we aren’t paying enough attention to what God is doing in our lives every day.  As a family, make a commitment to praising God every day over the next week for something He’s done in your life that day.  It may be something simple like giving you the strength to resist temptation or giving you a sense of peace during a stressful situation. Whatever it is, make sure you spend some time praising God for it.

4. Prayer Focus

To end your devotion, have each person name one thing that God has done for them recently.  Then worship God together as a family, either silently or out loud, praising Him for all of the good things He does.

Priority of Prayer

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Adult Outline

There is a fight all around us – in the spiritual world. Whether or not we realize it, we’re in the firefight between Satan’s sinful rule and God’s will and kingdom. The only way to fight that battle – and to win it – is through prayer.

Prayer is not only powerful to change things in our world – it’s the essential element of all of God’s work. Read the passages below, and consider how they play out in your life.

Prayer shapes the world

Matthew 18:18-20 [ESV]

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.””

What are 1or 2 areas in your world where Satan’s way is ruling? How would they look if God’s will and kingdom were ruling? How can you start bringing God’s kingdom into that area?

 

Without prayer, God’s work falters

Ephesians 6:16-18 [ESV]

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

Taking action in the physical world can’t change spiritual realities – only prayer can do that. Think again of those areas in your world where Satan’s way is ruling. What would a physical-world strategy be? What would a spiritual attack strategy be?

Discussion questions:

  •  When challenges come, which should we do first, pray or act? Which do we do first? How should your prayer time change to reflect the things you’ve learned?
  • Take a few minutes as a family and pray for God’s kingdom to come into the areas you pointed out. Stand in faith – prayer changes things!

OK Kids Outline

 

Why do bad things happen in the world? It’s not because God wants them to happen, it’s because sin separates people from God, and when they’re separated, Satan has his way. There’s good news, though – God gave us the power to fight back and start to put things back the way He wants them. How? By praying.

Prayer can do some pretty awesome stuff! Here are just a few things God did through people who prayed:

A man paralyzed for eight years was healed. (Acts 9:34) Peter and other disciples were delivered from prison (Acts 5:19-23, 12:6-11, 16:26). Philip was carried away to a totally different place by the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:39) A woman was raised from the dead. (Acts 9:40).

 

The Holy Spirit is in us to give us power. When we pray and ask God to have His way instead of Satan’s way, things change!

 

Think of some things in the world that are bad (pick a few examples – the more specific, the better). How would those things look if God had His way? How much could you do by yourself to fix those problems? God has a better way to fight – pray!

 

Ephesians 6:16-18 [MSG]

“Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long.”

 

When we see things in the world where Satan is having his way, the first and best thing to do is pray. Remember – the same Holy Spirit who did those awesome things in the bible is in you!

 

Prayer Focus:

  • What’s one thing we can pray about, to ask God to have His way instead of Satan?
  • Take a few minutes as a family and pray for God’s kingdom to come into the areas you pointed out. Stand in faith – prayer changes things!

If you are having trouble reading it, here is the family-devotional-2-26-17 pdf download.


We want to invite you to join this home discipleship program designed to facilitate Bible reading, discussion, and prayer.

There are two pages in the Family Discipleship Guide.  One page is for teen & adult discussion and the other is for kids.

  1. Choose the discipleship outline that works for you and/or your family.
  2. Sit down and read through the scriptures and questions each week and then take some time to discuss your thoughts.
  3. Later in the week we ask that you take time to pray for each other and for specific needs.
  4. Text DISCIPLE to 24587 after each prayer and discussion time or comment below so that we can celebrate with you, who are deepening your knowledge.

As always, please feel free to ask questions.

The Power of Prayer- Part 1

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If you are having trouble reading it, here is the family-devotional-10-16-16 pdf download.


We want to invite you to join this home discipleship program designed to facilitate Bible reading, discussion, and prayer.

There are two pages in the Family Discipleship Guide.  One page is for teen & adult discussion and the other is for kids.

  1. Choose the discipleship outline that works for you and/or your family.
  2. Sit down and read through the scriptures and questions each week and then take some time to discuss your thoughts.
  3. Later in the week we ask that you take time to pray for each other and for specific needs.
  4. Text DISCIPLE to 24587 after each prayer and discussion time or comment below so that we can celebrate with you, who are deepening your knowledge.

As always, please feel free to ask questions.

Searching for God

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This morning I was reading from Deuteronomy chapter 4. This is the story of the Children of Israel under Moses’ leadership just before:

  • the giving of the ten commandments,
  • the death of Moses,
  • the leadership of Joshua,
  • the crossing of the Jordan River
  • and their taking possession of the promised land.

In Israel’s history they have repeatedly forsaken God. In their sin one of their patterns is to form some sort of image to represent what they think God looks like and then they worship that image. Usually by that time they have adopted one of the false religious systems around them and have forsaken the teachings of their godly ancestors. Ultimately, what happens is that God’s hand of blessing will be withdrawn, tribulation in the form of either poverty or oppression will arise, and the people, out of desperation and tribulation, will begin to call on the Lord once again and He delivers them.

It is this cycle of idolatry and God’s judgment that Moses is warning the people against.

Verses 29-31 are perhaps a few verses that speak not only of the unique situation that Israel found themselves in time after time, but also give us a picture today of God’s desire and willingness to reach out and pull people back to himself after periods of forsaking him. In these verses we read…

29 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” Deuteronomy 4:29–31 (ESV)

I believe that like many passages of prophetic scripture, these verses have an application not only to an ancient time but also to a future time. Perhaps OUR time!

Can you feel the tension in the air? There is a small undercurrent beneath the daily lives of people. Slowly people are becoming aware of the emptiness and the hopelessness of a life without God in it. For many of them they have not yet recognized God as the answer to this growing uneasiness in their hearts but He’s preparing them for that realization. Just as in the days of the Children of Israel, Moses and Joshua, God is preparing through difficulty, the hearts of people to return to him. Through the fear and anxiety that always accompanies a life void of the Holy Spirit, God is breaking up the hardened ground of people’s hearts and while many of them don’t yet know it, revival is coming to their lives!

I love the last half of verse 30, “…you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice.” What an awesome picture of what revival is, people returning to God and obeying his voice!

In these next few days leading up to our time of revival, you and I have some very important work to be involved in. We’ve been praying and asking God to revive us and I absolutely know that He is going to do just that. However, for those around us to benefit from this same move of God, we must reach out to them. Would you take some time today and make some calls, extend some invitations, send out a few emails, or simply share this this blog via Facebook?

For me the good news of hard times is that they always have a purpose within God’s plan. God’s not a belligerent father who takes pleasure in hurting people. He’s a kind, loving dad who will not allow the ultimate destruction of his children that will come if they remain separated from him through sin. Therefore, he allows difficulty to press his children back towards him. They begin to call upon him and he revives their relationship with him and the blessing of that life returns.

Are you ready for revival?

 

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Revival Services Coming at Abundant Life!

Hidden Faults

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Last night I was reading through a wonderful section of scripture and I thought it would make for a great blog.

In Psalm 19:12-14 we read…

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

This is exactly like what we were considering in yesterday’s sermon. (listen here)

First, we all have patterns of behavior that we fall into that lead us into sins that we are unaware of. Yesterday we were discussing how the things that we say about other people can actually become a tremendous stumbling block and hinder the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Satan uses our very nature against us and convinces us that we are totally justified based upon what another person has done to us. However, this is simply not the way we as Christians behave. Ever!

If we’re not very diligent these patterns of behavior and subsequently speaking can become a hidden fault. We don’t realize that we are acting in a sinful way and as such, sin rules in our lives without our knowledge. David asks God to reveal his hidden faults to him. This would be a great practice for each Christian to engage in every day.

“Lord, reveal my hidden faults to me so that I may repent and change.”

Second, David asks God to keep him from willful sins. These are those things that we know are sinful and yet we do them anyway.

In this dispensation of grace in which we live, we have a powerful propensity to go too far. There are those who teach that the power of God’s grace is so great that there is no way for us to offend it. There is a part of me that absolutely believes that. However, for me it’s a matter of sequence. If there is something in me that consciously moves toward sin because I think God will forgive me and I do so over a Spirit-originated conviction, I am walking a very dangerous line. Not because God will withdraw his grace because I believe He never does, but rather because I run the risk of slowly callousing my heart to that grace and damaging my faith. I believe that I can completely erode my faith in God and the things of God and as such I can become unsaved. I’ve done nothing to change God’s grace, but rather I’ve removed my own faith by my actions. Ephesians 2:8-9 indicate to me that both grace and faith are necessary for my salvation.

Therefore, David prayed that God would give him the strength to avoid both the sins he was unaware of and those that he was fully aware of and then he would be innocent of “great transgression.”

That’s where I want to live! Free of great transgression!

Blessings

Life Team Roots Session 5

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GENESIS 18:22 – 19:26

It sounds like Abraham is bargaining with God for Sodom and Gomorrah.

As believers is it OK to bargain with God for a good cause?

Abraham is the only person in the Bible given the title, the friend of God.

2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; & James 2:23.

Abraham is standing before God and interceding, not bargaining, for Lot and the others.

Who does Jesus call His friends?  John 15: 13 – 15

How can a God of grace and love decide to destroy all the people in two cities?

Genesis 13:13, 19:5; Isaiah 3:9; Jeremiah 23:14; Romans 1:27; & Jude 7

What does Abraham call God?  Genesis 18:25

Abraham bases his intercession on God’s justice.  Deuteronomy 32:4

Does God enjoy judging sinners?  Ezekiel 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4; & 2 Peter 3:9

How do we make good choices?  Matthew 6:33

We must be careful of the choices we make because how we live determines whether we receive God’s mercy or judgment.

Be Something

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NOTE:  This was written Monday, January 6 but due to the extreme weather, wasn’t posted until January 7.

Well it’s 4:02 AM.  I’ve been up since 3:00 AM.  I woke up with a weird sort of heavy heart.  I say weird because it was different than the feelings that I’ve had at other times.  I realize that over the past few days I have been blogging from the book of John each day, but this won’t be that.

After having come into my computer and opening up my bible study software in preparation for studying the sixth chapter of John, I was having a really hard time staying fixed on the story of Jesus with the five loaves and two fish, and the teaching of Jesus about him being the bread of life.  That’s strange because I had just mentioned the story of Jesus being the bread of life in yesterday’s early service sermon.

Anyway, I couldn’t stay focused.  Eventually, I simply pushed back my laptop, bowed my head and began to ask the Holy Spirit to explain the swirling thoughts that were bouncing around in my head and spirit.  Almost instantly puzzle pieces began to fall into place.  That’s the only way I can describe it.  A piece from years ago, something that was in the sermon from yesterday, a part of my childhood, things from Kansas, things from John 6, pieces came from everywhere.  Old fears, new fears, images from the family, recent decisions from work (the church); they all began to form a picture in my mind.  I say picture, but it’s more like a story… the overwhelming theme being, communication from my heavenly father.  Deep, resonating, truth that can’t be denied or argued with, begins to surge into my early morning reality.  Faces from Panama, Arkansas, Illinois, some alive, some in heaven parade through my consciousness forming an inescapable narrative.

There’s no doubt there’s going to be a collision.  The revealed truth of God is about to collide with me.  The flesh part of me is about to suffer a loss.  It’s painful as the Holy Spirit begins his expert surgery.  With a skill unlike any other, he dissects exactly between spirit and flesh, light and dark, life and death.  Making Hebrews 4:12 come alive, the Holy Spirit lays back the layers of thought and attitude, soul and spirit.  It is both painful and wonderful at the same moment.  Loss and gain, tears and laughter, sickness and health.

Suddenly, there it is.  Ugly and destructive.  Even its form is foreboding.  There can be no mistake, it’s deadly.  Long held, unseen flesh.  Down deep where even I didn’t know it was there.  It held sway over motives, decisions, judgments and actions.  So integrated into me that even now I pause from writing this to double check if even this blog has His motive or mine….

Seconds turn into minutes into hours.  It’s now five and Leighanne’s getting up.  What just happened?  Fasting happened.  A wondrous, miraculous, transforming episode of my heavenly father doing exactly what I’ve been asking for.  How I have prayed over the last few days, “Father make me into who you want me to be.”  Suddenly, He’s doing it!

Where there was weakness, there is now strength.  Where fear held sway, confidence now surges.  Faith is replacing knowledge and sight.  While my body is tired my spirit is full.  Wow

Press in friends.  Our heavenly father wants to get in deep and change who we are.  None of us have arrived at our final destination and there are lost men and women, boys and girls who need us to be who God has called us to be.  Separate yourselves from the routines that fill your life and set aside time for God.

I’m sure that you want to know what it is that the Holy Spirit is dealing with in me.  The strange thing is, I’m not even sure I could sum it all up.  It’ll all end up in a sermon eventually.  The short of it…stop doing…start being.  It’s not enough to act like something, you have to be something.  Everything we think, say, and ultimately do has to flow from what’s inside.  That’s supposed to be Jesus.

Stick with the fasting and prayer friends, God’s up to something in the river bend!

Blessings!