Sin

Own it

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Nobody’s perfect – even the best of us are going to make mistakes sometimes. Though we all know this, it can be really difficult to own up to our actions – to God, to others, even to ourselves. If we want to move forward, though, we’ve got to be bold enough to own our mistake.

1. Discussion 

Genesis 3:11-13 “…the Lord God asked. ‘Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What have you done?’ ‘The serpent deceived me,’ she replied. ‘That’s why I ate it.’”

From the very beginning, humans have been blame-shifting. It’s intimidating to admit our faults!

Q . Why do you think Adam and Eve shifted the blame? What were they afraid of?

Q . When you shift the blame from yourself, who or what usually gets blamed?  How does that make you feel in the moment? How might that negatively affect you in the long run?

2. Challenge

1 John 1:8-10 “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

God is rich in love and mercy, but he wants us to be honest. When we fail, we’ve got to own it, confess it to Him, and move forward.

Q . How do you feel in the moment when you confess your sin to God? How do you feel afterward?

Q . Is “moving forward” and letting past mistakes go difficult for you? How might confessing your sin to God affect that? 

How might confessing to others affect it?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for his mercy and forgiveness. Confess any sins, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to move forward in confidence and the assurance of your salvation.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Stay Humble

1. Power Verse

Luke 14:11 “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

What’s Up: “I Will Choose To Be Humble!”

This week, we continue our series called, “Stand Out!” As Christians, it’s important that we stand out from the world and from culture. We must be different, and one of the greatest ways we can be different and stand out is to stay humble!

2. Discussion

Read: Luke 7:36-50 One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him. So he went to the Pharisee’s house. He took his place at the table. There was a woman in that town who had lived a sinful life. She learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house. So she came there with a special jar of perfume. She stood behind Jesus and cried at his feet. And she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair. She kissed them and poured perfume on them. The Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this. He said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him. He would know what kind of woman she is. She is a sinner!” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.“Two people owed money to a certain lender. One owed him 500 silver coins. The other owed him 50 silver coins.  Neither of them had the money to pay him back. So he let them go without paying. Which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who owed the most money.” “You are right,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman. He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water to wash my feet. But she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss. But this woman has not stopped kissing my feet since I came in. You did not put any olive oil on my head. But she has poured this perfume on my feet. So I tell you this. Her many sins have been forgiven. She has shown that she understands this by her great acts of love. But whoever has been forgiven only a little loves only a little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to talk about this among themselves. They said, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Q. What did the sinful woman do when she saw Jesus? How did the religious leaders respond?  How did Jesus respond to them?

3. Challenge

This world is full of prideful people who are constantly looking to promote themselves and make themselves greater. It’s all about popularity! However, that’s not how Jesus lived – and that’s not how Jesus wants us to live either. Jesus displayed a life of humility. He was humble and he constantly blessed, promoted, & added value to humble people.  We need to do our very best to live like Jesus – a life of humility. Jesus had an “Others First, Me Last” attitude about everything! We should too! If we put others first, we will really STAND OUT for Jesus! 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children would have a humble attitude in life. Pray that they would truly live out “others first, me last.”

Holy Spirit Empowered

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Sharing your faith with friends and family can be intimidating. “What if they don’t believe me? What if they think I’m crazy? What if I totally mess up the message?” On our own, it would be impossible to fulfill God’s vision to reach people who need Him. The good news is, we’re not on our own – the Holy Spirit is with us!

1. The Holy Spirit will give us boldness to share the message.

Acts 1:8 [ESV]  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Being filled with the Spirit is not just about speaking in unknown languages – He works in us to give us courage to speak up, and the right words to say. Even if you’re naturally timid and soft-spoken, He will help you to share with the people in your life who need to hear it.

Q. What’s something in life you’d love to do, but are too scared/nervous to try?

Q. Trusting the Holy Spirit to give you courage in the moment you need it, what possibly-intimidating interactions with friends and family could you initiate this week?

2. The Holy Spirit will give weight to our words.

John 6:44 [NLT] “For no one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws them to me…”

The Holy Spirit not only gives you the confidence to share, but when you do, it’s His influence that causes your words to ring true in the hearts of the people who hear. 

Q. Can you remember a time when you heard something at church or from another believer, and you felt like it was speaking “directly to you?” How did that change the way you responded to what was said?

Q. Trusting the Holy Spirit to cause the words to resonate with those who hear, what would you say to your friends & family who don’t know God?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for sending the Holy Spirit to help you accomplish His mission. Ask Him for boldness to share your faith this week with the people in your life who need Him.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”  

Watts Up: “God Is The Judge, And I AM NOT!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Ouch!” This week, we learn not to be a “rock thrower” judging others, but to be a “grace giver” instead.

2. Bible Reading

John 8:1-11 “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives… All the people gathered around him there. He sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman… They said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught sleeping with a man who was not her husband. In the Law, Moses commanded us to kill such women by throwing stones at them. Now what do you say?’ They were trying to trap Jesus with that question…. So he stood up and said to them, ‘Has any one of you not sinned? Then you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ He bent down again and wrote on the ground. Those who heard what he had said began to go away. They left one at a time, the older ones first. Soon only Jesus was left. The woman was still standing there. Jesus stood up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Hasn’t anyone found you guilty?’  ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then I don’t find you guilty either,’ Jesus said. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”

3. Discussion

Q. Who brought the woman to Jesus & why?

Q.  What was Jesus’ response? Were the Pharisees innocent?

Have you ever known someone that was SO BAD that you thought, “They could NEVER become a Christian!” OR have you ever known someone who had done so many sinful things that you thought, “That person sure does deserve some punishment!”  Well, that’s exactly what the Pharisees thought when they brought the woman to Jesus in today’s Bible Story. This woman had been caught sinning. She had a bad reputation and everyone seemed to know that she was guilty of sin. The Pharisees brought her before Jesus, and they planned to “stone” her.

Q. Have you ever been a “rock thrower” instead of a “grace giver”?

Q. What do you think you could do instead of judging others?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children if they have been guilty of judging others and “throwing rocks” at others. Pray that they will remember that they are sinners too. Pray they will receive forgiveness for their sins (including for judging others) and choose to be a “Grace Giver” like Jesus.

In the Beginning…Part 4

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God is a promise-making master; both in promises to all of humanity, and to us as individuals. From a human perspective, though, it’s all too easy to grow impatient waiting for promises to come true, and when we lose patience, we have a tendency to take matters into our own hands… with unpleasant results.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 16:2a [ESV] “Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children…’”

It had been 10 years since God had promised descendants to Abram, but he was still childless. It was at that point that doubt in God’s promise finally outweighed faith.

Q. What are some promises / dreams / plans that you feel like God has spoken to you? Have they come to pass yet? If not, can you relate to Sarai’s impatience and frustration with God?

Q. Why do you think God spoke the promise to Abram so long before the fulfillment? Could it be that He has a purpose for putting hopes & dreams in your heart that are still down the line?

3. Discussion

Genesis 16:2b [ESV] “…Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.”

Just like in the garden of Eden, Satan brings temptation by casting doubt on God’s word. Sarai adopts an interpretation of God’s promise that can be fulfilled by human strength, without any additional waiting or faith. The result was perpetual hostility that is still active today between the descendants of Isaac (Israel) and Ishmael (Islam).

Q. Be honest – which of God’s promises (to humanity or to you personally) are you tempted to doubt or reinterpret? 

Q. Is the sin to have doubts, or to act on them?

Q. Satan often offers a “shortcut” to promises or blessing, by cutting corners morally. Can you think of a few examples of this in today’s culture?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for all the promises He has made to humanity, and to you personally. Ask Him to give you faith to trust Him and wait for Him to bring them to pass in His timing.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

James 4:7 “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you!”

SPIDER“I’ll Avoid The WEB Of Temptation!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Bugs”.  In this lesson, we learn just how God has given us the ability to avoid being trapped in the web that Satan has laid out for us.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus Is Tempted in the Desert

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert. There the devil tempted him. After 40 days and 40 nights of going without eating, Jesus was hungry. The tempter came to him. He said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man must not live only on bread. He must also live on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city. He had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. It is written,

“ ‘The Lord will command his angels to take good care of you.
    They will lift you up in their hands.
    Then you won’t trip over a stone.’ ” (Psalm 91:11,12)

Jesus answered him, “It is also written, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:16)

Finally, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain. He showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “If you bow down and worship me,” he said, “I will give you all this.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Get away from me, Satan! It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God. He is the only one you should serve.’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:13)

11 Then the devil left Jesus. Angels came and took care of him.

3. Discussion

Q. Where was Jesus when Satan came to tempt Him?

Q. What were the ways that Satan tempted Jesus?

Spiders weave webs to trap their prey.  They lie in wait for an unsuspecting insect to fly or crawl into the web and get stuck.  Then, the spider moves in for the kill.

Satan, our enemy, does much the same with us.  He weaves a web of temptation in order to trap us into sin.  Much of the time, if we are not careful and looking out for it, we will get caught in the web of temptation and fall into sin.

Satan is very crafty in his ways of trapping us.  We must be aware of his schemes in order to avoid getting caught in the web of temptation. 

Q. How has Satan tried to tempt you?  

Q. Have there been times you gave-in to temptation?

Q. How can you try to avoid temptation?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children to be strong and resist the devil’s web of temptation.  Pray for them if they have fallen into sin already and lead them in a prayer for forgiveness.  Pray that God will help them to recognize where they are weak and help them to stay strong in those areas. 

It Is Too Long

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

“How long is this going to take?” All of us have asked that or thought that more times than we can count. In a world governed by time and prioritized around pleasing one’s self, it’s easy to let impatience replace joy and turn us ungrateful. The only way to overcome that trap is to live full of the Holy Spirit.

2. Bible Verse

Ephesians 5:18 [GWT] “Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

Believing in God isn’t enough to produce heart change and life change – you have to live full of His Spirit, His directing influence. Without the Holy Spirit, we’ll never experience patience the way we need to.

Q. The conjugation of the original language means to be “being filled” on an ongoing basis. What are some ways you can invite the Holy Spirit into your day to day life?

Q. What’s one step you can take today to allow more access to the Holy Spirit’s direction and influence?

3. Discussion

Galatians 5:22 [NLT] “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience…”

Patience is one of the things that should be evident to others when the Holy Spirit is filling your life. You don’t produce the patience – He produces it in you, which is why if you want to live with patience in your life, you have to keep Him in the driver’s seat. 

Q. Have you tried to “be patient” on your own? How well did it work?

Q. What are some ways you think the Holy Spirit might work in you to develop patience?

Q. Fruit is a visible sign that differentiates one plant from another. When people see your life, can they tell by your patience that the Holy Spirit is living in you? Have you seen that type of patience in others?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for being patient with you. Ask the Holy Spirit to produce patience in your life by giving you His perspective.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.” 

Watts Up:  “To Be A Healthy Christian, I’ll Stay Away From Sin!”

In our series, “Soul Food,” we learn that separation is one of the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  Have you ever known someone who claims to be a Christian, but acts just like the world?  They go to church, give in the offering, worship God, but then they act a totally different way when they are away from church?  In our Bible Story, we learn from the story of Ananias and Sapphira how we should NOT be hypocrites.  We learn that we must live lives that are separated unto God!

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Acts 5:1-11

Ananias and Sapphira

A man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, also sold some land. He kept part of the money for himself. Sapphira knew he had kept it. He brought the rest of it and put it down at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, why did you let Satan fill your heart? He made you lie to the Holy Spirit. You have kept some of the money you received for the land. Didn’t the land belong to you before it was sold? After it was sold, you could have used the money as you wished. What made you think of doing such a thing? You haven’t lied just to people. You’ve also lied to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. All who heard what had happened were filled with fear. Some young men came and wrapped up his body. They carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later, the wife of Ananias came in. She didn’t know what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me. Is this the price you and Ananias sold the land for?”

“Yes,” she said. “That’s the price.”

Peter asked her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! You can hear the steps of the men who buried your husband. They are at the door. They will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at Peter’s feet and died. Then the young men came in. They saw that Sapphira was dead. So they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 The whole church and all who heard about these things were filled with fear.

Q. What did they decide to do with all of the money from selling their land?

Q. What did Ananias tell the Apostle Peter?  

Q. How did Peter respond?

Q. What happened to Ananias?

Q. What happened to Sapphira?

3. Discussion

Ananias and Sapphira are great examples of hypocrites.  Today, there are lots of people that claim to be Christians, but in reality, are hypocrites.  They say they belong to Jesus, but they don’t act like it.  Their words, actions, and attitudes are no different than those who are not following Jesus.  Sadly, when lost people look at those hypocrites, they think THAT is the way all Christians act.  As a result, they want nothing to do with Jesus.  When we become followers of Jesus, we must separate ourselves from the things of this world and be and act more like Jesus every day!

Q. What are some ways you should be careful to separate yourself from the things of this world?

Q. What can you do to make sure you never become a hypocrite?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children will live lives that are separated from the world and that their words and actions will set them apart from those who don’t know Jesus.

Making Life Better

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Family Devotional Adult 9-17-17

Family Devotional Kids 9-17-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Everybody’s looking for ways to make life better. From smart phones that translate languages, to cars that help you stay in your lane, to updated nutrition levels, everyone’s trying to improve the quality of their lives. As great as man-made advancements are though, there’s only one way to change life from the inside out – allowing the Holy Spirit to rebuild your character in God’s image. 

2. Bible Verse

John 10:10 [ESV] “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

The “thief” is Satan, and his aim is to destroy you.

If you take an inventory of the world around you, it’s easy to see the effect of sin and the pain it brings. Satan is a real being, who is working to prevent people from experiencing peace with God by providing unfulfilling substitutes. These pursuits may seem good or fun in the moment, but ultimately, they lead people further and further from God.

Q. List a few sources of pain or hardship in your life. Do you believe these sources fit with God’s original design for humanity? 

Q. If not, what influence does Satan – and sin – have on them?

3. Discussion

John 10:10 [ESV] “… I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Jesus came to bring the full, vibrant life God always intended for you.  At the core, the one thing every human longs for is peace with God. Satan offers external “fixes,” but they never fill the void. Life with God at the center doesn’t change the outward circumstances – those are part of a sin infected world. Instead, it changes you, and enables you to live in joy and victory regardless of what’s happening around you. 

Q. How do you think a relationship with God might better equip you to handle the sources of pain & hardship you listed above? 

Q. How differently would you view these situations if you didn’t have God’s help?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the joy, peace, and fulfillment that He has planned for your life. Ask Him to help you share that good news with others, so more people can experience life the way God intended it.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Proverbs 13:10  “Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.”

“I Will Listen and Learn To Take Godly Advice!”

The last few weeks we have been learning about how we are “Never Too Young” to do amazing things for God.  This week we learned a very important lesson on how to “Listen to Godly Advice.”

2. Discussion

Q. What is Godly advice?

Q. Who are some people who can give you Godly advice?

Q. Why do you think it’s sometimes hard to do what other people tell you to do?

It’s easy to want to do things on your own or to think you know what is best for yourself.  However, God places people in your life to help you and guide you in your walk with Him.

Q. Have you ever tried to do something or get somewhere with no directions?

Q. Was it easy or hard to do?

Q. Why do we need directions when we are going somewhere or putting something together?

3. Activity 

We need directions because we can’t always do it on our own!  That is how it is with living our lives for Him.  God doesn’t want us to do it on our own!  He sends parents, teachers, pastors, and friends to help us!  Isn’t that cool that God gives us people to help us in our journey with Him?

Take time with your kids to discuss who these special people are in their lives.  Help or allow your children to write a letter to one of these people thanking them for guiding them and helping them in their walk with Christ.

 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your child will listen and follow the leaders that God has placed in their lives!

Life in the Middle

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Let me introduce you to what I consider to be a very interesting and important aspect to our lives in consideration of the times that we are living in. Consider if you will an event from the Old Testament.

David was the sovereign king of Israel and God’s chosen ruler. God’s desire was that David would always depend on him rather than on his own strength or on the might of his armies. For that reason God had told David to never count his fighting men. David however, was stubborn and wanted to know how many men he had to depend on so in rebellion to God’s directive David had the fighting men counted. In response to this disobedience God gave David three choices, Three years of famine, three months of being at the mercy of his enemies, or three days of God’s judgment. David choose God’s judgment and in the days that followed 70,000 of David’s men died!

It is the immediacy of that judgment that I want you to notice.

Then consider the book of Revelation which is a prophetic telling of the days that will come at the end of this age when God’s judgment will once again be poured out upon mankind. The numbers of those who will die in rebellion to God are staggering. At different times we see both a fourth and a third of all humanity die on the earth. Literally this is billions of people.

Once again notice the severity and the immediacy of that judgment.

Then there is the period of time we are living in today. During our time it seems as if anything goes and that there is no reaction from God about anything.

Millions of babies are aborted each year, genocide occurs regularly, and anything which the scriptures declare is sacred to God seems to be fair game for men and women to trounce under their feet without a peep from heaven.

What changed? Where’s God? Is he even really there? If you are honest all of these are questions that you’ve asked or at least thought.

It is exactly this same situation and question that Peter is addressing in 2 Peter 3 when by the Holy Spirit’s direction he writes…

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:3–13, NIV)

Right now we are living in what scholars have called a “dispensation of grace” or a time in which God has withheld his judgment because of the atonement of Jesus on the cross. Literally we are living in the middle of two periods of God’s judgment upon humanity, one behind us, and one in front of us. Because we live relatively short lives in reference to God’s interaction with mankind we can begin to believe only what we see and feel and we can begin to use only the experiences of our lives and the opinions of society around us to form the belief system that controls our actions, behaviors, and beliefs. This is very dangerous because just like all periods of grace this one will come to an end and God will once again judge the sinfulness of mankind. If we have used something other than God’s perspective, found in the Bible, as the rule for our lives we are falling prey to the world around us and are subject to His judgment.

Where are you today?

  • Are the scriptures the basis for your life?
  • Do you find yourself regularly being constrained and challenged by God’s word to become something more?
  • Are you living a life that you will not be ashamed of when Christ returns?
  • Are you living a life worthy of the kindness and grace that Jesus has afforded you and me?
  • Do you feel out of sync with the philosophies and thinking of today’s world?

We should absolutely enjoy this period of God’s graciousness but let’s never forget that ultimately we all give an account for our lives and let’s live our lives with that day in mind.

Blessings

LifeTeam Roots Session 13

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2 SAMUEL 11

YOU SHOULD NEVER GET TO A PLACE WHERE YOU THINK YOUR POSITION GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO SIN.

What does James 1:14-15 say about temptation?

David seeing Bathsheba naked was not a sin but not turning away when enticed was a sin.

What does Jesus say about adultery in Matthew 5:27-28?

How does Joseph react to a much stronger temptation in Genesis 39:6-12?

Our imaginations are very powerful & even with the best intentions we can allow our imaginations to lead us astray.  What 2 things does Matthew 26:41 say to do to prevent this from happening?

Our society glamorizes adultery for entertainment but how seriously does God take marriage?

Malachi 2:13-15: Hebrews 13:4

YOU CAN NEVER GO BEYOND GOD’S ABILITY TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE.

What was the penalty for any Israelite committing adultery (David  definitely would have known this)?

Deuteronomy 22:22

How did God show great mercy to David after his sin?

2 Samuel 12:13

What does God use in this day to reveal our sins to us & bring us back to Him?

Hebrews 4:12-13

What did David pray to God not to remove from him after confessing his sin to God?

Psalm 51:11