Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 8: Grandparents Teach About Witnessing, Lesson 1, Week 8: Shine Like Stars Among Believing Children


Scripture for the week:
One generation will commend your work to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate upon your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deed. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. Psalm 145:4-7 NIV


Lesson 1, Week 8:  Shine Like Stars Among Believing Children
Today’s Scripture Focus:
 "One generation will commend your work to another; they will tell of your mighty acts."  Psalm 145:4

*Before you begin, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you as you read God’s Word and seek His meaning.


Think On These Things:
Each day we get up and live our lives in front of our family and friends.We probably don’t think a whole lot about it. After all, we’re comfortable with them. But with every move you make and especially with every word you speak, you are a living witness to them. 

What is that old saying? “You are writing a book with every word that you say.” Ouch! That could be good or it could be bad, depending on our mood. Also, it is important to remember that actions go a step further for they speak louder than words. This is where grandparents want to put their best spiritual foot forward.

This is why it is important to spend time daily reading our Bibles and in prayer. The Bible teaches us that when we spend time with Him, we are filled with HIS Spirit. Then we will speak words of peace and act in ways that are pleasing to HIM. When we fudge on the time we spend with Him, it’s all too easy to grumble or act in a way that does not glorify Him.

All too often our focus is on witnessing to the unbeliever and we forget that we are witnessing on the home front as well. Let’s resolve to spend time alone with our Savior, praising Him, letting Him teach us, fill us,
that we may shine like stars in the universes among the members of our family.

“Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.Psalm 141:3 NLT

“Therefore this is what the LORD says: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman.”Jeremiah 15:19 NIV

What Did I Learn

I am the world’s witness, but I’m also witnessing to my _________________.

I learned that spending time with _________________by

reading______________________ and in _____________

are necessary for me to be a good ______________ to my

_______________________.


I Will Apply What I Have Learned

Step 1:  I will spend time reading my Bible.
Step 2: I will spend time in prayer, praying for my family members by name.
Step 3: I will ask God to set a guard over my mouth and guide my words.
Step 4: I will speak words of worth to my family.
Step 5: I will act in ways that will glorify my Savior. When I fail I will immediately seek forgiveness.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lesson 5, Week 7 Review and Study of Lessons 1-4, Week 7


Today’s Scripture Focus: 
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24 NIV

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. James 2:17 NIV

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

What I learned

Lessons 1 & 2: 
A word that suggests a continuous action of faith is _______________.

Based on the text of Daniel 10, prayers can be answered in Heaven before they ever come to pass on __________. 

God is a Heavenly Father who knows how to give good _________ to His children.  He will answer our prayers in a way that is __________for us, His children.

When we pray, we are not alone,___________ our Great High Priest intercedes before the throne of God, and_______ _________ _________ who indwells us, prays within us.

We are to actively believe by expecting answers to our prayers.  Jesus also tells us we need to ________in Him. John 15:7 
In addition, we need to __________________________
I John 3:21-23

Faith without___________is dead.

Acting on our own, without faith in God’s promises, produces _________________.

Three biblical characters that stand out in my mind as those who acted in faith are:
1._______________
2._______________
3._______________

Discuss within your group:  Is it possible to please God without faith?_____________  Why or why not?

Lessons 3 & 4:
Faith is __________ _________of what we hope for
and _______of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Who is the father of lies?___________

I am to give my anxieties to _____________ because He __________ for me.

God commands us not to _________His blessings and His ___________. 
Who are we to teach them to? ____________ ____
_________________.

Why do we need to pass this information on?______
_______________________.

What are we as grandparents to guard against? Deut. 4:25-26________________ _____ _______________

List four ways that we can keep God’s laws in our mind, and the minds of our children and grandchildren.
____________________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________

God has spoken to me through this lesson by making me mindful of ____________________________________.
The action I plan to take regarding this lesson is ______
_____________________________________________
Group Discussion:
If time, have each member share within the group, the main point that impressed them from this week’s study.

Father,
We praise You for Your Word that instructs us.  Thank You for showing us that we need to have an active faith.  While we don’t always understand Your answers to our prayers, we trust that You have our best interests at heart.  Help us to abide and obey Your commandments, and to teach them to our children and grandchildren, that we may receive Your blessings.  Remind us to choose faith and abandon worry, releasing all our cares to You.  We claim Your promise that Your peace will guard our minds in Christ Jesus.  Continue to teach us, Father, as we grow in Christ each day.  In Jesus name we pray. Amen


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lesson 4, Week 7: Grandparents Model Faith By Recalling How God Has Worked In The Past


Today’s Scripture Focus:  Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

*Before you begin, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you as you read God’s Word and seek His meaning. 

Your grandchildren are standing on the threshold of life in Christ.  What do you tell them?  Will it be enough to say follow the Savior, or will they want you to give them reasons?  What reasons will you give?  Will you say it’s the right thing to do, and will they believe you?  How much better it is when you can say this is how God has worked in my life.  I know He is real, and I know He will bless you if you but answer His call with a Yes.

One thing about growing older is we start to forget, or at least we have a hard time recalling names or a pertinent fact the moment that we want to.  A name we are seeking may pop into our minds hours after the conversation in which it was mentioned.  Spiritual matters are more easily brought to mind, at least the mountaintop ones.  But unless we’ve kept a prayer journal, we may forget some of the daily answers we have received through the years.  That is why I encourage you to start keeping a prayer journal even if you never have. You will be amazed when a few months down the road, you look back and see how God has supplied your needs.

Before you move on to the next section of today’s lesson, take a few moments and review Lesson 1, Week 1 of this study.

Think On These Things

A long time ago, God’s people stood ready to enter the promise land.  The book of Deuteronomy deals with what God wanted them to remember—the commandments He has given to them, and also, how He has been there for them at every turn, supplying their every need. 

God commanded the Israelites through Moses, not to forget His laws and that He had cared enough to give them.  Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip form your heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children and to their children after them.  Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” (Deuteronomy 4:9-10 NIV)

We are to recall what God has done, sharing it with our children and grandchildren so they will honor the Lord.

After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and provoking him to anger, I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.  (Deut. 4:25-26 NIV)

What will be the results of our chasing other gods, becoming corrupt, and in turn, corrupting our families?  We will provoke God to anger and cause His judgment to fall upon us.  Are we of the twenty-first century chasing gods of money and recreation?  Has anything or anyone become like a god to you? 

Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, God give His commands, listing the blessings of obedience, and the negative consequences of disobedience.  Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  (Deuteronomy 8:2 NIV)  He also reminds us to remember how He has worked in our lives. 

God commands us to keep His laws for our own good and the good of our family.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gate.  (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NIV)  Wise we are, when in obedience we hang pictures and place items with Scriptures within our homes.  Our families see God’s Word daily. Our homes become an extension of ourselves, and all that is important to us, as we fill them with Scriptures, impressing God’s Word on the minds of our children and grandchildren.

What I Have Learned

God had Moses give His commandments to the ______________.  He commanded them not to forget His ________.  He wanted them to remember how He _____________________________________________.

Who were the Israelites to teach the laws to?_____________________________________
Why?___________________________________

After the Israelite had children and grandchildren, if they became corrupt, what would they lose?______________

Why did God allow the Israelites to undergo the trials of the desert?  What were they to learn?________________


Where are God’s commandments to be? _____________
How can we do that?_____________________________
List five ways that we can impress God’s laws on our children.
1._____________________________
2._____________________________
3._____________________________
4._____________________________
5._____________________________

I Will Apply What I Have Learned

STEP 1:  I will continually share with my children and grandchildren how God has worked in our family.

STEP 2:  I will examine my life for idols, confess my sins and repent.  I will do this daily so that my family may be blessed. 

STEP 3:  I will begin this day, to place Scripture visibly throughout my home.  I will look for calendars, pictures and items to place in my home that will honor God.

STEP 4:  I will not hide my love for You from my family.  They will know that I consider setting aside a time to pray and study as important.

STEP 5:  I will encourage them to memorize Scripture and I will set the example.


Lord God,

How I thank You for Your Word, and the wisdom it holds for me as a parent and grandparent.  Cause my family to see evidence of Your importance in my life when they enter my home. 

Remind me to share my spiritual life with them, and not to hide the fact that I love You.  Instead, let me proclaim my devotion to You from the housetop.  Let them be able to say after I am gone from this earth, that they saw me reading Your Word, and that they heard me pray.  Let them know that communing with You a vital part of life.

Lord, may I challenge them to memorize Scripture, and may I memorize it too.  Enable me Lord to obey the commands that You have set forth for me as a parent and grandparent.  In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.



Lesson 3, Week 7: Grandparents Model Faith By Refusing To Worry


Today’s Scripture Focus:  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 NIV

*Before you begin, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you as you read God’s Word and seek His meaning.

Worrying does not fit in with God’s perfect plan for our lives. Jesus came that we might have peace and have it abundantly (John 14:27). To worry is to reject the gift of peace that He wrapped up at Calvary and gave to us when He defeated Satan.  

Yet, many Christians reject His gift of peace by indulging in the bad habit of worrying.  One lady told me that worrying indicates you care.  The truth is concern is the indicator that you care, and praying to our Triune God is the ideal place to leave those concerns.  God never intended for us to go around carrying heavy burdens. 

Worrying is a learned habit that can be unlearned.  Releasing our concerns through prayers—letting go and letting God handle them is also a habit that we can choose.   Worrying shows that we really don’t trust God to handle the things that are important to us, while releasing our concerns through prayers is faith in action. 

Faith was the topic of discussion in a Sunday School class one morning.  One gentleman raised the question of why some had more faith then others?  As many joined in voicing their views, I became convince that the Lord has given all of His children the same gift of faith, but some choose not to exercise it. 

Life is full of choices and faith is a choice, just as worry is a choice.  We either choose to believe what God says in His Word and to act accordingly, or we mouth with our lips that we believe, when we really don’t.  Instead, we choose to handle things on our own, worrying all the time.

Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).  Worry is based on lies that Satan wants us to believe.  When we choose worry, we are playing into his hands. 

Think On These Things

By the time we reach our senior years, we have lived through many experiences.  We have all heard the old adage, “He/she is set in their ways,” but that is not true. Satan would have us believe it, but by choice we can choose the way of peace and activate our faith, breaking the worrying habit.

Jesus has a lot to say about worrying—all of it spells out Do not worry!”  Take a few moments and read Matthew 6: 25-34.  What does God want you to worry about?Absolutely nothing! 

Instead, Peter tells us to Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).  Paul adds to that, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). 

These two verses alone are filled with promises.  We don’t need to worry because God cares for us.  How are we to handle our concerns?  By taking everything to the Lord in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.  There is a word indicator that we need to take notice of—THANKSGIVING—which tells us that He will answer our prayers, and we can thank Him for those answers before they ever comes to be on earth. 

The next part of the passage is packed with even more promises.  He’s going to give us peace—not just any peace, but the kind that is so awesome we just can’t comprehend it with our limited understanding.  What will this peace do?  It will guard our minds in Christ Jesus.  When we choose to believe the first part of this passage by taking our cares to the Lord, He is going to give us a peace so strong that it will be like guards in a garrison surrounding our minds, protecting our thoughts from any anxiety that Satan might hurl our way.  Wow!  He has taken care of everything.  Our part is to believe Him and to choose to act upon that believe by refusing to worry.
What I Have Learned

Faith is __________ _______ of what we hope for
and _________of what we do not see.
                              
Worry is a __________habit that can be ___________.

Name two choices that we have regarding our daily cares in this life. __________ _____________

_______________ is the father of lies.

We do not have to be set in our ways.  We can __________ our faith by _________ __________.

Write (in your own words) some key points from the passage in 6:25-34.
Jesus says___________________________________
___________________________________________
___________________________________________
___________________________________________

I am to cast my worries (anxiety) on Jesus because
__________________________.

I am not to worry about anything.  Instead, I am to
________________to God with _______________.
And the ________ ____ __________, which transcends
_____ _______________ will _________my mind in
___________ _______________.

My part is to choose faith, activate ___ _______, and refuse ___ __________.

I Will Apply What I Have Learned

STEP 1:  I will choose faith.

STEP 2:  I will present my prayers and petition, with thaksgiving, to the Lord and refuse to worry.  If I take them back, I will stop what I am doing and repeat my action.  I will do this however many times it takes me to learn to let go and let God.

STEP 3:  I will remember that I do not have to worry for my concerns are in the hands of the Almighty God.

STEP 4:  I will model my faith habit of letting God handle the details of my life to my children and grandchildren.  I will point out His faithfulness in all situations. 

Lord Jesus,
We want to thank You for the truth of Your Word, for You make Your desires known.  You have filled Your Word with promises that we can claim by faith.  All we have to do is choose faith, and activate it by acting accordingly. Enable us to do that day-by-day, moment-by-moment.  Strengthen us when we are weak. Thank You for pointing out the way. Thank You for telling us how to have peace and how Your peace protects our minds when we choose to let it.  We thank You that You care so deeply for us, and we want You to know that we love You too.   In Jesus name, we pray, Amen.















Monday, January 23, 2017

Lesson 2, Week 7: Grandparents Model Faith In Action


Today’s Scripture Focus:  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.. 
James 2:17 NIV

*Before you begin, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you as you read God’s Word and seek His meaning.

Faith, in this new millennium, can be exemplified when we travel by air, and assume we will arrive at our destination.  Faith, in this age of terrorism, can be exhibited as we go about our work and daily errands, believing that we will return home in the evening for dinner.  Both of these are examples of faith in action. But the question is what is that faith in?  Our government?  Our homeland security?  Ourselves or our God?  Each American would have a different answer, depending on what they believe.  But for Christians, the answer would foremost be God, then our government and homeland security.

Yesterday, our lesson focused on faith (belief) that God would answer our prayers. Today, we want to consider faith in our Triune God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), and what that godly faith looks like in action. 

Think On These Things

To see faith in action at it’s best, let us turn to the first book of the Old Testament.  In Genesis 6, God told Noah it was going to rain, and Noah believed Him.  Noah put his faith in action when in spite of the fact it had never rained (Genesis 2:5-6), he started building the ark as God had commanded him to do.

Later, we read how God called Abram to leave the land of Ur and set off for the unknown (Genesis 12).  God assured Abram that He would make him the leader of a great nation and bless him.  Abram believed God, and his faith became alive as he packed up and obediently left his homeland.

Again, God gave Abram a promise that he would have a son from his own body as his heir.  Genesis 15:6 says that Abram believed God, but somewhere between the promise and the fulfillment, Abram and his wife Sarai got impatient and decided that maybe, just maybe, they were to help God fulfill this promise.  Then, Hagar, Sarai’s maidservant, became involved.  Sarai gave the slave girl to Abram to sleep with, and she conceived a child for Abram and Sarai, but this was not the child the Lord had promised, and there were many consequences to their impatient action.  We, too, must be careful when God gives us a promise, and we are waiting for its fulfillment.  We must not attempt to take over and do it for God.  That is not faith in action, but us in His way.  Always when we step out of God’s will, there are consequences, and the fulfillment may even be delayed.

Read Hebrews 11 for a complete cast of characters demonstrating faith in action.  By doing so, you get a complete sense of what action powered faith looks like and what blessings can be reaped when we response with such faith.  But don’t stop there; let’s look at modern day disciples who are propelled by action faith.  Who are they and what do they do?

They are the people who power their faith with action by praying for their families, the sick, their president, their country and the world.  They are the ones who form prayer groups and cover God’s servant in prayer.  They are the doers of the Word.

People with an active faith are the parents who seek to raise their children in a godly home, and then free them to try their wings as they become young adults.  These parents are trusting God to lead the their adult children.  Faith in action (trust in God) is what enables these Christian parents to let go with peace in their hearts.

Active faith is what allows grandparents to live miles
from their children and grandchildren, believing that Jehovah-Shamah, a God who is present, will be there watching over their long distance family.

Faith in action causes us to speak positive words, not negative ones. Our speech reflects the depth of our faith.
We can say we believe God will do this and that, but until we start praising Him for what He has done, is doing, and will do, our faith lies dormant like the trees and grass in the winter.  Faith cannot grow until it is nourished with active belief, then it sprouts, bursts forth and blooms, producing fruit for the Kingdom.

Christians are constantly given opportunities to exercise their faith.  They know that God is a rewarder of faith, that faith pleases God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrew 11:6 NIV

What I Have Learned

If ___________is not accompanied by _________,
it is ______________.

Noah put action with his faith when he ___________________ even though it hadn’t _______.

Abram showed faith in action when he ___________
_____________________________________________.

Abram and Sarai got impatient and tried to help God fulfill his promise by _________________________.

When we try to help God out by taking matters into our own hands, there are always _____________________.

List five biblical characters from Hebrews 11 and tell how they put their faith in action:

1. _________  _______________________________
2.      ________  ________________________________
3.      ________  ________________________________
4.      ________  ________________________________
5.      ________  ________________________________

Give three examples of how modern day Christians can
demonstrate faith in action:
1. __________________________________________
2. __________________________________________
1.                              3.  __________________________________________

Without _______________it is impossible to __________ ____________.

I Will Apply What I Have Learned

STEP 1:  I will make my petitions known to God in prayer, then praise Him for His answers by statement the answer to each petition as if it has already come to be.
EXAMPLE:  (Petition) Dear Lord, Jim needs a job where he will be surrounded by other Christians, enabling his roots to grow deep in You. (Praise) Lord, I praise You for the job that You have selected for Jim.  I praise You that there are Christians there who will be a support to Jim.  I praise You for the plan that You have for Jim’s life, a plan to give him hope and a future  (Jeremiah 29:11).  In Jesus name, I thank You. Amen

STEP 2:  I will release my children and grandchildren into God’s loving care daily.  I will mentally practice placing them in God’s arms until I automatically do this in regard to every circumstance.

STEP 3:  I will activate my faith by the words I speak. I will choose to speak positive words to those I come in contact with daily. If I have developed a bad habit of negative talk, I will ask the Holy Spirit to enable me change.  I will read God’s Word daily and speak His promises aloud, increasing my faith.  I refuse to speak words of doubt and unbelief.  My words, powered by my faith, will be a witness to my children, grandchildren, and others, that I expect God to act. 

Dear Lord,
I want to thank You for Hebrews 11 and the great cast of characters you have listed there to encourage us to act with faith.  Indeed, they are wonderful examples of faith in action.  Lord, I want to be like that, for Your Word tells us that faith pleases You.  Help me this day to demonstrate faith in action to my children and grandchildren, and to others.

When I speak negative words, convict me Holy Spirit, that I may confess, repent, and change.  Fill me with the power of Your Word, that my heart and mind may be filled to the brim with Your promises, and the Words of my mouth will spillover in faith to others.  
           
Empower me to continually release with faith, my children and grandchildren into Your hands, knowing that I can safely trust them to Your watchcare.

Lord, enable me to have a living, active faith that gives You the glory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen








Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week 7: Grandparents Model Faith In Action, Lesson 1, Week 7: By Expecting God’s Answer

Scripture for the week:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 NIV

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1 NIV

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:17 NIV

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God’ he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.  Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

Lesson 1, Week 7:  By Expecting God’s Answer
Today’s Scripture Focus: Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  Mark 11:24 NIV

*Before you begin, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you as you read God’s Word and seek His meaning.

Today’s verse can be confusing and easily misunderstood.  Are we to take it literally?  May we have whatever we ask for in prayer, if we only believe enough?  Is this why some people unconsciously view God as a vending machine God, then get mad when a non-selected treat appears?   Do we just ask in prayer and presto, we get anything we want? 

What about the times when life has seemed to contradict this verse?  Some of us have prayed for a physical healing for our child, grandchild, or other family member, and didn’t receive what we asked for—was the problem a lack of faith on our part?  Oh, the guilt that wrapped its binding tentacles around our hearts in those incidents and made us assume that our faith was lacking. 
           
Think On These Things:

What was Jesus really trying to tell us in this verse?  The keyword is believe, but not the way we may interpret it at first consideration.  Instead, think of believe as being one endless action of faith—believing that something is even though we can’t see it—believing day after day, week after week, year after year until God’s answer comes to pass.  We are to ask, expecting God to reply.  But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6 TLB

In Chapter 10 of Daniel, we find that Daniel has been in prayer to God over some great burdens.  One day he has a vision in which he receives a visitor, “I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist.  His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude,” Daniel 10: 5-6 NIV.Biblical scholars are pretty much in agreement that the man was an angel sent to deliver a message to Daniel, but they speculate on whether the angel was Gabriel, who is a messenger angel, or God Himself. 

But it is the message that I want to call your attention to.  “Do not be afraid, Daniel.  Since the first day that you (prayed) set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them (God took action in Heaven).Daniel 10: 12 NIV,“But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days (a prince of Satan’s). Then Michael, one of the chief princes (God’s angel), came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.”  Daniel 10:13 NIV (Italics, mine)

Based on this passage, we can be certain that God hears our prayers when we first pray them and responds to them with action in Heaven.   The Heavenly action will eventually be carried out on earth, for God’s will prevails.  This passage is a clear indicator that prayers are answered in heaven before they ever become fact on earth.  Our God is the Victor, for Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross.

Looking back at our verse for today, if we continue to believe that God hears us when we pray and that He takes action on our requests, then we definitely know we will have His answer. 

Often, the way He answers may seem very different from what we were asking for.  That difference is what causes us to assume our faith was lacking, or we would have gotten exactly what we asked for, but that is not so.  Jesus says that our Father knows how to give us good gifts (Matthew 7:11).  We are also told that Jesus is our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:11), He intercedes for us before the throne of God, and we have the Holy Spirit within us who prays for us (Romans 8:26-27).  We can rest assured that God is a loving Father, who has our best interest at heart.  Thus, if the answer doesn’t seem to be
the answer we were seeking, we need to trust the Father and know that He has provided the best possible answer for He, and He alone, sees the whole mural of life on earth. In 2 Samuel 13: 15-23 we have the story of the death of David and Bathsheba first child.  David pleads with the Lord for the life of the child, but the child dies.  The Scriptures tell us that God loved David, so why didn’t He grant him the exact answer to his request? 

God in His wisdom saw the whole picture of David’s life and the lives of the others involved.  Only God knows the exact reason He chose to take the child to be with Him.  Some may speculate that it was punishment, but perhaps it might have been because the child would have been a constant reminder of David’s sin.  Perhaps it would have kept him from ever forgiving himself and moving on with life.  This much we do know, God is Wisdom, and He always does the right thing--the best thing for His children.

In addition to believing, John 15: 7 NIV points out some possible conditions for receiving our heart’s desires. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. To remain means to continue being a vital member of the family.  We must remain in the family by being in daily contact through the Word and through prayer.

1 John 3:21-23 NIV adds, Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.  And this is his command:  to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

Thus, believing, abiding, and obeying, twine together up the trellis of our ascending prayers, causing God to move on our behalf. 

Does this mean that God never answers the prayers of a non-Christian, for after all they are not abiding or obeying?  No, for when a nonbeliever cries out to the Lord, He becomes a seeker and God answers him.  The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.  Psalm 145:18-19 NIV

Jeremiah 29: 13 and 14 NIV also confirms that God answers the seeker.  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.  “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12 NIV

What Did I Learn
The word believe suggests a child of God needs to have a continuous __________ of ________________.
We also need to pray_____________God to answer.

The passage in Daniel 10 tells us that God _______ ___________ in Heaven when Daniel first
prayed.

Sometimes the answer to prayers may be delayed by ______________ __________________.

Our Heavenly Father knows how to give ___________ __________ to His children.

______ __________ ___________ and Jesus, as our __________ __________ _____________ intercede for us.
           
Besides believing and expecting, ___________ and ________________ are two important conditions to having our prayers answered.

God always answers prayer, but if He doesn’t answer us exactly like we asked, it doesn’t mean we
were lacking in_______________.  It simply means that  God _____________the best possible answer. 

When a non-Christian seeks (cries out to) God, God will _________for they have become seekers, and God is ________to all who _____________on Him.

I Will Apply What I Have Learned

STEP 1:  I will pray, believing and expecting God to answer my petitions.

STEP 2:  I will choose to keep on believing even when the waiting is long, for I know that my prayers have already been answered in Heaven and will come to pass on earth.

STEP 3: I will keep a prayer journal and share God’s answers with my children and grandchildren.

Gracious Father,
Thank You for making the gift of prayer possible.  Thank You for Your Word that teaches us about prayer.  Thank You for hearing us and answering our prayers.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit who prays within us, and for Jesus, our High Priest, who intercedes for us before Your throne.  How blessed we are, Father.

We ask that You continue to hear our prayers and enable us to ask believing and expecting You to answer our prayers.  May we practicing a continuous action of faith, abiding with You and obeying Your commands.  In Jesus name, we pray. Amen







Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lesson 5, Week 6: Grandparents Teach Love


‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself:’ All the Law
and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”’
Matthew 22:37-40 NIV


*Before you begin, ask God to reveal His truths to you as you study His Word.

Wow! We’ve covered a lot of territory this week.

Lessons 1 & 2:

Describe how you have put God first this week.___________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

In what areas of your life are you lukewarm to God?_______________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

Why shouldn’t you allow God’s Name to be used as a curse word?_____________________

What does the Bible say?______________________________________________________

List one positive way you have demonstrated your love for God this week.______________

__________________________________________________________________________


Who is your neighbor?________________________________________________________

This week, did you find a way to show your love for your neighbor?___________ What did you

do?_________________________________________________________________________

Think of one way you can show love to your neighbor. Write it down. ___________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Enlist the help of your grandchildren in carrying out your plan.


Lessons 3 & 4:
Whose image have we been made in?________________________________________

Why is it important to love yourself?________________________________________

How can our words show that we don’t love ourselves?___________________________

______________________________________________________________________

How is your self-image? Write it down and pray over it?_________________________

______________________________________________________________________


Do you agree that forgiveness is the first step in healing?_________________________

Who do you need to forgive—love unconditionally?____________________________

When commenting on things in the world, in your community, and even in your family, show
that you are or aren’t loving unconditionally?

Modeling love is tough for all too often, we fall short. But we have a Mighty God who loves
deeply and can make up for our deficiencies. Will you ask Him to help you now?

Gracious Father, You are a God of love. We know that. It is what first drew us to You.

Hear our prayer O’LORD. When we fall short on loving ourselves, our neighbors, and loving others unconditionally, please enable us. It is then that we pray Holy Spirit fill us so that we may overflow with love. Help us to model love to our grandchildren. In Jesus Name, Amen. 

Lesson 4, Week 6: Grandparents Show Unconditional Love



*Before you begin, ask God to reveal His truths to you as you study His Word.

Scripture Focus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”’ Matthew 5:43-48 NIV


It is easy to love the lovable, but what about those who aren’t lovable? How are you doing with this Scripture? Have you ever been tested in this situation? Probably, things are in the news every day. Our comments tell our grandchildren how we really feel.

Think on These Things

One beautiful day in the autumn of the year, October 2, 2006, to be exact, students were attending the West Nickel Mine’s Amish School. The school was twelve miles southeast of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Suddenly, a lone gunman broke in and shot ten of the girls, ages 6-13, before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide. Five of the girls died and five lived. The shooter was Carl Roberts IV, and in his sick mind, he was making the girls pay for the loss of his daughter.

That story alone was a shocker, but the big shock came when the Amish turned to Robert’s mother with compassion and forgivenness. One of the girl’s grandfather forgave Roberts. Many visited the Roberts family and expressed compassion for them.

Ten years later, a relationship has been forged between the Roberts and the Amish Community.
God made something beautiful out of what the devil deemed for evil. Mr. Roberts thought they would have to move after the incident, but love conquered all. When Terri Roberts, Carl’s mother, had breast cancer, the Amish were there to help her through it. Amazing love is what we witness in this story. And this is the love God calls us to practice.

What I Have Learned

Upon examining the Scriptures and hear this story . . .

·        It is possible to love like that—the Amish demonstrated such love.
·        Forgiveness is necessary for healing
·        More is expected of us than the people of the world
·        God loved us with an unconditional love when He sent His only Son to die for us while we were yet sinners. John 3:16

I Will Apply What I Have Learned

·        I will practice forgiveness in my words and in my actions.
·        I will not express hate and I will ask God to cleanse me of it.
·        I will model unconditional love for my grandchildren.
·        I will not hold grudges.

Maybe there is a situation in your family right now where someone has been cruel to those you love. Maybe they have been cruel to you. Will you take the first step and ask God to place forgiveness in your heart for them? Then every time you feel hate build up, will you ask God to remove it from your heart?  It’s a big step, I know, but you do want God to make something beautiful out of your life. This doesn’t mean you have to become buddy-buddy with them, it just means you forgive them for what they have done to you. Then you can walk away free from that baggage. Also, remember forgiveness, loving unconditionally is a process. It won’t happen in one step. You may have to do this over and over.

Meanwhile, whether it be anger over politics, situations in the news, or church, guard your heart and guard your comments, especially in front of the grandchildren. Ask God to avenge the situation. He will deal with that person. It's not your place. Forgive.

Precious Father, Help us as grandparents demonstrate this amazing love—forgiveness that is godly. Help us to guard our hearts and minds. Cause us to let you do the avenging while we choose to forgive and march on. Work with us heavenly Father and  to make something beautiful out of our lives. Amen.