Sunday, January 27, 2008

4th Night Notes

Last week in the video she talked about strongholds, the things in our lives that keep us from fully experiencing God or things that build a wall between us and God.

We have all have had or still have strongholds in our lives that keep us in bondage, that keep us from true worship, that keep us from being all God wants us to be.

Strongholds are satan’s way of keeping us in a cage so that we wont be able to realize our full potential in Christ. They are lies the enemy whispers in our ear to tell us that we aren’t good enough to worship God, that we are hypocrites, that our sins are too many for God to forgive, that the things we have done in the past disqualify us from God’s grace.

The devil’s job is to do whatever is necessary to make sure that we do not clearly hear the voice of God through the Holy Spirit.

Last week, I asked that everyone write down at least one verse that can be used against satan in regard to our personal strongholds. I will compile everyone’s verses under headings and pass them out next week.

So, I guess you have noticed that the majority of this study has to do with the Holy Spirit.

We all have some sort of image of God in our minds and we all have a picture of what we think Jesus looks like (he has brown shoulder length hair, blue eyes and a beard, right? - wrong). But we tend to forget about the Holy Spirit because of His name…..the word spirit makes it hard to picture so we kind of just forget that part of the Trinity.

Day 1 talks about the persistence of God in trying to get our attention.

In 1 Samuel 3:1-10 God called Samuel 4 times before Samuel finally recognized His voice and even then it was Eli who alerted him that it was God speaking.

As a side note, I think it is important to point out that in this case god didn’t speak to Eli - he spoke to Samuel - a boy

1 Samuel 3:1 says, “The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions“.

That should encourage us in that God spoke to a mere boy. He didn’t speak to the priest as you would think, but a normal, everyday boy who chose to worship Him. When we choose to worship Him and stay ‘about His business’, He will speak to us as well.

When Samuel finally recognized that it was God speaking, verses 3:19, 21 tell us that the Lord was with Samuel and revealed Himself to Samuel.

I think when we shut out all the other voices in our heads and acknowledge that the Lord is speaking, He will reveal Himself to us as well.

In John 4:7-26 the Lord spoke to the Samaritan woman 7times - she said in vs. 25 “I know that Messiah is coming”, so that tells us at first she didn’t know that she was actually speaking to the Messiah then finally the Lord says to her “I who speak to you am He”.

Don’t you wonder what she thought at first or wouldn’t it be funny to be able to go back in time and see her expression when she really ‘got it’ that she was talking to the One she had been expecting all her life?

Neither Samuel or the woman at the well recognized Who was speaking to them at first.

How are we like the woman at the well?

We are sinful and sometimes don’t recognize when the Lord is revealing our sins to us - sometimes it takes many tries for God to get through to us.

Read Job 33:15-22

How did God choose to speak in these verses?

Do you believe God still speaks through dreams and visions?

Do you believe God disciplines people with sickness or pain today?

I believe God will go to any lengths to get our attention and turn our hearts back to him - I also believe just like Pastor Arden said on Sunday that there are people who are saved but have turned so far away from God that He takes them to heaven early.

Day 2 on page 50 talks about how God speaks to us personally and individually.

Isaiah 45:3 says “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”

He knows our name and calls us by it - can you imagine what it will be like when we are standing face to face with Jesus and He calls us by name? On that day, all our attention will be on Him. There will be no “I’ve got something else to do” or “Can you wait a minute?“ - all of our attention will be His. It is awesome to think about seeing Jesus in person and hearing Him say our name, but the fact is that He calls us by name right here on earth and much of the time we are too distracted and busy to listen.

James 4:17 says “To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

That is a pretty sobering verse. How many times have we known something was the right thing to do and just simply not done it?

On page 50 and 51 she talks about how God commands specific obedience from all of us on some things, but there are other things that He speaks to us individually about . For example, there are people who would say that all secular music is evil, but still others who say it is okay to listen to some secular music - both people may be saved and on their way to heaven, but just disagree because of how the Lord has spoken to them personally.

We sometimes want to impose our personal beliefs on others in a legalistic way - a good example of that is interpretation of scripture.

Many denominations interpret scripture in a different way than we Southern Baptists do. The differences may not make a difference in whether we go to heaven or hell, but we all want to be right so we try to impress our interpretation on them.

Does anyone have an example of how another believer has tried to hold you in bondage to THEIR conviction?

Do you think you judge others based on your personal convictions?

Have someone read Romans 14:12-21

Verse 13 says to stop passing judgement on one another.

Name some things Christians judge other Christians for.

Name some things we judge non-Christians for.

1 Corinthians 8:12 says “And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ“.

On page 51, she talks about the Christian church in Rome and how some of the believers were Jews and some were Gentiles. Their different cultural upbringings caused each group to have differing views on whether certain foods should be eaten or not. Can you think of an example in today’s terms?

Paul tells us that we are not to do something that would cause a brother or sister to stumble. What is something we could do innocently that might cause our brother to stumble?

On page 57, she talks about how we can verify the voice of the Holy Spirit.

We all know the verse in Hebrews that says “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart“. (4:12)

Do you believe the Word of God is living and active?

The Word of God (from the Holy Spirit or from the Bible) is just as relevant for us today as it was for Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, etc.etc - the Word comes to us in a different form than what they experienced, but it is just as powerful.

The writer of Hebrews said that the Word of God is living and active. Hebrews was written after Jesus ascension (Hebrews 1:3 says “The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven“) and before the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.
John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word WAS God”……, this verse being written after Jesus was in heaven shows that the Hebrew writer knew that the Word was living and active even though the Word (Jesus) was in heaven.

Why is the Word living and active? The Holy Spirit

At the top of page 58, she talks about how we sometimes try to steal God’s glory and draw attention to ourselves.

She asks, “How do you feel when you see another woman who obviously seeks attention for herself?” I answered repulsed.

I have to be honest when I read this question, one person immediately came to my mind - someone I see every week - someone who I believe thinks a little too highly of herself. As I was thinking of this person, the Lord brought another person to my mind who fits that description - someone I see everyday when I look in the mirror.

We have been learning how God will not tell us to do anything that contradicts the scripture. No matter how we try to justify what we ‘think’ the Lord is telling us - if it doesn’t align with His Word - we are mistaking what He is saying.

God is never going to tell us to do something that He has clearly forbidden in His Word - and He will not bless disobedience.

If you are dating an unbeliever and you feel like the Lord is giving you the ‘go ahead’ to marry that person - you are dead wrong - it is a sin for you to even be dating an unbeliever much less marry one.

On page 60, how did everyone do on the little ranking quiz?

How many of us listed reading God’s Word as #1?

I think it is pretty telling when you look at how the majority of our time is spent.

On the bottom of page 61 and over on 62, she talks about how Jesus spoke with authority.

Luke 24:32 says “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us…..?”

In Matthew 7:28-29 Jesus spoke and the people were amazed……they were amazed because He taught with Authority!

Can you think of a time when God spoke to you personally with authority?

When I sat down to study this lesson, I had been rushing around and doing this and that. I had taken out the trash and my hands were dirty and need to be washed. When I opened my Bible, God spoke to my spirit and said “you don’t need to handle my Word until you have clean hands and a clean heart” I needed to ‘do business’ with God before He could ‘do business’ with me…..It wasn’t just my hands that needed washing - I had unconfused sin that needed to be brought out and forgiven before He could show me what I needed to learn from His Word.


Earen said...

Many times God has spoken to me with such authority, especially through His Word or even through my children & circumstances surrounding that. It can be very convicting, but I also find that still, sweet voice that speaks to me heart as well. Great post!

Fran said...

That was good. Actually it was GREAT! I'm thankful you share your notes with us. Thanks Bethanne.

Have a great day with God. I love that He is such an individual God.

Mari Fontana said...

Great post...I hope your feeling better...

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

This was great Bethanne!!
I would LOVE to sit in on your Bible Study one night!

Hope you are feeling better!!


Emily said...

great post! i could comment on any part of that because it just kept on speaking to me!

I'm Tara. said...

Gosh - where to start with all of that. I so totally relate to your last paragraph especially. I had a very similar thought two mornings ago during my Bible time -- I was trying to put the cart before the horse, so to speak.

Love ya.

Abby said...

i love reading your notes!! :) i am so blessed to be able to learn from all you wise women. (ps i have totally thrown the weight watchers stuff out the window..i'm horrible..i mean, i have been sick and not feeling like exercising, but i had no excuse for the week before that! hahaha...oh well..still got a while til bathing suit season!! hehe)

He Knows My Name said...

hi bethanne: some thought provoking questions. great notes and challenging too. i hope you are feeling much better. ~janel

Fran said...

Miss you Bethanne....hope all is well and y'all are down and out with some kind of crud. Its really everywhere.

You'd laugh if I told you schools were cancelled today bc of ice.
And, if I was brave, i'd take the stupid picture of the non-ice and have everyone laugh! :)

Maybe y'all got the real stuff...

Jennifer Partin said...

You doing okay over here? You haven't posted in awhile so I wanted to check up on you!

Pam said...

"As I was thinking of this person, the Lord brought another person to my mind who fits that description - someone I see everyday when I look in the mirror."

Wow! I love your humility. It's true... God always reveals something to me whenever a hint of judgement crosses my mind. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit's work in my life. Thank you for being real and honest. I love that.

Also thanks for stopping by my blog. Enjoy these days with your sweet boys they grow so fast.

Anonymous said...

Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn't express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach