Thursday, March 18, 2010

Walking in your truth!

Ephesians 2:10. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Psalms 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Isaiah 26:8, "Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your Truth, we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and Your renown are the desire of our souls."

Growing up all I wanted to do was to be a wife and a mother. As a child I would spend hours playing make-believe with my dolls and Barbies. In kindergarten my favorite center was the family life center, because I loved being the mommy. Even in college, when others would be discussing the successful careers they wanted in their future, all I was thinking about was getting married and having babies. Yet, college came and went and still not knight in shining armor. I then went onto seminary and again still no prospects of being a wife and a mother. After recieving my masters degree I went on to work at an incredible mega-church! While on staff I poured myself into the ministry and God granted me such great peace as I served Him with my life. Shortly after coming on staff the church began a large building program and the creation of a community playground on the church grounds. I had the great privilege of helping plan some details of the playground and was even there for the ground breaking. During the ground breaking ceremony, I walked along the land and prayed over it.

A few weeks before the openning of the new building and new playground every member of the church had an oppurtunity to sign, write a verse or a prayer on the steeple that would shortly be put up on top of the church. I wrote down that I desired to one day be a wife and a mother and wrote down Ephesians 2:10 and Psalms 37:4. I knew God had a great plan for my life and I knew that God knew the deep desires of my heart.

Then the prayer that I had placed on the steeple, were answered in a wonderful way! I met my Godly, handsome, amazing husband. Then a few year later, after a heartwrenching journey to become pregnant, we had our precious daughter. Then today, God revealed to me and reminded me, that His timing and His plan is perfect. I walked onto the community playground, that years earlier I had planned and prayed over, with my precious daughter in my arms! We played, had a picnic, enjoyed the swings and climbed through the tunnels. My heart was full and my eyes blinked away tears of joy and thankfulness!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What is love?

Last month was the "love" month! Many of us celebrated the "Hallmark" holiday of Valentine's Day! The following three lessons are on the true meaning of love. I pray that these lessons will encourage as you realize that you can find true and unconditional love in God.

Lesson One
Title: Where is the Love?

Theme: The mark of a Christian life is to be love! We are called to love because Christ first loved us.

Scripture: 1 John 4:11-14
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and His in us, because He has given us His spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the son to be the Savior of the world.”

1. If we know and love God how should we act?

2. What has God given us to abide (live in) us?

3. God sent Who into the world to be the Savior?

4. Does your life reflect your walk with Christ?

According to verse 12 the only way the world will see the love of God is if the people of God are a picture of love. If Christ is the center of our life than love will be the fruit that is seen by the world. A life led by the Spirit of God will show the love of God to the world.

Galatians 5:22 states, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

5. List all the words that describe the Spirit

6. Do you have these qualities in your life?

7. Which ones do you need to work on?

John 15:5 states, “I (Christ) am the vine, you (Christians) are the branches, he who abides in Me and I in him he bears much fruit for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

8. Who is the vine?

9. Who are the branches?

10. How can we as Christians “bear fruit”?

Read John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another even as I have love you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment that you love one, another just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.”

11. How have you shown love to those around you?

12. What may you need to “lay down” in order for those around you to see Christ in your life?

Read the words of the lyrics to,

“If We are the Body”
It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girls teasing laughter is
carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ
Jesus is the way

Lesson Two
Title: Fearless Love

Scripture: 1 John 4:15-18
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment. Because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

1. How can you have God in your life?

2. God is what?

3. How can you have confidence on the day of judgment?

4. Is there fear in love?

5. What does perfect love cast out?

God is love. As Christians we have God living in and through our lives. We should have love in our hearts and demonstrate it with our actions and lives.
First Corinthians 13:4-7 states, “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous. Love does not brag and is not arrogant. Love does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.

6. What traits of love do you need to work on?

7. Do you demonstrate these “love traits” to those around you?

There is no fear in love because there is no judgment in love. For all who abide in God’s love there is no reason to fear. Through Christ we have the power to love the unlovable because His love is our power. When we truly experience the love of God there is no reason to fear.

Read John 15:8-11

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you, abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love just as I have kept My father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.”

8. How is God glorified?

9. How can we be full of joy?

In His earthly ministry when Christ was asked, “What is the greatest commandment,” Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Everyone around is our neighbor. It does not matter whether they are just like us or very different. God has called us to love those around us, not because it is easy to do but because we need to demonstrate God’s love in our lives.

Lesson Three
Title: Lover or Liar

“Share the Gospel always, use words only if necessary.”

Scripture: 1 John 4:19-21
“We love because He first loved us. If someone says, “ I love God,” and hate his brother, he is a liar, for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.?

1. Why do we love God?

2. If someone says he loves God but does not love those around him, what is he called in this scripture passage?

3. Give an example of a time when you DID NOT show love to those around you.

4. Give an example of time when you DID show love to those around you.

Actions speak louder than words. We cannot love God without loving people. The way that we demonstrate God’s love is to show that we love people regardless of who they are or what they have done.

Read 1 John 2:4-6
“The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought to himself walk in the same manner as He (Jesus walked).

“If you are going to talk the talk, then you better walk the walk”

5. Give an example of how you can “walk the walk” when it comes to your faith and love in Christ.

Read: Matthew 5:43-44
“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.”

6. Who does God command us to love?

7. Give an example of when you had to “love your enemy/enemies”?

Read: Leviticus 19:18
“You shall not take vengeance, not bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.”

8. What does God command us NOT to do?

9. What does God command us to do in this passage?

10. Why is it hard not to hold a grudge or take vengeance on those who have hurt us or someone we love?

11. Give an example of a time when you had to love your neighbor and not take vengeance.

Read: Matthew 22:37-40
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the prophets.”

12. How can you love the Lord with all your heart?

13. How can you love the Lord with all your soul?

14. How can you love the Lord with all your mind?

15. Give an example of how you can you love your neighbor as yourself?

16. Are we showing that we are a lover of God because we love people or are we showing that we are a liar because our actions do not line up with our words?

The Lost Son and The Other Son

I have recenty been working with my home church in helping with the adult Sunday School curriculum. Two of the most recent lessons that I have written is on the Lost Son and the Other Son. I pray that these two lessons will encourage you in your walk with the Lord. I also pray that these two lessons will motivate you to share the love and grace of Christ with those that are lost and need salvation.

The Lost Son
Luke 15:11-24

As a little kid did you ever “run away”?

How did you parents react when you came back?


Read Luke 15:11-24

1. Which son asked for his inheritance early?
2. Did his father give it to him?
3. How long did the money last? (look at verse 13)
4. What job did the son have to do once he lost his job?
5. In order to get away from feeding the pigs, what job was he willing to do at his father’s house?
6. Describe his father’s reaction when the lost son came home?

The youngest son arrogantly went to his father and demanded his inheritance. In the Jewish culture, to demand ones inheritance was as if you where saying “I wish you were dead”! The father lovingly gave his demanding son what he desired. It did not take very long for the young son to run out of money and to run out of friends. Since he had no place to go and no money to spend, he took the only job available and that was feeding pigs. The son was so desperate for food, that he even started sharing his meals with the pigs. Because of his sin, he knew his father would not welcome him home as an heir, but the son was willing to become a slave, as long as he was under the same roof and protection of his father. As the young son, still smelling of pig slob, trudged up the walkway towards his house, something astonishing occurred. His father, in his fancy clothes, hiked up his tunic and ran towards his son. He hugged and kissed the son, not caring that he too now had the stench of pig on himself. Not only did the father welcome the son back into his household, but the father welcomed the son back into his heart as his son.


7. Have you ever said a very hurtful thing to you parents or have been told something hurtful by your child?

8. How did you react?

9. Have you ever done such great sin or disappointed God that you felt like He would never forgive you?

10. How did you feel once God forgave you?

Read Romans 8:35-38. See that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.

“It costs God nothing so far as we know, to create nice new things; but to convert rebellious wills cost him crucifixion.”

Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. Once you have accepted Christ’s forgiveness and salvation, no sin can separate us from His love, mercy and grace!

The Other Son
Luke 15:25-32

Growing up, did you ever have sibling rivalry??

What activity did you and your siblings compete in the most?

Did you ever feel like your parents “like” your brother or sister more then you?

Read Luke 15:25-32

1. Notice the first few words of verse 25, “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field”. The older son was being responsible, doing what he was told. Do you ever get tired of doing the right thing??

2. What was going on when the older brother came in from the field?

3. What was his reaction?

4. What did the father say to him to try to get him to come into the party?

5. What did the father say belonged to the older son?

6. Why did the father want to celebrate the return of the younger brother?

The older son was very frustrated with his father for having the party for the younger son. The older son had done what was right. He had stayed at his father’s side. He had worked the fields while his younger brother was out carousing with loose women and getting drunk on wine. The older son had never asked anything from his father. The younger son had asked for everything from his father, and in receiving it, squandered it away. Yet, when the younger son returned he was given a great celebration! To the older brother this did not seem fair. This is the reaction that many Christians have when a lost soul has come to know the Lord.

7. What has been your reaction when a lost person comes to know Christ?

8. Have you ever felt jealous of someone who had a very sinful past gain more recognition once they became a Christian?

Instead of being jealous of that Christian who “sowed their wild oats” and then were saved, we should rejoice in their salvation. We should also rejoice in the fact that we were spared some of the scars created by their created by their sinful behavior.