Monday, April 12, 2010

Into The Darkness To Find The Light - Study 6

In continuing on our Bible Study in the book, Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God, we are into study 6 of 12. You can jump in anytime, we'd love to have you. I am praying that this study will minister to those that stop by here today and allow God to speak to your heart.

Today's study is entitled, "Into the Darkness To Find The Light".

Have you even been in a situation where the tables seemed to turn on you in a moment? That's how it must have been for Saul. As he started on his journey from Tarsus to Damascus he was very much alive in his own mind, and Jesus was dead. Before he reached his destination, though, Jesus proved that He was alive and Saul may as well have been dead. Why such a dramatic intervention by Christ? The light that surrounded Saul was so blinding that it knocked him off his horse, then he was plunged into utter darkness. It's as if Christ is saying, "This is who I am and this is where you are. I am a fierce blazing light and you are crawling in the darkness."

I smile now when I think of the pictures of Jesus that were shown to me in Sunday school as a child. They portrayed a very mild-mannered, almost pretty man. Christ's love is fierce. When he finds one who he loving living in blind conviction, he will do what it takes to bring that person into the light. Once you have been brought from darkness into light, you are never the same. The more you see, the more you trust and the more you love.

FIND ~ When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: "Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?" He said, "Who are you, Master?" - Acts 9:3-5 MSG

Before his conversion and name change, Saul (Paul) was passionate. After his conversion he was passionate. We can conclude that Paul was a passionate guy. God took Paul's passion and refocused it toward God's purpose. What characteristics do you have that God can refocus for his purposes?

I have a giving heart. I would gladly give all that I have if it would make someone happy. I am hoping that God uses that some way in the near future to bring glory to Him.

Read 1 John 3:1-3. "1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,a]">[a]we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." (NIV)

Describe the depth of God's love for His children.

God was willing to do whatever it took to bring us back to the relationship He has always longed for. Not a slave type relationship where the love is forced, but one where we are willing to love God for all He has done for us to reunite us with Him since the fall of Adam and Eve. He's been pursuing us ever since.

What is the outcome of the hope we have (verse 3)? We will once again be pure and free from sin!

How can you purify yourself? What changes do you need to make in your daily routine so that you will be purified in your thoughts and actions?

We need to recommit our lives to God, to seek His will for our lives each day and ask for forgiveness of our sins and believe in Him.

Reconsider Paul's life following his conversion. How did his past hinder his ministry? How did his past prepare him for ministry?

His past that hindered his ministry was the fact that throughout the land Saul was know for killing any one confessing to be a believer of God or a Christian. Therefore once he was converted, it was hard for some to truly believe how someone who wanted to kill Christians is now wanting to minister about Jesus. Since he was wildly known, I am sure he had quite a few contacts and the change in him would be hard to over look.

Now think about your life. How does your past hinder your present life? How has your past equipped you to care for and encourage others around you?

I guess like Paul, I was fearful how people would judge me once they knew what I had done and the life I had lived in the past. Now however, it puts me in a better playing field with others when I can truly say, I too, have been right where you are, and God has saved me and made me the person I am today.

FEEL ~ How do you feel when you consider yourself from God's perspective?

God has always loved me and always sees the best in me, I just need to believe it more myself everyday and stop being so judgmental of myself.

What is there about you that God loves?

What is there about me that God doesn't love. He loves everything about me, the good, the bad and the ugly. He has hope for me when I don't and He loves me unconditionally everyday.

God was using Stephen in incredible ways, but the religious people didn't like it. Why would religious people react negatively to God's work through someone like Stephen?

I think that because Stephen was so young and knew so much they felt guilty. They themselves should have been more passionate and knowledgeable as Stephen was and therefore couldn't handle that he knew more than they did being the religious leaders of the time.

Had you been in that situation, would you have sided with the religious people or with Stephen? Why? I would have to say I would have united with Stephen as his passion was so great for the love and ministry of God. Having walked with the disciples and seeing God in his vision that day, it would be hard not to miss it.

Stephen's stance for God ultimately cost him his life. What are you willing to sacrifice so that your life can be more honoring to God?

At this point, there isn't anything I wouldn't give if God wanted me to give it up. I may be afraid and questioning God the whole time, but ultimately I trust He knows what is best for me and will be with me the whole time.

When given the opportunity to defend himself publicly, Stephen spoke about Jesus Christ and his faith in God's son. What do you talk about when you have a public platform?

I try and talk about my life and how God's work in my life has made me into the person I am today. No matter how bad or difficult your life, NOTHING is impossible for God to fix and make your life better.

FOLLOW ~ The more the early believers were persecuted, the more they were strengthened in their faith. Difficult times either drive us in the arms of Christ or force us into self-dependency. One is a source of strength; the other despair. How is your faith affected by the struggles you face?

When I try to go it alone, I usually fail, but when I seek Christ first in prayer and walk with Him, not only do things go better but I know He is with me. He never told me that walking with Him wouldn't be easy but He also assured me that He would provide me with whatever I needed to get through it and I wouldn't go it alone.

Jesus is saying, "Let go of whatever it is you are trying to hold onto. If you are trying to hold onto a life, a ministry, a position, or a career that doesn't please God, then let it die. Trust Him, instead of yourself to accomplish His will. If he is involved, then in His time, He will let what you let go bloom once again." What is your response to this statement?

I completely trust God. Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy in thinking we have all the answers and know what is best for us and our families while all along, God is seeing you someplace else. So the struggle begins until we relent and let God take control. Life is not only better but with God's blessing and knowing you are doing the will of God, your life will be so much easier.

Paul was given a new name, a new purpose, and a reassigned passion. You, too, have been given a new name - God's child - a new purpose, and a reassigned passion. What do you think God is doing in your life right now?

I know He is busy in the planning stages of what is about to become the next stage in my life. For six long months, I trust in God and spent time really drawing closer to Him to understand why my prayers were going unanswered in my book, but all along, the answers were coming, just not in my time frame but Gods. I know He has something great planned for me no matter what it is. I trust Him completely.

What does God want to do through your life?

To teach others to be patient in their struggles, we never know when the answers will come but if we are willing to turn our lives in their entirety over to Him, He will bless us and it will ultimately glorify Him.

Summarize the instructions of 1 John 3:1-3 by completing the following statement. Because the Bible says God loves us and wants to reestablish that love and relationship with us,
I will return that love of a Father who was willing to do whatever it took to get me back!

Now write a prayer asking God to allow you to see yourself the way He sees you. Use this prayer as part of your daily time with God and as an expression of your desire to be used for his purposes.

Dear Heavenly Abba Father, I now know just how much you love me and how much you were willing to sacrifice just to have a relationship restore with me. You have always waited and like the prodigal daughter, I have come running back to your waiting arms to once again, feel love and protected as a Father always feels for their children. I surrender my life to you to glorify you and ask that you use me in whatever way necessary to bring about Your will in my life and not my own. In Jesus Name ~ AMEN!


Mich said...

The story of Saul/Paul is a great example.

This is a good study. Leaves me asking myself a lot of good questions.

As always, thanks for sharing.

Just Be Real said...

Kat, thank you for sharing on this topic. A good study. Blessings.

Andrea said...

Great study.

Hope you are doing well.

Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

Cathy said...

I'm in the middle of reading this book myself to review. I'm really enjoying it a lot. So much truth.

Tasha Simons said...

Thanks for posting. I am currently leading a Bible study on the book of Acts and I studied chapter 8 which starts after Stephen is stoned and Paul is blinded. This tied in with what I read earlier.

Great questions. I wish I knew my calling so to speak. God transformed me through his love and I am who I am because of him... but I don't always know how that translates into serving him today. I have extra time on my hands when the kids are in school. Please pray for God to lead me to ministry opportunities even if it just means mentoring a neighbor.



Saleslady371 said...

Like you, I speak about testimonies where God changed my mess into His message. I posted my thoughts about this study tonight. I pray you are feeling stronger physically, my friend. Thank you for leading this!

Love you,

Denise said...

Awesome sweetie.