Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lesson 23 - Becoming God’s Masterpiece

What meant the most to you from this chapter or helped you think more accurately about God’s character and the truth of His Word?  What offered you the greatest challenge or blessing, and why?

Learning to Look at God’s Good Plan
When life is difficult, it’s easy to doubt God, wonder about His goodness, and question His wisdom.  The Israelites faced 70 years of exile in a foreign land.  

70 Years is a lifetime…that is why it was urgent for them to plant and build, to focus on the next generation…God’s promise of peace and restoration would be fulfilled through the generations to come.

How would you feel if you were told that you would never see your home again?

            If you had been one of the Israelites, what would your thoughts have been?

            Identify again the difficulties you are currently enduring.

            What thoughts do these hard times sometimes tempt you to think?

You might feel that …
                                    God was turning His back on you…
                                    He no longer loved you…
                                    He was no longer merciful or just…

These are incorrect thoughts about God.  To prevent this wrong thinking we have Jeremiah 29:11.

                                    Take God at His word…
                                    Believe that He will not forget you…
                                    Count on His promise of a better future.

Jeremiah offers all the security God’s people need in the past and in the future:  God has a plan for us.

Know that God is busy at work on His good plan for you.

                        His plan reflects His purposes
                        His methods
                        His timetable…not yours.

God’s Good Plan is an Adventure
What do these scriptures teach about God’s good ways, and how does each one encourage you?

            Jeremiah 29:11 -
            Romans 8:28 -
            Romans 8:32 -
            James 1:13 -
            1 Peter 5:10 -

Let your life be an adventure - try thinking about God’s plan for your life as an adventure.

Going on an adventure - think of a time where you had an “adventure”.

Riding the roller coaster of life - view your obstacles, disappointments, and oversights as an incredible adventure rather than as fuel for frustration.  Think of a time that seemed like a disaster at the time and you now reflect on it with laughter.

God’s Good Plan Is a Process
One reason many of us fail to enjoy the adventure of the Christian life is because it is a process.  I don’t know about you but I like the end result a lot more than I like the process that it takes to get there.

Sometimes Christians are tempted to think that God has planned something ugly for them, or that He is making a mess of their lives.  How does the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 correct these thoughts that are not true?

Looking through the eyes of an artist - Think of the marble that was delivered to Michelangelo’s art studio.  The apprentice simply say him destroying a perfect piece of marble whereas Michelangelo saw an angel that he “had to get him out” of the marble.

Looking through the eyes of the Master Artist - God sees us with the same kind of eyes as Michelangelo had for the marble.  He sees the image of Christ and He wants to set that beauty free.  The process of life involves plans for good and “not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Learning from the old masters - Just like those artists who first washed their white canvases with black, we can let God’s Word enable us to stand secure in the hope that when our life seems to be washed with black, when God completes His plans, our lives will have greater depth, more interesting dimensions, and remarkable intensity.

As you consider your present difficult situation, what do you see thus far in God’s process that you can be thankful for?

God’s Good Plan Is an Opportunity
Regard hard times as important to our spiritual and personal growth, not merely as something we have to endure.

Treat adversity as an opportunity.  This is not an encouragement to downplay or look away from the hard times of life or the pain those times bring, instead the message is to look boldly into the face of adversity and learn from it.

Difficult times are opportunities that God promises to use for our good!  They are exquisite opportunities to love God more.

List several ways spiritual and personal growth occurs as you treat adversity as an opportunity.

What do these verses add to your list?

            2 Corinthians 1:3-4 -
             James 1:2-4 -
             1 Peter 5:10 -

I encourage you to believe in Him - in His good intentions, in His everlasting love, in His power, and in His promises, especially His promise to bring us to an expected end…to make us a masterpiece!

Loving God…Even More
Read this section in your book again.  As you consider the contents of this chapter and God’s amazing love for you, what can you do this week, in obedience to Christ…

…to live out God’s plan?            …to trust God’s promise?          …to love God with all your mind?

God has a destiny and a hope for you..

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