Monday, July 30, 2012

Lesson 24 - Living out God’s Promise

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?

Even in troublesome times, we can be confident in our faith in God’s character and His promises.

God’s Good Plan: Purging and Pruning
To prune:  (verb) such as a tree….cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, esp. to increase fruitfulness and growth

To purge: (verb) to rid of an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition, typically giving a sense of healing release.

God is faithful to use life’s difficulties to purge and prune us of all that does not contribute positively to the masterpiece He is creating.

What benefits does pruning promote in the growth of plants?

What benefits does pruning promote when it comes to your spiritual growth?

How did “pruning and purging” promote God’s good plan for the apostle Paul, as seen in 2 Corinthians 12:6-10?
1. He was pained with a thorn in the flesh…
2.  He kept Paul humble
3. Paul prayed earnestly to God for the removal of this sore grievance. He prayed earnestly and repeated his requests…So that if an answer wasn’t given to the first prayer, or the second….hold out till we receive an answer.
4.  We are given an account of the answer given to Paul….although the trouble was not removed, an equivalent would be granted:  My grace is sufficient for thee.

Though God accepts the prayer of faith, yet he does not always answer it in the letter; as he sometimes grants in wrath, so he sometimes denies in love.

When God doesn’t not remove our troubles and temptations, he gives us grace sufficient for us.  We have no reason to complain, nor say that he deals ill by us.

Grace signifies two things:
     1.  The good will of God towards us -- and this is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficient to strengthen and comfort us, to support our souls and cheer up our spirits, in all afflictions and distresses.
     2.  The good work of God in us, the grace we receive from the fullness that is in Christ our head; and from him there shall be communicated that which is suitable and seasonable, and sufficient for his members.

Christ understands our case, and knows our need, and will proportion the remedy to our trouble, and not only strengthen us, but glorify himself.  His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

How did God say His process would benefit believers in 1 Peter 1:6-7?
Every sound Christian has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice.  Life itself is but for a little while, and the sorrows of it cannot live on. 

Are there any areas you have been reluctant to yield to God for purging and pruning?  Pray now to give them over to God.  Let the growth process begin!

God’s Good Nature
Look again at the four scriptures written out in this section in the book.  James 1:17,  Psalm 34:8,   Psalm 107:8-9,   Nahum 1:7  Memorize these words of truth and hope to give you comfort.

Then look in your Bible at the three additional references.  Note what they reveal about God’s goodness, and jot down the words and phrases that especially minister to you. 

            - Psalm 23:1, 6

            - Psalm 84:11-12

            - Romans 8:28

How can you remember God’s promise that His plan is for your good?  Remember that He is trustworthy and His nature is good -- 100 percent good!

Write out a prayer using the words and phrases from the seven verses referred to in this section as a reminder of God’s goodness and His care for you.

As you draw closer to God in prayer and focus on His goodness, He will bless you with His peace and the assurance of His love.

Looking to the Reward
Have you ever planned a vacation to mark the end of a long project or a special evening out to celebrate the completion of a difficult task?  Rewards are powerful motivators.

How does the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 rebuke you when you doubt the process God is taking you through?  God has an expected end.

How does the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 comfort you when you feel hopeless or depressed?  He has complete knowledge of our lives, a plan for us that is for good, and the ability to make that plan happen.

How does Jeremiah 29:11 encourage you as you wait for God’s promised and “expected end”?  No matter what, we are reminded we are going to get to the end -- where the reward is waiting.  And the end is going to be awesome!

Regardless of how you may “feel,” what are God’s plans for you, according to His promise in Jeremiah 29:11?  Now, how does that make you feel?  God’s greatest promise for His children is heaven.  Heaven is the expected end for all who have repented of their sins and have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Finally, let’s look to Psalm 16:11.

How does God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 help you stay positive in the midst of hard or trying times?

God has a destiny and a hope for you..

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