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Bible Study Notes 1/2/2024

Word Alive! Bible Study ©2024

Winter Series: God Never Gives Up On You!             

Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton

Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor

Tues., 19 Dec. & 2 Jan. Lesson 6, Parts 1 & 2


Max Lucado, God Never Gives Up On You © 2024

Quiet Time: Max Lucado, God Never Gives Up, Pages 67-76

Imperfect, But Accepted – Perhaps one of the greatest acts of God’s grace, is that we humans are forgiven, loved, and accepted, in spite of our imperfections. It’s difficult to label a person dysfunctional, when people function in many ways; regardless of their faults and shortcomings. In the Scriptures, we do not always have presented before us, perfect people. However, God works with the human family to fulfill many of His purposes. Revealing good, bad; and even, ruthless behavior in Scripture, helps us understand how God works with and in us, to redeem and complete our lives. In this life we become better, only through a relationship with God, and faith in Jesus Christ. In his book, God Never Gives Up On You, Max Lucado says: “God delivers life through brokenness. Broken families, hearts, dreams – even broken people. We crack under pressure. Like Esau, we crave in to cravings that gnaw at our guts. Like Jacob, we connive and control. Who wants to use a broken vessel? God does. His grace never quits.”   In a vision Jeremiah had, God directed him to visit the potter’s house. He noticed the shard pieces of the broken vessel, were softened into clay. The clay was placed on the potter’s wheel again, and recast into something new and useable. (See, Jeremiah 18:1-6, NLT). The message: “God is the potter, and we must be willing to obey Him to perform a new work in our lives.” The Scriptures are clear and candid in reminding us that our human abilities alone, are never sufficient for our full development. Life is but a breath at a time. (Read, Psalm 39:5, NLT). It’s human to idolize certain people because of the traits and aspects of personality that make them popular. However, the Word reminds us that human nature and accomplishments alone, are pale in comparison to the reality of our mortality.  (Read, Psalm 62:9, NLT). The purpose of the verse is not to be pessimistic about life; but to help us understand our dependency on God as our Creator.  Who knew this better than King David, whose experiences and exploits in life were complex; and at times, contrary to God’s will. In Psalm 25:1, David, however, knew God would not abandon him; and cried to the Lord, “O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you my God,” NLT. We must all come to terms with what our real needs are; as David prayed further, that God would forgive his past sins. Like David, in praying to God, we must declare His great love and mercy toward us as well. (Read, Psalm 25:7-10, NLT). Max Lucado described Jacob’s life, and that of his family, as being constantly engaged in “domestic turf wars.” Jealousy, deceit, bribery, and schemes, dogged the trail of Jacob and his relatives. He and his father-in-law, Laban, were very much alike, and their distrust of each other caused family separation. (Read, Genesis 31:36; 40-42, NLT). Despite this, God still used  them!

Imperfect, But Accepted - Part 2, - Our imperfections neither preclude, nor prevent God from working with us. It is not human perfection God is seeking; but our submission to His will. Our lives should reflect God’s purpose; which is for our fulfillment as persons who become complete in Him. It is our faith in Jesus, and living a life in the path He leads us; that we become the vessels, God has chosen to help transform lives.  God has used innumerable persons whose lives have had many rough edges. God is not seeking the pious, but the penitent; anyone who is willing to honestly seek forgiveness of their sins, and for their moral imperfections. When Jesus was criticized for some of the people he sat among; ate with; and engaged in blunt and courageous conversation, He said: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (See, Luke 19:10, NLT). Jesus often was the target of overtly zealous Temple leaders, who publicly criticized Him for being among persons they thought were irreligious, and didn’t comply with their ritual and moral standards. Jesus bluntly and truthfully responded to their charges: “But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples. “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.  I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” (Luke 5:30-32, NLT). Much often is said about the preeminence of Israel; however, the Scripture, and the Hebrew prophets spoke differently. God indeed has “caused” Israel to be important in the fulfilment of salvation through the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who came to earth through the linage of King David. However, God reminded Israel of their comparatively low status, when He chose them for the fulfillment of His salvific plan. (Read, Deuteronomy 7:7-8, NLT). The promises of God are such; that our shortcomings could delay, but not defeat their fulfillment. King Saul’s willful disobedience to God, resulted in the death of the monarch and his sons in the great Battle of Mt. Gilboa. Saul’s grandson, five-year old Miphiboseth, was met with tragedy; when his care-taker dropped him, as they fled the palace, which was under attack. As a result, Miphiboseth was left unable to walk. As he grew older, he became the target of ridicule and shame. (Read, 2 Samuel 4:4, NLT).  Saul disobeyed God, and was cruel toward David. But David’s promise to Saul’s son, Jonathan, is reflective of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us.  We become blessed, in spite of our imperfections. David’s kindness to Saul’s grandson, restored Saul’s generation-wealth to his remaining family. (Read, 2 Samuel 9:7-9, NLT).  There are moments in life we may feel underserving of God’s favor, yet His love is unconditional. The unfailing forgiveness of God for our sins, is never an endorsement of behavior that is against His laws or precepts. God’s love and mercy are doors of reconciliation we can walk through, to become better persons. Despite all the wrong Jacob the patriarch did; and admitting to “hard living;” he and his family were shown favor in Egypt. (Read, Genesis 47:7-12, NLT).  The Apostle Paul admitted to his unworthiness to be an apostle. But He received Christ in his life, and became useful to God. (See, I Corinthians. 15:9-10, NLT). We all, can be better!

Key Idea:

What We Believe!

  1. “God’s grace never quits.” – Max Lucado

Key Verses:

Psalm 39:5, NLT

“You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best each of us is but a breath.”

Psalm 62:9, NLT “Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air.”

Psalm 62:10-11, NLT

“Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life. God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times. Power, O God belongs to you.”

Psalm 25:7-10, NLT

“Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love. For you are merciful, O Lord. The Lord is good and does what is right; He shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing what is right, teaching them His way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep His covenant and obey His demands.”

Genesis 31:36;40-42, NLT 

“Then Jacob became very angry, and he challenged Laban. “What’s my crime?” he demanded. What have I done wrong to make you chase after me as though I were a criminal?” “I worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights. Yes, for twenty years I slaved in your house. I worked for fourteen years earning your daughters, and six more years for your flock. And you changed my wages ten times…But God has seen your abuse and my hard work…”

Deuteronomy 7:7-8 NLT

“The Lord did not set His heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and He was keeping the oath He had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.”   

2 Samuel 4:4, NLT

“Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who [became unable to walk] as a child. He was five years old when the report came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. When the child’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, she dropped him and he became [unable to walk].”

2 Samuel 9:7-9; 10b, NLT

“Do not be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul and you will eat with me at the king’s table. Miphiboseth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me? Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. Miphiboseth, your master’s grandson, will eat at my table…”

Genesis 47:7-12, NLT

“Joseph brought his father, Jacob, and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh. “How old are you?” Pharaoh asked him. Jacob replied, “I have traveled this earth for 130 hard years. But my life has been short compared to the lives of my ancestors.” Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh again before leaving his court.  So Joseph assigned the best land of Egypt – the region of Ramses – to his father and his brothers, and he settled them there just as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph provided food for his father and his brothers in amounts appropriate to the number of their dependents, including the smallest children.”   

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