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Bible Study Notes 1/25/22

Word Alive!

© 2022Winter Series

Finding God’s Purpose Forward!

Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton

Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor Tuesday, 25 January 2022, Lesson 3, Chapter 1

Dr. David Jeremiah, Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose For Tomorrow

Devotional Time: Chapter 1 (pp. 9-20)

Image and Imagination – The scriptures provide us with many narratives that can serve to shape our desires to move forward. In his insightful book, Forward, Dr. David Jeremiah says, “The ability to see what could be, is essential to straining forward toward the realization of your dream.” We must first desire to move forward; then, we must seek to obtain the image that is necessary to give us a picture of what our forward-life could be like. The initial use of the term image in the Scripture is wholesome and beneficial for future activity. We are first introduced to the idea of an image, as it relates to God’s intent and plan for the human family. God created the human family in His “image.” They were created He would like them to reflect His divine character (Genesis 1:27, NLT). The Hebrew word used in the verse is tselem (tseh-lem). It means to be a “representation of someone else;” or, “to possess the likeness of someone else.” In this use of the term, we were created to have and exhibit the divine character qualities of God. Being in the image or likeness of God, we have the capacity to imagine good and beneficial achievements, moving forward. In imagining, and then developing resources for building the Temple in Jerusalem, David acknowledged that God was the source of every thought and, their plans for the future (cf. I Chronicles 29:16-17, NLT). David prayed further that God would always cause the “intent of the thoughts of their heart [imagination]” to reflect His purpose for the people (cf. I Chronicles 29:18, NKJV). The “intent of thoughts” is from the Hebrew word, yatshur (yawt tsar), which means to “squeeze into shape;” “to mold into form;” or, “to fashion or form.” This Hebrew term is translated “imagination,” in the earlier English renderings. It its best use, “imagination” is what we create for our benefit, and to God’s glory! We also note in the scriptures that “imagination” was used to describe the misguided intent of people. Persons who defied God and imagined things contrary to His will, were described as moving “backward, rather than forward (cf. Jeremiah 7:24, KJV).” God Israel for going through periods of “not listening,” and “evading Him.” During such difficult time, Israel was subject to their “own desires [imaginations], and as a result suffered the consequences (cf. Psalm 81:11-12, NLT). The nation could not advance forward during this time of indifferent behavior.

Imagining – The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Ephesus that they had the ability to “imagine” a future, but God can “do immeasurably more.” The good news is that the power of God resides within each believer, to assist us as we ascertain an “image” of a life-forward (cf. Ephesians 3:20, NIV). The power that is at work in us is not merely self-esteem; or some misguided self-dominion theory. The power that is at work within us is the Holy Spirit, who has been given to each believer (cf. Acts 15:8, NLT). The Holy Spirit instructs us into the truth that has been ordained by our Creator, and we are set apart for the great work of God in us (cf. I Corinthians 1:11-12, NLT). When we imagine possibilities, we are looking within to hear the voice of God. The “images” that shape our dreams, should be inspired and given approbation by God. In the New Testament, the original language used for “image” or “imagination” is the Greek word, phantasia, which is a derivative of the word, phantazo. These words, translated in a positive way, mean: “to make apparent,” or “to appear.” As in the Old Testament, a word could also be used to imply something undesirable; such as, images attributed to deities. The words for image often are translated in their relationship with God’s plan for His faithful, and their journey forward. When we pray, God will ultimately reveal to us some direction or plan for our forward movement. When God is a part of our process, we will discern evidence of His presence, despite setbacks and disappointments. Dr. Jeremiah spoke of how the images or dreams he encountered in attaining some of his goals took shape. He shares this: “I’ve been involved in ten building projects during my [ministry]. By God’s grace, I’ve been able to picture each of the buildings in my mind before they showed up in blueprints, scale models, or erected structures.” The assurance of God’s presence may come sequentially; or, we will discern God’s presence in a moment when we least expect. This latter instance, was the experience of the prophet Isaiah, whose hope had waned because of fear and depression (cf. I Kings 19:9;11-13, NLT). We are grateful, that in our most trying moments, God can be very “gentle” with us. Similar to the encounter God had with Adam, as he and Eve fled from the Lord’s presence, Elijah was asked, “What are you doing here?” This would imply God wants us to be in a “better” place; especially when where we are is the result of our own doing! To attain the image we need to move forward, we must trust God with everything in us!


Genesis 1:27, NLT

“So God created human beings in His image. In the image of God, He created them: male and female He created them.”

I Chronicles 29:16-17, NLT

“O Lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you! I know my God that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know that I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly.”

I Chronicles 29:18, NKJV

“O Lord God of Abraham,Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people,and fix their heart toward you.”

Jeremiah 7:24, KJV

“But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels [and] in the imagination of their heart, and went backward, and not forward.”

Psalm 81:11-12, NLT

“But my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did notwant me around. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own desires.”

Ephesians 3:20, NLT

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”

Acts 15:8, NLT

“God knows people’s hearts,and He confirmed that He accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, justas he did to us.”

I Corinthians 1:11-12, NLT

“No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit(not the world’s spirit), sowe can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.”

I Kings 19:9;11, NLT

“There he came to a cave where he spent the night… “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told Him. And as he stood there the Lord passed by, and almighty windstorm hit the mountain… but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake,but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire,but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Proverbs 3:6, NLT“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”

_____________________________KEY IDEA_____________________________

What We Believe!

The Holy Spirit gives us discernment for our images.

1. God will help us attain what we need to do moving forward.

2. God often speaks to us gently, when chaos is around us.

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