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Bible Study Notes 2/15/22

Word Alive!

©2022Winter Series

Finding God’s Purpose Forward

Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton

Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor Tuesday, 15 February 2022, Lesson 5, Part 2

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

Purpose For Tomorrow

Devotional Time: Chapter 3 (pp. 41-59

Choosing What Is Best – Our choices are important and the scriptures instruct us to exercise care in making “the best” possible choices. The first teachings to the community of God’s called people were ethical in nature. The ancient Hebrews were admonished to love God with the totality of their being. This suggest God is to be the center of our thoughts, aspirations, and complete lives (cf. Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV). No decision can be made in the best possible way without turning to the God in whom our faith is grounded. Approaching God in faith, affirms our unswerving belief in His place in our lives, and assures us that he will grant us the petitions we honestly seek (cf. Hebrews 11:6, NIV). Jesus taught his followers and critics that in worshiping God, we cannot have divided or conflicting loyalties. Making the best possible choices in life, means always seeking what is pleasing to God (cf. Matthew 6:24, NIV). As Christians we must learn to prioritize our decisions according to our faith principles. When we feel overwhelmed with life choices, we must find a way to “narrow” things down to what is most important for moving us forward. Jesus used the imagery of traveling down a road in considering our priority as Christians. We must, as Jesus intimates, take the “direct” path that will lead us in our journey. This path is in contrast, to the allurement found broad options that lead to lost and defeat (cf. Matthew 7:13-14, NIV). The poet Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood… and I took the road less traveled, and that has made the difference.” Some people approach their choices, with the idea of personal gain and popularity alone. They inevitably make choices that render harmful consequences. Others, remain passive and dormant in indecisiveness. They miss out on an opportunity to experience God’s further work in their lives. Making the “best possible” choice means prayerfully listening to God for guidance, and going forward with clear priorities. In the helpful book, Forward, Dr. David Jeremiah says, “Priorities keep you focused and help you accomplish what really matters.” Jesus taught that the scriptures encompassed the duty to love God with one’s total being; and to love our neighbors and our selves (cf. Matthew 22:37-38, NIV). This divine and ethical imperative, Jesus believed, was the foundation for life! Jesus also taught that when we seek God’s principles first, our priorities will fall in place. We’re reminded, Jesus said: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need (Matt.6:33, NLT).

The Best – Making the best choices is not merely a matter of what we want, but what is God’s best for us. The scriptures are filled with examples of people who put their interest before God’s best for them. Some of our ill-informed choices can be used as a teachable moment, helping us become more aligned with God’s purposes. Decisions often are made as an emotional response to some life-crisis or disappoint. When this occurs, we’re acting from immediate feelings, when we’re more vulnerable. It’s important that we learn to step back, breathe, and center-down to listen for the voice of God. David realized he could not go further in life until he centered-down in silence before the Lord (cf. Psalm 39). The ancient exchange between Abram [Abraham] and his nephew Lot provides many dynamics about making life- choices. The elder Abram and the young Lot, came to an agreement to separate, with each person going a different way. Abram gave Lot the freedom to choose any land and territory he wished to have. Whatever Lot chose, Abram would take the opposite. Lot’s choice was based on his immediate thoughts of what he assumed was land offering plentiful water and land for cattle, irrigation, and grazing. Lot also wanted to be near a thriving city. He chose an area east of where they were, leaving, he thought, his uncle with non-competitive land. Lot’s choice, which seemed best for him, was not. He eventually had to flee the region he selected, and invariably lost what he had, including his wife (cf. Genesis 13:8-13, NLT; cf. also, Genesis 19:1-28, NIV). It should be noted that when Lot left Abram and pursued his dream, there was no mentioning of any devotion to God. When Abram was informed by God that “all the land” he inherited would be blessed, an “altar was erected at Hebron to worship God. The cautionary lesson with Lot is that , ‘We 0ften can obtain what we want, but lose what we had.’ In considering any choices we make in life; we must first give our undivided attention to God. Dr. David Jeremiah comments, “More than anything else, this is what we’re made for – a passionate, practical embracing of God with all His attributes, all His virtues, all His grace, embracing Him with an overflowing heart of burning devotional and passionate enjoyment.” However good and noble our intent, we must put the Lord first. Jesus loved his friends, Mary and Martha equally; but in the moment of his visit Mary chose “the better” part of service, and was never distracted (cf. Luke 10:41-42, NIV). We should seek the best possible choices at all times!

_________________________________KEY IDEA_______________________________

What We Believe!

Our devotion to God will help us make the best choices.

1. We must seek discernment from God all times.

2. The best and right choices will lead to the right path in life.

_______________________________KEY VERSES_____________________________

Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Hebrews 11:6 NIV

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, for anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.

”Matthew 6:24, NIV

“No one can serve two masters, for you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Matthew 7:13-14, NIV

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction. and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 22:37-38, NIV

“Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbors yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Genesis 13:8-13, NIV

“So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between me and you, and between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land between you.? Let’s part company If you go to the left. I’ll go to the right. If you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah). So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company. Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord. So the Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are; to the north and to the south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go and walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you. “So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

Luke 10:41-42, NIV

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord Said, “You are worried and Upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away …”3

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