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Bible Study Notes 3/22/22

Word Alive! ©2022 Winter Series Finding God’s Purpose Forward! Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor Tuesday, 22 March 2022, Lesson 8, Part 2 Dr. David Jeremiah, Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose For Tomorrow Devotional Time: Chapter 6 (pp. 97-112) Pursuing: Being Responsible – Because of all that God does for us, we have a responsibility to use whatever gifts He gives us. In the community of faith, we learn that each person has at least one gift we can share with others. Not only does God give us a unique gift, but we are also given the capacity to use the gift (cf. I Peter 4:10-11b, NLT). The use of our gift is not just an opportunity, but it’s a responsibility. In pursuing our purpose, we are called to be responsible in the things we do; and make sure we focus on our attitude and behavior (cf. Galatians 6:4-5, NLT). Our focus and drive should not be to attain the attention or accolades others have, but to bring delight to God for what we do. What we do best, is what God expects from us. Meeting this expectation is the responsibility each person has. Some people avoid responsibility; often out of a fear of failure; or, the inability to follow through with a task. In the study devotional, Forward, Dr. David Jeremiah says: “Many people resent having responsibilities placed on them… Your responsibilities – the ones that come from God – are blessings, for they reassure you of your usefulness. As someone said, responsibility is your response to God’s ability.” While it is true, God does not do everything for us; when we move forward with an initiate, we often display God’s plan. When we acknowledge the presence of God in our lives, we will come to appreciate how He can work through us. The confidence we exhibit in our behavior, along with acting responsibly, will benefit others as well as ourselves (cf. I Thessalonians 4:11-12, NLT). The Apostle Paul admonished some of the Christians in Thessalonica, because they were not living or acting responsibly. Some of the Christians who were able to work and earn a living, refused to do so. This brought hardship to others who worked and had to support others who would not. Paul urged the idle Christians to become responsible persons, and “earn their own living.” (Cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12, NLT). The pursuit of our purpose, means we must neither be ashamed, nor reticent, to use the abilities God gives us to advance forward in life. There is some merit in the statement: “Present opportunities are not to be neglected; they rarely visit us twice.” – Voltaire. The wisdom writer of the Old Testament warns: “A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” (Proverbs 6:10-11, NLT) Pursuing our goal responsibly, is a call to action. It is giving God and others our best effort! Help In Our Pursuits – The scriptures reveal “help” being available to us as we pursue our purpose in life. When God gives us a task, we are provided with the resources to pursue and accomplish that initiative. When we become exhausted or despondent, God will inevitably assure us He is present. David said, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Cf. Psalm 34:18, NLT). God will often permit our paths to cross with people who provide us with life affirming advice and counsel. This is one of the precious gifts God extends to us, which should be accepted with humility and grace. The late Dr. Howard Thurman, a great Christian theologian, preacher, and author, relates how God provided him with help as a young adolescent. Thurman grew up in the Jim Crow south, and wanted to complete his high school education. In Daytona, Florida where he grew up, Blacks were not permitted to attend school beyond the 8th grade. Determined to receive his education, Thurman worked and saved enough money to buy a train ticket to take a 90-mile trip to Jacksonville, Florida, where there was a school for Black students. On the day Thurman was to leave, his hopes were all but dashed when the ticket agent at the train station told him his bag was over the weight limit, and he could not board the train until he paid the additional fee. Thurman didn’t have money and sat on his battered luggage. An older Black man appeared, and wanted to know why Thurman was crying and despondent. Thurman told the man his plight. The man paid for his luggage and disappeared. That seminal moment allowed Thurman to pursue his dreams, and he published over 27 books. Once we focus on our goals, God never fails to provide help. Moses received advice from his father-in-law, Jethro, when he needed it most (Cf. Exodus 18: 14-18, NLT). As a result of Jethro’s counsel, Moses was able to more effectively help his people and himself. More importantly, Moses served the people as God had instructed him (cf. Exodus 18: 19; 21a;22-24, NLT). When we respond to the voice God sends us in our time of need, we learn that He is able to remove any obstacle in our path. God provides us with the assurance that we can never stray too far from his presence. David said that in the most difficult places, “Even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.” (cf. Psalm 139:10, NLT) The Apostle Paul told early Christians that evidence of Christ’s love is in our ability to “help others” when their burdens become too heavy (cf. Galatians 5:2, NLT). The New Testament Greek word, baros, is used. This image is of “something that weighs you down, and wears you out.” _____________________________KEY IDEA_____________________________ What We Believe! Pursuing your purpose means being responsible. 1. We must first respond to God, who is able to help us! ______________________________KEY VERSES______________________________ 1 Peter 4:10 -11b, NLT “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another…Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen.” Galatians 6:4-5, NLT “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done; and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, NLT “Make it your goal to live a quiet life; minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live,and you will not have to depend on others.” 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12, NLT “Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people's business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.” Exodus 18: 14-18, NLT “When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do this all alone while every-one stands around you from morning till evening?” Moses replied, “Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God. When a dispute arises, they come to me; and I am the one who settles the case between the quarreling parties. I inform the people of God’s decrees and gives them His instructions.” “This is not good!” Moses' father-in-law exclaimed. “You’re going to wear yourself out – and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.” Exodus 18:19;21a;22-24, NLT “Now listen to me and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes before Him… But select from all the people some capable,honest men who fear God and hate bribes… They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes,but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.” Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions.” Galatians 5:2, NLT “Share each others' burdens,and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

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