Bible Study Notes 4/5/22

Word Alive! © 2022 Winter Series Finding God’s Purpose Forward! Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor Tuesday, 5 April 2022, Lesson 9, Part 2 Dr. David Jeremiah, Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose For Tomorrow Devotional Time: Chapter 7 (pp. 113-132) Believing: Through Hopeful Thoughts - It has been estimated that on average a person has about 6.5 thought transitions per minute of each day. Whether we realize it or not, we have many thoughts every moment of a day. Perhaps this is why David was so enthralled with the reality that God “knows our thoughts in advance of our conceiving them (cf. Psalm 139:2, NLT). Our thoughts are not just for recall; but they help us understand life, and can direct us as we navigate our circumstances. As Christians, we are encouraged to direct our thoughts to the virtues that will help us build character (cf. Philippians 4:8, NLT). The words we use in thinking through our circumstances, should be supportive and affirmative. In his book, Forward, Dr. David Jeremiah says: “Outside of praying, your most important words are the ones you say to yourself. These words are silent but significant.” The Apostle Peter, no doubt, had this in mind when he described the persecuted Christians as exemplary children of God (cf. 2 Peter 2:8b-9, NLT). Peter reminded those Christians then, and reminds us, that our past does not define us. We are re-created by God! Our faith assures us that we can have “hopeful thoughts” even when circumstances seem bleak. David realized that each day God’s provision of love affected his thoughts in a positive way. Even discouraging moments, can present an opportunity to affirm hope in God (cf. Psalm 42:8; 11, NLT). In the Old Testament, the word, machasabah, means “thoughts /plans.” The word describes something specific or calculated; and, meaningful. In the Book of Jeremiah, we hear the voice of Yahweh [God] telling His faithful people, that His thoughts-plans for them are good and not disastrous. God will give His people a future and hope (cf. Jeremiah 29:11, NLT). We notice in the passage three affirmative words: good, future, and hope. Whatever our circumstances, God has planned something better for us. This is the language that should form the core of our thoughts; and it should be evident in our character. Dr. Jeremiah offers this helpful advice: “Push out your negative thoughts – worry, anxiety, fear, pessimism – by filling your minds with God’s Scripture, especially His promises. And then preach those promises to yourself.” Hopeful and healthy thoughts can lead us forward; while unhealthy thoughts will hold us back. In a world of uncertainty, it’s easy to become overly anxious. The scripture reminds us, “Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done (Phil. 4:6, NLT). Finding Encouragement – God gives us the ability to think and to develop thoughts each day. A world and time of uncertainty, causes people to have more negative thoughts than positive ones. A study conducted by the National Science Foundation several years ago, found that on an average day a person has between 12000 – 50,000 thoughts. Sadly, up to 80% of thoughts tend to be negative. In contrast, scriptures are filled with admonitions, encouraging us to have “pure,” “mature,” and “healthy” thoughts.” A significant contributor to “negative thoughts” is the inability to focus on the virtues and principles that are inherent in the faith. David was no stranger to crises in his life. Upon returning to a place called Ziglag, David and his soldiers were met with the awful site of a demolished camp. More tragic, was the kidnapping of their families by the enemy. Much of the blame for this horrific tragedy was directed toward David. Although David was as broken in spirit as his soldiers, he focused his thoughts on God’s help. In that moment, David’s thoughts and spirit were strengthened (cf. I Samuel 30:1-4, NLT. Dr. Jeremiah comments, “And in that strength [David] rose up to tackle his problems with a positive spirit that came from his belief in God’s watchful care of his life.” Our emotional thoughts are not always unhealthy, when they can fix our attention on God, and the realization of His compassion and care. We note, the consoling words of Jesus: “Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted (cf. Matthew 5:4, NIV).” Our thoughts can also be helped by others, who are confident of God’s care for us. A younger David, found encouragement in his friend, Jonathan’s words (cf. I Samuel 23:15-16, NLT). David later recalled the danger he encountered when King Saul was in pursuit of him. Saul was determined to take David’s life, but God protected David. This encounter helped David compose the lyrics for one of his many hymns of praise (cf. Psalm 18:1-3, NLT). David’s thoughts were not as much about Saul, as they were about the protection God provided him with! It is our affirmative thoughts, that provide us with both focus and strength as we journey forward in life. The journey of the pilgrims who travelled to Jerusalem for the yearly holy ceremonies, provided a backdrop for describing and visualizing the “strength” they found as they walked. The journey to Jerusalem was a long trek on uneven ground and pathways. It took much “strength” to tackle the terrain. As they journeyed, their strength “increased.” Their thoughts were centered on God, whom they described as their power, protection, and strength (cf. Psalm 64:5-6, NLT). It is the object of our focus that helps form our thoughts. _______________________________KEY IDEA_________________________________ What We Believe! Out hopeful thoughts will give us strength, going forward! 1. The inner strength will cause us to rise and meet the challenge! ______________________________KEY VERSES______________________________ Philippians 4:8, NLT “And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” 2 Peter 2:8b-9, NLT “They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation. God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” Psalm 42:8;11, NLT “But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life…Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God!” Jeremiah 29:11, NLT “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” I Samuel 30:1-4;6, NLT “Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziglag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and Ziglag; they had crushed Ziglag and burned it to the ground. They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone. When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, they wept until they could weep no more.… David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” I Samuel 23:15-16, NLT “One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. Psalm 18:1-3, NLT “I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior. My God is my rock in whom I find protection. He is my shield,the power that saves me,and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and He saved me from my enemies.” Psalm 64:5-6, NLT “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will close it with blessings.”

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