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Bible Study Notes 7/18/2023

Word Alive! © 2023 Spring/Summer Series

Dare To Dream And Grow Your Faith! Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor

Tuesday, 18 July 2023 Lesson 3, Part 2


Rick Warren, Created To Dream, © 2023

Quiet Time: Rick Warren, “Dream,” 39-54


Discernment To Act The right decisions come neither automatically nor instantly. When we respond in a rash manner to an opportunity or desire; more often than not, we’ve made a premature decision. The Scripture is filled with admonitions, urging us to seek the wisdom of God, before we pursue a given endeavor. Equally concerning, is when we hesitate to ask God for wisdom in making choices. Often, this may happen out of fear of being chastised or rejected by God. If our perception of God, is One who only responds to our desires with harshness, we have failed to understand His nature as a compassionate God. The Apostle James urged Christians in the early first century, to “ask” God for wisdom. God would give wisdom, without insulting or causing harm to the person’s spirit (Read, James 1:5-8, NLT). It is necessary for us to have wisdom in knowing what is God’s purpose for us at a given season. This wisdom God gives us, will then help us to have discernment about how and when to act on the dreams or purposes to which God is calling us.One New Testament Greek word for discernment, means “to cut through.” This suggests, arriving at a true understanding of one’s task, action, or desire. The text in James warns against “divided loyalty” in our thinking and actions. It is the wisdom from God, that gives us the ability to better understand God’s purpose. Wisdom helps us understand when and how to act on what we are settled on; and on what God wants us to do. In his helpful book, Created To Dream, Pastor Rick Warren says: “Before you do anything else, ask for God’s perspective…If it’s God’s dream for you, it only makes sense to ask him how to accomplish it.” The Apostle Paul learned he had to forget, or lay aside, some things from his past, before he could go further in the direction to which God had called him. (Read, Philippians 3:13-14, NLT). We are called to do the same. Jesus made this clear, when others approached Him about enlisting as a disciple. Many of the excuses people made for not following Jesus immediately, were insincere. Jesus warned, to follow Him it is necessary to look forward, and not backwards. (Read, Luke 9:61-62, NLT). Often a person’s level of comfort is with that part of their past, which affected them most. Because there are many seasons in life, we cannot be at the same place; nor should we remain at the same level of thinking, for all time. We must be willing to move in the immediate, in a direction to which God is calling us. Unlike some of the other prospective disciples, Andrew, Peter and the others “left the occupations, immediately,” and followed Jesus. We must seek God’s wisdom, which is essential for discernment (Read, Prov. 28:26, NLT).


Discernment To Act, Part 2 Often our dreams and desires are commensurate with God’s will, but we must trust God for the right timing. David’s great admonition to “wait for God” is the assurance that God will not fail to give us a deeper resolve of His plans. (Read, Psalm 27:13-14, NLT). The dream or desire of young Elisha was to be mentored by the great prophet Elijah. Elisha’s desire was not inconsistent with God’s plan. However, in the first encounter with the prophet Elijah, the young aspirant was permitted to go home and make further preparations, before commencing his task. (Read, I Kings 19:19-20, NLT). It was perhaps during that interval, when Elisha gained more discernment about the importance of his assignment going forward. If was after that brief period, Elijah became the senior prophet’s assistant (Read, I Kings 19:21, NLT). There must be a level of resolve in the Spirit, before we can become excited and settled about what plans, God for us. A person does not have to be an overly enthusiastic individual to dream of, or desire God’s purpose. We only need to ask God for wisdom and discernment. James says, “God will give us this wisdom freely, and will not penalize us for asking.” We should not procrastinate, and let life idly pass us by. David describes life as relatively short; and prayed that God would hear us when we call; helping us to understanding the value of living and dreaming each day (Read, Psalm 39:4-5; 12a, NLT). We must take advantage of each day to seek God’s wisdom. Pastor and author, Rick Warren (Created To Dream) says: “If you want to hear God’s voice, then you have to silence the noise around you…The reason you may never hear God speak to you could be that you’re never quiet – there is always something going on…” In addition to distractions, we encounter each day; is an inner fear that many have about change. The Apostle John says these unrealistic fears can bring depression and worry; yet they are not of God. It is our abiding belief in God’s great love (Agape) for us, that can cancel such fear (Read I John 4:18-19, NLT). Pastor Warren describes our fears in this way: “Fear is the root of all indecision: fear that you will make a mistake, that you will fail, that you’ll embarrass yourself; fear that you will make a commitment that you can’t keep, that somebody will laugh at you or reject you, that God’s dream for your life will never become reality.” There are probably many more reasons why people fear to dream. However, the lurking memory of past experiences; or skepticism about venturing into new territory; or taking on different responsibilities, can hold a person back. As Christians, it is the activation of our faith that makes a difference in how we respond to the changing seasons in our lives. The promise in Hebrews 11:6 is, “Those who come to God must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”


KEY IDEA

What We Believe!

“We need God’s wisdom before we can act.”

  1. "Our decisions are settled or discerned through wisdom!”

KEY VERSES

James 1:5-8, NLT

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world and they are unstable in everything they do.”


Philippians 3:13-14, NLT

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”


Luke 9:61-62, NLT

“Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family. But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”


Proverbs 28:26, NLT

“Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.”


Psalm 27:13-14, NLT

“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”


I Kings 19:19-20, NLT

“So Elijah went and found Elisha, son of Shaphat plowing the field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders, and then walked away. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye and then I will go with you!” Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.”


I Kings 19:21, NLT

“So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the towns people, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.”


Psalm 39:4-5; 12a, NLT

“Lord remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is. 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. Here my prayer, O Lord! Listen to my cries for help. Don’t ignore my tears…”


I John 4:18, NLT

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows we have not fully experienced His perfect love. We love each other because He loves us first.”

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