MONTHLY ARCHIVES: August 2011

Into Your Own Darkness

Posted on August 30, 2011 by Melissa

I feel so alone. How many times have you said those words? Maybe you really were alone and felt destitute and abandoned. Maybe you were in a room full of people, but you felt nameless, faceless, overlooked, and misunderstood in the middle of the crowd. Perhaps you said those words during a dark time in your relationship with God when He seemed far away and hard to reach. But is God ever really far away?

Read Psalm 139:7-12. Read verses 11-12 aloud.

What did David observe about the presence of God in this passage?

According to these verses, is God ever far away? Why or why not?

Is that comforting or disconcerting to you? Explain.

What attributes of God’s nature does the psalmist point out?

What do you suppose would make David want to hide from God?

Is there any secret sin in your life that you have attempted to hide from God?

In what dark situation in your life does God seem distant right now?

What steps will you take this week to seek God in that situation?

David is known as a man after God’s own heart, but Israel’s great king also dealt with some major sin during his life. In 2 Samuel 11, we read that he slept with another man’s wife, then had him killed! Yet in worship David proclaims that God is always near him and no matter where he goes, he can’t hide from God.

God is so invested in finding you that He will follow you into even the darkest places. Even in the bleakest moments of your life, take comfort that God is there. Is your family situation bleak? God is there with you. Have you run to busyness or sex or some other addiction to escape the pain you feel? God is there, too. No matter what your situation, it is not too dark for God. He is determined to seek you—and darkness is no obstacle for Him!

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night”—even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.
—Psalm 139:11-12

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.


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God Knows You!

Posted on August 23, 2011 by Melissa

Read Psalm 139:1-6.

In the church I attended in college, a lot of parents used a series of questions to teach their young children about spiritual things. The first and most basic question is “Who made you?” The answer seems so obvious. Even 2-year-olds with grubby graham cracker hands can give the simple answer: “God.” But I think sometimes you and I need to be reminded of the reality of that truth: God created you.

Have you ever made something you were really proud of, like a painting or a collage? Maybe you’ve built something or written a story that you were excited about. When you create something, you know it better than anyone else does. You know the intricate details because you crafted it. That’s how it is with God. He created you, and He knows you in a way no one else can.

He knows your hopes and desires, your dreams and your fears. He knows your greatest talents as well as where you fall short.

In Psalm 139:1-6, David marveled at the God who knew his words before he spoke them, a God who even knew his thoughts. God knew everything about him, and David said that God had placed His hand upon him. God knew everything about David and still loved him.

That’s the same God who loves you. He knows everything about you and still loves you. He understands you in a way no one else ever will because He created you. Simply put, He loves you, and He wants to have a relationship with you that affects every part of your life. Let Him!

Lord, You have searched me and known me. —Psalm 139:1

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.


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For Good

Posted on August 16, 2011 by Melissa

Read Psalm 139:1-6.

In the church I attended in college, a lot of parents used a series of questions to teach their young children about spiritual things. The first and most basic question is “Who made you?” The answer seems so obvious. Even 2-year-olds with grubby graham cracker hands can give the simple answer: “God.” But I think sometimes you and I need to be reminded of the reality of that truth: God created you.

Have you ever made something you were really proud of, like a painting or a collage? Maybe you’ve built something or written a story that you were excited about. When you create something, you know it better than anyone else does. You know the intricate details because you crafted it. That’s how it is with God. He created you, and He knows you in a way no one else can.

He knows your hopes and desires, your dreams and your fears. He knows your greatest talents as well as where you fall short.

In Psalm 139:1-6, David marveled at the God who knew his words before he spoke them, a God who even knew his thoughts. God knew everything about him, and David said that God had placed His hand upon him. God knew everything about David and still loved him.

That’s the same God who loves you. He knows everything about you and still loves you. He understands you in a way no one else ever will because He created you. Simply put, He loves you, and He wants to have a relationship with you that affects every part of your life. Let Him!

Lord, You have searched me and known me. —Psalm 139:1

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.


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Know Your Destination

Posted on August 9, 2011 by Melissa

Weekends. Christmas. birthdays. summer vacation. What do these things have in common? All of them are moments we eagerly anticipate. We get so excited for these special days to come that sometimes, when they come to an end, it’s hard for us to get back to normal life.

There is a day, though, that we wait on with even greater expectation. It’s a day that will never end, and we’ll never have to get back to life as we know it now. It’s the day that Christ returns for His children—the day our eternity with Him begins!

Read Romans 8:18-25. Meditate on verse 23.

What does Paul say about our present sufferings?

How are we to wait for God’s glory to be revealed?

Are you waiting patiently? Why or why not?

Why do we need not be discouraged when we think of the state of the world today? Explain.

What can we look forward to upon Christ’s return? (v. 23)

Do you live in anticipation of the return of Christ? If not, what changes need to be made in your life?

God created the world in a perfect condition, but because of our sin, even creation is in a constant state of decay. Through this passage, though, we learn that we have hope that it will not always be that way. One day, Christ will return for His children! And when He does, it’s going to be great! No more pain; no more sorrow. There will be a new heaven and a new earth, and we, His children, will have glorified bodies. Until then, we wait patiently but eagerly, placing our confidence in Him. Be confident today. You aren’t forgotten. Wait with joy!

And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. —Romans 8:23

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.


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Change Your Perspective

Posted on August 2, 2011 by Melissa

Can you think of a time you wanted to give up? Maybe you were doing a school project, and the teacher assigned you to a group with the most difficult person in the class. Or maybe it’s your parents. They keep fighting, and even though you keep praying for them, you think they’d just be better off divorced. Whatever the case, we’ve all been in hopeless situations. Thankfully as Christians, we have a reason to not lose heart!

Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, then focus your attention on verse 17.

What does it mean that your inner person is being renewed?

How does that renewal happen?

How are our present troubles described?

What does Paul mean by the phrase “an incomparable weight of glory”? (See verse 17.)

What does this passage have to do with dealing with difficult times? Explain.

How can we keep an eternal perspective while we are living on earth? List some practical ways.

Are you in a hopeless situation? Where are you looking for encouragement? Why?

We all go through difficult times. Heartache, loneliness, and suffering are just a few of the things in this life that leave us feeling defeated and discouraged. No one is immune to tough situations, not even Christians. However, as believers, we must press on.

That’s what Paul taught in this passage. He said that even though we are beaten down on the outside, on the inside we are being renewed. God uses our temporary adversity to mold us and shape us into the image of Christ. What a glorious thing to know that in our suffering, we are being made more like Him! Instead of focusing on the difficult circumstances around you today, look to Jesus and keep your focus there. Your hope lies in Him, not your circumstances.

For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.
—2 Corinthians 4:17

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.


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