MONTHLY ARCHIVES: November 2013

Without a Doubt

Posted on November 26, 2013 by Karah

Pause

Read over the lyrics of the first verse of the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Thank God that there is “no shadow of turning with Him.” Thank the unchanging God for His constancy in your life.

Read James 1:16-18 in your Bible. Then, consider verses 17-18 below. As you read, underline any words or phrases that point to God’s generosity or goodness.

“Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the first fruits of His creatures.”

—James 1:17–18

Unlike the light of the sun, which can be blocked by clouds or the rotation of the earth, God does not change. Because He is unchanging, He is also always unchangingly good and generous.

Every good gift comes from God, therefore, we must acknowledge the greatest gift He gives us, “new birth” or salvation. How is God changing you, making you different from before you knew Christ?

The message of truth is the gospel. We only become new through the truth of the gospel, which is constant and unchanging, something you can stake your life on.

Respond

• Have you experienced a new birth in Christ? If you are not a Christian, carefully consider the gospel, “the message of truth.”

• If you are a Christian, what trials are you trying to handle on your own, refusing to trust them to an unchanging, generous, good God? Give it to Him today. Below, jot down one way you’ll acknowledge you’re trusting Him in this situation.

Behind the Story

The Book of James was written to Jewish Christians who had been scattered by persecution. It was written to encourage believers, challenging them to endure trials and exhibit consistent Christian character through it all.

The Point

God will not act outside of His character. Because He is unchanging, you can trust—even in times of great trial, confusion, or doubt—that He is good and generous


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Our Constant

Posted on November 19, 2013 by Karah

Pause

Consider this quote: “God is unchanging in His love. He loves you. He has a plan for your life. Don’t let the newspaper headlines frighten you.” —Billy Graham

Read Hebrews 13:7-8, looking for what it has to say about God’s unchanging nature. Underline any words or phrases that teach you about this aspect of His character.

“Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

—Hebrews 13:7-8

These verses stress that Jesus has been eternally present and active in the lives of His people. What examples of Jesus’ constancy do you see in your own life or in the world around you?

We live in a world where everything is constantly changing. Why is it important for you, as a believer, to root your faith in the unchanging nature of Christ and His gospel? How does that keep you from being distracted by other things the world says are important?

Respond

• Meditate on this thought: People change. Circumstances change. You change—but Jesus doesn’t. You can always depend on His commitment to you.

• How would truly understanding that affect how you live your life? Jot down one specific way you’ll let it change you this week.

• For further study on God’s unswerving commitment to His children, read John 1:12-13, 10:28-29; Ephesians 1:14; Philippians 1:6; and Hebrews 7:25.

Behind the Story

Hebrews 13:8 stresses Christ’s unchanging nature by pointing to His work in the past, present, and future.

SAME YESTERDAY: Points out that Jesus was the Father’s agent in creation. See Hebrews 1:2,10.

TODAY: Jesus currently sits at the Father’s right hand, a place of honor. He continues to intercede for us.

FOREVER: Jesus will rule the universe forever. See Hebrews 1:8,10-12 for more.

Memory Verse

Make memorizing James 1:17 a group project. Find a study partner so you can discuss the verse and help each other memorize it.

The Point

Jesus has been—and will be—the same forever. In a constantly changing world, you can absolutely trust the unchanging, constant, powerful Lord.


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No One Greater

Posted on November 12, 2013 by Karah


Pause

Turn off anything that could distract you from God and His Word. In the quiet, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your study.

Think about the last time someone didn’t keep a promise to you. Circle the words that best describe how you felt:

Hurt                 Angry               Unimportant

Betrayed          Used to it         Annoyed

You live in a world where people don’t keep their promises, but you serve a God who does. Read Hebrews 6:13-20 in your Bible. Then consider verses 17-18 below:

“Because God wanted to show His unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us.”

—Hebrews 6:17–18

This phrase refers to Abraham and his descendants, but also points to all believers.

To take an oath is to call on a greater witness to guarantee that you will keep a promise. If God is so great that He can swear on Himself and guarantee that what He has said will happen, what does that mean for salvation? For any and every promise God has made?

Why does God’s unchanging character give us great confidence and hope? When have you seen this in your own life?

Respond

• Meditate on this truth: Because God is unchanging, He will keep His promises.

• Do you sometimes feel like God hasn’t kept His word to you? Have an honest conversation with Him about those things. Ask Him to open your eyes to how He is at work and how He has remained faithful to you.

• For further study on how God always accomplishes His purpose, read His fulfilled prophecies about Jesus: Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:18,25; Deuteronomy 18:18 and Matthew 21:11; Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 3:1,5:5-6.

The Point

God will accomplish His purposes. What He has said, He will do. He does not change.


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The Unchanging God

Posted on November 5, 2013 by Karah

 

Pause

Take a minute and think about how many times you’ve changed your mind already today. Now, thank God that He is not like you, constantly changing His mind and purpose. Ask Him to prepare your heart to meet with Him.

In your Bible, read Psalm 102:25-28. Then, consider verses 25-27 below. As you read, underline the words or phrases that point to God’s unchanging character.

“Long ago You established the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; all of them will wear out like clothing. You will change them like a garment, and they will pass away. But You are the same, and Your years will never end.”

—Psalm 102:25–27

• What do these verses teach you about God’s character? Why is it important that God never changes?

 

• If God never changes, what does that mean for His purposes or work? Explain.

 

The Point

God is unchanging. He established the earth, and He remains on His throne. He is unwavering about carrying out His divine work and will always remain true to His purpose.

Respond

Unchanging. Permanent. Steadfast. Immutable. That is who God is. He doesn’t change and isn’t led away by whims. He remains committed to His work and His purpose. Let the enormity of that truth overwhelm you today. Journal your prayerful response below.

Behind the Story

Written during the Babylonian captivity, Psalm 102 reflects a low point in the history of Israel. God’s Word was not being proclaimed and the temple lay in ruins. The psalm begins in despair. Recognizing his frailty and the momentary nature of his life, the psalmist cried out to God and found hope in God’s unchanging nature. Why is understanding God’s unchanging character important in today’s world?

 

Memory Verse

Read James 1:17 aloud several times, carefully considering what the words mean. Then, paraphrase it in your own words.


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