MONTHLY ARCHIVES: April 2014

Waiting for You

Posted on April 29, 2014 by Karah

DSC_9817Pause

To prepare your heart for God’s Word, listen to and ponder the lyrics of several worship songs about God’s compassion. Consider “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong United.

Read over Isaiah 30:18 several times, even reading it aloud. The prophet Isaiah spoke these words to an unrepentant, rebellious people. Again and again, Isaiah had warned the people of Judah of the destruction and judgment that would come. But in Isaiah 30:18, God spoke to the people through Isaiah and clearly displayed His compassionate nature.

Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for Him are happy.

—Isaiah 30:18

Ask yourself:

• God was actively waiting for the people to repent so He could show them His mercy and compassion. He was ready and willing to act as soon as they came to Him. How does this help you to better understand who God is?

• God is a personal, compassionate God, waiting for us to come to Him. How have you seen this aspect of His character in your life?

Respond

Has the Holy Spirit brought to mind something in your life you need to repent of as you’ve studied this passage? God is waiting for you. How will you respond? Record your thoughts or prayers.

• For further study, read the Book of Jonah. Jonah ran from God, but God compassionately pursued and rescued him.

Behind the Story

The phrase “all who wait patiently for Him are happy” in verse 18 has a dual meaning. In context, Isaiah was telling the people of Judah that blessings would come to all who expectantly waited for God to rescue them from the Assyrians. For us, “those who wait” refers to faithful believers who don’t rush ahead of God to find our own solutions to problems, but instead seek God and wait with hope, expecting Him to act.

The Point

God is holy and just, but He is also compassionate and ready to respond with mercy the moment we come to Him in repentance.


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A Compassionate God

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Karah

Pause

Find a quiet place where you can be alone. Take a deep breath and ask God to reveal more of His character to you today.

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.”

—Psalm 103:8,13

Read Psalm 103:8-14 in your Bible. Underline the words or phrases that teach you about God’s compassion and how He shows it to us.

• Think about the analogy in verse 13. How does it help you to better understand God’s compassion? If compassion isn’t a big part of your relationship with your parents, how is God’s compassion different?

• How have you seen God display His compassion in someone’s life? In your life?

Respond

Think about God’s compassion toward you—shown most clearly in Jesus willingly taking on our sin and defeating it on the cross. Journal your response to God’s compassion below. Take time to thank and praise Him for specific ways He has treated you with compassion.

Behind the Story

In verses 11-12, the psalmist used imagery to help us understand both God’s love and compassion toward us.

“As high as the heavens”: This is an immeasurable distance used to show that God’s love for us is infinite.

“As far as the east from the west”: Another immeasurable distance is used to help us see that God doesn’t just forgive; He takes our sin away, removing it from our lives.

The Point

Compassion is a key component of God’s character. Because compassion is at the core of who He is, God has not given us what we deserve: punishment for our sin.


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Ruler Over All

Posted on April 15, 2014 by Karah

Pause

God’s sovereignty is a difficult subject to wrap your mind around, but it’s crucial to understanding who God is. Stop right now and ask Him to give you an open mind and heart to hear and experience what His sovereignty truly looks like.

“Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth. Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases.”

—Psalm 115:1-3

Read Psalm 115:1-2 carefully, paying attention to what it teaches you about God and His character. Then, consider these questions:

• How does this passage point to God’s sovereignty?

• “Whatever He pleases” doesn’t mean that God is always changing His mind or giving in to whims; it means He does what He has planned. How would truly recognizing this aspect of God’s character change your point of view on things that happen in the world? In your life?

• Why is it vital that God’s children understand that He is absolutely sovereign?

Sovereign-adj.= Possessing supreme or ultimate power; God’s absolute rule and reign

Respond

• Take a minute to really think about the concept of God’s sovereignty. He is over all. Nothing happens that He has not ordained for His glory and purposes. In a world that seems out of control, God is in control. What an amazing God! Praise Him for that today.

• For further study of God’s sovereignty, read Psalm 135:6, Daniel 4:35, and Romans 9:19-21.

Behind the Story

Written at a time when Israel had suffered devastating defeats and when God seemed nowhere to be found, this psalm records the taunts of Israel’s pagan enemies. They misjudged Israel’s defeat in battle as the result of God’s weakness or non-existence, even asking, “Where is your God now?” But instead of complaining, Israel announced their confidence in Him, declaring God sovereign over all, including the powerless idols these nations worshiped. Idols can do nothing, but our God is on His throne and knows His plan and purpose.

The Point

God is the ultimate Ruler with supreme power over all. He does what He pleases, always acting for His glory and your good—wanting to bring you back into a right relationship with Him.

 


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Worthy of Worship

Posted on April 8, 2014 by Karah

Pause

Take a few moments to worship God. Pray aloud a psalm, sing your favorite worship song to Him, or just sit in silence, meditating on His greatness.

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory

and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens

and on earth belongs to You.”

—1 Chronicles 29:11a

Read David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 in your Bible. Take note of all the words or phrases that reflect how David viewed God. Think through these questions:

• What are some of the words or phrases David used to express why God was worthy of worship? What words or phrases would you use?

• Notice the phrase “in the sight of all the assembly” in verse 10. Why is it important that this wasn’t just David’s private worship?

Respond

Read over David’s praise in verses 10-13 again. If you were writing your own prayer of praise to God, what aspects of His character would you include? Jot down a few.

Look over those words again. As you live your daily life—not just at church—are you living like those things you praised God for? If so, how? If not, what changes will you make today to trust God’s greatness and majesty more in those areas?

Behind the Story

Chapters 28 and 29 in 1 Chronicles detail David’s final days as leader. Earlier in life, David had endeavored to build a temple for God, but God had explained that David’s son would build the temple (1 Chron. 17). In the closing days of his reign, David commissioned his son Solomon to build the temple. He donated much of his personal fortune to the project, called the people to support Solomon in building the temple, and to also offer their own gifts and talents to the Lord to use in the process.

The Point

Because God is majestic, He is worthy of our worship. We should worship Him, but we should also call others’ attention to His character and lead them to worship Him, too.


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Shout it Out!

Posted on April 1, 2014 by Karah

Pause

Silence your phone and turn off anything that could distract you from God’s Word and what He needs to say to you today. Spend some time in silence before God, kneeling as acknowledgment of His majesty.

In your Bible, read Psalm 145:1-7, underlining any words or phrases that point to God’s majesty.

“One generation will declare Your works to the next and will proclaim Your mighty acts. I will speak of Your splendor and glorious majesty and Your wonderful works.”

—Psalm 145:4-5

Your works and your mighty acts: Telling of God’s great works in history and in your own life. Who needs to hear what God has been doing in your life?

Splendor: The sum total of God’s attributes; the vast greatness of who He is; His magnificence.

Majesty: God’s grandeur, beauty, and honor.

Wonderful works: God’s mighty deeds and miracles, all of which display His power and awe those who see them. What works of God in your life or someone else’s have brought you to a place of awe?

Splendor, glorious majesty, and wonderful works describe God’s majestic character, but if you told your peers and friends about Him using these words, they’d probably think you were pretty weird. How would you describe God’s character to your friends?

Respond

Look at the list of people who need to hear about God’s work in your life that you listed earlier. Pray for each one by name, asking God for opportunities to share. Jot down one way you’ve seen God at work recently that you’ll tell them about.

Read the entire psalm, underlining any words or phrases that teach you about our majestic, yet personal, God.

Behind the Story

Psalm 145 was written by David to extol God’s greatness. In it, he used several verbs to describe ways that he, along with others, will tell others about God’s greatness: declare, proclaim, speak, give a testimony, and joyfully sing. It’s interesting to note that in Psalm 145:7, the phrase “give a testimony” literally means “pour out a memory.” That means the people were telling about important things God had done in their lives. What memories will you pour out in praise to God?

The Point

When you realize the truth about God’s majesty, you won’t want to keep it to yourself. If God is this majestic, this powerful, you must tell “the next generation” about Him.


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