Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Unlikely Prospects

Failure is real!

My failure to love God and the people around me gets me so down sometimes. That is when I wonder: Does God still want to use someone like me -- a people pleaser, a glory hog?

Aaron, Moses' brother, must have felt the same way:
What use could God have for a man who, in his eagerness to please people, turned all of Israel away from God by fashioning an idol for them to worship?

What use could God have for a man whose own appearances were so important to him that he covered up his guilt with a blatant lie?

What use could God have for a man who sought his own glory, striving for a leadership position not meant for him?

To me, Aaron would be the most unlikely candidate to be chosen by God as high priest.
Why would God want him?
Why would God want me?

God's eyes of grace see differently. Aaron' life teaches me about a God who does not let go and who does not see any sin as unredeemable. God chooses us in spite of our failure.

What a gracious and compassionate God we have, who calls unlikely prospects into his service!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Conclusion (The Father's Blessing)

What a wonderful journey to the Father's blessing this has been! We have learned the value God our Father bestows upon us and the acceptance we experience in Him. We have been called out to deeper waters in learning to grant and accept forgiveness. We have been blessed to realize the impact of God's presence in our lives and His provision for us. Our heavenly Father is faithful; He will never abandon us.

Our questions of – "Am I loved? Am I good enough? Am I liked? Will I fulfill the purpose for my life?" – have all been answered with a resounding "YES!!!"

What should our response be? We need look no further than our original Bible passage:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." (Eph. 1:3-14)

·       Circle any phrase in Ephesians 1:3-14 which shows why God the Father has blessed us.

The blessings God has bestowed are "to the praise of His glory" and "to the praise of His glorious grace.” In blessing us, God the Father is true to His own nature as He acts "according to His purpose." Let us act according to the purpose for which He has made us by praising our Father for His good gifts and by walking in them.

·     Look back over each week of this study and summarize what you have learned.

Week 1:                                                                                                              



Week 2:                                                                                                               



Week 3:                                                                                                               



­­Week 4:                                                                                                               



Week 5:                                                                                                                



Week 6:                                                                                                                



·       How do you want this to impact your future? Write a prayer below, asking your heavenly Father to help you walk in the truth you have learned.



"Blessed be the God... who has blessed us." (Eph. 1:3)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I will always be there for you! (Week 6, Day 5)

God the Father's faithfulness towards us knows no limit. It transcends our time on earth making us look forward to a time of unbroken communion with Him. He proves this by giving us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee for what is yet to come. Do you find it hard to imagine what heaven will be like? I do too – and we are in good company.

·       According to 1 Corinthians 2:9, who can imagine what heaven is like?


One thing that helps my limited mind is to think of a baby in its mother's womb. There is so much that awaits her: the fragrance of flowers, the colors of the rainbow, the embrace of her father and the feeling of freedom when running across an open field. But the baby cannot imagine anything better than the warmth and comfort of the dark womb. Compared to heaven, it is as if we were living in our mother's womb right now. We cannot fathom what awaits us and we dread having to go through death in order to see God, the light that never dims. Sometimes we even worry that God will confront us with all our sins when we get to heaven.

·       According to Hebrews 8:12, how does God view our sins?



When we arrive in heaven there will be rejoicing, not condemnation.

·      Look up the following verses and write a prayer of thankfulness for all that He has prepared for you: Revelation 21:3-7, Revelation 22:1-5.






He is faithful - He will do it!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

I will never send you away! (Week 6, Day 4)

When living in Uzbekistan, I occasionally saw women dressed in their traditional garb. I could not understand why they would wear so many layers of clothing and so much fine jewelry in the desert heat. It was explained to me that, according to Uzbek custom, a husband was free to send his wife away without notice. This insecurity led wives to carry around their greatest possessions on their bodies at all times. In the same way, I used to burden myself with the fear that others around me or God Himself would send me away. How could I be sure? After all, my father had sent me away at age 16. It is normal to project our experiences with our fathers onto our expectations of other people or of God. We must unlearn that fear by holding on to the truth.

·       Read God's promises in John 6:37 and Isaiah 49:16a and write a prayer in response.






I will never abandon you! (Week 6, Day 3)

I was three when my dad moved out. He took "Ringelnatz" the cat, but often left me waiting in vain when visitation weekend rolled around. I wondered what was wrong with me. "Deep down inside me there is something hideous," I concluded, "that makes my father not want to be around me." I really started believing the cat was more valuable than I and started keeping people at arm’s length, fearing that they could get to know me well – well enough to realize that deep down inside me I had a secret hidden flaw that would appall them. I had translated my father's abandonment as "Something must be wrong with me". Only when I learned that God the Father, who knows my innermost being, is not appalled by what He sees and will never leave, was I set free from this false thinking.

·       Read the following promises and write your response to God your Father:     Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:6.





Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My plans never change (Week 6, Day 2)

"Kerstin, you would not pass for a blind person in a million years!" said my friend, Christopher. In spite of his blindness, he was determined to live a normal life. He attended regular high school, went swimming with us in the lakes around Berlin, and played the piano in a jazz-band. Christopher adapted amazingly, but his steps were uncertain because he always walked in complete darkness. The day I borrowed his cane and confidently walked down the sidewalk with my eyes tightly shut, he heard by the speed of my steps that I knew where I was going. I had seen the path only seconds earlier – an advantage my blind friend didn’t have.

As believers, we sometimes feel as if we are walking in darkness. We don't understand what God is doing and he feels far from us. I am not talking about a separation caused by sin, but a feeling of distance from God, sometimes resulting from a traumatic experience, exhaustion, or even without an obvious cause. God wants to use this time to mature us in our faith. We are given the choice to either grope around uncertainly in the darkness, believing the lie that there is no hope and that God does not care, or we can cling to God by standing on His unchanging truth.

·       Below are some verses, which are helpful to remember in this situation. Look them up and write the one that is most meaningful to you in the space below :
Nahum 1:7, Malachi 3:6, Isaiah 58:11a, Jeremiah 29:11, Job 42:2.




This is where our walk can be different from that of someone who does not know the Lord because, in spite of the darkness, we have a clear picture of who God is and what His plans are for us. Our feelings may change, but our God does not. Let us not be mistaken for a blind person in a million years!

"Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God." (Is. 50:10b)

·       Which specific truths do you want to remember in times of darkness?



Monday, February 5, 2018

I will keep my promise! (Week 6, Day 1)

The Father sealed us with the Holy Spirit, which is proof that we are believers. By putting the Holy Spirit in us, God our Father has given us a guarantee that He will keep His promises. The Holy Spirit demonstrates He is at work in us through the spiritual gifts He gives us (1 Cor. 12:1-11), and through seeing Him grow the fruit of the Spirit in us (Gal 5:22). This is a tangible way for us to recognize the seal God has placed upon us.

·       What are two names that the Holy Spirit goes by according to Romans 8:15 and John 16:13?



The Holy Spirit’s role is to reveal the truth of God's Father-heart towards us. He wants us to enter into the tenderness of God's heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you about God the Father, to teach you the truth that God loves you as much as He loves Jesus and that you are His favorite. Write your prayer below.