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FICKLE FEELINGS CH 4: TRUSTING GOD FOR WORRY

I’ll never forget the lesson God taught me on worry.  During my childhood, I was raised in a group of worriers.  I was led to believe that you worry about people you love.  As an adult, I grew anxious and full of worry.  I finally cried out to God.  God led me to write down my worries and surrender them to Him.  God then had me look at my worries a week or so later.  I learned that many of my worries never came to pass.  I learned to trust God instead of worry about my problems.  When I let go and let God, He always came through for me.

MEMORY VERSE

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

Worry…

Worry is “to feel distressed in the mind; be anxious, troubled, or uneasy” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “mental distress or agitation resulting from concern…for something impending or anticipated” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). 

Trust…

Trust is “to have…faith; place reliance; be confident” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  It is “to have confidence” in God (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words). 

HIDDEN GEMS

But God, I can’t trust myself!  I told God after my first manic episode.  I was filled with worry about another manic episode coming upon me.  My worry turned to anxiety.  I had to learn to trust God with everything that I was worried about.  Worry can fill our lives with unrest.  We may not feel like we can trust anyone.  However, we can trust God with everything.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22, NIV).

Read Psalm 55:22. What are we to cast upon the Lord?

What will God do for us?

What will God never let happen?

What a comforting verse.  When we cast our cares upon the Lord, we will be free from worry.  We will feel immediate relief.  We can then praise God for removing our worries.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy” (Psalm 94:19, NIV).

Read Psalm 94:19. What was great within the author of this psalm?

What did God’s consolation bring him?

I can truly praise God now that He allowed the bipolar disorder to come into my life.  Although I was shaken to the core, I trusted in God and His providence like never before.  As the colon cancer came into my life, I was not shaken by it and held onto God as my rock.  We may have trials in our lives which can bring us worry.  The good news is that when we cling to God, He is right there for us and strengthens us in our faith.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7, NIV).

Read Jeremiah 17:7. Who is blessed?

What do we have in God?

We are truly blessed when we trust in God.  We will not be shaken.  We can have confidence in approaching God and surrendering our worries and have His peace that passes all understanding in the process.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5, NIV).  We can indeed trust in the Lord with all we have.  However, when we rely on our own understanding, we will be filled with worry.  However, when we seek God for His wisdom, we will experience peace.

Name a time when you worried about something.

Did it come to pass?

How did you draw near to God?

What Scripture spoke to you during this time?

How did you experience God’s peace?

Do you have any worries right now?

Take the time to surrender them to God.

“And we know that God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).  What a comforting promise!  God does indeed work all things together for good.  We can approach God with all we have and experience His peace and strength to face whatever comes our way.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, I surrender my worries to you this day.  Thank You for replacing my worry into peace as I trust in You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

He that fears not the future may enjoy the present.  Thomas Fuller

Don’t worry about anything.  Worrying never solved anything.  All it does is distort your mind.  Milton Garland

Oh, how great peace and quietness would he possess who should cut off all vain anxiety and place all his confidence in God.  Thomas a Kempis

Trust in God, and do something.  Mary Lyon

He who trusts in himself is lost.  He who trusts in God can do all things.  Alphonsus Liguori

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FICKLE FEELINGS CH 3: FAITH FOR FEAR

After my first manic episode, I was filled with fear.  I was afraid of the mania returning.  The saddest part of all was that I was afraid of being happy.  Every time I felt joy or laughed, I was certain that the mania was returning.  I cried out to God for help.  He met me right where I was and carried me through that tumultuous time.  It took quite a while before this fear of being happy subsided.  It took several times of crying out to God for His strength to get me through this time.  On the other side, I look back now and thank God for bringing good out of the bipolar disorder, by filling me with faith instead of fear.

MEMORY VERSE

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

Fear…

Fear is “a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger…timidity” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “to be afraid or apprehensive” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  It is “cowardice and timidity” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

Faith…

Faith is “unquestioning belief in God” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “belief and trust in and loyalty to God” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  It is “a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgment of God’s revelation or truth” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

HIDDEN GEMS

Fear can cripple us when we are in the midst of a trial.  We may not know how to deal with this fear.  The good news is that we can cry out to God for help and strength in the midst of the trial.

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).

Read Joshua 1:9. What did the Lord command Joshua?

What did God not want Joshua to be?

What comforting promise did God give to Joshua?

God will indeed be with us wherever we go.  In this, we draw strength and courage.  We need not fear for God is with us.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, NIV).

Read Psalm 27:1. How did David describe God?

What did David not be?

What is the Lord as of David’s life?

How did David end this passage?

We have nothing to fear as God is indeed our light and salvation.  As a stronghold, the Lord gives us strength instead of weakness and fear.

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6, NIV).

Read Hebrews 13:6. How did they speak?

What was the Lord in this passage?

What will he not be?

What question did the author of Hebrews ask?

Man cannot harm us if we draw strength and faith from God.  We need not fear man.  Instead, we can approach God for His power.

“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5, NIV).

Read 1 Corinthians 2:4-5. What was Paul’s message not with?

What was Paul’s message with?

What should our faith not rest on?

What should our faith rest on?

When we rely upon the Holy Spirit, we will reach others in power.  Our faith is strengthened when we rest on God’s power instead of our own.  I had to learn to rely upon God’s wisdom instead of my own during the trial of bipolar disorder. 

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV).

Read Hebrews 11:6. What is impossible to please God?

How must we come to Him?

Who does God reward?

We must earnestly seek God in faith and belief instead of cowering in fear.  Faith gives us strength and resolve to face whatever comes our way.  When we cry out to God in the midst of our trials, we can rely upon His strength instead of our own.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22, NIV).  This is an encouraging promise for those who believe and have faith.  However, we must realize that God will give what we ask for in prayer if it is His will.  God knows what is best for us.

Name a trial in your life when you experienced fear.

How did you cry out to God?

What Scripture spoke to you during this time?

How did God’s presence and direction turn your fear into faith?

How did this strengthen your relationship with God?

“For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV).  We indeed live by faith.  The world relies upon sight and feel empty.  The world has no answer to the fears which intimidate them.  However, we have the good news that God gives us faith to face whatever comes our way.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, I surrender any fear I am experiencing right now.  Fill me with faith to believe that with You, all things are possible.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

Faith attracts the positive.  Fear attracts the negative.  Author unknown

Fear imprisons, faith liberates.  Fear paralyzes, faith empowers.  H.E. Fosdick

Fear forces love leads, faith follows.  Keith Moore

The right fear comes from faith, false fear from doubt.  Blaise Pascal

Fear looks; faith jumps!  Smith Wigglesworth

FICKLE FEELINGS CH 2: JOY FOR DEPRESSION

At the beginning of my bipolar disorder, I experienced two severe depressions following my first manic episode.  I was despondent and numb.  I couldn’t respond to others.  I felt lost and alone.  After a depression, I felt overwhelmed.  I didn’t think anything good could come out of it.  Initially, I did not experience any joy.  My fleeting happiness directed me.  However, that all changed several years later when I was diagnosed with colon cancer.  I was filled with joy and strength that I knew came from God.  In the natural, I should have felt depressed.  However, as I looked back at the depressions and manias of the bipolar disorder, I realized that God had strengthened me by His presence.  When the cancer came, I was not set off guard.  God helped me to realize that He can bring good out of anything, including the bipolar disorder.  I thanked God for filling me with His joy instead of depression.

MEMORY VERSE

“Why, my soul are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

Depression…

Depression is “low spirits; gloominess; dejection; sadness” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “a state of feeling sad; dejection” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). 

Joy…

Joy is “a very glad feeling…great pleasure; delight” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “gaiety…delight” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  “Joy is associated with life…experiences of sorrow prepare for, and enlarge, the capacity for joy” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

HIDDEN GEMS

We all have times when we feel depressed.  It may be an unexpected diagnosis such as cancer.  It can be a particularly stressful situation.  It may feel as if we have lost hope.  The good news is that God is there to meet us and help us in our time of need.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4, NIV).

Read Psalm 23:4. What was David walking through?

What will he not fear?

Why is this so?

What comforted David?

We all have dark valleys of trials.  These trials can overwhelm us.  We can reach out to God for comfort and strength to help us in our time of need.

“But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:6, NIV).

Read 2 Corinthians 7:6. Who does God comfort?

How did God comfort Paul?

God may send people in our lives to comfort and strengthen us when we are facing difficult trials.  I know this was the case when I was diagnosed with cancer.  Friends from across the country as well as my own church prayed for me and comforted me during this time.  I was strengthened and felt uplifted from the depression and experienced joy.

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11, NIV).

Read Psalm 16:11. What did God make known to David?

What did God fill David with?

Where did God fill David with joy?

What did God fill David at His right hand?

God fills us with joy when we spend time in His presence on a daily basis.  God desires for us to take the time each day to seek God.  This will fill us with joy in His presence.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).

Read Proverbs 17:22. What is good medicine?

What dries up the bones?

As I was experiencing the early stages of the bipolar disorder diagnosis, I was crushed in spirit.  However, God was right there for me when I cried out to Him.  I now look back on this time and thank God for bringing good out of it.  I now reap the benefits of joy and peace in my current diagnosis of cancer.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12, NIV).

Read Romans 12:12. What are we to be joyful in?

What are we to be patient in?

What are we to be faithful in?

When we have hope in Christ, we experience joy.  We can praise God for His presence during times of trials.  We can be filled with joy and peace instead of sorrow and depression.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

Depression can arise when we least expect it.  It showed up for me just yesterday when it was a cloudy day and I could not get out.  However, I cried out to God for help and He filled me with a song which proclaimed that the joy of the Lord is my strength.  The depression lifted and I praised God for His strength.

Name a time when you felt downcast.

How did you react?

How did you reach out to God?

What Scripture spoke to you during this time?

How were you filled with joy?

The joy of the Lord is indeed our strength.  We can praise God for being there for us when we cry out to Him.  God will then replace our low spirits with His joy.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being there for me when I feel down.  I ask You to fill me with Your joy unspeakable each and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

Before any great achievement, some measure of depression is very usual.  C.H. Spurgeon

When you come to the bottom, you find God.  Neville Talbot

No matter how low you feel, if you count your blessings, you’ll always show a profit.  Author unknown

Christ is not only a remedy for your weariness and trouble, but he will give you an abundance of the contrary, joy and delight.  Jonathan Edwards

Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved.  Henri Nouwen

FICKLE FEELINGS CH 1: PEACE FOR ANXIETY

Before my first manic episode and diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I was still working as an occupational therapist.  I began having mood swings which I attributed to PMS.  The mood swing worsened and I became anxious because I had no answers.  I began having panic attacks at work which affected my work.  I finally had to take a leave of absence.  Without the occupational therapy, I felt worthless.  The anxiety still creeped into my everyday life.  A couple of weeks after I took a leave of absence, I had my first manic episode.  I felt like I had lost all control.  It took a few years for the bipolar disorder to get under control due to medication.  I found out that I learned many lessons from the bipolar disorder.  I felt strengthened and the anxiety was replaced with His peace that passes all understanding.  I praised God for His peace and His presence in my life.

MEMORY VERSE

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

Anxiety…

Anxiety is “a state of being uneasy, apprehensive, or worried about what may happen” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  It is “to draw in different directions, distract…that which causes this, a care, especially an anxious care” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

Peace…

Peace is “an undisturbed state of mind; absence of mental conflict; serenity” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “a state of tranquility or quiet” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  It is “the sense of rest and contentment” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

HIDDEN GEMS

Anxiety is prevalent in today’s society.  “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up” (Proverbs 12:25, NIV).  It indeed weighs a person down.  Anxiety fills us with unrest and discomfort.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22, NIV).

Read Psalm 55:22. What are we to cast on the Lord?

What will God do in response?

What will God never let happen.

We all need the sustaining force that God offers.  When we cast our cares on the Lord, He will indeed sustain us.  We can then praise God for helping us through every trial we face.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1, NIV).

Read John 14:1. What are we not to let our hearts be?

What did Jesus desire for us to do?

When we believe in God, we can believe in Christ.  God has the best in mind for us.  However, anxiety can weigh our hearts and trouble us.  Anxiety interferes with the peace that God offers.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3, NIV).

Read Isaiah 26:3. How is peace described?

What must our minds be to keep in perfect peace?

What do they do in God?

Trust brings peace.  We must have steadfast minds to obtain perfect peace.  When peace comes, we can draw near to God for help.

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14, NIV).

Read Psalm 34:14. What are we to turn from?

What are we to do?

What are we to seek and pursue?

When we seek peace and pursue it, our relationship with God is strengthened.  Anxiety is not present in peace.  We can then praise God for being close to us to help us do His will.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV).

Read John 14:27. What did Jesus leave with His followers?

What did Jesus not give as?

What should we not let our hearts be?

What did Jesus say for us not to be?

What a marvelous gift of peace that Jesus left for us.  We do not have to let our hearts be troubled or afraid as we seek God in all we do.  We do not look at what the world gives because the world is filled with empty promises.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

We all experience anxiety from time to time.  The good news is that we can turn to God for help in the midst of our trials.  This will bring us His peace that passes all understanding.

Name a time when you felt anxious.

What trial was you facing?

How did you cry out to God?

What Scripture spoke to you during this time?

How did God bring you peace?

What marvelous peace we can have.  We can praise God in the midst of our trials and obtain peace.  We can then find the strength to face whatever comes our way.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, I surrender my anxious cares to You this day.  Fill me with Your peace that passes understanding.  I praise and worship You for this peace.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.  Author unknown

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.  C.H. Spurgeon

No God, no peace.  Know God, know peace.  Author unknown

Peace is the tranquility of order.  Augustine of Hippo

There is never any peace for those who resist God.  Francois Fenelon

CH 8: JESUS IS…THE WORD

How can the Word become flesh?  I asked God as a serious Christian who had just re-dedicated my life to God.  Ever since that time, I became serious in studying God’s Word.  It was the first time I dug deeply into His Word.  As I read John 1:14, God helped me to see that the Word is another name for Jesus.  Jesus fulfilled the law and was without sin.  The Bible declares the Lordship of Christ from front to back.  As the Word, Jesus helps us to understand through the Holy Spirit.

MEMORY VERSE

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

Word…

“‘The Personal Word,’ a title of the Son of God…His distinct and superfinite Personality…His relation in the Godhead…His deity…the reality and totality of His human nature, and His glory” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

HIDDEN GEMS

Jesus is indeed the Word.  The Old Testament is filled with prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  The Gospels record the accounts of Jesus while here on earth.  The remaining New Testament describes the words inspired by the Holy Spirit.  It is indeed God-breathed.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3, NIV).

Read John 1:1-3.  Who was in the beginning?

Who was with God?

Who was God?

Who was with God in the beginning?

Who made all things?

Jesus was with God in the beginning of time.  Jesus is the Word.  Jesus made all things.  Jesus is the Son of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?  The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority.  Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (John 14:10, NIV).

Read John 14:10. Who is in the Father?

Who is in Christ?

Who does not speak on His own authority?

Who lives in Jesus?

Who is doing Christ’s work?

Jesus and the Father are one, as part of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  While on earth, Jesus relied only upon the authority of His Father.  Jesus did His work relying upon God Who was guiding and directing His steps.

“For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.  They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me” (John 17:8, NIV).

Read John 17:8. Who did Jesus give the words His Father gave me?

What did the disciples do with these words?

What did the disciples do with certainty?

What did the disciples believe?

This verse is part of the prayer Jesus gave for His disciples.  Jesus wanted the Father to bless and protect them from the evil one.  The disciples believed in Jesus and wanted to further the Kingdom of God.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

Jesus was the Word made flesh.  In the flesh, He depended upon the Father in all He did.  He came in the flesh to die for our sins as a perfect sacrifice.  He took the place of us in dying for our sins. 

Name the time when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

What did you experience at this time?

How do you view Jesus?

How do you see Him as the Word made flesh?

What is your favorite Bible verse concerning Jesus?

Jesus came to set us free from sin and death.  We have a priceless treasure in the Word of God.  We can see throughout the Bible how Jesus is proclaimed.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die for my sins.  Thank You for Your Word which describes Jesus through it all.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need.  C.H. Spurgeon

Take hold of Jesus as a man and you will discover that he is GOd.  Martin Luther

In Christ Jesus heaven meets earth and earth ascends to heaven.  Henry Law

Miss Christ and you miss all.  Thomas Brooks

Christ is not valued at all, unless he is valued above all.  Augustine of Hippo

CH 7: JESUS IS…KING OF KINGS

During my teenage years, I was far away from God.  I was mad at God.  I thought that I knew it all.  I felt superior to others.  It was only when I was humbled by having to take a semester off from graduate school that I turned back to God.  God illuminated my mind as I studied His Word.  Although I did not understand Revelation, I found great comfort in knowing Jesus as King of kings.  I submitted to God and His will for my life as I saw Jesus as my Lord.

MEMORY VERSE

“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers” (Revelation 17:14, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

King…

“Christ as…the King in judging nations and men at the establishment of the millennial kingdom…eternal, incorruptible” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

HIDDEN GEMS

There are kings of the world.  However, they are here for only a short time.  Kings will come and go.  However, we have an eternal King – Jesus Christ.  He will be King for eternity.

“‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” (John 8:58, NIV).

Read John 8:58. How did Jesus tell them?

Who was Jesus before?

What proclamation did Jesus use to describe Himself?

Jesus spoke the truth as He said, “Very truly I tell you.”  The Jews believed they were all right with being descendants of Abraham.  However, Jesus let them know that He was eternal and was before Abraham.  Jesus was King of kings.

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10, NIV).

Read Philippians 2:9-10.  What did God exalt Jesus to?

What was the name of Jesus?

What will everyone do at the name of Jesus?

Where will this happen?

Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  As I remember these words from a hymn, I live in awe of my Savior and King.  Every knee will indeed bow in the future as God has exalted Jesus to the highest place.

“To keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time – God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:14-15, NIV).

Read 1 Timothy 6:14-15.  How are we to keep His commands?

Until what time?

How is God described?

God is described as King of kings and Lord of lords.  As Jesus is God in flesh, these attributes describe Jesus as well.  We need to worship and adore our Savior and King.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.  For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11, NIV).

Read 2 Peter 1:10-11.  What should we make every effort to do?

What will we never do if we do these things?

What will we receive?

How is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus described?

Jesus has an eternal Kingdom of Heaven.  He is indeed King of kings.  God gives us a calling to finish while still on earth.  We must obey God and revere Jesus as the King of kings.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

We look at today’s leaders and become dismayed by the corruption.  However, we have a King without sin who died on the cross for our sins.  In Revelation, Jesus is described about how He will be revered.  “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16, NIV).

How do you view Jesus?

Has there been a time in your walk where you strayed?

How did this affect your life?

How did you return to Christ and put Him first place as King of kings?

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV).  Jesus existed with God from the beginning as part of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Jesus became flesh and died for our sins so that we could have eternal life in Heaven.  We can worship and adore Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sins.  May I always worship Jesus as Lord of lords.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

Christ is not valued at all, unless he is valued above all.  Augustine of Hippo

There is not an inch of any sphere of life over which Jesus Christ does not say, “Mine.”  Abraham Kuyper

For every look at self take ten looks at Christ.  Robert Murray M’Cheyne

The seed is choked in our souls whenever Christ is not our all in all.  C.H. Spurgeon

Many are willing that Christ should be something, but few will consent that Christ should be everything.  Alexander Moody Stuart

CH 6: JESUS IS…TEACHER

I took great pride in my academic accomplishments, especially getting a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy.  I would finally be making a lot of money.  However, that all changed when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I had to go on disability and give up my occupational therapy career.  I was devastated.  However, I cried out to God for help.  God helped me to see that I had a passion for learning and diverted my passion for earthly knowledge to knowledge of His Word.  I was introduced to Jesus as my Teacher through the Holy Spirit.  My passion for knowledge of His Word grew as God called me into a writing ministry for His glory.  I was called to write, teach, speak and counsel according to God’s Word.  I thanked God for Jesus being my teacher of His Word.

MEMORY VERSE

“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matthew 10:24, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

Teacher…

To teach is “to provide a person with knowledge, insight” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “to instruct by precept, example, or experience” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  It is “a teacher of what is good” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

HIDDEN GEMS

In God’s Word, we study forever His precious precepts.  We can thank God that we have a guide to teach us what to do in any situation through the Holy Spirit.  Jesus teaches us the way we should go as our Teacher.

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down.  His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them” (Matthew 5:1-2, NIV).

Read Matthew 5:1-2.  What did Jesus see?

Where did He go?

What did He do when His disciples came to Him?

Jesus desired for His followers to understand His teaching.  He used lessons which they could live by.  We have the precious Word of God which holds the teaching of Jesus.

“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.  So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:  ‘I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world’” (Matthew 13:34-35, NIV).

Read Matthew 13:34-35.  How did Jesus speak to the crowds?

What did He not say anything to them except this?

What was fulfilled through the prophet?

Jesus spoke through parables to teach His followers.  He used simple teaching to drive home the point He was making.  Through this, Jesus fulfilled the prophet’s words that He spoke in parables.

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.  When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1, NIV).

Read Luke 11:1. What was Jesus doing?

What was the request of one of His disciples?

What did he compare his request to?

The disciples observed Jesus going to solitary places to pray.  Through this, they learned the importance of prayer.  After this verse, Jesus answered the disciple’s request through what we call the Lord’s prayer.

“Jesus replied, ‘All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you’” (John 14:25-26, NIV).

Read John 14:25-26.  What did Jesus do while still with the disciples?

Who is the Advocate?

In Whose name with the Father send the Holy Spirit?

What will the Holy Spirit do?

The Holy Spirit reminds us of all things that Jesus taught in His Word.  We can praise God for giving us an advocate which will illuminate Scriptures for us to understand them.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

Jesus was indeed our Teacher.  He taught parables to His disciples for them to understand.  In the same way, He teaches us through His Word as we meditate on His parables.

Name a time when you were confused.

How did you reach out to God?

What Scripture spoke to you during this time?

How did Jesus teach you His precepts found in His Word?

How did the Holy Spirit illuminate your mind to understand His Word?

How did you praise Jesus for ridding you of your confusion?

Jesus is the Teacher of His Word.  We will understand His parables which He spoke in the New Testament through the Holy Spirit.  We can praise God for giving us His Word so that we no longer have to be confused about what to do.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the Teacher, Jesus Christ.  Thank You for sending Him to die for our sins as well as teaching in parables so that we can understand.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.  Galileo

The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who has his spirit will find in it a hidden manna.  Thomas a Kempis

CH 5: JESUS IS…THE GOOD SHEPHERD

It was the dark time after my first manic episode.  I felt bewildered at my actions.  Although I did not have control over my actions, I was still held accountable for my actions.  I remember standing in line at the grocery store to pay the overdraft fee for writing a check with no money left in the bank.  I had given all of my money in the bank to a homeless man.  During this time, I felt lost and alone.  However, God did not leave me.  God introduced me to Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  I felt comforted and strengthened as I meditated upon the Word about this Good Shepherd.

MEMORY VERSE

“I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

Shepherd…

To shepherd is “to tend, herd, guard, or lead as or like a shepherd” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “to guide or guard in the manner of a shepherd” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  It is “a chief shepherd…is said of Christ only” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

HIDDEN GEMS

Jesus is our Good Shepherd.  He laid down His life for us in the same way a shepherd will risk his life to save sheep.  Jesus looks intently after us to make sure we are safe.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1, NIV).

Read Psalm 23:1. Who does David say is his shepherd?

What does David lack?

A shepherd takes care of his sheep.  They lack nothing because, although they are unable to take care of themselves, the shepherd provides for their daily needs and protection.  In the same way, Jesus provides for our every need and protects us from harm when we cry out to Him.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36, NIV).

Read Matthew 9:36. What did Jesus see?

How did He react to the crowds?

How are the crowds described in this verse?

What were the crowds like?

Sheep without a shepherd – so many times this can describe us as Christians.  We may feel helpless and lost and alone.  However, Jesus intercedes on our behalf to the Father.  We can cry out to Him and He will help us.

“When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice…Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep’” (John 10:4, 7, NIV).

Read John 10:4, 7.  Where does the shepherd go?

What do the sheep do?

Why do they do this?

How does Jesus describe Himself?

As sheep know the voice of the shepherd, we can know the voice of Jesus and follow Him.  We may not hear audibly but within our spirits.  In this way, we can find direction, guidance and comfort from Christ.

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen’” (Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV).

Read Hebrews 13:20-21.  How did God described?

Who was brought back from the dead?

How is Jesus described?

What does He equip us to do?

What does He work in us?

Jesus is the Great Shepherd of the sheep.  Normally, sheep will go astray if they have no shepherd.  In the same way, we can go astray unless we listen intently for His voice to guide and direct us.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

“For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25, NIV).  We can indeed go astray in our lives if we follow the ways of the world.  However, we can return to Christ as the Good Shepherd.

Name a time when you felt lost and alone.

How did you cry out to God through Jesus?

What did you hear in your spirit?

How did this comfort you?

How did this guide and direct your steps?

Jesus guides along the narrow path.  The world’s path is wide and leads to destruction.  However, when we choose the narrow path with Jesus as our Great Shepherd, we will find peace in our everyday lives.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to always follow Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  Help me to hear His voice in my spirit to guide and direct my steps to a fruitful life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ; We do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ.  Blaise Pascal

Remember, sinner, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you – it is Christ.  C.H. Spurgeon

Jesus Christ turns life right-side-up, and heaven outside-in.  Carl F.H. Henry

Christ is our temple, in whom by faith all believers meet.  Matthew Henry

Look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay.  But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.  C.S. Lewis

CH 4: JESUS IS…LAMB OF GOD

“Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  I heard the pastor say during my teen years.  I was away from God at this time.  As I heard this statement, I thought I was the exception.  I felt unworthy to have my sins forgiven.  I felt so dirty because of the shame I experienced due to the sexual abuse I endured as a child.  However, at the age of 25, I returned to God.  He accepted me with open arms.  I learned that Jesus did indeed take away my sins as the Lamb of God.

MEMORY VERSE

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

Lamb…

“Christ as the Lamb of God, the symbolism having reference to His character and His vicarious Sacrifice, as the basis both of redemption and of divine vengeance” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

HIDDEN GEMS

Jesus is sinless as He was given life in Mary by the Holy Spirit.  Being sinless, He could die for our sins.  Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.  He took away our sins as we repent and accept Him as Lord and Savior.

“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7, NIV).

Read Isaiah 53:7. What two things describe Jesus?

What did He not do?

How was He led?

How are sheep described?

Again, what did He not do?

In this Old Testament prophecy, it describes the purpose of Jesus coming to earth as a Lamb of God.  When He was on the cross, He was silent in response to the jeers and torment.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV).

Read 1 Peter 1:18-19.  How were we not redeemed?

How is our way of life described?

Who did we get an empty way of life?

How were we redeemed?

How is Jesus as the Lamb of God described?

Jesus is indeed a lamb without blemish or defect.  Before we accept Christ, we do have an empty way of life.  When we accept Jesus, we are made alive in Christ.

“In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” (Revelation 5:12, NIV).

Read Revelation 5:12. What were the angels saying concerning Christ?

What seven things is Christ worthy of?

Worthy is the Lamb of God.  He indeed deserves all of our worship and praise.  We can praise Him in thanksgiving for all that He has done for us.  He died for our sins.  This is worthy of all of our praise.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

“And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’” (Revelation 7:10, NIV).  God and the Lamb gave us our salvation through Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.  As the Lamb of God, He is worthy of our praise.

Describe your salvation.

How did you feel?

How do you see Jesus as the Lamb of God?

Take time to praise Jesus for dying for our sins.

Worthy is the Lamb of God.  Jesus obeyed the Father completely and lived a sinless life.  In response, we can glorify His name above every name.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die for our sins.  He indeed is the Lamb of God without blemish.  Help me to live a life of purity and grace.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

The precious Lamb of God gave up his precious fleece for us.  Christopher Nesse

The name of Jesus is in my mind as a joyful song, in my ear a heavenly music, and in my mouth sweet honey.  Richard Rolle

Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ; We do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ.  Blaise Pascal

Remember, sinner, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you – it is Christ.  C.H. Spurgeon

Christ is our temple, in whom by faith all believers meet.  Matthew Henry

CH 3: JESUS IS…LORD

“God, did anything good come out of this?”  I cried out to God after my first manic episode where I made foolish decisions.  In response, God reminded me of the two people that I led to Christ.  He also reminded me of the decision I made to be baptized as an adult.  Although baptized as an infant, I realized the need to be baptized.  During the baptism, I made Jesus Christ Lord of my life.  I had accepted Him as Savior when I was 8.  However, I did my own thing for many years.  However, after the baptism, I looked to Jesus as Lord.  I thanked God for reminding me of how He can bring good out of anything, including a manic episode.

MEMORY VERSE

“And every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:ll, NIV).

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

Lord…

Lord is “God…Jesus Christ” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “one having power and authority over others…God…Jesus” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  “From the outset of His ministry this was a common form of address to the Lord Jesus, alike by the people…and by His disciples” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

HIDDEN GEMS

Like myself, we may have accepted Jesus as our Savior.  We believed He died for our sins.  However, we may still have desired to do our own thing.  We can turn to Christ and surrender all things.  This will make Him first place in our lives as we declare Him Lord over our lives.

“When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:17-18, NIV).

Read Matthew 28:17-18.  What did the eleven disciples do when they saw Jesus?

What did some do?

What has been given to Jesus?

Doubt can still creep into our minds from time to time.  This can lead to anxiety.  However, when we realize that Christ has all authority, we can turn to Him for His security and peace.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.  From now on, you do know him and have seen him’” (John 14:6-7, NIV).

Read John 14:6-7.  By what three things does Jesus describe Himself?

How does one come to the Father?

How does one know the Father?

Jesus is indeed the way and the truth and the life.  We can rest secure in knowing that we also know the Father by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  We can find His peace that passes all understanding when we make Jesus Lord of our lives.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:9, 13, NIV).

Read Romans 10:9, 13.  What do we need to declare with our mouth to be saved?

What do we need to believe in our heart?

Who will be saved?

Jesus is indeed Lord of our lives.  When we declare this and believe it in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.  We will be set free from sin and death.

YOUR HEART’S DESIRE

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV).  We come to Jesus by faith.  He becomes our Savior.  It may be later that we truly surrender all that we are and make Him Lord of our lives.

Describe the time when you accepted Christ as your Savior.

What age were you?

How did you feel?

What age did you make Him Lord of your life?

How did this strengthen your relationship with God?

Jesus Christ is indeed Lord over all things.  We can worship and adore Him for all that He has done for us, including dying for our sins.  We can praise His holy name for His presence in our lives as we make Him Lord over all our lives.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die for my sins.  As I have accepted Him as Savior, I have chosen to make Him Lord over my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

NUGGETS OF WISDOM

He values not Christ at all who does not value Christ above all.  Augustine of Hippo

The Lord who vacated his tomb has not vacated his throne.  G.R. Beasley-Murray

Christ is either both Savior and Lord, or he is neither Savior nor Lord.  John R. Dewitt

Seek Christ, and you will find him, and with him everything else thrown in.  C.S. Lewis

Christ is either Lord of all or he is not Lord at all.  J. Hudson Taylor