Week 4 – Learning to Pray Effectively

Introduction: Prayer is perhaps the area of our lives in which Satan attacks us the hardest. Many believers find it difficult to spend more than ten minutes a day praying in English, or their prayer time is on the run while doing other things. In this teaching our aim is to:

§ Get motivated to pray.

§ Learn how to pray different kinds of prayer.

§ Establish an effective prayer life.

I. Get motivated to pray by seeing the tremendous benefits of prayer.

A. Praying effectively will give you spiritual endurance so you won’t quit and give up. “Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1 NIV).

B. Praying brings you into the spiritual realm and makes God and His truths real to you. “And Elisha prayed, ‘0 LORD, open his eyes so he may see. ‘Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17 NIV).

C. Prayer is the key to being able to effectively minister to others. “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2 NIV).

D. Through prayer you receive from God His blessings and provisions for your life. “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2 KJV).

E. Effective prayer enables you to find direction and guidance for your life. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 NIV).

F. Prayer is vital to overcoming the devil and his forces in your life. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:4 1 NIV).

II. Learn how to pray different kinds of prayer.

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 disciple” (Luke 11:1 NIV).

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV).

A. Pray by using the Lord’s Prayer as a model prayer guide (Matthew 6:9-13). Jesus was asked by His disciples to teach them to pray. His reply to them has come to be known as the “Lord’s Prayer.” (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). Jesus was instructing His disciples to pray “after this manner.” Rather than giving a prayer to be recited over and over again, Jesus was demonstrating a model prayer guide, showing the basic elements which should be contained in your prayer life. Here is a listing of the basic parts of prayer as found in the Lord’s Prayer:

1. Prayer of worship; acknowledging Who He is and what He has done. “OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME.” Begin your prayer by worshiping God. You may wish to pray through the compound names of God as found in the Old Testament.

a) Jehovah-tsidkenu = The Lord is our righteousness

b) Jehovah-m’kaddesh = The Lord Who sanctifies

c) Jehovah-shammah = The Lord is there

d) Jehovah-shalom = The Lord is peace

e) Jehovah-rophe = The Lord heals

f) Jehovah-jireh = The Lord is my provider

g) Jehovah-nissi = The Lord is my banner (of victory)

h) Jehovah-rohi = The Lord is my shepherd

2. Prayer of intercession: praying for others. “THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE.”

3. Prayer of petition: praying for your own personal needs. “GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.”

4. Prayer for cleansing from sin and from hurts from others, forgiving them. “AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS.”

5. Prayer of spiritual warfare: putting on the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17) and wrestling against the enemy of your soul. “AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL.”

6. Prayer of surrender to God’s authority and will. “FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY.”

B. Pray in the Spirit. What is it then? “I will pray with the spirit, and l will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (1 Corinthians 14:15 KJV). When you are filled with the Spirit, the Spirit gives you a language of prayer, which we call “speaking in tongues.”

1. This prayer language is a way that the Spirit tells the secrets of your heart to God. “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:2 NIV).

2. When you pray in the Spirit, your spirit is praying, not your mind. “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful” (1 Corinthians 14:14 KJV).

3. Praying in the Spirit will build you up in your faith. “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20 NIV).

4. Praying in the Spirit will help you to pray continually throughout the day. “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV).

III. Establish an effective prayer life.

A. Pray early in the morning. “In the morning, O LORD, You hear my voice, in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation” (Psalms 5:3 NIV). Praying before you start your daily work is often best because the mind is uncluttered and the body is refreshed. This also gives you an opportunity to pray over the situations you will face during the day.

B. Find a place where it is quiet and free from distractions. “After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone” (Matthew 14:23 NIV).

C. If possible, pray out loud, as this will help you to keep your mind from wandering. “To the LORD I cry aloud, and He answers me from his holy hill” (Psalms 3:4 NIV).

D. Listen to God. Learn to distinguish His voice from all others. “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a strangers’ voice” (John 10:4-5 NIV).

E. Pray over the Word as you read it, and pray over what God speaks to your heart through the Word. “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalms 119: 18 NIV).

F. Pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. “In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. I tell you the truth, My Father will give you whatever you ask in My name” (John 16:23 NIV).

G. Pray in faith. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24 NIV).

H. Pray from a clean heart and a pure conscience. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18 KJV).

I. Pray the will of God as it is revealed in His Word. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14 NIV).

J. Humble yourself before God. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10 NIV).

Be bold in your approach before God, as He wants to give you mercy, grace, and help. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).

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Freedom through Forgiveness

One of the best things you can do to have a good and happy life is to take a few minutes each night to forgive everybody of everything they did that affected you adversely during the day. When you do this, you keep yourself free from all the emotional and spiritual stress that comes from holding on to unforgiveness.

Unfortunately, when someone has offended you, forgiveness is usually the furthest thing from your mind – and the hardest thing to do. Because you feel angry, hurt and betrayed, your flesh would rather find a way to make them pay for what they have done.

While forgiveness may be far from your mind, it is never far from God’s. How could He forget that He has given you forgiveness of all your sins – past, present and future – through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ? According to Romans 6:6, Jesus broke the power of sin over our lives so we wouldn’t have to live as slaves to sin. He also forgave us so that we can forgive others.

Why Should I Forgive?
If for no other reason, you should forgive because Jesus said to. You’ve probably recited the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6 many times, but if you are like most people, you like the “forgive us our trespasses” part a lot better than the “as we forgive those who trespass against us” part. Like it or not, though, the Biblical pattern is, “Forgive and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).

You and I should also forgive because a lack of forgiveness spoils lives. Hebrews 12:14-15 tells us we should pursue peace with all people “lest a root of bitterness spring up causing trouble, and by this many become defiled.” When you don’t forgive, an ugly root begins to form inside you. As you carry the grudge, that root begins to grow and cause trouble for you, for your family and for everyone around you.

You might think that by not forgiving someone, you are getting even or causing them some of the same pain you’ve felt. Actually, the person you hurt the most is you. By refusing to forgive, you open the door for Satan to have access into your life. Depression, fear, sickness, problems with your family, and financial problems are some of the many common results of unforgiveness.

I once knew a man who had become extremely angry and refused to forgive someone who had offended him. Since the incident, a tumor had developed in his body, and he faced a serious surgery. When confronted with what God’s Word says about forgiving others, he realized that he needed to make the choice to forgive. Within an hour of praying to forgive the man who had hurt him, the tumor left his body – he was completely healed!

The effect of forgiving someone isn’t always seen that quickly, but freedom always comes when you choose to forgive.

Who Should I Forgive?
In Mark 11:25-26, Jesus said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” This scripture covers it all. There are no other options. Anytime anyone hurts you, no matter how deep the hurt, you are to forgive.

Think about what happened to Joseph. In Genesis 37 and the chapters that follow, you can see many reasons why Joseph could have become a very bitter man. His brothers hated him and sold him as a slave. Next, his master’s wife falsely accused him of a serious crime, and he ended up in prison. Then, a government official promised to help him but instead left him in prison to rot. Regardless of all these things, Joseph didn’t allow unforgiveness and bitterness to take root in his life. He forgave everyone who did anything against him and went on to fulfill the destiny God had for him.

Understanding Forgiveness
Forgiveness is not a feeling. Like Joseph, you must make a decision to forgive by faith. If you wait until you feel like forgiving, you may never forgive anybody for anything. Also, forgiveness is not merely pushing a memory to the back of your mind; that’s denial. Offenses and hurts must be dealt with so you can be free from them and the trouble they cause.

Forgiving someone does not negate their wrongdoing, but it puts the responsibility of judgment for their actions into God’s hands. That’s what Jesus did. Despite everything that had been done to Him, 1 Peter 2:23 tells us that “…when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but He committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”

Forgiveness is a choice. The Bible says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13 NIV). When you think about how much God has forgiven you, forgiving someone else seems much smaller!

Don’t be alarmed if your feelings don’t immediately line up with your choice to forgive. The same devil who tells you you’re no good because you haven’t forgiven someone will try to keep harassing you once you’ve chosen to forgive. Feelings are fickle, but they will stabilize as you follow through by speaking and acting out your choice to forgive.

Forgive Now
Choosing not to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The longer you carry a grudge, the more damage it does to you. Why risk a physical or emotional breakdown when you can choose to forgive now?

No matter how long ago you were hurt, whether the ones who offended you are living or dead, choose to forgive them. Don’t let unforgiveness and bitterness remain locked up inside your soul. As you line your will up with God’s, you’ll experience the freedom that comes through forgiving.

It doesn’t have to take days or weeks or years to forgive. You can do it right now, right where you are by praying this simple prayer out loud:

Father, I choose to forgive _____________ for everything they did that hurt me. I release them to you because you are the One who judges righteously. I trust you to work in their life and to draw them to you. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Then What?
People often say, “All this sounds good, but what do I do once I’ve chosen to forgive?” Here are some helpful tips from God’s Word:

– Surrender the right to get even. “Do not avenge yourselves…vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

– Surrender your thoughts about the person “…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

– Surrender your words regarding the person. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:29-31)

– Surrender your own resentment, anger, bitterness, self-pity, etc. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Every human being has a deep, sometimes hidden, desire to be forgiven. Ernest Hemingway’s short story about the broken relationship between a Spanish father and his teenage son, Paco, highlights this desire.

Paco ran away from his home to Madrid, and his grieving father looked everywhere for him. In desperation, the father placed an ad in the Madrid newspaper that read, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office tomorrow at noon. All is forgiven. I love you.” The next morning, 800 hopeful men named Paco were standing in front of the newspaper office!

Someone needs your forgiveness right now, but even more, as you choose to forgive and surrender yourself to your loving heavenly Father, you’ll begin to experience the freedom that comes through forgiving.

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Week 5 – Releasing Hurts and Forgiving Others

Introduction: It is impossible to go through life without experiencing hurts, wounds, and disappointments. Our responses to these often lead to bitterness and unforgiveness. As the people of God, we have been called to a higher walk. Jesus challenges us to love our enemies, even those who hate and plot evil against us. Forgiveness is never easy. However, God always gives us the ability to live according to His Word and example. In this lesson we will cover:

  • Why it is important for you to forgive others.
  • How unforgiveness works destruction in your life.
  • How to overcome unforgiveness and bitterness.
  • Positive steps to take to complete the forgiveness process.

I. Why it is important for you to forgive others

Remember, forgiveness or bitterness-it’s your choice.

A. If you don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive you. God requires you to forgive everyone for every offense committed.

1. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. For you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But f you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:12, 14-15 NIV).

2. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other; just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).

3. Biblical example-Matthew 18:21-35: A servant was forgiven an enormous debt, but he in turn refused to forgive a fellow servant a small debt. As a result, his master delivered the unforgiving servant to tormentors in prison until he paid all that he owed. Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35 NIV).

B. Jesus said to forgive people” seventy times seven,” which is another way of telling us to forgive others without counting how many times they have offended us. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22 NIV).

C. You can only serve and lead to Jesus those whom you have forgiven. Forgiveness releases the love of Jesus in your heart to others.

II. How unforgiveness works destruction in your life

A. It produces a root of bitterness in you. “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15 NIV).

B. This root of bitterness must be fed and watered by you for it to continue to grow. This occurs when you harbor resentment, rehearse hurts, and seek to justify your unforgiveness. Resentment is like a fire-it needs to be supplied with fuel to live. To maintain an attitude of resentment, you must continually feed on negative, judgmental thoughts, feelings, and desires-toward God, your fellowman, or your situation.

C. If not dealt with, bitterness will cause a breakdown, socially, mentally, and physically in your life. It has the effect of poisoning your life.

D. Unforgiveness and the resulting bitterness cause your family, friends, and those around you to be poisoned as well.

E. Holding on to hurts and past wounds causes your fellowship with God to be broken and robs you of joy, peace, and love.

F. Resentment and bitterness (the fruits of unforgiveness) act together as prison bars for your soul.

G. Unforgiveness allows Satan access into your life to build strongholds from which he can exert controlling influences in your life. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (II Corinthians 10:4 KJV).

III. How to overcome unforgiveness and bitterness

A. Repent of all unforgiveness and bitterness.

B. Confess your sin to God and, if necessary, to the person/s it has harmed.

C. Ask for their forgiveness (be specific). Be careful that you emphasize your sinful attitude and behavior. Do not use this time as an occasion to make others aware of their wrongdoings. You are the one who has been convicted by the Holy Spirit, not they.

D. Receive God’s forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9 NIV).

E. Resist unforgiveness. Do not allow ill feelings to take hold of you. Deal aggressively with negative feelings and attitudes. You may need assistance from other believers or counselors to whom you can be accountable. This is an important principle concerning any chronic sinful behavior in the life of a believer.

F. Fill your mind with good thoughts. In Philippians 4:8 you are given a catalog of thoughts that you should entertain in your mind: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

IV. Positive steps to take to complete the forgiveness process. Confess the following out loud:

A. I have been forgiven of my sins by God. Therefore, I choose to forgive others who have done me wrong.

B. I release from all personal judgment those who have wronged or hurt me.

C. I pray prayers of blessings on those who have wronged me.

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Dealing With Depression

With today’s economy Depression is on the rise. While doctors prescribe anti-depressants like candy to address the feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, and hopelessness that accompany depression. God’s word gives us insight on how to fight depression and walk in the joy and peace of the Spirit of God.

This article looks at depression as a spiritual issue and uses the Bible as our reference book. We acknowledge that some depression is medical and should be treated with prescriptions. Most is spiritual and needs to be treated from a Biblical and spiritual perspective.

In Acts 10:38 we are told that “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

Illness, whether physical, mental or emotional, is oppression from the devil. John 10:10 tells us, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” If something is stealing, killing or destroying your quality of life, it must come from the devil since the Bible says Jesus wants you to have abundant life.

The spirits of depression and despair are evil. God’s will for you is to experience peace and joy. The Bible tells us “by his stripes, you are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Healing – even from depression and discouragement – is available to you now. Choose to receive it!

If this is true, why are so many people still depressed?

• Lack of knowledge. Many people do not realize that God wants them healed from depression and that His Word promises freedom.

• Rejecting God. If you depart from the Lord in your heart, depression can easily move into the vacant room in your heart. That is what happened when Saul rejected God. It says in 1 Samuel 16:14 that, “…a distressing spirit…troubled him.” The Living Bible said it was a “tormenting spirit” and that it filled him with fear and depression.

• Sin. Sin opens the door for the devil to attack. In John 5:14, we’re told that after Jesus healed a man and told him to pick up his bed and walk, He said, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” In Mathew 9:2, Jesus again related healing to sins being forgiven when he healed a paralyzed man and said, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” Remember this: Jesus defeated Satan at the cross and the only power Satan has over you is the power you let him have.

• Unbelief. In Mathew 9:22, Jesus told a woman who had been sick 12 years, “Your faith has made you well.”

• A broken heart. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” A broken, hopeless heart is ripe for depression.

“The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.” (Ps 29:11)

Strength and peace are blessings God promises His people, but you must receive them by having faith in God’s Word. You can’t pick and choose which scriptures you are going to believe. If you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the cross for your salvation, then believe all of God’s word. Choose to have faith in what the Bible says more than in what doctors say, what you have experienced, or what you’ve read elsewhere.

How You Can Get Free From Depression

1. Believe that Jesus Christ is your healer.

2. Decide that you don’t want to live with depression any longer. Deciding involves yielding to a willingness to give up everything that was used to steal, kill or destroy from you in exchange for the abundant life God says is yours. Anger, bitterness, fear, anxiety and the desire for retribution must go to make room for new, healthy thoughts. Remember: what controls the mind controls the man.

3. Identify the relationships and actions (or failures to act) of people that have hurt and disappointed you or caused hopelessness to invade your life. If there have been several, take them one at a time. Be Honest and identify how their actions or failure to act influenced you.

4. Choose to Forgive those who hurt you. You don’t forgive people because they’ve apologized or because they deserve to be forgiven, you forgive because God has forgiven you. You forgive because a lack of forgiveness develops bitterness that will effectively rob your life. You forgive because a lack of forgiveness will only cause you to stay sick and stuck in the place of depression that you hate.

5. Repay Evil with Good. Praying for those who have wronged you will set you free from bitterness, anger and resentment. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus said, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” It unlocks the prison doors in your mind to help set you free.

6. Repent. If you have sinned, confess your sins to God and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

7. Exercise your God-given authority. In the name of Jesus, rebuke spirits of depression and despair that may be tormenting you. Command them to leave in Jesus’ Name and they must go. Fill the area that they vacated with Truth from the Word.

8. Release all these things to God and receive His healing now! “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV) Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Choose today to move towards God, and away from despair.

Staying Free

1. Don’t revisit the old places in your heart and mind where hurt has come. Demons are territorial; they live in those old places. Don’t rehash the issues that opened your heart to depression. You’ve given them to God; now leave them with God.

2. Pray constantly. God wants a close relationship with you. Don’t limit your conversations with God to a few minutes here and there or visit with Him only for an hour on Sunday in church.

3. Praise God. If you sense the spirit of depression is knocking on your door, don’t answer it! Instead, glorify and praise the name of the Lord. Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. (Isaiah 61:3) Listening to worship music will create a positive environment for God to move.

4. Spend time with other Christians who will help you stand if you become weary. Do not hang around with bitter, angry, depressed people or seek the counsel of the ungodly.

5. Renew your mind every day. Take control of your thoughts. Your focus will determine your future. God’s Word is your manual for everyday living; you need to read it every day because, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) God says you should, “keep them (His Words) in the midst of your heart for they are life and health to your flesh” Proverbs 4:20-23.

6. Guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23 cautions us to diligently keep our hearts because all the issues of life flow from them. Also, Philippians 4:8-9 tells you to guard what you think about. Think about what is true, honest, pure, just, lovely, or of good report, then it says that the God of peace will be with you.

7. Watch your words. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” You are going to eat the fruit of what comes out of your mouth, so don’t let words of darkness, death, sin or instability come out of your mouth.

8. Finally, make a concerted effort to keep your eyes off yourself. Isaiah 58:10 says, “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

We trust that you will experience freedom from depression and despair as you apply these truths from God’s Word!

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Week 6 – Overcoming the Devil

A. God’s will for you is victory.

1. Because of Christ’s victory at Calvary over sin, death, and the devil, every believer has the right and ability to walk victoriously in life, free from guilt, condemnation, fear, bondage, and defeat (I Corinthians 15:57). God always leads you to triumph in Christ. (II Corinthians 2:14), and He never leads you to defeat.

2. According to II Peter 1:3, God has given you everything you need for life and godliness. Before you were saved, the devil was your master, controlling your life (Galatians 4:8). Now that you have been “born again,” Jesus gives you whatever you need to face life and live godly.

B. You can overcome the devil.

1. As a believer you can now resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Believers in the Bible overcame Satan, and so can you (Revelation 12:11). God will crush Satan’s power under your feet (Romans 16:19-20).

2. The Bible says in I John 4:4 that He that is in you (Jesus) is greater than he that is in the world (the devil). This should give you confidence to face life’s difficulties, knowing God is on your side.

C. You must know the devices, or tricks, of the enemy.

1. To wage spiritual warfare effectively you must know the tactics of your enemy. It is essential that you become aware of his schemes (Ephesians 6:11), not just the fact that he exists.

2. You will find that Satan assumes three basic roles in his attacks and uses three basic weapons with which he hopes to defeat you:

  • As the tempter he entices with temptation
  • As the accuser he seeks to bring condemnation
  • As the destroyer he attacks with destruction

I. How to be victorious over temptation

In Matthew 4:3 and I Thessalonians 3:5, the Bible calls the devil the tempter. Satan has no power to make you do anything. He cannot force you to sin or to give up your faith. However, he does have a “bag of tricks” that he uses to get you to act independently of God and to go against His will. The strongest weapon that Satan has is temptation.

A. How temptation works

From James 1:12-15 we learn how temptation works.

1. The devil looks for an area of your life where you are weak.

2. He then entices you in that area. Temptation is not sin-only yielding to it is.

3. If you give in to the temptation, sin is conceived.

4. After sin gets a “hook” in you, it becomes stronger and stronger (if you do not repent) until it controls you and finally destroys you.

B. Three areas where believers are tempted (I John 2:16).

1. The lust of the flesh -This area deals with the appetites of the flesh and includes such sins as sexual immorality, gluttony, drunkenness, drug abuse, and laziness.

2. The lust of the eyes -This area has to do with man’s relationship to money and possessions. It includes such sins as greed, covetousness, stealing, and lying.

3. The pride of life-This area involves putting self at the center of all things and relationships. It includes such sins as pride, vanity, strife, anger, envy, idolatry, and murder.

C. How to successfully overcome temptation:

1. Use a balanced approach to spiritual warfare by daily putting on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

2. Build yourself up spiritually through prayer, and Bible study. The importance of this cannot be overestimated!

3. Stay away from evil influences (I Corinthians 15:33; I Timothy 6:11; II Timothy 2:22; I John 2:15). This may mean changing friends, entertainment, jobs, or anything else that could pull you back into the world and your old way of life.

4. Use the Word as a sword against temptation and the devil’s lies (Ephesians 6:17; Matthew 4:1-11).

5. Repent of all known sin in your life, especially unforgiveness, bitterness, rebellion, or occult involvement, as these left alone can allow access to Satan to build strongholds in your life.

6. Be sure to stay in close fellowship with other believers through your local church (Hebrews 10:25).

7. Stand on the promise of God that He will not allow Satan to tempt you beyond what you can handle but will give you a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13).

8. After you have submitted yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

II. How to overcome the accuser’s condemnation

In Revelation 12:10-11, Satan is referred to as “the accuser of our brothers.” One very effective weapon of the devil is to keep believers looking inwardly at their own shortcomings and failures instead of upwardly to the mercy and help from their Heavenly Father (Hebrews 4:16). This serves to divert them from the work of God they are called to do. It is similar to trying to drive with your eyes always fixed on the rear-view mirror instead of on the road ahead.

A. Satan wants you to quit.

The devil does all he can through accusations and condemnation to get you to give up and quit spiritually. If he can convince you that you are not changed, that God does not love you, or that you will never get victory, then what usually results is discouragement, depression, and dejection, all of which can lead to spiritual shipwreck.

B. Three areas of protection-Revelation 12:11 tells how the accuser of the brethren was overcome by believers.

1. The Blood ­ – “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” When the devil accuses you of past failures, inadequacies, shortcomings, and sins, you are to point him to the blood of Jesus. The Bible says in I John 1:7, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Your sins are gone because Christ took them away; therefore, the devil has no case against you before God.

2. The spoken Word -“They overcame him by… the Word of their testimony.” This simply means that you are to speak (or testify) what the Word says about you and your sins. When the devil attacks you with condemnation, speak the Word to the thoughts and accusations coming against you.

3. Absolute surrender to the Lord -“They overcame him… and they loved not their lives unto the death.” They were so sold out to the Lord that not even death could make them turn back. When your commitment to God is sure, the devil’s darts of accusation fall harmlessly off without hurting you.

III. How to turn back the enemy’s destruction

Satan is called the “destroyer” in I Corinthians 5:5 and I Corinthians 10:10. From I Peter 5:8, we learn the devil is like a “roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour.” John 10:10 speaks of the enemy as the one who comes “to steal, to kill, and to destroy.” From these passages and others, you can know that Satan is intent upon bringing devastation and ruin to God’s people.

A. Satan’s major areas of destruction

1. Physical sickness

2. Bondage-especially to alcohol, drugs, or sexual sins

3. Mental and emotional attacks

4. Financial problems

5. Family problems

6. Storms

B. Scriptural ways to resist the devil

1. Stand on God’s promises. Find out what God’s promises are regarding your particular area of need, and claim them for your own life. For example, if the devil is hitting you with sickness, study what the Bible says about healing and believe that for your life.

2. Speak the Word. Speak God’s Word to the need and to Satan when he attacks. This is what Jesus did when He was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4.

3. Obey God. Make sure you are walking in obedience to the known will of God. In the book of Malachi, the people of God were seeing their finances devoured, and they did not understand why. God told them it was because they were not paying their tithes. In Malachi 3:10-11, He said that He would rebuke the devourer if they would obey Him.

4. Bind and loose. Bind the devil in the name of Jesus and loose the blessings of God from Satan’s grasp (Matthew 12:28-29; 16:19). You act as God’s delegated authority in this, and it allows you to enforce the victory that Christ has already won for you over the devil and his power (Luke 10:19).

5. Walk in faith. Without faith it is impossible for you to please God or to defeat the devil. Faith is a shield that is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16; I John 5:4).

6. Stand. Finally, stand your ground, and don’t give up. “Stand against the schemes of the devil …, and having done all … stand” (Ephesians 6:11-13). There is no room for cowardice in God’s army. If you are afraid of the enemy and try to run from him, he will devour you, but if you stand against him using your weapons of spiritual warfare, he will flee from you.

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Week 7 – Walking in Faith

Introduction: Faith is the key that releases the blessings of God into your life. Without faith, you will find it impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) With faith, the impossible becomes possible.

“With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

“All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Faith is the channel that makes God’s possibilities available to you. By faith, believers have received financial blessings, been spared from judgment, received strength to endure persecution and hardship, escaped from danger, became mighty in battle, received back their dead by resurrection, and obtained approval from God (Hebrews 11). In this lesson, you will:

§ Discover what faith is according to the Bible.

§ Learn how to release your faith.

§ Find out how to keep your faith strong until the answer comes.

I. What is faith?

A. Faith is a substance and a conviction.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

1. Faith is so real it is actually called a “substance.” The Greek word literally means “that which stands under” something else or “provides the basis for” something else. It is the foundation on which you stand and on which you build your life.

2. Faith is also “the conviction or evidence of things not seen.” Faith deals with things you cannot see-things that are invisible.

“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)

3. There is a difference shown here between the visible and the invisible worlds. Your senses relate to that which is seen, but faith takes you behind the visible to the invisible. This is where faith works.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7)

4. Faith and sight are opposed to one another. If you walk by sight, you do not need faith. If you walk by faith, you do not need sight. This is contrary to our natural way of thinking. The world says, “Seeing is believing.” The Bible turns it around and says believing enables you to really see! David wrote the following:

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

5. The same Greek word translated as “conviction” in Hebrews 11:1 was also translated “title deed” in some ancient secular documents written during the time of the New Testament. Faith then is like a title deed to property. It is not the property, but it is proof of ownership.

B. There is a difference between faith and hope.

“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.” (Mark 11:24)

1. Faith receives now while hope looks to the future. Faith is a substance, something that is already here. Hope is an expectation of something to come.

2. If someone says, “I believe God will heal me” what they really mean is “I hope He’ll heal me tomorrow.” That is not faith because faith is not for tomorrow; faith is something that you have now. If you keep directing your expectation toward the future, you are substituting hope for faith.

3. When does Jesus tell you to receive what you pray for? Is it at some undetermined point in the future? No-but at the very moment that you pray. You “ask” and at the same moment you “receive” even though the manifestation of the answer to your prayer may yet be in the future.

C. Doubt corrodes your faith and causes it to diminish.

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:6-7 NIV)

1. Doubt is like water in a gas tank-it does not mix with the gas and it clogs up the carburetor, causing the engine to miss and malfunction. Doubt and faith do not mix together, and the doubt works to prevent the faith from acting.

2. You must guard your heart from everything that could weaken or undermine your faith.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it flow the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NJV)

II. How to release your faith

A. In Mark 11:22-25, Jesus gave eight important elements in building and releasing your faith.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:22-25 NIV)

1. “Have faith in God”-Make God the source of your faith.

2. “Anyone”-God will answer your prayers if you will meet the conditions of faith.

3. “Says” and “does not doubt”-You must speak to your mountain of need before it will move.

4. This mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ You are to be specific in your requests.

5. “And does not doubt in his heart“-Give no place for doubt in your heart.

6. “Whatever you ask for in prayer“-Put no limitations on God’s ability to answer your requests.

7. “Believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”-Believe that you receive now, and you shall have what you believe.

8. “When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him.”-Guard against unforgiveness (or any other faith robber).

B. Other helps to releasing your faith.

1. Find the will of God, and pray it for your life.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.” ( I John 5:14-15 NIV).

2. Believe in your heart

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)

“And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may… .” (Acts 8:37 NKJ)

3. Keep a good confession regarding your faith.

a) When the woman whose child died went to the prophet for help, she was asked by the servant how her son was doing. By faith she confessed that it was well with her child.

“Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’ ‘Everything is all right,’ she said.” (II Kings 4:26 NIV)

4. Prepare for the answer to your prayers. The widow who needed money was told by the prophet Elisha to get empty pots and to pour the oil she had into each vessel. God filled the number of pots she brought to be filled.

“When all the jars were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another.’ “But he replied, ‘There is not a jar left.’ Then the oil stopped flowing.” (II Kings 4:6 NIV)

5. Faith comes! “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV) A single word in this verse needs to grip your heart. The word is “comes.” If you do not have faith, you can get it. By planting the Word of God deep within your heart, your faith will automatically become active and vibrant.

6. Follow the directions! When a doctor gives a person medicine, the directions for taking it are on the bottle. The Word of God is like a medicine bottle; we need to carefully read the directions that are included.

“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight,’ keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health (medicine) to all their whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22 NASB)

7. Bind the devil and loose your blessing from his grasp in the name of Jesus.

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 NIV)

III. How to keep your faith strong until the answer comes.

A. Keep the promises of God before you as Abraham did.

“Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” (Romans 4:21 NIV)

B. Do not stagger in unbelief, going from side to side, but stay focused on what God has said.

“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.” (Romans 4:20 NIV)

C. Find another believer who will stand with you in agreement in prayer.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20 NIV)

D. Be persistent in prayer, never giving up.

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1 NIV)

E. Be bold at the throne of grace, obtaining mercy and grace in your time of need.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)

F. Pray and fast to strengthen your faith.

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Week 8 – Walking in God’s Provision

Introduction: How we handle our finances is often a reflection of our relationship to God and our commitment to Him. It is also a means that God uses to witness to others of His faithfulness and love to us as we follow and obey His principles. On the other hand, the devil is sometimes able to bring despair, fear, guilt, and division through attacks on our finances. Some have even wandered from their faith because of a wrong approach to money. In this class we want you to:

§ Believe that God wants to bless you financially.

§ Root out wrong attitudes you may have about money.

§ Establish godly attitudes about money.

§ Apply God’s laws of financial success to your life.

I. Believe that God wants to bless you financially.

A. You are to be spiritually and financially prosperous. “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (III John 1:2 KJV).

B. Let God be your source, and be in right relationship with Him so His blessings can flow down to you. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters “(Psalm 23:1-2 NIV). (Read also, Psalm 37:4, 25; I Chronicles 29:11-12.)

C. God’s blessings under the Old Covenant and the New Covenant include prosperity.

1. OLD-“If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity-in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock, and the crops of your ground-in the land He swore to your forefathers to give you” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 11 NIV).

2. NEW-“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV).

D. God wants you to be successful. “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8 NIV). (Read also, Philippians 4:13; Luke 11:11-13)

E. Money is not the root of all evil-the love of it is. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10 NIV).

F. You are called to surrender your rights to everything, but this does not mean that you are to be poor and penniless. You move from being an owner to being a steward (one who takes care of the resources of another). With this perspective, God can then “richly provide us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).

II. Root out wrong attitudes you may have about money.

A. Acquiring wealth is the most important thing in life. “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NIV).

B. Abundance is more valuable than love, godly character, or a good name. “Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred” (Proverbs 15:16-17 NIV). “Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice” (Proverbs 16:8 NIV). “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1 NIV).

C. You are guaranteed you will be able to keep your material possessions and live to enjoy what you have acquired. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20 NIV). “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-2 1 NIV).

D. Wealth and abundance are more valuable than your faith. “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:7-9 NIV).

E. The quality and value of life are determined by the amount of money you have. “Then He said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15 NIV).

F. You should not have children because they cost too much. “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one‘s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5 NIV).

G. It does not matter how you get money as long as you have it. “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11 NIV).

H. You can earn all the money you want without anyone’s help, even God’s. “But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today” (Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV).

III. Establish godly attitudes about money.

A. Everything belongs to God, and you are to be a good steward of what God gives to you. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1 NIV). “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV).

B. You are not to love money or what it can bring you, as this can cause you to lose your faith. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (I Timothy 6:10 NIV).

C. God expects you to be honest in all of your financial dealings. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” (Romans 12:17 NIV).

D. Wisdom and understanding are more valuable than silver or gold. “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!” (Proverbs 16:16 NIV). You should not be proud about how much money you have, but instead, you should glory in knowing the Lord. “This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, Who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV).

E. Godliness and contentment are to be very valuable to you. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (I Timothy 6:6-8 NIV).

F. Good works are to be more important to you than great riches (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

G. The greatest wealth you have is the riches that are in Christ (Ephesians 3:8).

H. Use your money, wealth, and position to influence and bless others (Proverbs 19:4-6, 17; 22:9; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15).

I. Avoid envy, coveting, and greed (Colossians 3:5, Exodus 20:17, Proverbs 15:27).

IV. Apply God’s laws of financial success to your life.

A. Get your priorities right: Put God’s kingdom first in your life, and your other needs will be met (Matthew 6:25-34, *verse 33).

B. Tithe: If you give the tithe, or 1/10 of your income, to God through the local church where you are committed and submitted, God will bless you financially. If you refuse to give the tithe, you are robbing God, and your finances are cursed (Malachi 3:8-10).

C. Use what you have: If you use what is given to you, you will gain more. If you fail to use what is given to you, you will lose even what you think you have (Matthew 25:14-30).

D. Give generously: According to the portion you give, it will be given to you (2 Corinthians 9:6, Luke 6:38).

E. Treat people fairly: However you want others to treat you, treat them in the same way (Matthew 7:12).

F. Be diligent: If you keep going and persevere, you will eventually overcome problems, obstacles, pain, or difficulties (Matthew 7:7-8, Galatians 6:9).

G. Plant what you want to have in your life: For whatever good crop you want to come up in your life, you must first plant the right seed (Galatians 6:7).

H. Walk and talk faith: You can move mountains by the power of God through faith and a right confession (Mark 11:22-24).

I. Walk in unity: Division destroys, but unity brings success (Luke 11:17, John 17:20-23, Matthew 18:19).

J. Develop a financial plan and budget: To bring discipline to your spending and saving habits, develop a written plan (with your spouse, if you are married) for your financial goals and a monthly budget plan to achieve them. These goals and budgets should be both scriptural and workable (example of Joseph: Genesis 41:33-37).

K. Don’t spend what you don’t have: “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12 NIV).

L. Avoid the debt trap: “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7 NIV).

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Week 9 – Growing in Christ by Reading the Word

Introduction: Part of God’s plan for you is that you become like Jesus. A key ingredient in your transformation into Jesus’ likeness is the Word of God. In this lesson, our aim is to:* Focus on God’s goal for you to be like Jesus.

* Submit to the Word of God that transforms you.

* Apply the Word of God.

I. Focus on God’s goal for you-to be made into the likeness of Jesus.

A. Recognize God’s plan.

1. Part of God’s plan of salvation for us is to shape us into people who have the character and nature of Jesus.

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). Paul told the Galatians he was travailing “until Christ be formed in them. (Galatians 4:19)

2. We are changed into Jesus’ image by looking at Him. “But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Corinthians 3:18)

James informs us that when we look into the “perfect law of liberty” and continue in it, we will be blessed. (James 1:25)

3. As we change, we are putting off the “old self’ and putting on the “new self.” To do this, we must “let the word of Christ dwell in richly.” (Colossians 3:16)

B. Make your plan.

1. Find a place and time when you can read the Word.

a) Consistent time and place help to make this “habit forming.”

b) Both early and evening times have advantages.

2. Develop a reading schedule.

a) Use the One-Year Bible.

b) Work out a balanced strategy for your reading.

II. Submit to the Word of God that transforms you.

A. Submit to God’s Word that purifies you.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)

  • Pure-free from mixture or contact with that which weakens, impairs, or pollutes; containing no foreign matter, uncontaminated; free from moral defilement.

1. Submit to God’s Word that purifies you from sin.

a) By knowing the Word, I know how to please God and keep from sinning.

“You word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11)

b) By knowing the Word, I know how to be forgiven of sin if I fall. (I John 2:1, 2)

2. Submit to God’s Word that keeps you pure in purpose.

a) Scripture warns us against “double-mindedness.” (James 1:8; 4:8; Ephesians 4:14).

b) Scripture helps to give us singleness of heart. “Seek first the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 6:33, Psalm 119:9, 105, 133).

B. Submit to God’s Word that renews your mind.

1. The Bible says that our minds need to be renewed.

a) This is the key to transformation.

I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto God, which is your spiritual service of worship, and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1, 2).

We can bring “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5).

b) Our minds need to be re-formed to know how we ought to think.

“Have this mind in you…” (Philippians 2:5)

“Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute… think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8).

2. Right thinking leads to right behavior.

  • Our behavior will conform to Jesus’ image as our thinking aligns with the Word of God.

C. Submit to God’s Word that equips you for spiritual warfare.

1. The Word is called the “Sword of the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:17)

2. Jesus modeled spiritual warfare using the Word. “It is written…” (Matthew 4:4, 7 &10)

D. Submit to God’s Word that equips you to do good works.

1. Through the Word’s teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, we are equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16, 17) Our lives can become a miniature picture of the kingdom of God.

2. Much of the New Testament is practical “how to” instruction.

III. Apply the Word.

A. Ask God to meet you in Scripture.

1. Believe that God will speak to you through the Scripture.

2. Ask the Lord to be your interpreter (help you understand what you read).

B. Read with a repentant spirit.

1. Determine to do what the Scripture asks you to do.

2. Don’t read just for information, but for trans-formation.

C. Meditate on a brief passage.

1. Saturate yourself in a few verses.

2. Read the passage slowly.

D. Take one thought or verse with you through the day.

1. The fruitful person meditates day and night. (Psalm 1)

2. What the mind repeats, it retains.

3. Memorizing Scripture is a powerful means of trans-forming our minds.

4. The Word of God is like water poured into a basket, not all of the water is “caught” but the basket is cleaned.

E. Be a doer of the Word, not a hearer only! (James 1:22-23)

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