DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Relationship With God
 

The purpose of this lesson is to teach the importance of daily Bible study and prayer in our spiritual growth.

1 Peter 1:13-2:3
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
18 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 forefathers,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
24 For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.

2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.


We must prepare our minds for action. Are you preparing your mind for action every single day? Are you disciplined or lazy? We must train for holiness. The Bible and prayer are tools for training in holiness.

1. Bible Study

Romans 10:15-17
15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?"
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.


The Bible produces faith in our lives.

2 Timothy 2:14-19
14 Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
18 who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.
19 Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."


Be a student

We are to be students of the Word. We must learn to correctly handle the Bible. We need to have a daily, rewarding quiet time with God. Regular exercise and practice to be excellent in a sport. Consistency is very important.

Hebrews 5:11-14
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.
12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.


Desire the word of God

We must desire the milk of God's Word. Start simple - save the steak for later. Read a Gospel, some of the Proverbs or some Psalms. The Bible trains us to distinguish good from evil.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


The Word equips us

The Bible is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. It will thoroughly equip us. You are personally responsible for your spiritual growth. How well you are equipped is up to you. Why study the Word? To know the Bible and be fed by God's Word. To stay away from evil. To give our hearts to God.

How to study your Bible:
- Pick a place and time where you will not be disturbed.
- Start easy and then go to tougher scriptures.
- Underline, make notes and think about what is written
- Try to find one idea that you can think about during the entire day
- Ask these questions as you study :
- What does this teach me about God?
- What do I need to change to be more like Jesus?
- What do I need to obey in this passage? What do I need to confess?

2. Prayer

Mark 1:35-39
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
36 Simon and his companions went to look for him,
37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"
38 Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come."
39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.


Jesus got up very early in the morning to spend time with God. (If Jesus needed to pray, what does that tell us about our need to pray?). We are busy, but we should never be too busy to pray.

Luke 11:1-10
1 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."
2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: "'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'"
5 Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.'
7 "Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.'
8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.


Prayer is talking to God. Pray about daily needs, desires, avoiding temptation, relationships. Don't give up - always seek / be persistent in prayer.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.
9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,
11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.


Prayer teaches us to depend on God and not ourselves. When we struggle, we should ask others to pray for us. We should pray for others who are suffering hardship.

Mark 11:20-25
20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.
21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"
22 "Have faith in God," Jesus answered.
23 "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.
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."


Faith must be present in our prayers. If we ask with faith, then God will answer our prayers.

How to Pray:
A - Adoration, praising God
C - Confession, admission of sins, weaknesses and struggles
T - Thanksgiving, giving thanks for our blessings
S - Supplication, "ask and you will receive"

In prayer we should remember our relationships:
- With God
- With our family
- With the church
- With the lost
- In our work or at school