James 1:27-2:1: “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world. My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”
In this passage, James is saying that part of believing and embracing the love of Jesus is that we are automatically going to have a desire to extend that love to others.
3 Aspects of Adoption
- Adoption’s History
It is important to understand that the people who first read the words of James lived on a different continent, spoke a different language, and had different norms and practices from us.
- Adoption’s Significance
- Adoption is one of those incredible pictures God has given us in family life that helps us understand what He has done for us and how He sees us.
- God doesn’t just save us, but He takes us into His family as children and heirs (J.I. Packer)
- If you have placed your faith in Jesus, God has not only said that you are forgiven. He has also said, “I love you. You are my child, and I want you to share in my inheritance.”
- Adoption’s Response
- Respond by extending love to those who feel disconnected from the love of God
- Respond in a direct way by literally caring for orphans
- Respond by really embracing the adoption that we have received in Jesus Christ
Be encouraged today that we are co-heirs with Christ and our position as adopted sons and daughters of the living God of heaven is unshakable and irrevocable.
- Even though we have faith in Jesus, why do we sometimes show favoritism?
- How do you know that God loves you?
- Why do we struggle to believe and accept God’s love for us?
- How do we extend love to those who feel disconnected from the love of God?
- How is God calling you to have a role in adoption?
Scripture Passage: James 2:8-12
We each receive an invitation from God to have a personal relationship with Him. Pastor Ryan spoke from James 2:8-12 about some reasons people don’t accept this invitation.
1. “I don’t trust the source.” – Is the Bible true? The reliability of the Bible is proven true over and over. We are encouraged to do some homework on our own to understand how we know it is true.
2. “I don’t need a Savior.” – People often think they are “good enough” on their own. Verse 10 and I John 3:4 make it clear that even one sin is enough to separate us from a holy God. So what is sin?
- Breaking God’s Law
- Not Doing What You Should Be Doing (Omission)
- Not Living By Faith
- Our Lack of Belief
3. “I’m not worried about God’s judgement” – All sin requires punishment. God IS a loving God and He offers mercy to everyone, but we must choose to accept it.
4. “I’m not worthy of God’s love.” – Verse 13 tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment. God loves us no matter what we’ve done.
Salvation and freedom from sin are free gifts God offers each of us. Have you accepted his grace, mercy and forgiveness?
- Share your salvation story.
- Can you think of any other reasons people might turn away from God?
Scripture Passage: James 1:19-20
An NBC News poll conducted recently among a national sample of 3,257 indicated that Americans are basically all furious about something. 68% of us are either angry once a day or multiple times a day.
Were you furious about something this week? Did you lose your temper or hold it in? Have you had an argument with someone more than once in the last month? The reality is that all of us deal with anger. Today’s Bible passage shows us how to deal with conflict and anger in a healthy way.
1. Attentive Listening
Am I giving my full attention? Even when we are multi-tasking we can still only devote our full attention to one thing at a time.
Am I seeking the whole story? If we take the time to really hear where others are coming from, you’ll have more credibility when you bring your thoughts to the table.
2. Responsive Speaking
Ryan and his wife Lana shared “The Seven C’s” to keep in mind when dealing with conflict:
- Don’t Confuse – Address one issue at a time
- Don’t Compare – “Why can’t you be like ____?”
- Don’t Condemn – Beware of absolutes like “You always…” or “You never…”
- Don’t Command – Don’t end by force
- Don’t Condescend – Passive aggressive comments just provoke
- Don’t Challenge
- “Just try that and see what happens!”
- “I Dare You!”
- “I’ll show you what a bad husband looks like!”
- Don’t Continue
- Don’t burry hurts (showing avoidance)
- Don’t store up hurts to bring up later
3. Honest Assessment
We do in reality have the ability to limit our anger, but often the solution is more than just faking that we’re not mad. When we allow God to search our hearts, we will often find some deeper underlying stresses or hurts that are expressing themselves in anger.
- Describe how you felt the last time you were speaking with someone and it felt like they weren’t listening.
- Which one of “The Seven C’s” do you struggle with the most?
- Share a time when God has healed a wound or hurt in your life and how it affected your interaction with others.
Scripture Passage: James 1:21-25
This morning, we continued our James study by looking at James 1:21-25. Pastor Rush stated, “For all of life, there are right ways and wrong ways to use things. To make the most of what you have you need to use it the right way. Otherwise you’re missing out on the total benefits and may even find yourself getting frustrated because something isn’t working quite right. “
Here were three ways we can become not just a hearer of the Word, but a doer of the Word.
- “Put On” the Word (“Take Off” the World)
James calls us to take off the old sinful ways – those “nasty clothes” – and clothe ourselves with Jesus. Pastor Rush said, “the only way we can recognize those old ways is through the truth of the Word.”
- “Take In” the Word
The Bible is like food. Again, Pastor Rush stated, “If we are going to be doers of the Word we have got to start seeing this as our source of life. That if we go without consuming this food we are going to starve. This is not just the vegetables I need to eat cause they’re good for me. This is a full course Banquet meal.”What this means is we must meditate on God’s Word, bring it into our hears and consume it.
- “Live Out” the Word
It’s interesting that James uses the analogy of the “mirror” in this passage. Pastor Rush mentioned, “So now James brings in this image of a mirror where we see our reflection. But this mirror of God’s word works differently than a regular mirror. We don’t just see our reflection as we ARE – we also see our refection as we SHOULD BE. The Bible has the power to do both at the same time. If you treat the Bible correctly, not only will you read the Bible; the Bible will read you!”
Let’s not make it a “hobby” to simply listen to sermons or read God’s Word and have no intention of being a doer of God’s Word.
- What about today’s sermon from Pastor Rush stuck out to you?
- Which of the three points from today’s message is most difficult for you to do? Why?
- What does salvation have to do with this passage in James? Why did James talk about salvation in this passage? Is there anything you need to be reminded of regarding your salvation?
- Would you say you lean more towards being a hearer of the Word only or a more towards being an actual doer of the Word? Why?
- What is one small step you can take today to become more of a doer of God’s Word than just a hearer?
Scripture Passage: Esther 8
Today Pastor Ryan continued to look at the story of Esther and how God is at work in what seems like coincidence. God’s timing in the book of Esther is perfect. In the same way, God’s timing in our lives is perfect and He has us exactly where he wants us when He wants it.
God’s timing is trustworthy and we see that from two principles in Esther.
- God conquers the coincidental.
- God is working in coincidences if we have spiritual eyes to see.
- Looking back in our lives there are many moments that we may label as coincidence that is God working in our live.
- God overturns the irreversible.
- God overturns impossible situations that may seem like they have no hope.
- God may put you in an impossible situation to lead others to the God who is getting you through it.
We closed with looking at three circles we have in our lives.
- Context–This is where God has placed you in your life
- Circumstances–These are positive experiences, crisis, clarity from God, seasons of searching and other situations.
- Calling–This is unique calling and talents that God has given you and placed in your life
These circles lead us to divine appointments. God has led you to this context with these circumstances in your calling for such a time as this.
- How do we put on spiritual eyes to see God’s working in coincidence?
- What are somethings that you have labeled as coincidence when God has been at work?
- Have you ever thought a problem was too far gone to fix? When?
- Has God ever brought you through a problem that you thought was too far gone? How did He work?
- Spend some time thinking about your context, circumstances, and calling. What divine appointments are in front of you in your life?
Scripture Passage: Psalm 55
Those closest to us can create the deepest wounds, and if we try to heal our own wounds, they can become tremendous burdens in our lives.
- How Wounds Become Burdens
- Stronghold Cycle
- It’s when you are wounded that the enemy of God will come and begin to speak lies into your heart and mind. The burden then gets created out of these lies.
- When Burdens Grow Bigger
- Doubt God Cares—we begin to believe a lie about God based on our immediate circumstances and turn away from the one place we should run to
- Have Self-Pity—when we jump from frustrated to a pity party, there may be deeper issues
- Despair—evidence of deeper strongholds and the lies of the enemy are compounding
- Escape—we try anything to escape the pain we feel
- How to Properly Care for Our Wounds
- Go to the Lord First—trust God and take our wounds to Him
- Completely Cast Your Burdens to Him
- Leave Your Burden With Him—this is a daily process; it’s easy to pick back up that which is familiar
- What wounds do you have? What lies has Satan told you and you believed?
- How do you try to fix things yourself?
- Why is it hard to trust God with our hurts and burdens?
Our Family Freedom Ministry is here to help you navigate through any strongholds you may have. For contact information or to find more resources click here to visit the Family Freedom Resource Center.
Scripture Passage: Psalm 33
This morning Pastor Ryan focused in on the power of God. Power was defined as the capacity to affect change. With that definition, we can conclude that God’s power makes any other power look weak. When we encounter the power of God, we should praise him for how great his power is and also that he is all powerful in all of his attributes.
Pastor Ryan then walked us through two essential ideas:
- God’s power is absolute power.
- Man’s power is a dependent power.
- Man’s power is dependent upon first acknowledging need.
- Realizing that man must be dependent upon a power that transcends you.
- It means submitting to God’s will.
- When you think of power, what do you think of?
- What are some ways that you have seen God be all powerful?
- Do you always recognize your need for God?
- What are some areas where you struggle to submit to God?
- How we gain power from dependence upon God?
- Spend time praising God for his absolute power.
- Thank God for allowing us to be dependent upon Him for strength and power.
- Repent of ways where you may not be walking in God’s will or be submitting to Him.
- Ask God to help you walk in dependent power and to rest in His absolute power.
Scripture Passage: Psalm 128:1-6
Psalm 128 gives us a clear picture of how God designed the home to be a place for His image to be revealed and to experience His blessing.
- The Blessing of God comes from the nature of God.
As we experience God’s presence in our lives through a personal walk with God it causes us to be in awe of God (vs.1). We are blessed with the joy of worshipping God as He reveals Himself to us.
- The Blessing of God is given intentionally.
As we walk with God and follow His ways we reflect His image to those around us, especially to those in our family (vs. 2-3). However, if we do not walk with God and follow His ways we are a poor reflection of God’s image to others and it deeply impacts those closest to us.
- The Blessing of God extends generationally.
As we experience God’s blessings through His presence in our lives, walking with God and worshipping God our lives reflect God’s image and become a blessing to the next generation (vs. 5-6).
We all have brokenness in our lives and are impacted by our experiences in our homes. God desires to heal our brokenness and transform our lives through the power of the Gospel. Ask the Lord to help you answer these questions in response to today’s message:
- What are some unhealthy ways that I view God that He wants to change and heal?
- What are some ways that God wants to use me to bless those closest to me, especially my family?
- Is the brokenness in my life impacting my life and family in such a way that I need help? If so, ask a trusted friend to pray for you. You can also contact our Family Freedom Resource Center at 281.675.7862 or email Susan Sowell (Director of Family Freedom Resource Center) at SSowell@kingsland.org for additional prayer, help and resources.
Scripture Passage: Matthew 1:18-25
An Unexpected Detour (v. 18-19)
Life has a way of catching us off guard. In fact, we can know now that our life will not go exactly how we plan for it to. In our passage from today, Joseph didn’t plan for his wife to get pregnant before their marriage. God interrupted Joseph’s plans for a greater purpose…
An Unexpected Dream (v. 20-23)
God is not far off and removed from us. He did not set creation in motion and then check out. Rather, we see throughout scripture how God continually pursues an intimate relationship with people. God spoke to Joseph through a dream to explain His plan for his life.
An Unexpected Decision (v. 24-25)
We all have to come to a place where we put our trust in God’s control of our life and plans. When we learn to trust and obey God’s leading, we can begin to live the life of true fulfilment that God desires for us. Joseph chose to have faith in God’s plan and abandon his own because he trusted God.
- Share a time when you faced a detour and your plans didn’t go how you had expected.
- Describe the biggest step of faith you have taken to trust God with an area of your life.
- How has your life changed in that area?
Scripture Passage: Hebrews 11:23-29
God teaches us through the life of Moses that our faith can endure as we wait on Him.
- Enduring Faith Avoids Shortcuts. Moses was not perfect but he trusted God and followed God’s plan for his life. Moses chose to wait on God instead of attempting to solve his own problems.
• Ask God to show you where you are taking short cuts instead of trusting and waiting on God.
- Enduring Faith Accepts Opposition. Moses expected opposition and decided in advance that he would trust God in times of opposition.
• How do you view opposition? Do you see opposition as an opportunity to trust God or does opposition pull you away from God? Ask God to help you trust Him and His promises during times of opposition.
- Enduring Faith Anticipates the Reward. Moses looked to God’s promises and God’s vision so that he walked by faith and not by sight.
• Ask God to help you fix your eyes on Jesus and His eternal rewards as you wait on Him.