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.
In the book of Hebrews chapter 11 we find what is often referred to as the Hall of Faith. There are many structures across the world that honor the legacy of men and women in sports, music and the like, and those physical locations give honor to many incredibly gifted people but today’s message was focused on an even more important group, those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Faith is an action, faith is a certainty, it is a reality, it is the conviction of our hope, it is believing who God really is. How do you please God? FAITH, It takes faith to please God. Rooted in our God is the faith we need to trust Him. Yes, that is right, if you lack faith, ask Him and hH will provide. Have you placed your faith in Him and see nothing happening? Fear not, He sees and hears your faith in Him. Your faith is pleasing to Him and He is working out His will for your life.
With faith comes a reward! Wow, how can you receive a reward if not for a rewarder? The rewarder offers us an incredible reward, HIM. Isn’t that so encouraging, our reward is God and a relationship with His son Jesus Christ. As believers we must not shrink back in fear, no we run to God, the author and finisher of our faith.
Scripture Passage: Daniel 7
God placed reminders throughout history that He is above the immediate circumstances. So many times our outlooks and attitudes are tied to our environmental circumstances. But our outlooks and attitudes SHOULD be tied to the anticipation that God will carry out His plan. He is up to something right now!
Every Christ follower can rise above the chaos by understanding three reminders of prophecy in Daniel 7:
1. Crisis is Part of the Plan
God is in control of history–even the difficult history! Belief that God is in control of all of history leads to confidence that He is in control MY history. When we give up trying to control God to orchestrate our plans, we can experience the freedom of allowing God to guide us through our decisions.
2. The King is Still on the Throne
Despite the chaos going on in Daniel 7, verses 9 and 13 give us a glimpse into the throne room to see who is in control.
3. The Kingdom is Forever
God is eternal. He has always been, and His reign and power will never end. When you think of how many earthly powers have risen and fallen, it is empowering to think about the role we can play in God’s eternal Kingdom.
Talk About It
• Is there an area of your life that feels like chaos right now?
• How does the thought that God is still at work and is still in control in the midst of that chaos affect you?
• Take a few seconds to think about the concept of eternity. How does that affect your perspective on your day-to-day life?
The busyness of life tends to keep our schedules full of activities requiring us to be intentional with our time with God. When we encounter a crisis, face a big decision, or simply want to deepen our intimacy with the Lord, fasting is a great response.
Fasting can be defined as denying yourself of something valuable for a period of time to receive something from God or be set free by God.
There are examples of fasting throughout the Scriptures:
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
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.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Benefits of Fasting:
1. Fasting is good for me
2. Fasting strengthens my dependence on God
3. Fasting enlists God’s assistance for great things
Seven Steps to a Successful Fast
1. Make a Plan
2. Pray about your privacy
3. Strategically disconnect
4. Expect a challenge
5. Rest and be still
6. Keep Moving
7. Expect a breakthrough
What are some extra things in your life that capture your attention and time?
Could God be calling you to consider giving something up for a season to set aside extra time to seek the Lord?
For further study on fasting:
Ryan Rush Blog – A Few Thoughts on Fasting