Created to Connect with God & Others: Day 5

Week 2 - Created to Connect with God and Others

    Day 5: CREATED TO CONNECT WITH GOD AND OTHERS

READING: 1 John 4:7-8

In what ways have you grown in connecting with God and others this week?

What did you learn about the nature and character of God this week?         

What did you learn about yourself? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 16-17

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

 

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Created to Connect with God & Others: Day 4

Week 2 - Created to Connect with God and Others

    Day 4: CONNECTING WITH OTHERS: PART 3 OF 3

Over the past couple of days, we’ve looked at some steps that are helpful when it comes to relationally connecting with others. To continue quoting from the book Connecting by Larry Crabb, he notes that one final way we can connect with others is by “Claiming the special opportunities to reveal grace… .” He goes on to note that relationships (or perhaps, people themselves) heal when they reflect the energy of Christ. Some helpful steps may include:

  • “Letting people know we delight in them as Christ does.
  • Eagerly looking for the goodness in someone’s heart, and identifying the passions that are prompting loving, strong choices
  • Remembering that it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance and healing.”

Larry Crabb, by the way, is a professional counselor. But after years of counseling discovered that the best requirement to connect with others wasn’t his education, but instead was by being godly. He confesses that being godly is far more difficult than getting an education, but that the ability to fully connect with God & others is worth it. As you read today, consider this: Do you find it challenging to let others know you delight in them? 

READING:

     COLOSSIANS 3:12-14; 1 CORINTHIANS 13

Do you find it challenging to let others know you delight in them? 

Have you had any success in being able to relationally connect with others who think differently than you do? What made those relationships successful? 

Think of someone in which you know you have not searched for the hidden good within them. Is it possible God is inviting you to think differently about them? Is it possible God is inviting you to take another step to reconcile that relationship? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 15

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that seeing the hidden good in others is sometimes challenging, but letting others know that I delight in them is even more challenging! Today, my desire is to share with at least one person something I appreciate about them. May this begin a ripple effect that helps me relationally connect with everybody in new, profound ways. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Created to Connect with God & Others: Day 3

Week 2 - Created to Connect with God and Others

    Day 3: CONNECTING WITH OTHERS: PART 2 OF 3

Yesterday we looked into the first step that is helpful for us to better connect relationally with others. Continuing with thoughts from author Larry Crabb, the next step in connecting with others includes:

  • Remaining calm when badness is visible.
  • Keeping confident that good lies beneath. 

Specifically, Crabb writes, “When we look for the bad, we must always be looking harder for the hidden good.” 

Here’s the deal – we live in a broken world. A broken world is full of broken people. And sometimes, hurt people hurt people. But as author Bob Goff writes, “God makes people. People make issues. But people aren’t issues.”

If we want to better connect with others, we need to not only remain calm when we see badness come to the surface in the lives of others, we also need to be confident that there is good there, too. We need to remember that they, too, were created by God, in the image of God, and for the glory of God. We need to remember that God made them, and they may be making issues, but that they themselves are not the issues. As you read today, consider this: Which of the quotes in today’s reading resonates with you most? 

READING:

     PROVERBS 18:24; LUKE 6:31

Which of the quotes in today’s reading resonates with you most?

Why do you think people struggle to look for the hidden good in others? 

What are some daily practices you can put in place so that you more regularly look for the hidden good in others? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 11-12

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that in the same ways I see my own flaws, I often see the flaws within others more than I see the good that lies beneath. Today, I pray that You would provide me with reminders that everybody I see and interact with almost certainly has hidden good. That they, too, have been created by You, and that You have given them a purpose I may not always see or recognize. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

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Created to Connect with God & Others: Day 2

Week 2 - Created to Connect with God and Others

   Day 2: CONNECTING WITH OTHERS: PART 1 OF 3

In his book titled Connecting, author Larry Crabb writes that in order to relationally connect with others, we need to:

  • Accept who we are.
  • Envision who we could be. 

In other words, when we fully accept that we are God’s and that He truly delights in us, and when we’re able to envision who God has made us to be, it is then that we can truly be on our way to connecting with others in meaningful ways. 

Another equally important truth about connecting with others is this: We can only love others as much as we love ourselves. 

Think about that for just a minute. How much do you love yourself? Not in a a self-esteem or self-centered way, but how much do you like and appreciate who you are? Put it on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being extreme appreciation for yourself.

Guess what? You can’t love, like or fully appreciate others any more than you love, like or appreciate yourself. Not your spouse. Not your kids. Not your roommate. Not anyone. 

As you read today, consider this: Is a lack of self-love preventing you from being able to love others? If so, what steps can you take to more fully accept who you are, and envision who you could be?

READING:

   ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12

Is a lack of self-love preventing you from being able to love others? If so, what steps can you take to more fully accept who you are, and envision who you could be? 

Remind yourself of the truths from Week #1. You were created by God, in the image of God, for the glory of God. How can these truths help you better connect with others? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Job 40-42

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess there are aspects of myself I don’t like very much. And more often than not, I find myself noticing my own flaws more than remembering that I was created by You. Today, my desire is to remember every minute of every hour that I have been beautifully and wonderfully made. As this truth continues to rest deep within me, help me to see that others I interact with on a regular basis have also been beautifully and wonderfully made. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Created to Connect with God & Others: Day 1

Week 2 - Created to Connect with God and Others

    Day 1: CONNECT WITH GOD

How do you connect with God? If we’re all being honest, we may confess that we find it somewhat difficult to fully connect with God. The primary reason for this struggle is because we all want to have something to offer Him. Perhaps some of these quotes sound familiar: 

  • “I’ll get closer to God one day. But I need to get my life cleaned up first.”
  • “A relationship with God is a really serious commitment. I’ll have more time to give God later in life, but for now I’m OK just knowing He’s there.”
  • “I don’t feel like I have anything to offer God. But as soon as I feel like I do have something to offer, I’ll bring it to Him.”

Here’s the thing: there’s nothing we have that God needs. He just wants us. Even more specifically, He just wants you. He’s done everything that needed to be done for the relationship to begin. And the best way you can relate with Him is simply to receive from Him.

Receive God’s forgiveness. Receive God’s grace. Receive God’s love. You’ll not only connect with Him, you’ll be prepared to connect with others. As you read today, consider this: How difficult is it for you to receive from God? 

 

READING:

     EPHESIANS 2:4-10

How difficult is it for you to receive from God?

Which of the three statements (bullet points) in today’s reading resonates with you the most? 

Have you considered this may be preventing you from being able to relationally connect with God in new and amazing ways? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Job 38-39

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess it isn’t always easy to receive from You. There are many times in which I want to be in control. Sometimes, for reasons I don’t always understand, I want to take on the burden of trying to fix some of the difficult problems that have come up in my life. But I’m learning more and more that the best leaders are those who follow You and receive from You regularly. Today, my desire is to be with You. I humbly ask that You continue to reveal Yourself to me in unique and awesome ways. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

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Created to be an Image Bearer: Day 5

Week 1 - Created to be an Image Bearer

     Day 5: CREATED TO BE AN IMAGE BEARER

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:49

In what ways have you grown in being an image-bearer this week? 

What did you learn about the nature and character of God this week?         

What did you learn about yourself? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Job 1-2

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

Created to be an Image Bearer: Day 4

Week 1 - Created to be an Image Bearer

Day 4: THE GRAND FINALE OF CREATION

Three simple yet life-changing truths:

  • You have been CREATED by God.
  • You have been created in the IMAGE of God.
  • You have been created for the GLORY of God.

We share these truths with children, filling them with wonder about the unseen God and how powerful He is, but as we age we’re tempted to lose the wonder. We’re tempted to forget God is there at all. 

While these truths all reveal the majesty of God, there’s one more part of God’s creation story that ought not be forgotten. After every day in the Creation process (Genesis 1), God looks upon what He had created and said, “It is good.” God was glad with His creation. But something changed after God made humankind in His image on the sixth day. God looked upon all He had made and said, “It is very good!”

Nothing more was needed. God declared His creation complete. Just like the grand finale of a fireworks display, God declared that we are the Grand Finale of His creation. As you read today, consider this: How do you respond to reading that God looks upon you as the Grand Finale of His creation? 

READING:

     Psalm 8:1-9

How do you respond to reading that God looks upon you as the Grand Finale of His creation?

What verse in Psalm 8 sticks out the most to you? Why do you think that is? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 8-9

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I thank You for making me a part of the grand finale of Your creation! That in the same way that a fireworks display lights up the night sky, You have created me to reflect Your light, Your grace, and Your love to others. I ask today that You will continue to help me own the truths of who You say I am so that I may better help others know the truths of who You say they are. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Created to be an Image Bearer: Day 3

Week 1 - Created to be an Image Bearer

     Day 3: CREATED FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

Take a minute to quickly think about every movie or tv show you’ve seen this week. And every song you’ve heard. Every news article you’ve read. And every other book you may have read. That’s a lot of information you’ve taken in! Now, out of all of that information, how often did you see, hear, or read the word, ‘Glory?’ 

If you read your Bible, you may have seen it. But if you’re being honest, you probably didn’t see, hear, or read the word glory very much at all. It’s just not a common word within in our culture. But while we don’t use the term often, we do hear words such as honor, magnificence, and beauty. We also understand what it means to take delight in something or someone. These words are all definitions of ‘Glory’. 

With this knowledge, we can now think about what it means to have been created for the GLORY of God. It means that all things – including you! – were created for the honor of God. You were created to display the magnificence of God. You were created to mirror the delight and pleasure of God. As you read today, consider this: How would your daily life be different if you took time every day to dwell on the truth that  you were created for the GLORY of God?

READING:

     COLOSSIANS 1:14-15

How would your daily life be different if you took time every day to dwell on the truth that you were created for the GLORY of God? 

Think about a time when you really believe you reflected the delight and the pleasure of God. What was that like? 

In your own life, what barriers get in the way of reflecting the delight and pleasure of God regularly? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 6-7

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that I don’t regularly take opportunities to dwell on the truth that I have been created for Your Glory. Today, I humbly ask that you reveal to me in subtle ways, little reminders that I was created for Your honor. That I was created to display the magnificence of who You are. That I was created to mirror the delight and pleasure of You to others. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Created to be an Image Bearer: Day 2

Week 1 - Created to be an Image Bearer

     Day 2: CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

To remember that we have been CREATED by God is a truth that can change how we live each day of our lives. The implications of this reality have the potential to impact how we see ourselves, how we see others, and how we see God. 

But the Scriptures teach us that we weren’t just created by God. We were also created in the IMAGE of God. 

Of everything else that God created, nothing other than humankind was created in His image. Light. Water. Land. Sun. Moon. Stars. Birds. Fish. Even the Duck-Billed Platypus. You’ve gotta admit, God made some really cool stuff. 

Still, after creating everything else, “God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Psalm 100:3 says, 

“Know that the Lord is God.

It is He who made us, and we are His;

we are His people, the sheep of his pasture.”

As you read today, consider this: What do you think it means to be an image-bearer? 

Reading:

    PSALM 100:3

How would your daily life be different if you took time every day to dwell on the truth that you were created in the IMAGE of God? 

What do you think it means to be an image-bearer?

Remember: Everybody else you see today (and everyday) was also created to be an image-bearer.

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 3-4 

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I thank You for the wonderful reminder that not only was I created by You, but that You also created me in Your image. It’s easy for me to think, “I am nothing. I’m not significant. I don’t have any real purpose,” but you reveal to me in Your Word that I was created in Your image, and that I have a unique purpose. I have been invited to reflect the glory of You in everything I say and do. I worship You today for providing me this amazing opportunity to be an image-bearer of who You are. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Created to be an Image Bearer: Day 1

Week 1 - Created to be an Image Bearer

     Day 1: CREATED BY GOD

Picture an elderly Sunday school teacher walking around a small room with eight to ten children. With glue caked to their fingertips and glitter in their hair, the gray-haired lady smiles at each of the young children. Before dismissing them for the day she says, “You’ve heard me say many things today. But the one thing I want you to never forget is that GOD – MADE – YOU.” As she says this, she points to one of the children, ensuring they make eye contact and take in the wonder of what she just said. Then she points to the next child, and the next one, and the next. On and on until she has reassured each child that God, who made all the stars, the earth, the forests and the animals, also made each of them.

As the parents thank her for spending every Sunday morning teaching their little ones, she takes the opportunity to share the same message. With the same level of awe and wonder, she smiles at each parent and says, “Don’t ever forget. GOD – MADE – YOU.” But the majority of the parents don’t seem to absorb the significance of what she says in the way their children did. They smile politely and nod, and then quickly take their children by the hand and leave. As you read today, consider this: Why do you think we as adults aren’t completely captivated and awed by the power of this statement, “GOD – MADE – YOU”? 

READING: Genesis 1:26-27

Why do you think we as adults aren’t completely captivated and awed by the power of this statement “GOD – MADE – YOU”?

How would your daily life be different if you woke up each morning  reminding yourself that you were created by God?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 1-2

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I thank You for the wonderful reminder that I was created by You. With all of the busyness in my life, it’s easy to get caught up in what I need to do. Because I focus so much on what I need to do, I sometimes give in to the temptation to be defined by my work. But You don’t define me by what I do, but by what You have done. May I rejoice in that truth today! I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.