Sunday, August 8, 2010

I came to give you Abundant Life

Welcome again to A Good Bible Study, where we are learning and growing together in God's Word. You do not need anything but a Bible to follow this study. You can print off the pages and write in them, copy into a notepad and type in your answers, or answer them in a journal of your own.

The inspiration for the current study is The Love Revolution Devotional Workbook and Field Journal, by Joyce Meyer. You can get your own copy, if you wish, at the Joyce Meyer website. Let's start out with prayer and get our hearts ready to receive a good dose of the Holy Spirit today!

Lord, whatever you have for me is good, and I want it! Prepare my heart to be changed by Your Word today. Make me a blessing to everyone who encounters me today. In the name of Jesus, amen.

I can hardly believe we are on the fourth chapter already. Each day I feel God is working in me, changing me for the better, and making me more of what He wants. I'm excited about what's ahead!

We have shared quite a bit about the effect we can have on others. Most of the time, our good intentions will be received with joy and appreciation. Other times, not so much. I've run into some people who have been so hurt by others in their past they just don't trust anyone. These are the folks who are going to assume if you are kind, you must be up to something.

Joyce Meyer says, "Hurting people hurt people." Do you have any experience in that? Tell me about it:

Jesus said there is no glory in loving people you like, and who like you back. Real love is being able to separate your action from the response, and love even when you are attacked and criticized for your efforts.

How do we handle it when we suffer because we are trying to serve God?
Read 1 Peter 2:21.
Whose example are we to follow when we are suffering the backlash of someone else's past?

Would you like me to be more specific? Read John 10:10.

Satan wants nothing more than to distract you from God's mercy and love, by convincing you that helping others is a waste of your time, thankless, even dangerous. He wants to steal your joy, kill your future, and destroy every hope you have in your heart. He is your enemy, make no mistake.

What did Jesus come for?
I came that (your name) may have ________, and that (your name) may have it more _____________!

Satan wants to destroy your life, and the lives of anyone you care about. Jesus came to give you Life, so that you may enjoy it with abundance!

My Nelson Study Bible commentary says that Abundant Life includes salvation, nourishment, healing, and much more. "Life here refers to eternal life . . . It speaks not only of endlessness, but of quality of life. With Christ, life on earth can reach much higher quality, and then in heaven it will be complete and perfect."

If Jesus is the example we are to follow, what do we need to give ourselves permission to have? Yes, abundant, joyful, LIFE!

What are you called then to share with others: ____________________

Does that mean to stalk people who have rejected our friendship and insist they let you "help" them? 

Jesus didn't force His kindness on anyone. When people rejected His message or His disciples He said to shake the dust off your feet and move on. I recall Joyce Meyer saying once that God showed her that she needed to lovingly stop trying to help those who were not ready, or did not want it, to make room for those that did. Leave the door open, pray for the Holy Spirit to do the work you cannot, and kindly move on and get out of the way.

The way to show love to someone who rejects or speaks harshly to us, or about us, is to avoid being hurtful in return. Some good ways to respond to hurtful comments are:

"I'm sorry you feel that way. That wasn't my intention."
"Well, I guess I can't make you like me, but the door is open."
"I'm sorry I hurt you. I didn't mean to and now that I understand how you feel I will try not to do that again."

Another good tool is to repeat what you heard back to them in a question. It will simply sound like you are taking the time to understand their feelings.

"You're saying that I _____ you and it made you really upset?"
"Well, I'm sorry, I didn't know that."

Practice in before you come into contact with someone you know is going to be difficult, and you will feel more confident. Believe me, this will help if you use it.

Pray with me and let the words be from your own heart and intention:

Lord, I know you will empower me to live an abundant life, and to help others live abundantly as well. Give me everything I need to overcome evil with good, everywhere I encounter it. Anger, strife, and resentment cannot stand up against genuine love, forgiveness and humble giving. I will follow your lead! In Jesus' name, amen.

Love, Karen

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