Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

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January 2018

Picturing A Future & A Hope

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Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

Day 1: Read Jeremiah 29:11. “Some people believe they are on a path in life that leads to a hopeless end, that life's road is headed towards doom and despair. What we need to remind ourselves is that the road our God has ahead for us is an endless hope.” When do you need to remind yourself God has “a great big, beautiful tomorrow” planned for you? Who needs your encouragement with a picture of such hope in their life?

Day 2: Read Romans 8:28. Please note that Paul does not say everything that happens to us is “good”. What Paul says is God works “good” in everything that evens out the rotten stuff in life. As you look back at your life, where have you seen God taken something horrible and made it a holy moment of His goodness at work? How can having such a perspective of hope help you in picturing a special future in someone else’s life?

Day 3: Read Isaiah 55:11. God’s Word has great power, and God gives our words of blessing to picture a special future great power in people’s lives. Who is God leading you to make it a habit to forecast for others their best possible future?

Day 4: Read Proverbs 18:4. The image of blessing in the Bible is the picture of providing life giving fresh water to one travelling in the desert. The power of such a blessing is it not only quenches our thirst for today, it’s life water for our tomorrows as well. When has someone spoken words of blessing about your future? How have those words inspired you with living water for life today? Where might you be able to picture a special future God has for someone else’s life?

Day 5: Read James 2:18b.  We, as Lutherans, believe we are saved by grace, but we also recognize part of the fruit of faith that God gives is the life we live. Our actions reflect that the promises we make to invest in others, are promises we keep in lifting them up today for their future tomorrow. Who has God used to pour into your life to make you the person He desires to be? Who is God using you to pour into someone else's life today to shape their future tomorrow?

Day 6: Read Psalm 128:1. Walk not just talk. When you picture a special future, it’s not just the words you say, it’s the active encouragement you provide. It’s your time investment, at times your financial investment, the pouring of your life into another. How have someone’s actions been a “green light” for you to move forward?  

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


The Most Valuable Words You'll Ever Say

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Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Day 1: Read Philippians 1:3-4. Like Paul, how can you use your prayers to give thanks and bless someone? Whom will you pray for God to bless today?

Day 2: Read Luke 6:27-28. Most of us don't identify specific enemies, more like people we would rather not spend time with. Who didn't make your list yesterday for God's blessing, that you can pray for today? How might praying for those we seek to avoid, transform our relationship with them, turn an enemy into a friend?

Day 3: Read Hebrews 3:13. Blessing is intended to become a daily response. Ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you to bless others you meet today. How did He do that yesterday? Whom might He prompt you to bless today?

Day 4: Read Matthew 3:17. A Southern saying states, "No man is a man until his father tells him he is." God, the Heavenly Father, affirms Jesus as His Son. These are the same words He speaks to us in our baptism. How have you been affirmed and validated as a person by someone else? Whom can you affirm today for the gift God has given you in them?

Day 5: Read Proverbs 25:11. A childhood saying goes, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." Broken bones mend over time ... this is not always true for harsh and hurting words. What verbal hurts do you need to seek God's healing for? How have "apt words"** impacted your life? When has God given you just the right word to bless someone? What "apt words"** is God placing on your heart to share with someone else?

Day 6: Read Ephesians 4:29. Describe in your own words what God (through Paul) tells us to do. How are these words especially true in blessing someone in the presence of others? Where might God be calling you to bless someone with words for building others up?

**Some Example Apt Words: "Thank you." "I love you." "You can do this!" "Let me pray for you." "Way to go!"

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


The Power Of Touch

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Day 1: Read Genesis 2:7. In other aspects of creation, God says the word and it is. Why did he touch the ground and breath life? What does this say about God’s value on touch? About our value on touch?

Day 2: Read Matthew 19:14-15. How have you seen children demonstrate the need or desire for touch? How do you experience touch best? Express touch best?

Day 3: Read Leviticus 11:39. When you think of inappropriate touch what comes to mind? How has the levels of inappropriate touch impacted how you touch others? What does seeing touch as an important part of blessing others impact how you give and receive touch?

Day 4: Read Mark 1:40-41. Jesus just could have said the word to heal this leper, but he also adds an element of touch to heal the man’s heart. Who are untouchables God might be calling you to touch? When have you experienced life as an untouchable been blessed with the touch of someone else?

Day 5: Read Isaiah 6:7. In the sacraments, God not only speaks a word of forgiveness, He also provides a touch of forgiveness. When you remember your baptism and partake of the Lord’s Supper, what does it mean for you that God seeks to touch you in this way?

Day 6: Read 1 John 1:1. Our faith is based not on fantasy, but what early followers experienced and touched in knowing Jesus. As you have lived out this past week, how has the touch of Jesus been at work in your life? Through your life to bless others with touch? As you look into the week ahead, how might God be calling you to bring meaningful, appropriate touch to the life of another?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


It’s Your Choice To Bless

Blessing

Focus on this week's Message from Deuteronomy 30:19-20 to teach us the Five Elements of a Blessing:

  1. Give appropriate meaningful touch.
  2. Speak words of blessing.
  3. Express high value
  4. Picture a special future.
  5. Make an active commitment.

Day 1: Read Deuteronomy 30:19-20. In the Old Testament, life has the idea to move toward someone, and death conveys the idea to step away--to back into isolation. When it comes to blessing others, every day you meet someone who needs the blessing. Who did you meet yesterday that you blessed? That blessed you? Pray today that with everyone you meet, God provides a way for you to bless.

Day 2: Read Genesis 1:27-28. God is the ultimate source of blessing. In this verse, what kind of blessing does He give to the people He created? As you look back on 2017, what are at least five ways God blessed you in 2017? What are 5 ways God used others to bless you?

Day 3: Read Ephesians 1:3. In the original Greek language of the New Testament, Paul writes one long run-on sentence from Ephesians 1:3-14. The theme of the sentence is to praise God for all the blessings He gives us in Christ. What blessing has your faith in Jesus been to you in the past week? As you look forward to 2018, how do you hope (and pursue) God’s blessing to grow in your faith life?

Day 4: Read Numbers 23:8. When God blesses, nothing can intervene. As Israel moves toward the Promised Land, Balak brings Balaam to curse Israel. Instead, Balaam keeps blessing Israel, that leads to today’s verse. Knowing that God’s blessing on your life is that strong, how does that put any new year worries into the right perspective? Consider also how God can use you as His blessing in the lives of others. As you pray today, pray for God to bless specific people you love. Be specific in how you pray for them. For example, God bless … is a good start. God bless … “to sense your presence as they learn in school today” is even better.

Day 5: Read 2 Kings 22:2. After a series of evil kings in Judah, God brings Josiah to the throne. He lived under the curse of forefathers, and became a great blessing to his people. Josiah leapfrogs his forebears to David, “a man after God’s own heart”. As you consider the family legacy you have, what “blessings” do you work to continue? And what “blessings” do you hope to bring?

Day 6: Read Mark 1:10-11. At His baptism, Jesus receives the blessing of His Heavenly Father who quotes the Bible to bless His Son. (Good example to follow). As you think of God’s Word and blessing others, what verses lead you to pray for others?  (See Colossians 1:9-14 as an example – replace the word you with the name of the person you are praying for today.)

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.