Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

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June 2015

When You Need Love and Life

Roots-love-vine-well-grave

Monday: Read Ephesians 3:17-19. Emptiness is a difficult emotion to simply describe. When you feel empty, it’s like a piece of your soul is missing. What does this great passage from Ephesians tell you about God’s filling?

Tuesday: Read John 15:5-8. When a person has not hope, life is empty and black. This is perhaps the worst kind of emptiness. From this passage what does God’s filling provide you? Pray for God’s filling for you today.

Wednesday: Read Psalm 121: 1-2. Distractions are all over the place and each of them wants us to fix our eyes on it. What are some of the distractions of the world that call out for your attention? God calls us to keep our eyes on him. How do you do this?

Thursday: Read John 4:1-15. The Samaritan woman was alone and her life was filled with emptiness. What clues in this story show us this empty picture of this woman? What did Jesus offer to her? Jesus, the living water, quenches the thirst of our lives. How has Jesus quenched some of your thirsts? What thirsts remain to be quenched?

Friday: Read John 11:25-26, & John 11:38-44. In this story we see that Jesus is the Lord of Life. He is the resurrection and the life. Each of us have dark tombs in our lives. What are those tombs for you? We hate the tombs. We want out of the tombs. Yet, we continue to call them home. Jesus wants to and can call us out of those tombs. Pray for Jesus’ voice and his power and authority to call you out of those tombs.

Saturday: Read John 15:5-8. As a branch attached to the Vine of Jesus, you receive strength and unfailing love and life. Those gifts you receive by being attached to Jesus are given for the purpose of bearing fruit. What worship, connect, learn, and serve activities does God use to keep you attached to him? Which of these is/are going well and which need attention? How do they bear fruit?

Click here to download the full PDF of the sermon message and this week's GPS.


When the Storms Hit, Turn to Jesus

Jesus_calms_storm1

As we celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday (full audio of the sermon) we look to Mark 4:38 to help us deal when storms hit:

  1. Hold on to the promises of God.
  2. Focus on God’s plan.
  3. Call on God’s power.

Monday: Read Mark 4:35-41. Where are you facing storms in your life? What are you crying out to Jesus? How are you responding? How is He responding?

Tuesday: Read John 3:16. Why is this promise important to you? How does it equip you for the storm? Where do you need to drill down on this promise today?

Wednesday: Read Psalm 23:1. Why is this promise important to you? How does it equip you for the storm? Where do you need to drill down on this promise today?

Thursday: Read Matthew 28:20. Why is this promise important to you? How does it equip you for the storm? Where do you need to drill down on this promise today?

Friday: Read Jeremiah 29:11. Why is this promise important to you? How does it equip you for the storm? Where do you need to drill down on this promise today?

Saturday: Read Isaiah 40:30-31. Why is this promise important to you? How does it equip you for the storm? Where do you need to drill down on this promise today?

Click here to download the full PDF of the sermon message and this week's GPS.


Praying for Others

Prayer

Today’s message (1 John 5:14-15) was focused around teaching us to pray for others:

  1. Pray with the confidence of an eternal perspective. (1 John 5:13-14)
  2. Pray to align your will with God’s will. (1 John 5:14-15 )
  3. Pray for others to align their will with God’s will. (1 John 5:16-18)
  4. Pray from what you know about God and pray to know Him more. (1 John 5:19-20)
  5. Pray for God to be the top priority that guides and directs your life. (1 John 5:21)

This can be accomplished using the T.A.P. Prayer method: Thanksgiving + Ask + Praise with a STRONG “Amen.”

Martin Luther felt there were four parts of prayer in his own personal prayer life.  

  • Instruction – What the Lord calls me to do.
  • Thanksgiving – What the Lord has blessed me with and how I respond.
  • Confession – Where I have failed and ask forgiveness.
  • Petition – Where I need God’s provision and guidance.

A bit of a different Personal GPS this week as we use Luther’s explanation of the Lord’s Prayer from the Small Catechism as our guide for prayer and weaving through these four parts each day – seeking God’s instruction, expressing thanksgiving, honest confession and asking God’s provision and guidance.

Monday: The Introduction: Our Father who art in heaven. What does this mean? With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.

The First Petition: Hallowed be Thy name. What does this mean? God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.

How is God’s name kept holy? God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

Tuesday: The Second Petition: Thy kingdom come. What does this mean? The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.

How does God’s kingdom come? God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.

The Third Petition: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What does this mean? The good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also.

How is God’s will done? God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.

Wednesday: The Fourth Petition: Give us this day our daily bread. What does this mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

Thursday: The Fifth Petition: And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. What does this mean? We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

Friday: The Sixth Petition: And lead us not into temptation. What does this mean? God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.

Saturday: The Seventh Petition: But deliver us from evil. What does this mean? We pray in this petition, in summary, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.

 


We Can Overcome

Jumping-the-gap

Monday: Read 1 John 5:4-5. What does it mean to overcome the world with victorious faith? Where are some places in your life where there is a need for victory? How does keeping one’s focus on Jesus help you overcome?

Tuesday: Read 1 John 5:1. How does a confession of Jesus as the Savior help with assurance in the Christian life?

Wednesday: Read 1 John 5:2. How does love for God lead you to love others? How are you doing with love for God? Love for others?

Thursday: Read 1 John 5:3. When do you find God’s commands not a burden to live? When do they feel quite burdensome? Why the difference between the two in your life? How might Christ’s love motivate changes for your life? Where have you seen this at work in the past? How might the Holy Spirit be filling you with His love to live out God’s commands today?

Friday: Read 1 John 5:6-10. The heretics of John's day taught that the divine Christ descended on Jesus at his baptism but left before his death. What is wrong with this view? How does the fact that Jesus Christ came by water (symbolizing his baptism) and blood (symbolizing his death) refute that heresy? How does each witness John lists affirm who Jesus is? How does your own experience confirm the truth that eternal life is found in Jesus?

Saturday: Read 1 John 5:11-12. Why is it vital to remember that eternal life is God’s gift for life today, not just when we die and go to heaven? Take time to thank God for his Son, and for the victory and eternal life we have in him. Take time to pray for those who do not have the Son of God and the gift of eternal life He brings. Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead them to Christ. Pray to be part of the Holy Spirit’s work in sharing Jesus with others. What do you sense He is leading you to do?


The Meaning of Sacrifice

Fruit-of-the-spiritAs we dig deep into the sermon this week with 1 John 4:10 we learn of: Christ's love in us (FOUNDATION); God’s work in us (FUEL); and reaching out to others (FRUIT).

Monday: Read 1 John 4:7-8. How would you explain the meaning of "love" to a child in a way that child could understand? Why does love have its origin in God? How is the love shown by those born of God different?

Tuesday: Read 1 John 4:9-10. How is the supernatural love of God different from the superficial idea of love that we so often hold?

Wednesday: Read 1 John 4:13-16. How has your increasing love for God increased your understanding of God's love for you? Who are you praying for to know and experience God’s love in Jesus Christ?

Thursday: Read 1 John 4:18-19. What happens if love does not begin with God? Why does love cast out fear? What fear do you need to let God’s love cast out from your life?

Friday: Read 1 John 4:11-12. What would Christian love look like if Christ's example was truly followed? How can you follow the example of love He displayed on the Cross?

Saturday: Read 1 John 4:20-21. Why does John combine loving God with loving your neighbor? How does loving one influence your love for the other? Where might you need God to fill your loving cup to overflowing in loving your “neighbor”?

You can even GO DEEPER this week by reading the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.