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Bible Study 1              God as Creator

3. Faith is often the basis of miracles.  The people of Jesus’ hometown knew Him as Joseph’s son, an ordinary man probably training to be a carpenter.  And most of the townsfolk could not see him as anything beyond this.  Hence they could not even start to believe that He was a miracle worker. They were prejudiced by their knowledge:  so often people tend to think that their opinion is the correct one, so will not consider other viewpoints. 

4. We limit God similarly when we refuse to consider other options.  God often answers prayers in ways contrary to our expectations and this can be faith-shattering.  An open mind as to how God will respond to us is essential if we are not to limit God (Isaiah 40:14)

5. The essential element in correct praying is to discern and pray for God’s will to be done ‘in earth as it is in heaven’.  This is a very hard thing to do as there is often no direct guidance given in Scripture for our particular circumstances.  So ask God what His will is for this situation and wait and see what turns up. Pray you will recognise God speaking to you.

8. This often comes down to the question of ‘if God is good, why has He allowed this awful thing to happen?’  Sometimes it is that our definition of ‘good’ is different to God’s definition of ‘good’.  When we pray, if we are  expecting God to act in a particular way and then it does not happen that way, Satan can destroy our faith by suggesting to us that we should doubt in God’s goodness and His existence.

10. Reread the passage in Isaiah again and reflect on the greatness of our Creator-God.

 

Bible Study 2                      Jesus: The Author and Finisher of our Faith

2. The stories in Hebrews 11 of those who had faith and persevered can be great faith-builders.  Hearing how God came to the aid of others, and how others continued to believe despite so many things to the contrary, can encourage us to take the same route of faith.

3. Many of these hindrances are left over from the time before we became Christians.  Paul puts it in terms of fighting the ‘fleshly lusts’ we find within us (Galatians 5:16-17).  One suggested route of ridding ourselves of these is the '4 Rs' ie:

   i. Recognise:   state the problem exactly how it is, where the problem or hindrance lies

   ii.Reject:  refuse it in your mind, if you really don’t want to let go of the hindrance you will not be able to.

   iii.Read:  Ask God or a mature Christian friend for relevant Scriptures about what you should be doing in the area of your hindrance.  How would Christ have acted?

   iv.Replace:  choose to replace old behaviour with the new.

5.Patient endurance under trial of any kind is God’s recipe for maturity and completeness in the faith, so it becomes all we need and much, much more.

7.Different sorts of patience can include the hopeful expectancy of waiting for holidays, the dread of waiting for test results, the coming to terms with life changes like bereavement, where time will help to heal and re-adjust at least a small amount, and the waiting for God to act in answering our prayers especially as we do not always recognise the answer.

8.God’s wisdom is the way He would do things in any given situation.  God promises to make His way or wisdom known to us when we ask (Colossians 1:9).

 

 Bible Study 3              Christ as Victor

2. The very fact that God sent Jesus, is proof enough: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.....’ (John 3:16).  Then there are countless examples and testimonies that witness to God helping those in need.

3. ‘All things’ may refer to those things we need now in order to live out our lives on this earth as believers, or it may refer to our future hope in heaven where the ‘all’ is more comprehensive as it will cover everything in our lives that will be part of the flawless new creation.

4. Satan can no longer condemn us.  He can and will accuse us, but if we have truly said sorry for our wrong-doing and have determined to try and do the right thing, then his accusations can lead nowhere.  Speaking Romans 8:1 out loud when we feel condemned, is an effective way of resisting Satan.

6.The things listed in Romans 8: 38-9 that can separate us from God are:

  i. Death:  when someone we love dies, we can become angry at God and we begin to wonder if there is life after death.  Also we may wonder if the person we loved has gone to hell and Satan can use this to unsettle and pain us greatly.  If this is the case it is important to remember that hell is a place that God alone understands; knowledge of which lies way beyond our simplistic notion of it. He is a God of love and mercy and we cannot know where our loved ones lie, indeed Moses experienced God’s glory in terms of His compassion to humankind (Exodus 33:19). 

  ii. Life:  sometimes we are so busy living that we forget God or do not recognise our need of Him.

  iii.Angels or demons:  it is Satan’s quest to separate us from God’s love.  He will take every opportunity offered to him.

  iv.Present or Future:  we can get so overcome with fear of what the future holds that we lose sight of God.

  v Any powers or rulers of this age: this can be corrupt earthly rulers that in some countries make life unbearable, or heavenly rulers that can influence things on earth (see Daniel 7:12-14).  This may also refer to the other world religions that if we interact with them a lot, can shake our faith somewhat in the one true God.

  vi.Height nor depth:  God seems so far away sometimes, and we feel alone, lost and abandoned.  Also God is so massively beyond our comprehension that we cannot understand Him and His ways and we can feel like giving up when He acts in ways that we do not recognise.

It is Paul’s certain assurance that none of these things can separate us from the love of God, but sometimes we need to persevere in our faith to see how it works out in practice.

8. Being more than conquerors means that we are greater than any problem that may overtake us because we are in Christ Jesus.  It is only by His help and guidance that we will overcome thoroughly and successfully:  if we try on our own, the chances are we will fail.

9. Trusting that God loves us and will aid us in times of need is the greatest practical help we can receive. But it is also having the sure knowledge that God has overcome everything that can attack or hurt us through the cross. This means we can be certain that God will walk with us through the bad times of life, and achieve His purposes for us, although we may not really understand what they may be until we come out on the other side of the problem..