52 Steps to Godliness Sample - The Eternal Word
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SUNDAY (First Draft)
THINK FIRST: How do you define success in life? Are most folks successful?
What’s the difference between a successful, fruitful believer and an impotent one?
What are some difficulties folks have in reading, understanding and applying the Bible?
How would you rate your grip on God’s Word in the following: Regular Reading, Devotional Times, Bible Study, Scripture Memory, Meditation, Application?
OBJECTIVE: In order to accurately know and trust God and His plan for us, we need to value and develop the habit of accurately learning and responding to Truth.
TEASER TITLE: What’s the Key to Guaranteed Prosperity and Success in life?
BACKGROUND: The great lawgiver Moses had just died, and now it was up to his young assistant Joshua to lead the nation into the promised land, full of giant problems yet possibilities. God searched through heaven and eternity to find the most beneficial advice He could give, then speaks directly to Josh, giving him a promise that believers through ages have found encouraging and profitable when they obey it.
TIMELESS TRUTH: Joshua 1:7 "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
REFLECT: What did Josh have to do, and what did he get if he did it?
What are the key actions (look for verbs) God told Josh to take? What do you think is the most important?
SPIRITUAL LIFE SKILL: Why aren’t believers more spiritually successful? According to surveys 98% of believers have never read the entire Bible. But it gets worse 90% of those who teach the Bible for a living confess to never having read the Book cover to cover! No wonder there is a lack of light and Truth in the land.
Jesus said: “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’" (Mt 15:9). In order to enjoy the success promised to Josh, we need to make the Word of God a vital part of our life. Here’s a great overview of how to become on intimate terms with the Bible, which I first heard about from the Navigator ministry. It’s found at the end of your arm, and called the “Hand Illustration.”
The fingers are the four main ways of getting input from the Bible:
Pinkie = hearing; Ring finger= reading; Middle finger=studying; Index=meditating.
Try to hold on to your Bible with just a couple of fingers and it will slip. Add Mr. Thumb, and one finger and you’ll do better. Use all five and you’ll get a good grip.
We’ll balance off each of those methods with some help from today’s topic, Mr. Thumb, AKA Meditation. So what’s meditation?
BIBLE STUDY: Looking up Meditation in Strong’s Dictionary we find that it means to revolve in the mind; to look at from different directions. But what are we looking for? The context in Joshua 1:8 gives a clue. See if you can find it. Notice the “observe to do” part? That’s the key. No do, no get. So you need to ask yourself:
What does God want me to do in response to this truth? (You’ll eventually learn that worship = response to Revelation).
Some questions to ask (and actually answer in a notebook):
What does this passage tell me about God? About myself? About the relationship between the two of us? About my relationship(s) with family, at work, at church, with friends and neighbors? How should it affect how I feel, what I value, what I think, and what I do? Does it give direction about where I’m headed? What I’m living for? My plans and goals? My desires and ambitions? Should I change anything as a result of this truth? How will my life, world, and eternity be different as a result of my exposure to what God has said?
APPLICATION: Each time you’re exposed to the Scriptures think of what God wants you to do in response to it. Start with today’s passage. Ask God which verse would be most beneficial to incorporate into your life and write it out on a couple of post-its. Look at it five times today, and each time think about how the Truth is supposed to become a reality in your life.
PLAN: Each day this week we’ll look at a different aspect of incarnating the Word of God. We’ll look at the Bible reading plan of the world’s wisest man, and Paul’s instructions for a devotional life. We’ll examine how the Word benefits our life and sets us free from sin. We’ll even look at why the Scriptures are reliable and why your study of them is worthy of your best and brightest efforts.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I praise you for talking to me through your Word so I can know you and what’s best for me. Thank you for being concerned about my success. Help me love what you have to say more than anything else. Show me what you want me to do, and by your strength, I’ll do. For you are worthy of my best efforts. Amen.
QUOTE: ‘I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.’ Sir Isaac Newton (bright crayon)
PSALM 119:97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
PROVERBS 22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.
THINK FIRST: Do all believers finish well? What keeps us from falling prey to Satan’s lies and traps? How does someone have an eternal impact on others?
Title: How do you have a dynamite devotional life that moves mountains?
OBJECTIVE: In order to know God, experience His best, finish well and benefit others, we need to invest daily time reading God’s words to us, reflecting on what He has to say to us, responding to Him, and recording a thought that will reinforces Truth.
World’s Wisest and Richest Man Blows it Bigtime Deuteronomy 17:18 "Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 "And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 "that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.
1Ki 11:4 when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.
The Path; Off the Path, Back on the Path, Persevering on the Path.
2Tim 3: 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Praying through your Purpose: Mr 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
Pr 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
THINK FIRST: What does the Word of God do for us? What are its benefits?
Do you view the Word as milk, cereal, or steak?
Title: How can God’s Word become our greatest delight? What’s a hard heart?
OBJECTIVE: In order to learn to delight in God’s revelation we need to experience and value its benefits in guiding us toward the best possible life now and in eternity.
Ac 20:32 "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Words are life: Dt 32:46 and He said to them: "Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law. 47 "For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess."
This Book keeps you from sin, Sin keeps you from this book. Jer 6:10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, And they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the LORD is a reproach to them; They have no delight in it.
Jer 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
Ps 119: 14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.
Pr 8:11 wisdom is better than rubies, all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
THINK FIRST: How does the Word become flesh in our lives?
Title: How to conquer sin be a Victorious Believer every day
OBJECTIVE: In order to experience consistent victorious freedom from enslaving sin, we need to develop the discipline of daily renewing and transforming our thinking and values with God’s Truth.
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Joh 17:17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Ro 12:2 do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Joh 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.:8 "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Ps 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!
THINK FIRST: Where do we get our ideas about God and a relationship with Him, the purpose of life, forgiveness of sins, secrets to a satisfying life and relationships, and the afterlife? Would a God with the power to create, also have the ability to communicate in such a way that His creatures could understand and trust His Revelation? If the words that Jesus spoke will judged us at the last day, would it be reasonable to expect that God would accurately preserve them for us to learn and follow? How do we know the Scriptures are reliable? Is it a matter of faith or reason?
Title: How to slice and dice with the Sword of the Spirit
OBJECTIVE: In order to destroy the lies of Satan and take risky steps of dependent faith, we need to have supreme confidence in God’s Word as a result of understanding it’s formation, authentication and preservation.
THINK FIRST: How do you recognize/become a Spirit-filled Christian?
Eph 5:18; 4:15; Col 3:16