Friends, we blinked and we’re at the half-way point! Right? Are you loving Play With Fire as much as we are? I am not surprised at all — because God is who He is — to be going through this study at this time in my life because it’s exactly what I need to be studying! Is that true for you, too?
This week we’re in session three, “God’s Promises.”
We’re going to be digging into what is the very hardest thing to remember when we’re in a season of fire, when God seems to be far away or silent, when our trials outnumber our joys, and sometimes even when everything is going great and we’re on cruise control…
God is a promise-keeping God. He never changes. His word is true. He is still good and His plan is still for our good.
Are you ready?
- Watch the video for Week 3 – either on DVD or here on FaithGateway.
- If you’re meeting with a small group or in a church setting with others, go through the discussion questions for Chapter 3 in your Play With Fire Study Guide (pages 87-92).
- For your personal study this week, go through the between-sessions personal study in the Play With Fire Study Guide (pages 93-118). How are you doing on setting aside Bible study time every day? I’m praying for you. Keep going for it!
- Recommended (but optional) reading for this week: Read Play With Fire – the book, not study guide.
- Join us Thursday October 27th (optional) for a live chat to discuss this week’s study with our awesome community of believers at 2 pm EST and 9 pm EST.
And finally, I encourage you to think back. What promises has God made to you in the past? Open up Scripture and highlight some of His promises that are meaningful to you. Read the extra credit Bible selections from the study guide — Exodus 3:8, Isaiah 49:16, Exodus 14, Isaiah 40:29, Proverbs 1:33, Romans 10:9, Philippians 4:19, 2 Peter 1:3… Seek Him out on His promises. You won’t be disappointed.
The Ultimate Promise Keeper
Some of us know deep disappointment. Some of us, including me, have been through crushing discoveries when people we trusted abused our faith. Maybe you’ve been there, too. In this broken world full of broken people like you and me, we’re going to be hurt, betrayed, or let down by someone who was supposed to care, supposed to love, supposed to provide, supposed to protect. Sometimes dads quit being honorable dads. Some spouses choose to sneak around and cheat. Sometimes those who are required to financially support us bail. Regularly we hear about spiritual leaders’ public moral failures. Friends we trusted may choose to be dishonest. People will hurt us.
The world is full of people who are simply self-absorbed and don’t care about others as they should. And, the truth is that even the best of people, with the kindest of hearts, the most selfless and well-intentioned of friends cannot help but eventually disappoint us. Disillusionment is unavoidable.
With grace, though, oh with grace, mercy, forgiveness, and mutual love… when both parties are humble and repentant, relationships can be rebuilt and maintained. Isn’t that what we all want? Heartbreak doesn’t have to win.
The great news about God is that He. Is. Faithful.
Every day. Without exception.
God keeps His word.
He makes promises that you and I can take to the bank. We don’t have to wait for the other shoe to drop with God. Someone once said God only has one shoe!
What can we cling to, what can we rely upon during times when our lives are in shambles and it seems like everything we need and care about is on fire? God’s promises. They are always true. Always steady. Always reliable. Always rock-solid.
This has been God’s promise to me the last couple of weeks:
Do not be afraid. I am your shield, your very great reward. — Genesis 15:1
God’s promises are what we hold on to in the midst of the fire of transformation. — B
In the fire and when I feel shaken, I imagine that shield of God right before me, blocking me from harm, protecting me and my children from the threats of the enemy. Even when I am being hunted down by fear, God is not! I picture God as my very great reward for staying faithful to Him. I run my race, get up when I fall down, and God Himself is my prize. And with that in mind, in the middle of my worries, His peace settles around me because I know that I am completely safe in Him no matter what. Have you been in that battle and grasped onto His promises, too?
What promises do you need to not let go of today?
Are you being wrongly accused, unfairly persecuted, unjustifiably mistreated?
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. — Exodus 14:14
Do you feel weak and unable to continue?
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
Do you feel unprotected?
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. — Psalm 91:1-2
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. — Psalm 18:2
Do you feel like your relationship with God is insecure? Like He might move away from you?
Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God. — Psalm 90:1-2
Do you feel like you have to fend for yourself because no one else will?
Thou, o Lord, art a shield about me. You’re my glory and the lifter of my head. — Psalm 33:3
God’s promises go on and on and on. They’re His gift to us if only we will take them.
Like I mentioned in week one, in the middle of fires, I have that tendency to forget that God loves me, He is for me, and He will not forget me as I forget Him. So I have to write down God’s promises so I remember during seasons of trouble and times when the wind is as my back. I don’t want to lose sight of His faithfulness any more. God has brought me too far to forget me now. And the same is true for you! He engraved our names on His hands. He watches over us and will never let us go. Even if we forget, He does not.
Sometimes in the fog of our fear, we forget that God loves us. And in those moments of silence, it’s so easy to feel like we are forgotten.— B
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. — Isaiah 49:15-16
He who promised is faithful. — Hebrews 10:23
Prayer for the Week
God, You are good. You are faithful. You are trustworthy. You can be relied upon. You are our Rock, the Rock of Ages that does not change. You are true. No matter what is going on in our own lives, we can trust in You. Others may have disappointed and disillusioned us, but You are always loving, always honest, always true to us. God, we are so thankful! We love You, Lord. And we grasp onto Your word. You are our hope and the lover of our souls. Amen.
What promises has God given you? What was your biggest takeaway from this week? Share your comments on our blog! We’d love to hear from you!
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