The Code, Week Three

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven,

Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”

Luke 9:51

Resolve. Every year Craig Groechel, a pastor, asks the big C, the big church, to ask the Lord for their word for the year. My word for the last two years has been the same – resolve. So, of course, when I came upon the verse that speaks to the mind-boggling concept of Jesus “resolutely” walking into his own death and torture, I was overwhelmed with questions.

Where does that kind of resolve come from? Did he know WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHY? Was it knowledge or understanding? Or was it audacious trust? Or maybe some of all of the above?

Now I am beginning to believe that if the tape of Jesus was rewound – it all begins and ends with identity. Wasn’t that the attack on him? Remember Satan in the desert asking him to turn stone to bread when the Father gave him the identity of being the bread of life. Then, in Satan’s frustration, didn’t he essentially ask him to commit suicide when he asked him to throw himself down from such a high location? That act alone would have stopped the mission for which he was born – His identity.

Identity. Resolve.

The Lord goes to great lengths throughout the Bible to speak to the identity of man. He calls us heirs, His children, imitators of Him, His hands and feet, bond servants, beloved…His words echo throughout the world and the universe to the identity of His people.

As we seek to gain the resolve of Christ, we must also gain the mission…

“Teach me to do your will,

for you are my God;

may your good Spirit

lead me on level ground.”

Ps. 143:10

Your identity, your resolve for living, is found in every word that comes from the mouth of God. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). The words define us, so that the Creator of the words will control us.

Discussion Questions:

Where do you see resolve in your own life? What drives it?

Who defines you? Why?

Sit with the Lord and ask Him to give you an identity verse specific to you in your life right now.

Years ago the Lord gave me Hebrews 11:6. For over a decade I recited this verse as “my” verse, but it wasn’t until He began to define me that I realized that He spoke a prophecy to me about my own heart. He knew long before me that my identity would be my fatal flaw redeemed into my greatest awareness on this side of heaven.

What has God revealed to you?

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The Code, Week Two

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus, Matthew Chapter 22

Last week we dove into the 10 commandments and dissected the foundation, provided by God, that pleases Him. Paul in Ephesians gives us that recommendation, “find out what pleases the LORD” (Ephesians 5:10). We started there because in the book of John we are told that by keeping His commands we are loving Him.

But what is real love? And why do we all need it so desperately?

Jesus addressed real love as laying down your life for another person. Jesus not only demonstrated that kind of deep love, but He also demonstrated all of the characteristics of love discussed in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13. Jesus modeled for us: patience, kindness, not being jealous, not being arrogant or boastful, choosing to walk in light over darkness, not keeping a record of wrongs, rejoicing in the truth, bearing, believing, and hoping with endurance. He modeled true, real love.

Why? Could it have been because He knew that the attack on the human heart is so great in the world that He didn’t want His children to the dirty work of His opponent?

“What a man (woman) desires is unfailing love.”

Proverbs 19:22

We’ve, ALL OF US, been designed to desire love. We long for it. We crave it. The world’s propaganda of lustful, romantic, relative love has jacked up our understanding of what real love is and looks like now.

Isn’t it easier sometimes to get caught up in romance than to actually be patient and kind? And when is it okay not to be kind or patient? When do we get to take matters in our own hand and be boastful or arrogant? Now, please don’t misunderstand, I’m not propagating that as a Christian you should be a doormat. Absolutely not! Jesus teaches speaking truth in love. So, if you aren’t able to speak your truth in kindness, gentleness, and patience, you most likely need to wait on delivering truth until you are fully in His Spirit of love.

Homework:

Ask the Lord to reveal to you where you’ve looked for love outside of Him. Then ask Him to help you walk in love, real love.

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The Code, Week One

Last Tuesday was a beautiful night for me. It reminded me of Paul’s desire to be with God’s people in Rome. He said, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:11-12, New International Version).

Women of God, warriors of the Way, I was deeply encouraged to keep fighting the good fight and to keep speaking Truth in love. I also learned something of great value from each of you.

This week I would like for us to consider the heartbeat behind The Code. It begins with Jesus’ walk to Emmaus right after his resurrection. He meets up with two guys as they are walking and questions them about what is happening around town. Of course, they are in awe that he is not aware of the craziness considering that the earth shook, the sky went dark, and a possible Messiah had been killed on a cross just a few days prior.

Then, Jesus, says these words (I love this), “‘Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:26-27, NIV).

My prayer is that we would each sit with Jesus and allow Him to teach us about himself beginning with Moses. “Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever” (Psalms 119:152, NIV). Many times throughout human history the commands of God disappeared and then someone found them and studied them and brought them back to the people with vigor and charisma. Every single time in the Word that they were brought out to the public and kept, the people were blessed by God and encouraged to stay faithful. All throughout the Scriptures we see God blessing his kids for knowing what pleases Him.

Paul urges us through Ephesians, to find out what pleased the LORD. Now, I ask you to find out. Let’s start by building a sacred concrete floor through the ten commandments.

Homework:

Look up the ten commandments and write each of the commands down in a journal. After you’ve written them down, go through and ask the LORD to help bring to remembrance the ideas of Jesus that would correspond with any of the commandments. You might even think of stories that illustrate the command.

Discussion Question:

In a world of relativity, with perpetual justification for just about any type of behavior, why is knowing and understanding the ten commandments encouraging to your faith?

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The Code, Introduction

“On your feet, Daughter of Zion!..I’m remaking 

you into a people invincible…”

Micah 4:13, The Message

What if I could convince you that you’ve been born into a raging war? Would it change the way you see the world around you? Would it change the way you think, believe, or behave?

Jesus says, “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is” (John 3:19-21).

Discussion Questions:

Are you really interested in pleasing God? Sit with the LORD and ask Him to reveal your true heart.

What does denial and illusion look like for you? Do you know truth that you aren’t living by? Are your beliefs and your behaviors at odds?

What are you afraid of when you think of standing before God with your full story playing on the big screen?

If you haven’t started a journal yet, start one, and write these questions down and any new questions that come as you sit with Jesus and learn about this light versus the dark.

If you are able to attend the study, I look forward to seeing you at the OKWU Hart Conference Room on Tuesday, October 6th starting at 8 p.m.

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