EXPERIENCING GOD'S PRESENCE

EXPERIENCING GOD'S PRESENCE

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Overview

After many years of writing in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior’s voice and listen for what He was saying to her. The result was Jesus Calling, a collection of personal reflections based on Jesus’ own words of hope, guidance, and peace found in the Scriptures. Through these messages, countless people have been encouraged to experience a deeper relationship with the Lord as they also learn to listen for His voice in the pages of the Bible.

In Experiencing God’s Presence, the first study in the Jesus Calling Bible Study Series, you will be encouraged to lay down your cares and just spend time each day with your heavenly Father. As you follow the Lord’s instruction to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), you will encounter His peace, be filled with His strength, gain a new perspective on your situation, and experience the full life that only He can provide.

Each of the Jesus Calling Bible Studies include devotional readings from Jesus Calling, selected passages of Scripture for reflection, Bible Study questions, and additional questions and activities to help you apply and live out the material. This study can be used for personal reflection and Bible study or in a small-group setting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718035860
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 07/28/2015
Series: Jesus Calling Bible Studies Series
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 139,286
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Sarah Young, the author of the bestselling 365-day devotionals Jesus Calling and Jesus Always, has sold more than 30 million books worldwide. Jesus Calling has appeared on all major bestseller lists. Sarah's writings include Jesus Calling, Jesus Always, Jesus Today, Jesus Lives, Dear Jesus, Jesus Calling for Little Ones, Jesus Calling Bible Storybook, Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, and Peace in His Presence, each encouraging readers in their journeys toward intimacy with Christ. Sarah and her husband were missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years. They currently live in the United States.



Karen Lee-Thorp was a senior editor at NavPress for many years and series editor for the LifeChange Bible study series. She is now a freelance writer living in Brea, California, with her husband, Greg Herr, and their daughters, Megan and Marissa.

Read an Excerpt

Experiencing God's Presence


By Sarah Young, Karen Lee-Thorp

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2015 Sarah Young
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-3586-0



CHAPTER 1

SESSION 1

God's Presence Invites You


Consider It

God is present with you. Right now. Do you believe that? Do you believe it in theory, or do you experience Gods Presence as you go through your day?

God yearns to spend quiet moments with you and help you grow more and more aware of His Presence as you seek Him. In this first session, we'll begin to develop the habit of sitting in God's Presence, hearing His voice as He speaks through the Scriptures.

1. Have you ever experienced God's Presence? If so, what did you (or what do you) experience? If you never have, do you believe God wants you to experience His Presence when you read the Scriptures? Why or why not? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


2. What draws you to this exploration of God's Presence? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Experience It

"Come to Me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. A close walk with Me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek My Face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with Me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind. As you focus your thoughts on Me, be aware that I am fully attentive to you. I see you with a steady eye because my attention span is infinite. I know and understand you completely; My thoughts embrace you in everlasting Love. I also know the plans I have for you: plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Give yourself fully to this adventure of increasing attentiveness to My Presence."

—From Jesus Calling, January 1

3. How eager are you to be changed? What makes you long for transformation? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


4. What, if anything, makes you uncomfortable with change? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


5. How do you respond to the thought that God is fully attentive to His children? Do you want that attention? Is it scary to you at all? Why or why not? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


"Relax in My healing Presence. As you spend time with Me, your thoughts tend to jump ahead to todays plans and problems. Bring your mind back to Me for refreshment and renewal. Let the Light of My Presence soak into you as you focus your thoughts on Me. Thus I equip you to face whatever the day brings. This sacrifice of time pleases Me and strengthens you. Do not skimp on our time together. Resist the clamor of tasks waiting to be done. You have chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from you."

—From Jesus Calling, January 2

6. What are some reasons this reflection offers for spending time in God's Presence? What are some others that come to mind? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


7. Listening to what God is saying to you in the Scriptures is a skill that you can develop with practice. But unlike many skills, it doesn't come by trying harder but by trying softer — by relaxing and just allowing God to speak to you through the Holy Spirit. It also comes from having a right understanding of how the Lord sees you. How do you believe Jesus looks at you right now? Is He frustrated, frowning? Is He delighted with you? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


8. In Romans 12:2, Paul writes, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." What do you think "the renewing of your mind" means? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Study It

In this section, you will reflect on a Bible passage in which Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha. As you read, it is important to keep in mind that Jesus was close friends with these two sisters, as He was with their brother, Lazarus. Also notice that it was Martha who opened their home to Jesus. In the culture of that time, she would have been expected to provide hospitality to her guests, and she would have expected her sister to help her with the preparations.

9. Read the following passage aloud. Then spend several minutes in silence rereading the passage and picturing yourself in the scene. You can put yourself in the place of one of the characters—Mary, Martha, one of the male disciples accompanying Jesus—or you can be in the room watching. ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lords feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

—Luke 10:38–42


Ask God to show you what He wants you to see in the passage. Use your senses to imagine the scene. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Does Jesus look at you? Say anything to you? What do you feel when He speaks to each person? What are His tone of voice and facial expressions when He speaks? Write some notes about what you have recognized through this exercise. ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


10. When you sat in silence with this Scripture passage, how easy was it for you to relax in Jesus' Presence? Where did your mind go? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


11. If you re meeting with a group, share your experience. Where did you put yourself in the story? What insights did you have? How was this like or unlike the way you usually approach the Bible? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


12. What might Jesus be impressing on your heart through this Scripture passage? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


13. If you're meeting with a group, how can the members pray for you? If you're using this study on your own, what would you like to say to God right now? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Live It

At the end of each session you'll find suggested Scripture readings for spending time alone with God during five days of the coming week. Each day will deal with this week's theme of God's Presence with those who are teachable, like Mary of Bethany. Read the passage slowly, pausing to think about what is being said. Rather than approaching this as an assignment to complete, think of it as an opportunity to meet with a Person. Use any of the questions that are helpful.


Day 1

Read Joshua 1:5–9. Reread it aloud and put yourself into the scene. God has just given Joshua a new and difficult task. What expression is on Joshua's face as God speaks? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


With what tone of voice does God speak? What does He say? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


How do these words affect Joshua? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


How do you respond as you hear God say this to him? How teachable are you in this moment? Write down whatever seems significant for you to remember. ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Day 2

Read Isaiah 30:20–22. The word "teachers" in verse 20 can be translated as "Teacher" (esv), the supreme Teacher. Has God given you the bread of adversity? If so, how is this passage reassuring? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Why do you think the voice is behind the one who yearns to do God's will? How will hearing this voice affect what you do? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Are there any idols that you need to throw away? How will you ask God to help you hear His voice of guidance? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Day 3

Read Psalm 25:4–5 several times. What does the psalmist ask God to do? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Why do you suppose this is a good thing to pray for? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


What does being teachable have to do with experiencing God's Presence? What would it take for your hope to be in the Lord all day long? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Expand the psalmist's prayer into your own prayer. What do you ask for? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Day 4

Read Isaiah 50:4–9. What do you think a "well-instructed tongue" (verse 4) means? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


What posture does this well-instructed servant of the Lord have toward God? What attitudes does he have toward hostile people? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Do you ever have to deal with people who condemn you—or even a voice you hear in your head? How could taking this servant's posture help you with those condemning voices? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


What does this passage move you to ask from God? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Day 5

Read Psalm 31:19–20 several times. What promise is given? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


What do you think it means to be hidden in God's Presence? How do you suppose that works? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


What does this passage move you to say to God? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________

CHAPTER 2

SESSION 2

God's Presence Restores You


Consider It

As much as we want to experience Gods Presence, we often shy away from Him. We know we re unworthy in and of ourselves to approach Him. His Presence reminds us of our smallness and sinfulness.

If we have put our faith in Christ, though, we are clothed in His worthiness. Because Jesus died for us, we don't have to try to be good enough—His goodness is all we will ever need. Reminding ourselves of that will help us to stop running away from God and draw closer to Him.

In this session, we'll address this common barrier that often keeps us from seeking God's Presence.

1. When you were a child, how important was it to the adults around you that you perform well? How did they let you know that? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


2. [2. On a scale of 1 to 5, how aware are you of your sinfulness most of the time?

1     2
3     4
5
Not at all aware
Deeply aware

How aware are you of your sinfulness when you sit down to pray?

1     2
3     4
5
Not at all aware
Deeply aware


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Experiencing God's Presence by Sarah Young, Karen Lee-Thorp. Copyright © 2015 Sarah Young. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Session 1 God's Presence Invites You Luke 10:38-42 1

Session 2 God's Presence Restores You Luke 5:1-11 15

Session 3 God's Presence Strengthens You Genesis 16:7-13 29

Session 4 God's Presence Brings You Peace Matthew 8:23-27 43

Session 5 God's Presence Awes You Isaiah 6:1-8 57

Session 6 God's Presence Saves You John 19:23-30 73

Session 7 God's Presence Gives You Joy John 20:11-18 89

Session 8 God's Presence Empowers You Matthew 28:16-20 103

Leader's Notes 117

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