Part 2 – New Life
Sometimes, life throws you a curveball. How confident are you that God is on your side? That He has a good plan for you? This week, we’ll learn that with our new lives in Christ comes God's favor, His Spirit, and new purpose for our lives.
What you will need: A Bible or your Bible app, a notebook, pen, and highlighter. The verses highlighted below are linked so that you can easily access them during your study time.
1. How well do you know what your friends and family members want for Christmas? If you know, is it because they told you or made a list? Or because you listen and remember what they needed?
2. Read Luke 1:26-31. What things do you notice about this interaction? Does it sound like Good News to you? How would you have handled this appearance of an angel?
3. Read Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11, Luke 12:6-7, and John 20:21. What do you know about you from these verses? What do you know about God?
4. Read Luke 1:34-35,37-38, John 16:13 and 20:22. What was Mary's initial response in verse 34 and how is that different than the response you might have had? Why do you think Gabriel's response, especially verse 37, was enough explanation for Mary? Would it be enough for you? Is there a situation in your life right now that you just do not understand? How can the John passages impact your perspective on situations in your life?
5. Read Matthew 5:8, Psalm 5:12, and 2 Corinthians 9:8. We know Mary was “highly favored.” Do you feel “highly favored” and “blessed”? Does this have anything to do with your circumstances?
6. Action Steps: The message told the stories of both Mary and John O’Leary. Both are highly favored by God, just as you are. Here are some possible actions steps for you, depending on your current situation:
a. Daily repeat: “I am highly favored, and God is with me. God affirms me.”
b. If you are in the middle of a struggle, remember God can use your story. Read 2 Corinthians 1:4-5. Start using your story and past to comfort someone else.
c. If you do not feel “righteous” or “worthy” of God’s favor, examine yourself. Are you sure of your salvation? If so, Jesus has already made you right with God. If not, check out this link.
d. If you are living with some ongoing sin that you just don’t even want to deal with, first ask God for the power to want to change. Then confess it, repent and turn from that sin, ask God to forgive you and give you the power to resist it. Claim this promise: 1 John 1:8-9.
Let's continue exploring “the Lord’s favor” and how to recognize and walk in it in our own lives.
7. Read Psalm 5:12, Proverbs 8:35, and Luke 4:18-19. Who does the Lord bless with His favor, according to these verses? How do you get into this category of favored?
8. Read Psalm 84:11 and 2 Chronicles 16:9. The Bible tells us in these two verses that God knows and rewards with favor, honor, and strong support those who are diligently following Him. What do you think it means to “walk uprightly” or to have a “blameless heart” towards God?
9. Read Joshua 3:5 and Lamentations 3:25. Consecration means “set apart.” How can we, as Christians, set ourselves apart, believe in, expect, and seek God’s favor?
10. King David said, “I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise” (Psalm 119:58, ESV). When the Israelites made a golden calf and sinned against God, Moses “sought the favor of the Lord” (Exodus 32:11, NIV). He prayed God’s promises over His people. He begged God’s favor on behalf of the people and God was merciful. How can you, like King David and Moses, seek God’s favor more earnestly in your own life? How can you intercede for God’s favor in other people’s lives? How do these verses remind us that prayer activates God’s favor and promises to us?