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Last week, we looked at 9 lies that will mess you up.  This week, we journey about 10 Truths that will BLESS you up.  Not only does this week’s emphasis cover 10 important conversations that are life-changing, each day also reveals a “piece of the puzzle.”  Once you put all 4 days worth of “pieces” together, you will have the answer to the puzzle.  THE FIRST 7 STUDENTS THAT SOLVE THE PUZZLE WILL WIN A PRIZE ($10 Chick-Fil-A gift card!).

10 Truths Contest  is simple:

#1) Read only 1 day’s worth of content at a time (for instance, you aren’t allowed to read all 4 days at once in order to solve the puzzle) ~~~ just read one day at a time like you would normally do.  Refocus will go live on Monday, so you can begin on Monday if you choose.
 

#2) WE WILL ONLY TAKE ANSWERS BEGINNING ON THURSDAY.  Any answers that come in earlier than Thursday will be disqualified (Note:  See #1 above!)

 

#3) Once you solve the puzzle, you can email, text or call with your answer.   Again, no answers accepted earlier than Thursday…..

 

Text or Call:  (615) 806 9574 [yes, my area code is 615]
Email:  mike.smith@thelambschapel.org

 

#4) To solve the puzzle, read each of the 4 days of Refocus (one day at a time).  Each day will have a word (or words) that has 2 asterisks beside it.  Put all those words together to make one sentence ………then find the answer to the sentence in the Bible reference that will be provided.  For instance, if you see a word that looks like this ……………  truth**, then you know that “truth” is one of the words in the sentence.  Put all the words together (in the order that they came in) and you’ve got the sentence - go to the Bible reference to find the answer to the sentence….

10 Truths That Help Us in a 1,000 Ways

 
OK, let’s get started.  Here are “10 truths that will bless you up.” Tomorrow (Day 2) we will begin unpacking these truths.

All of these truths are life-changing & everyone (including you & me) needs these truths to help us successfully navigate life.  Or, if you want to fail, then just ignore them….(we don’t recommend that decision!!) The truth** is that truth matters!  It matters more than we know it matters.  Here’s Truth #1:

 

What God says about me is more important than what people think about me

 

That’s worth repeating…..before you read further, would you read that sentence out loud to yourself (3 times)?  Try it ~ it actually makes you feel better….. “what God says about me is more important than what people think about me.”  

 

Which one of these 3 statements is the correct way (biblical way) to view ourselves?

#1   live out of an identity based on how God sees us
#2   live out of an identity based on how others see us
#3   live out of an identity based on how we see ourselves

(The answer is #1 – we are to view ourselves as God sees us). 

We live in a world that continuously screams poisonous words at us: 
“YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.   You aren’t good enough.  You aren’t smart enough.  You aren’t accepted enough.  You aren’t rich enough.  You aren’t pretty enough.  You aren’t handsome enough.  You aren’t talented enough.  You are not educated enough.  You are not wanted.  You are not accepted.  We don’t like your looks.  We don’t like your friends.  We don’t like your clothes.  We don’t like your last name.  YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.”  

Those heartless, thoughtless words can crush your spirit and slice your heart, if you let it.  We’ve all heard them.  We’ve all felt them.  And what’s worse, so often we believe the unkind and untrue words of people.  

We allow what they think about us to dictate what we think about ourselves.  Danger:  We allow what they say to mean more than what God says.  

We often fail to listen to those who love us and have our best interest at heart.  And we intently focus on the poisonous words and attitudes that flow from the lips of those who seem to act like our enemies (that includes what we hear and read on social media, TV & the movies).  

You are so worried about what someone else thinks of you.  Here’s a needed warning:  People will try to convince you that the only way you will ever “be enough” is
--if you do what they want you to do

 

– if you will think like they want you to think
– if you will act like they want you to act.  


They want to mold you into their image of you – and it’s a mess-up mold!

One key that always helps us is simply this: Understanding and “replaying” in our minds HOW GOD SEES US and what God says about us (instead of embracing what the world and others say about us!).  

What God says about me is more important than what people think about me


So, what does God say about you?  Take some time and write down at least 7 things that God says about you. First, read the verses & then write down what God says about you in the verses…..

 

Think about this for a minute:  17  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!) ~ Psalm 139:17.  GOD IS THINKING ABOUT YOU AT THIS VERY MOMENT!!!!!!  And what HE thinks about you and what HE says about you is waaayyyyyyyyyyy more important than what other people think about you!

Day 2: 

Here’s the statement from Day One:

What God says about me is more important than what people think about me 

 

This week is about the 10 Truths that will BLESS you up.  Before we go on to Truth #2………..

 

…… in Day One, did you find that one word that is the 1st word in the sentence (that will help you solve the puzzle)?  The completed sentence will only be 5 words and Day One has the 1st word of the sentence (that word with the 2 asterisks beside it!).  Today (Day Two) contains the 2nd word of the sentence…..

 

Take a look at this next incredible truth:

#2: There is a God and I am NOT Him

Write down what you think that means!

OK, you are right, it means several important things.  But two things it means is this:  First: My job is not to be God.  My job is to be the person that God created me to be!

Second: I am not in control of life - I am in control of my decisions and what I choose        to do with this life that God has entrusted to me!

Here’s a suggestion.  Write down those 2 statements on an index card and tape that card in a spot where you will** see it and read it (like maybe the bathroom mirror).  Leave that card up for 1 week, making sure that you read these 2 statements each day for 7 days.  

 

Truth #3: God is really good even when life is really bad

 

Are you ready for this?  If you will understand and apply this truth NOW in your life, it will save you a world of hurt later down the road.  That is one powerful truth!!  Maybe you’ve heard people say this to one another:  God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

 

I like the way that Jonathan McReynolds sang that truth….Take a look at this video clip:

We will unpack this truth more at another time, but it’s important to live the reality that even when life is “bad” - GOD IS STILL GOOD.  God never creates harm and He’s not the Author of bringing pain and suffering in our lives (pain and suffering originates from our Enemy (Satan) and from within the sinful heart of people.  

Check out this verse (Psalm 100:5):  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love ENDURES forever and His faithfulness to all generations.

 

Truth #4     God has great plans for me! (for now and for forever)

 

Truth #4 makes better sense when you understand/believe truth #3 —- Truth #3 says that God is good (always) and since He is always good, it makes sense that His plans for you are also good/great (Truth #4).  

 

Take a minute and write down 2 or 3 thoughts from what Jeremiah told us a long  time ago:

 

Your thoughts? 

~~~~~~~

 

By the way, did you find that one word in today’s session
which is the 2nd word in the sentence?

 

Day 3:

Truth #5: God is a better “Compass” for my life than our culture is

 

Look at this picture:

What you see here is a time-lapse of the stars in the sky. Every night at the same time, a photographer set** his camera in the same position and takes a picture. From night to night, the pictures look sort of the same. But as time goes on, if you overlap the pictures, it seems that the stars are moving! (technically the earth is the one that’s moving and the stars are staying the same, but that’s neither here nor there)

 

But if you look closely, you’ll see that one of these stars isn’t really moving. This is the north star. Sailors used to use this star as a sort of compass because the star always pointed north. 

 

God is like our north star. Even though we go through different seasons of our lives, God stays the same. Our society is like the rest of those stars. Some of them are closer than others, but every single one of them changes over time. 

 

Presidents and Prime Ministers will change for better and for worse. Wars will be won or lost. Seasons will change from now until the end of this world. But Jesus Christ will stay the same forever and ever!

 

Truth #6: God gave me a Bible not just to inform me, but to transform me!

 

Jesus didn’t come to this world to make bad people good, or to make dumb people smart; Jesus came to make dead people alive through His sacrifice and through His Word. Jesus doesn’t ask that we just listen to what He has to say and then make good decisions and act on our best behavior for the rest of our lives; He wants us to build our life off what He has to say!

 

Jesus said this in Matthew 7:  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

 

We are to build our lives on the teachings of Jesus! Picture this: if you have a house built on sand, how are you to move it onto another foundation? You can’t! You have to build a whole ‘nother house on the firm foundation!

 

Building your life on the teachings of Jesus isn’t about taking your life and making a couple little changes here and there. It’s about a brand new life - out with the old and in with the new!

 

Truth #7: God is Good

 

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear words like “Holy,” “Spiritual,” or “Righteous?” Chances are that some of you aren’t thinking great things. Maybe they’re not evil things, but they’re just not pleasant, or desirable things; maybe you think of a monk who eats grass and tree nuts and meditates all day sitting criss-cross applesauce.

 

For many people, holiness and righteousness are good things, but not really something they want for themselves. Somewhere along the line, some person, whether it be a preacher, a TV show, or a misguided friend, told you something that wasn’t true. These lies come from a belief that God isn’t good, or that God is boring.

 

Let me tell you the truth: God is good, and God is not boring!

 

Psalms 16 tells us this: “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore!”

 

Why do we allow ourselves to tricking us into thinking that if we give our lives to God, He’s going to make us miserable? Religion will make you miserable, but God sure won’t! Proverbs says that His blessing will make you rich, and He won’t add any sorrow to it. He wants to give you good things! He does not want you to be sad and depressed.

 

God is so good, and He wants to be so good to you!

Day 4: 

Truth #8: You have been forgiven

Maybe you’ve done some dumb things. Maybe you don’t think you’ve really done that much that needs forgiving. Many people don’t think they need forgiveness. 

A couple years ago, a reporter sat down with Donald Trump and asked him the question, “have you asked God for forgiveness?” He answered, “If I do something wrong, I do my best to try and make it right. I don't bring God into the picture.”

You’d be shocked with how many people agree with this line of thinking! So many people think that when you die, if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, then you’re all set! There’s a couple problems with this though:

 

  1. A few good deeds may outweigh a few bad deeds. But lets say that a rich man saved a million lives by donating most of his money to the poor. If he went out and killed a person, the judge doesn’t look at his goodness - he looks at the crime that’s been committed. His good deeds are meaningless, and he’s guilty of murder. A righteous judge would sentence him to prison. 
  2. When we sin against God, we are totally unable to “make it right” on our own. If you** went out and got covered in mud, you are totally incapable of making yourself clean; you need something clean to get the dirty off of you. You can’t take a muddy hand and wipe mud off your face and call yourself clean - you need a shower! 

 

Isaiah 64 says this: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

 

The Bible is very clear on this truth: we need forgiveness. Even if you don’t think you’ve done anything that needs forgiving, this applies to you. Romans 3:23 tells us that EVERYONE has sinned. There is not a single person alive today who has never sinned.

 

But there is good news! You don’t have to carry that weight of your sin anymore! You have been forgiven and freed. 2 Corinthians tells us that if you are in Christ, if you have made Him your Lord and Savior, that you are a brand new person; the old has gone and the new has come! 1 John also says this: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Confess your sins and be forgiven!

 

Truth #9: God loves you

 

Jesus plainly told us, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will** have eternal life.” 

 

But here’s the thing about love: you don’t say it, you have to show it. You have to experience God’s love! The way you do that is by talking to Him! I know my parents love me because when I was under their roof for 25 years, they cared for me, and showed me how much they loved me by how much they sacrificed, and all the work they did just to keep me well fed. 

 

In this same way, you need to experience God’s love, because Love is who He is - 1 John tells us this!

 

Jesus told us in John 15 that Love is spoken through sacrifice: “greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.” Every now and then, someone may give his life for a good person. But Jesus showed us His love by dying for us on a cross while we were still sinners; we were unworthy of His love, but He died a sinner’s death for us anyway!

 

When we draw near to God in faith, Ephesians 3 tells us that we can grasp just how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is! 

 

Truth #10: God doesn’t just love you; he likes you too

 

Have you ever gotten your tail whipped by your parents? Maybe you were horsing around the house and knocked over an expensive vase and broke it, and your parents spanked you. Maybe you let a bad word slip out and your mom spanked you and then washed your mouth out with soap. 

It doesn’t feel like love whenever you’re being punished or disciplined. A friend of mine said that when he was younger and had gotten into trouble, his mom said “I love you. But I do not like you right now.”

This is not how God is with us! In Matthew 23, Jesus says this: How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

It sounds to me like Jesus is wanting to give a great big hug! He is lamenting which means He’s sad, because He wants to pull His children close but His children won’t let Him. Does that sound like someone who doesn't like His kids?

 

God creatively and uniquely put you together. There is nobody else in 7 billion who is just like you in all the world! The closer you get to God, the more you will realize that God is not trying to fit you inside of any box. Your personality is not the sinfulness that God wants to get rid of. God wants to get rid of the pride, envy, lust and hatred that causes you to fall into sin. But the culprit here is your heart, not your personality. God wants to give you a new heart, but this doesn't mean a lifetime of only having Christian hobbies, wearing Christian clothing, listening to Christian music, eating Christian food, driving a Christian car, going to a Christian job, and only having Christian friends.

In other words: God doesn't want you to stop playing video games so that you can play sports instead; He doesn't want you to stop listening to Rock n' Roll so that you can start listening to country music; when you grow up, He doesn't want you to drive a pickup truck if you would rather drive a hybrid; He doesn't want you to stop wearing blue jeans and tee shirts so that you can wear slacks and polos instead; He doesn't want you to stop being YOU so that you can try and be somebody else; you are free** to be you! God likes you just the way you are!