Want to learn more about Glimpses of God? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.
When I first started using computers I was frustrated.
I wanted to know how they worked internally. Anyone can type and
print a document, just like anyone can drive a car. But, what is
happening “under the hood?” To answer that question I did some
reading and, with the direction of my young son, built a computer.
Now, I am satisfied that I know the essentials even though my
knowledge is far from complete. Our lesson this week is like that.
We will learn some essentials about Jesus and the Trinity, but
complete knowledge is simply beyond our grasp. Because I do not think
you can be a Christian without being a Trinitarian, let’s dive into
our Bibles and see what we can learn!
Last week I wrote that you were not a Christian if you
did not believe in the Trinity. By that I meant a Christian must
believe that Jesus is fully God. This week we study another central
teaching of the Bible – that God spoke the world into existence. The
world did not evolve, and God did not “supervise” chance and natural
selection. In what ways does a belief in the Creation matter? Let’s
plunge into our Bibles and find out!
Imagine that you are a mugger. You get excitement from
hitting people over the head, and you profit from stealing their
money. Imagine further two alternatives. First, that the police, if
they catch you, simply ask you to apologize, and then they let you
go. Or, second, that you have a very rich uncle who, when you are
caught, makes everything right at his own expense. How would you
view your mugging habit? You would not take the problem very
seriously, right? We do not need to imagine that we are muggers,
for in fact we all are in some sense. Our sins damage others and
cost them money. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and consider
our problem and our need for a Redeemer!
This week we study two aspects of our God: grace and
judgment. If you read a few texts about judgment – and most refer to
a judgment based on works – you might begin to wonder how grace and
judgment can fit comfortably within the same gospel. In fact, I’ve
long been concerned that Jesus often refers to a judgment based on
works while Paul has a steady theme of salvation by grace. Can we
fit those two ideas together? If so, how? Let’s dive into our Bible
study and see what we can learn!
The Bible tells us repeatedly that God is holy. What
does that mean? This is not a question meant only to tickle our
mind, because God commands us in both the Old and New Testaments of
the Bible to be holy as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16; Leviticus
11:44.) If we don’t understand what it means for God to be holy, we
are not going to be able to understand an important goal for our
life. Let’s see if we can figure this out by plunging, once again,
into our study of the Bible!
Our previous study was the book of Galatians, and that
gave us an attitude of “law versus grace.” Such an attitude will
lead us astray unless we open our eyes to the bigger picture. Look
around the world at the countries governed by law and compare them
with countries governed by whatever the ruler decides at the moment.
Countries subject to “the rule of law” are more prosperous and more
free. Religious freedom, our most important freedom, only exists in
those countries which operate under the rule of law. If your idea
of “grace” is that you do whatever you think best at the moment,
then you have badly missed the point of God’s law. Let’s dive into
our study of the Bible to learn more about God’s law.
Last week we discussed that God’s law is intended to
be a blessing to humans, not something to trip us up. One great
blessing of the law is the Sabbath. When I was in law school, the
competition was fierce. Not only was law school inherently a lot of
hard work, but students knew that the quality of the job they would
secure after law school depended upon their class rank. After my
first year, my school reacted to the pressure by not releasing our
class rank! I had my own safe harbor, the Sabbath. On it I would not
do any school work – and I was able to take a break without feeling
guilty! It was wonderful. God blessed my faithfulness and gave me
excellent grades. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn
more about the Sabbath.
What is “Creation Care?” I shower daily, brush my
teeth twice a day, floss, eat and exercise. Is that the sum of
creation care? If you say that is too narrow a look at creation, I
will tell you that I mow my lawn when needed and trim the bushes
around my house. If you say that is “still too narrow,” why is that
true? If all took care of their own stuff, then creation would be
cared for, right? These days the cutting edge of environmentalism is
not so much about the relatively uncontroversial matter of everyone
taking care of their own stuff, it is about the relative importance
of humans in the greater world. Are we entitled to be “selfish”
when it comes to the rest of the creation? Let’s dive into our
Bibles and find out what God has to say about the subject!
One of the most interesting topics is the apparent
conflict between human free-will and the foreknowledge of God. This
is not one of those subjects that is fun to debate, but makes
absolutely no difference in life. Instead, this is an issue that
goes to the heart of the gospel story. Let me give you an example.
If God knew that Jesus would not sin and would defeat Satan at the
cross, then God did not risk His Kingdom to save us. If God knew
that Jesus would not sin, then how could Jesus have sinned? This
suggests that Jesus was not tempted like we are tempted. Let’s
plunge into our study of the Bible and see if we can find some
How is your prayer life? If you are like me, I’ve
struggled over the years with exactly how I should pray. These
days, I think that I am in some sense “in tune” with God during much
of the day. It is hard to describe, but it is looking for what God
has in mind as various situations arise. On the other hand, except
for my morning walk on the beach, I don’t spend a lot of time in
focused, formal prayer. Clearly, I’ve got a lot to learn and I’ll
bet you do too. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and examine
what Jesus teaches us about prayer!
Think about looking at a beautiful painting, a
beautiful sunset, a beautiful vista, a beautiful car or a beautiful
person. How can we say all of these are beautiful? They have more
differences than similarities. What is it about them that we call
beauty? For me, the beauty in all of these different things is that
I take pleasure in looking at them. Sometimes the pleasure seems
like rest, in others the pleasure seems more like excitement. Our
lesson this week investigates the artist side of God – the beauty
that is part of the personality of God. Let’s plunge into our study
of the Bible and find out more!
This week we take another glimpse into God’s character
and consider another improbable creation: romantic love. Last week
we looked at beauty, and considered how a car, a person, a painting
and a vista could all be beautiful. We decided that what beauty has
in common in these things is to give us pleasure. What does
romantic love give us? Pleasure! Can you recall the early stages of
love (or infatuation)? It gave you an energy. A pleasure. Joy.
How is this a part of God’s character? Why would He create such a
thing – especially since it is also the source of so much trouble?
Let’s dive into our Bible and find out more!
Silly scientists. They keep making failed predictions
about the end of the world. When one prediction turns out to be
wrong, they make another based on some different event. When I was
young, they predicted an ice age where life would freeze. When I was
old, they predicted global warming where life would burn up. They
must be an ignorant and easily led faith group to keep predicting
things that have never happened in recorded history. Wait! Isn’t
that what they say about Christians? That we keep predicting the
end of the world because we are ignorant and easily led? Are we
exactly the same as the silly scientists? Let’s plunge into our
study of the Bible and find out!