Welcome back to the Bible Cafe™ as we continue Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby. We have been joining the online Bible study groups this week. Have you observed a powerful energy and Holy Spirit presence? Praise God we have the resources to meet. Regardless of geographic location, busy schedules, ailments, and other challenges- we show up! Having your voice in the conversation adds value for everyone in the study group.

I hope that you are enjoying this study are much as we are! Exciting things happen when we “Experience God” – hold on tight and enjoy the ride. This is just the beginning.

When I am living God-centered, I am attentive to the tools He has given me. Prayer, Bible, Fellowship, Worship, and Communion. Then I lean into these tools…and lean away from me-centered things. When studying this theme, I looked up Bible keywords to help me understand the meaning. So I looked up selfish, selfish ambition, and unselfish. These keywords are in Scripture.

James 3:16 NIV says, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” This is the opposite of a God-centered life.

Psalm 81:12 NIV says, “So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.” Let’s look up the modern definition of “stubbornness.” It means, dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something. Given the definition, then we need to ask ourselves: Why am I determined that MY WAY (or insert a person’s name) is better than GOD’S WAY?

To guard my heart, I do not follow crowds. I don’t follow movements, opinions, or social politics. I stay in my boat…with Jesus!

And our comfort level can be “insecurity” because that’s easier than courage. God does not call us to be timid!

Our plans tend to be people-pleasing. We see a BOX that was created by parents, teachers, bosses, and priests. Going with God sometimes requires us to move outside the box (like Abraham when God said move your tents). To be obedient to God’s will…pick up your tent even if it displeases those “box people”

You cant experience God …living somebody else’s vision for you.

You can’t experience God…being a replica or clone of your mother.

Blackaby writes, “God will probably not give you a detailed schedule, He will let you know one step at a time how you and your church need to respond to what He is doing.” I am experiencing this currently, and there is so much JOY in the journey. It’s not my timing, it is His. As I walk one step at a time… I am seeing the blessings within

Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil. Psalm 119:133 NLT

To walk with God I had to stop carrying the weight of shame. I had to stop listening to the opinions of others. I had to set myself apart from popular themes and things…and be OKAY with having an identity anchored to Christ.

When I started the Bible Cafe back in 2009 and met a friend for coffee, she sat across the table and said to me “Christine, you must be a bored housewife if you are going to lead online studies.” UM…no. God had equipped me, called me, and directed me. So I let that friendship dissolve.

Get out a pen and paper and write down the names of anyone who is holding you back from God’s will for your life! Pray over the name(s) and ask God to direct your steps in that relationship. Maybe you need some distance? Maybe you need to confront the person? Maybe you need to stop people pleasing and start God Pleasing. Maybe you need a Christian therapist to help you set boundaries.

Impatience, according to Blackaby, can lead to mistakes in knowing God’s will. We see this example in the Bible when Sara wanted a baby, so she told her husband Abram to sleep with her maid (Genesis 16:2). Lot’s daughters wanted babies, so they got dad drunk and “did the deed” to get pregnant. (Genesis 19:36) Mistakes.

Jesus says, “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (John 8:47 NIV).

Let us follow Jesus. Daily.