We just finished reading unit three of Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby, welcome back Everyone! We noticed more women joined the Bible Cafe™ this week. There are women around the world participating in this online Bible study. Some of you are reading independently, some are joining Facebook small groups, and some are joining the discussions through Zoom at Bible Cafe™ University.

The groups have balanced out with “regulars’ in attendance each week. In Zoom groups with phone/video, many of you are making new friends. Because we see your faces and hear your voices, it feels like a “cafe” where friends and family meet. We’re having deep and meaningful conversations.

Facebook groups are wonderful too. We have been using this social learning format for 10+ years. If you are unable to find the Bible Cafe™ group, save it to your “favorites list.” Or save the URL so you can find it each week.

Sometimes Facebook hides our content. Sometimes Facebook deletes our content. Be patient and use perseverance. Try looking in the group “media” tab and find your small group photo. Or use the group “search-box” and type the name of your leader or the group number. Our leaders are doing their absolute BEST to overcome the technical challenges of the social learning platform. Pray, pray, and pray!

In Experiencing God unit three, you learned about how God pursues a loving relationship with you. He is a Living God…not someone in a history book that you pick up and read about. God is real, present and He pursues you. His love never changes and His love never fails.

Blackaby writes, “God created you for a love relationship. He has been pursuing you in that love relationship.” First observation, this is a verb. An action word. So God is actively moving, in a specific direction, which includes me. I LOVE that thought.

Read John 14:21. Bible scholars believe when a word is repeated in the same verse, readers need to pay attention.

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:21 NIV

 Satan will try to convince us that we are unloved, or not worthy of love. So Jesus comes into the Pharisee-saturated atmosphere and shows us…we ARE loved.

 Blackaby writes, “God did not create you for time: He created you for eternity.” Pray over that statement. What does it mean for you?  I enjoy Living for today, and knowing that my relationship with God is accessible on earth and in Heaven.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 NIV

Look at Moses and David and their past sins. They sinned against God and even killed men, but they did not identify themselves by their past. Nope. God gives both men a NEW purpose, courage, identity, and relationship. Eternal!

We talked about this in Zoom today. You cannot let your childhood religion- sometimes rooted in shame or impurity- define your CURRENT relationship with God. Today you have wisdom and tools from spiritual maturity

Your mom, grandma, sister, father, uncle, or aunt CANNOT identify you “in God’s image” because only GOD can do this for you. He is the one who reflects Christ in you. Let go of how other people define you (and your faith). Those people do not have the keys to hell… God does. So let HIM judge and tell the truth and heal you. Seek a Christian therapist for helpful resources.

In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul gives three instructions: forget what is behind, strain toward what is ahead, and press on toward the goal.