Bible Study – Proclaiming Change

LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE…..embrace CHANGE in your LIFE…..LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE….. embrace CHANGE in your LIFE…..LIFE is a

bible-for-study-mfBible Study
Proclaiming Change
“The End is the Beginning”

Definition of Proclaiming Change: announcing officially that something is not the same as it previously was – declaring publicly the new thing that is taking place in one’s life whether it be physical or spiritual

Master Key Verse: You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the promises of Him. – I Peter 2:9 NKJV

Upon the completion of the first six steps of change, we come to the final step of Proclaiming Change. God wastes nothing in our lives. The lessons we learn are to be shared with others who are encountering similar experiences, and that is the reason for these blogs and Bible study posts. We have all encountered experiences when it felt like we were stumbling upon stones and other experiences when it felt like we were walking on water. How the journey is walked out is just as important as the destination. Be ready to proclaim how you have walked through the changes of various journeys during your life.

I shared about the meaning of the colors of traffic lights in my blog today. Now let’s look for traffic lights in scripture. I will share what each light has meant to me and offer you the opportunity to consider what each light signifies for you. Throughout the study, I will ask you some questions for personal meditation.

Traffic Lights in the Bible

Red light: Stop
Key Verse: The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it. – I Thessalonians 5:24
Stop trying to proclaim whatever you are trying to proclaim under your own power. God is faithful and He will do it through you.

We had moved into our new home and I was now able to settle into a daily routine that included some quiet time with the Lord each morning. I sat at a favorite spot at my desk in front of the windows in our guest room. I had unpacked three of Bruce Wilkerson’s little books and placed them on the corner of the desk where they were decorative. I decided I would reread The Prayer of Jabez rather than just look at it. I found it speaking to me personally about what might be ahead for me in our new home.

Read I Chronicles 4:9-10
Jabez ask of the Lord for four things:
(1) For the Lord to bless him
(2) For his territory enlarged
(3) For the Lord’s hand be with him
(4) That he be kept from harm and pain

My Reader, which one of these requests speaks more personally to you?

The request that spoke most loudly to me was Jabez asking for the enlargement of his territory. God had answered Jabez’s request for him to be blessed, but more importantly Jabez wanted to share his blessings throughout an enlarged territory. He wanted to extend God’s blessings to others and not just keep them for himself. Now I was living in new territory where I did not know anyone.  I was surrounded by a whole new area of influence and I wanted to introduce myself to new neighbors. Did my new neighbors also need to be introduced to the Lord? God had blessed us with a new home and now I wanted to share God’s blessings with the people in our new territory. However, I did not know how God wanted me to accomplish this. One stage of my life’s journey was coming to an end, but I did not yet know what specifically was to come. Later I would come to see that the end was the beginning, but for now I was ready to obey the red signal light and stop.

My Reader, think about your choice of the part of the prayer of Jabez that spoke most personally to you. Any one of these requests is worthy of a red stop light. Our God is faithful to answer our prayers, but it is not uncommon for us to need to remain on our knees for a period of time. Do not end your communications with God too quickly or you may miss the beginning of the answer. Red lights are not a waste of time.

Note that the end of I Chronicles 4:10 says that God granted Jabez his request. What God did for Jabez, He will do for you when you desire to honor Him. Honor the Lord by stopping at His red lights and spending time with Him. In a little book entitled Jesus Calling, Sarah Young writes about hearing the Lord tell her to give her mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. STOP! Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to take charge of the details. We must remember we are on a journey with God.

Yellow light: Wait
Key Verse: the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter. Ecclesiastes 8:5b-6a
Wait for God’s anointing for the proper time and procedure for what you proclaim.

My Reader, what are you waiting for – God’s blessing, a larger territory of influence, a touch of the Master’s hand, protection from harm, or something else? Whatever the specifics may be, you need to wait for the Lord’s anointing.

Read Luke 4:18,19
Jesus had to wait until he was 30 years old to receive the anointing that Isaiah prophesied approximately 700 years earlier.

There are five things that Jesus would do because of the anointing:
(1) Preach good news to the poor
(2) Proclaim freedom for the prisoners
(3) Recover sight for the blind
(4) Release the oppressed
(5) Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

Again, let us listen to God speak to us through Sarah Young in Jesus Calling. “Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step.”

Before God can pour out His anointing upon you, there may be other changes He desires to orchestrate. He may need to work in the hearts of those to whom you will minister. There may even be work He needs to do within your own heart. In I Peter 5:5,6
we are told that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Peter tells us that if we humble ourselves, God will lift us up in due time. While we wait at the yellow lights in our lives we are waiting for the “due time” when God will move. We must not move until He moves.

John the Baptist is a good example of a man anointed by God for a specific purpose who ministered with a humble heart. In John 3:30 John the Baptist says regarding Jesus, “He must become greater. I must become less.” In a sense, John is saying, “the end is the beginning.” It took great humility for him to step back from his ministry and allow Jesus to fulfill the ministry for which he was anointed. (For more details regarding John the Baptist and his attitude towards his ministry read Matthew 3:13-17; John 1:14-15;29-34)

My Reader, is the Lord flashing a yellow light in your life today? Use this time to draw closer to Him. (see James 4:6-10) Wait for an outpouring of grace that will anoint you for God’s plans and purposes.

Was there a yellow light in my life? Yes. After I had read the book about the prayer of Jabez and I had asked God to increase my territory, nothing seemed to happen immediately. As I sat at my desk in front of the window where I had read the book, I now prayed for the people in every car I would see go by, but there was no visible territory increase. At that time I was working two days a week as our church secretary and both my husband and I went about our usual routines. Then suddenly it seemed like it was time for me to leave my position at the church. I was encountering another change and found myself experiencing all the steps of change in my life’s journey once again! One day I was having a conversation (praying) with the Lord and was telling Him that I felt guilty about leaving this job so soon after our move to this area. One of the reasons we moved here was for me to be closer to work. The Lord impressed upon me that I thought we moved here for my job, but rather He had used the job to get us into the house He desired for other reasons yet to be revealed. This insight was both humbling and exciting. The end was the beginning in regards not only to our move to this area but also in regards to how I would use my time. The anointing for me to be in this secretarial position had lifted. Since then, new opportunities have become available that both my husband and I are enjoying, but I also remain open for more new things. I desire to live my life in a state of readiness to receive a new anointing for whatever God has in store. I ask the Lord to work in my life in a way to prepare me for new beginnings. My desire is to proclaim what He has done, is doing, and will do during my journey of life.

Green light: Go
Key Verse: you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” ­ James 4:15
Go and proclaim what the Lord reveals to you as being His will for you to proclaim. At the end of Jesus’ earthly life, there was the beginning of a new commission for the lives of His followers.

Read Matthew 28:18-20 (The Great Commission)
As the disciples “Go,” they are to do three things:
(1) Make disciples of all nations
(2) Baptize the new disciples in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
(3) Teach the new disciples to obey everything Jesus had commanded them

My Reader, do you personally hear God telling you to go and do any of these 3 aspects of discipleship?

Just as the disciples sensed that the green light still had some yellow remaining, I experienced the same thing. There was a point when I was compiling this complete study that I thought I had the outlines for all of the chapters. I went for a walk praising God for all He had shown me. Suddenly I sensed in my spirit that the Lord was telling me to go and proclaim. The Lord was giving me the beginning of the chapter regarding Proclaiming Change. This chapter had not been planned originally. For me, the places referred to in Acts 1:8 as being “from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth” became  “from the spot by my desk to wherever the Lord may lead me.” My mind was no longer focused only on our church, but my eyes looked toward our neighborhood, the town of Henrietta and surrounding areas. The subdivision in which we live is known as Harvest Hills. The scriptures of Jesus talking with His disciples about the harvest fields and the need for workers in these fields came to mind. (Read Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 10:1-3; John 4:34-38) I desire to be a worker in the harvest fields. Currently, my husband and I are “going” by volunteering in various places and I am still enjoying opportunities through blogging to teach and share God’s Word. The Lord is showing me that the end is the beginning. There is a sense of completion at the end of one part of God’s journey, and there is a sense of anticipation at the beginning of new opportunities. According to I Peter 2:9, I know I am part of a chosen generation to proclaim the praises of God!

My Reader,do you have a green light in your life? What is it?

Biblical Beginnings and Endings

In Isaiah 46:10 God says, “I have made known the end from the beginning.” Consequently, God knows the stopping and starting points of all changes we experience on our journey of life.

When you encounter a green light for a new beginning, be patient. Job 8:7 says “Your beginnings will seem humble” and Zechariah 4:10 says, “Who despises the day of small things?” So, do not despise the day of small beginnings, but humbly obey God’s promptings of whether to stop, wait or go.

With “The End is the Beginning” being the theme of this study, let us look at various scriptures that confirm that the Lord is the Beginning and the End of all things.

Revelation 22:13  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Isaiah 41:4 – Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord – with the first of them and with the last – I am He.

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Revelation 1:17b-18a – Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One, I was dead, band behold I am alive for ever and ever!

Revelation 1:8 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Philippians 1:6 – He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Let us take one last look at our phrase “the End is the Beginning”, but this time let us consider the opposite possibility. In the book The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels,  he quotes author Henri Amiel as saying, “the stationary condition is the beginning of the end.” Hybels relates this to spiritual growth but we can also apply it to our progress regarding change while on our life’s journey. If we stay in a stationary condition we will no longer be on a journey. If we do not allow “the end to be the beginning” the result will be that “the beginning will be the end.” We will never move forward. The choice is ours: either “the end is the beginning” or “the beginning is the end”.

Conclusion

Key Verse: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. – Hebrews 12:2
We must keep our eyes on Jesus to see what color traffic light He is signaling to us. He is not only the author and perfecter of our faith, but of our journeys as well.

Whether you look at the whole road map of your journey or you only look at the destinations you may encounter on any given day, you will encounter traffic lights signaling for you to stop, wait or go. No matter where you may be, God will have chosen you to proclaim something to someone. At the end of one proclamation there will be the opportunity for the beginning of another. You must wait for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to know when to go and when to stop. However, one thing will always be constant and that is that the Lord will always be with you.

“Proclaiming Change” – all of us will do it! Be obedient to what color of God’s traffic light is illuminated for you at any given time.

Remember our Master Key Verse: You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the promises of Him. – I Peter 2:9 NKJV

One final verse to meditate upon is Isaiah 43:10,11 “You are my witnesses (ones who proclaim) declares the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no savior.”

My Reader, you are chosen to proclaim! What are you chosen to proclaim and to whom are to proclaim it?

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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