“…Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” – Isaiah 43:4 (MSG).  

Have you ever wondered how God sees you? Perhaps interactions with others have shaped how you believe you’re viewed. But in His Word, God tells us exactly how loved and cherished we are.  Here’s what God sees: His dearly loved child who is wanted, valuable, secure, saved, and loved. He loves you and longs for you to see yourself as God sees you.

The truth is that God made each person a unique image of Himself and wants to see us fulfilling our potential.  Jesus loves us so much He gave His own life up for us to walk in the power of forgiveness as chosen children.  In Christ, we are made whole and complete and are given the task of working with God to further His kingdom.

 Isaiah 43:4, says, “I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” He loves us so much that He would sell off the whole world. The NIV version says, “…I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.” Think about that for a second and then reconsider how valuable you are to God. The Bible tells us God takes delight in us. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

When God looks at you, He sees the unique and precious child He created. He is right beside you in every step you take. God knows you right down to the number of hairs on your head. He gave up His Son to die for you so that you could live with Him in heaven forever. God loves you as a perfect Father and desires a deep personal relationship with you.

When God looks at us, He sees us for who we are in Christ. While He’s not blind to sin and the ugliness of our lives, that’s not His focus. He concentrates on the potential of who we will be. He sees us through the prism of what Christ has done in our lives. God already sees the finished product, even when we doubt we will ever make it to the end.

What do you see?

What does God see?

Do they match?

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does God see you?
  2. What are some roadblocks to seeing yourself as God sees you affect you most?
  3. What can we do this week to remove some of those roadblocks? 


  “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:26-27.

At some time in our life, we have probably asked the question, “am I important?” Or maybe more specifically “am I important to God.” In order to live with love, grace, and humility you have to recognize your importance to God and God’s importance placed on others. Genesis 1:26-27 gives us the answer to the question “am I important?” You are important because you are made in God’s image. The fact that you are made in the image of God should tell you something about your importance.

Pause for a few seconds to consider that the God who spread the stars across the sky created you in His image. God desired to create something unique, something special, something that would reflect His image. So He created you and everyone else in His image.

You are important to God. That fact is expressed throughout the Bible. Psalm 139:14 (ESV) says that we are “…fearfully and wonderfully made…” by God Himself. A long time ago, even before God created you and before He created this universe, you were the focus of His love. “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” (Ephesians 1:4). Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Jesus said that not one sparrow falls from the sky, but God sees it, that He cares for even the lilies of the field. Christ said that the Father knows us so well that the very hairs of our heads are numbered. We are important enough to Him that He gets individually involved in our lives.

You matter to God in a way that you may not have imagined.  He loves and cares for you.  He loves you so much that He sent His Son, to die for you.  He made you unique and gave you a specific purpose here on earth.  If you are going through a rough time, remember that you are important to God.  Look at it from this perspective.  Imagine that you were transporting something of great importance and significance due to how it was designed.  You would be attentive to it.  You would make sure that nothing happened to it.  You would check on it frequently to make sure it was safe.  It is the same with God

So yes, I am important to God.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. What does “the image of God” mean to you?
  2. In what ways does being created in the “image of God” change how you live your life?
  3. Where are instances that you have/have not loved?


 “I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber….The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” – Psalm 121.

Many of the Psalms are a cry for help. Many other passages in Psalms point to the comfort and deliverance David received from God. King David was often in awful situations. He talks about it in several of his psalms. King Saul and others were determined to find and eliminate him. The entire 121st psalm speaks of God’s intimate care over the land of Israel and its people, but verses one and two are more personal — David’s statement of confidence in his God. This psalm is a vivid description of a God who is active on behalf of His people. The people stumble and trip; the Lord keeps them from falling. The people snooze and doze from exhaustion; the Lord does not slumber but is always wide awake. The people are oblivious to coming trouble and attack; the Lord protects and shelters them. These are immensely comforting words for people who can feel forgotten. Who wonders if God is aware? Who find themselves in constant need of help. People in David’s time and people like us.

Where does your help come from? Where do you turn to in your time of distress? So many today lift their eyes to finances, the economy, politics, health, comfort, safety, friends, family, etc. We profess to cast ourselves and our cares upon the Lord, and then persist to bear our own burdens as if we felt God is unable to sustain and carry us.

Help for our greatest need comes from God. Our greatest need may be for forgiveness. Or reconciliation, righteousness, and peace with God. It’s only when we face a mountain that we find our true help. And if we find that kind of help there, surely we will also find other kinds of help as well. Help for our daily cares and troubles. Help for our lingering anxieties. Help for our loneliness and our plaguing fears.

The truth? God is your Source—the perfect and on-time Source for everything you could ever need or want. But, you have to receive Him as your one and only Source by faith. If you allow it, God will be your Source for everything you need. Jeremiah states the result when one places their confidence in God as their source: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV)

If your source has stopped working God can turn on another source. If God closes a door in your life, He can open another door. And if another door closes, He can open a window, and you can crawl through it. God is not limited to your ability and capacity.  Bank accounts rise and fall. Economies go up and down. Stock markets can go bull or bear. It doesn’t matter.

Whether they seem to you like trouble or shelter, look away from those mountains to Calvary, to Christ crucified on your behalf. He alone is your help.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In times of trouble, how can we remember where our help comes from?
  2. How can God be your helper this week?


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  – John 1:1-5 (ESV).

John says, in the beginning, was the word. People know that Jesus lived on earth for 33 years in Israel. But John is reminding us that even before the beginning of what we know is time, Jesus, the Word was eternally God. This should make you stop for a moment because when we start to say that Jesus is the Son, some people think He was a created being, but John is saying no. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God. Think about that for a second. Jesus is fully God and fully man, not half and half.  Jesus was on a rescue mission to save us.

One of the most beautifully written passages about Jesus is found in Colossians 1:15-19: “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ.” 

Have you ever thought that God is this big, impersonal force out there, and we can’t know Him? As believers in Jesus, we know that’s not true. We know God is a knowable God, a personable God, and He chose to be known by the Word coming to the earth, taking on the form of a servant, and being hung on a cross. That is our God. If we want to know what God is like, we just look at Jesus in the Scriptures.

Jesus is the eternal Word of God who was with God and was God. The Word reveals God and is the power of God in His creative and redemptive mission and we are invited to put our faith in Him.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does John 1:1 help us understand the divine nature of Jesus and the trinity? 
  2. What are some reasons that it is important for our faith that Jesus was not just some created being like a human teacher or an angel? 


“We were created for the purpose of giving God’s invisible character a glimpse of visibility.” – Beth Moore

We believe that not only does God exists, but He is all around us. But as John tells us “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12 ESV) The immediate problem with this is how do you love what is not seen. How do you manage to love something or someone who is invisible, who is not evident to the senses?

To answer that question, it is necessary to ask a question first: how do we know anything? Much of what we know is taken on faith. How do I know the woman wearing the brown UPS uniform is not wearing a costume and is a burglar scouting my house? In the same vein, it takes faith to worship the God who I have never seen. Therein lies the challenge. How many times, when I was in distress, did I ask for a tangible visitation and didn’t get it? Well, this is the reason. God is invisible. He is not playing a game of cosmic hide-and-seek with me. He is present, just invisible.

The fact that we can see God is well attested to by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.…” (KJV)  How do we see God? We see Him by looking around at His creation. Psalms 19:1-6 says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.”

Jesus came into the world to show us what God the Father is like. He is the visible representation of the Father, who is invisible. Jesus embodies the characteristics of God. Through the miracle of the incarnation, He took upon Himself the nature and form of man. In doing this, He gave expression to the qualities of God and communicated these qualities to man. Jesus said, “…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9). Hebrews 1:3 adds, “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…”

All of us should make God “visible” to the world in which we live, “ For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13). The bible is the story of God on a mission to bring heaven and earth together. It’s also the story of how God invites Christians to join Him in His mission. As we work to make the invisible God visible, we are not doing anything except revealing who He already is.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What makes the Bible so unique in your mind?
  2. What can we do this week to spend more time in the Bible?   


For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” – Hebrews 4:12

The Bible is the single most important book ever written. It is an eyewitness account of historical events that have shaped the world in which we live. This book is a priceless, fascinating, and incomparable treasure. People have died torturous deaths simply to gain access to the Bible in countries where this book is discouraged or even banned outright. It raises the dignity and rights of every human being ever born. It is truly an amazing and remarkable piece of writing that will astonish and surprise you. Consider the following:

First, the Bible was written over a period of 1,600 years by 40 different authors and in multiple languages yet it speaks with a common voice.  On days when movie producers have a hard time recreating a scene exactly from day to day, the Bible has an internal consistency and theme that is nothing short of amazing.

Second, think about its circulation. The Bible is the most published book in history. It has been at the top of the best-seller list yearly for 200-300 years. It is impossible to know exactly how many copies have been printed in the roughly 1500 years since the Bible contents were standardized, but research suggests that the total number is somewhere between 5 and 7 billion. And that does not include all the digital versions that people have on their various devices. The Bible in its entirety has been translated into over 700 different languages and more happen each year. No book comes close to this.

Third, we can trust in its reliability. The Bible is the Word of God and has been miraculously preserved through the years of copying and translation so that we can be sure of its trustworthiness and reliability. The same goes for the Bible’s durability. Some have tried to eliminate it. All who have tried have failed.  The Bible has survived bans and burnings, ridicule and criticism by opponents.

Fourth is the Bible’s effect: people who start reading the Bible never finish reading it. They want to keep reading it over and you keep seeing new things. People have multiple versions. They study it and carry it around. What people learn transforms their lives and values like no other book ever has. The Bible is truly a gift.

If you are a Christian, the Bible is an indispensable book. Our walk alongside God takes a thousand twists, turns, and obstacles. Fortunately, the Bible is the map for that journey. Take time every day to read this remarkable book. Read it with an open mind and open heart. It contains pure truth about God, about life, grace, love, and an eternity with God. You’ll be amazed at what you discover about God, and about yourself.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What makes the Bible so unique in your mind?
  2. What can we do this week to spend more time in the Bible?


“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” —  Matthew 3:16-17.

Admittedly, the Trinity is probably one of the most mysterious concepts in our faith. But God is at one time, three persons; the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. Each person is fully God, with all the attributes of God, but each person is distinct from the others. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. However, they are all God. We need to remember that this isn’t just God showing up in a different form at different times. Each person of the Trinity has always existed and has always been fully God. We will never understand the Trinity by human investigation, logic, philosophy, or science. The only way you can begin to grasp the Trinity is through what God says in His word.

Matthew 3:16-17 tells us that Jesus (the Son) getting baptized, the Father speaking, and the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove. If each Person of the Trinity is distinct and yet fully God, then should we conclude that there is more than one God? Obviously, we cannot, for Scripture is clear that there is only one God: Isaiah 45:21 is just one example: “Consult together, argue your case. Get together and decide what to say. Who made these things known so long ago? What idol ever told you they would happen? Was it not I, the LORD? For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me.” 1 Kings 8:60 adds, “Then people all over the earth will know that the Lord alone is God and there is no other.” God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one.

What difference does it make whether God is one person or three? Is this really going to impact our lives at all? Actually, the three Persons of God matter a great deal: The three Persons show God is totally committed to us: All three Persons of God are fully involved in and committed to making us His children.

Paul explains it like this: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . he chose us in him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will . . .  when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” — Ephesians 1:3-14 (ESV)

Scripture shows how each member of the Trinity fulfills His specific role and how those three roles interrelate. In simple terms, The Father creates a plan, Jesus Christ implements the plan, and the Holy Spirit administers the plan.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How are the persons of the Trinity distinct?
  2. How much do we need to know about the Trinity? 

The Lessons We Can Learn From Daniel And The Lion’s Den

Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.” – Daniel 6:4-5.

The story of Daniel in the lion’s den is one of the most familiar lessons in the entire Bible. It is a story that has direct application to our lives today.

Daniel wakes up and a new day is streaming in through the open windows. Daniel kneels humbly at the window and sends an earnest prayer up to his only Lord. He does this three times a day, and today is no exception. But now he is bending his knees at an entirely different risk than before. It is actually life-threatening to kneel before anyone other than the king today. Like everyone else in the land of Babylon, Daniel had read the latest decree sent out from the king. Those who worship anyone other than the king during the next thirty days shall be cast into the lions’ den. It is truly an awful fate.

Daniel could have avoided this entire situation. Just a little adjustment in his commitment, and you could have avoided this entire thing. He could have set aside his daily routine for a month or so. Or he could have gone someplace where nobody would see him praying. But he will not bend or postpone his commitment to God. Very simply, Daniel’s commitment to God was not altered by his circumstances… whether good or bad. Daniel’s unwavering stance for God caused the trip to the lion’s den. God shut the mouths of the lions and Daniel was not harmed.

One of the chief lessons we learn from this story is gleaned from the confession of King Darius himself: “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end.” (Daniel 6:26). Hebrews 11:33 says, “By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,   

There’s no doubt: prayer does not come naturally. It is something that we all need to strive for. If we are not careful, we might slowly come to a point where our conscience does not bother us anymore when we fail to pray

The life of Daniel offers us the clearest example of how to cultivate a life of praying. Daniel went through just about every situation we could imagine. He was captured in war and was subjected to great danger as he was abducted and sent off as a prize to the winning side. In these trials and through the next decades there was one common denominator in his life: the habit of prayer.   

Discussion Questions:

  1. Most believers believe it is difficult to pray if you don’t spend time in the word. Agree or disagree and why?
  2. What keeps you from the habit (routine) of praying? What can you do this week to overcome those obstacles?

It’s All About A Relationship

“Christianity is not a religion or a philosophy, but a relationship and a lifestyle. The core of that lifestyle is thinking of others, as Jesus did, instead of ourselves.” —  Rick Warren.

You could make a strong case that human beings are defined by their relationships more than anything else. Relationships tell us who we are, whose we are and what is expected of us. Our relationships define where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. The company we keep is one of the most telling characteristics of who we truly are. And that includes our relationship with God.

Too often we try to define our relationship with God when in reality our relationship needs to be defined on His terms. Right now, God is actively seeking a relationship with you that is life-changing. He wants you to identify with His will and work in this world, but He wants you first to identify with Him.  He invites you to be forgiven and enjoy His life in you.  He wants to be your Father and desires that you be His child.

Relationships with people are dynamic, in that they often change with time and can grow deeper. So it is also with your relationship with Jesus. Just as God’s mercies are new every morning, your relationship with Jesus can also be new and alive every morning. The relationship becomes deeper as your love for Him increases, and as your own will decreases.

Today people want a relationship without putting in the work to make the relationship strong. In the same way, we want the benefits of a relationship with God without spending time with God. We want access to the power of God without the work and time needed to build an intimate relationship with God. A real relationship with God means getting to know God and we don’t get to know God in a day or over a weekend.

 A true relationship with God will not happen automatically. We must want it, really want it. If you want an intimate relationship with God, He must become a priority. It must be something that you are motivated to do. It will not come from a sense of obligation.

There will be times in our lives when we have a real hunger and desperation for God. There will be times when we just can’t get enough of Him. There will be times when we feel His presence in tangible ways. At times like these God will feel close and there will be the intimacy we seek. But real intimacy means we do those things even during times of trial or when bad things just keep popping up and it is a labor of love to pray, to spend time in the word, and to serve. The deepest growth in intimacy in our relationship with God comes when we worship and serve God regardless of negative circumstances.

Augustine said, “To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; To seek Him, the greatest adventure; To find Him, the greatest human achievement.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What keeps you from having a more intimate relationship with God?
  2. What role does fear play in developing an intimate relationship with God?
  3. How can we improve our relationship with God?

Knowing God In A New Way In 2023

“Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.” —  2 Peter 3:18

How does getting to know God better in 2023 sound? Imagine being closer to the Creator of the universe—the one that created you.

Knowing God doesn’t mean knowing about God. It doesn’t mean accumulating a fact book in your head. To know God means I don’t just know about Him, I know Him. I’ve seen Him work in my life. I’ve built my life upon His promises, and I’ve seen time after time He is faithful to them. I’ve noticed that He never fails.

Too often we view truly knowing God as a chasm seldom crossed. We assume that “encountering or really knowing God” is reserved for those with seminary degrees. Knowing God is more than an acquisition of knowledge or information. Nor is it just a fact-finding mission.  Scripture teaches that everyone can have a true and personal knowledge of God. Knowing God is not an optional part of the Christian life; it is the Christian life.

In 2023, we want to go a little deeper into knowing God. When you want to deepen your relationship with God, you need to move beyond head knowledge to know Him well enough to seek personal encounters with Him. Daniel 11:32 (TLB) tells us, “…But the people who know their God shall be strong and do great things.”  

 John Piper said this about the subject: “But to enjoy Him, we must know him. Reasoning, thinking, knowing God is the necessary means, and delighting in, being satisfied in, enjoying and treasuring God is the ultimate end of the human soul.” J.I. Packer wrote a book entitled Knowing God. He said, “It [knowing God] is the most practical project anyone can engage in. Knowing about God is crucially important for living our lives.”

The ultimate goal of every Christian is to get to know God. Many verses in the Bible make this very clear. “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” (John 17:3) “And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.” (1 John 5:20.)

Knowing God means encountering Him. Knowing God means communing with Him. It is getting to know Him as a loving Father. Knowing God means there is a relationship. Knowing God is the byproduct of regular, consistent time spent with Him, in His word, and in prayer. Knowing Him is when we are no longer content with learning about Him but want to really know Him.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to you to “know” God?   
  2. What can we do in the short-term to better know God?