John Lloyd - Starting The Year Off Right

Starting the Year Off Right

Psalm 121

December 30, 2018

Pastor John Lloyd

 

As the new year approaches, we pray God will help us process 2018 and prepare us for 2019.  All the way, we recognize the key is seeking the Lord first and His help.  He will supply all our needs. God’s best is yet to come! 

Psalm 121:1. 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. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.

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. 8The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

 

I.               This earth is a place of ______________ exile for Christ followers.

 

Psalm 121:1. I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there?
Hebrews 13:14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  Jn 16:33

 

Reflective Questions:

Do you ever stay up late when you know you need sleep?

Do you ever eat or drink more calories than your body needs?

Do you ever feel you ought to exercise but you don’t?

Do you ever know the right thing to do, but you don’t do it?

Do you ever know something is wrong, but you do it anyway?

Have you ever known you should be unselfish, but you’re selfish instead?

Have you ever tried to control somebody or something and found it was uncontrollable?

 

If your answer is yes to any of those questions, welcome to the human race. We’re all in need of recovery.  The cause of my problem: MY SIN NATURE.   Romans 3:23, Isaiah 53:6a.

 

I can’t solve my problems in my own strength, I need God’s help!

 

A.   Develop the habit of looking ______.

 

Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

 

Psalm 115:11 You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!  He is their help and their shield.  Hebrews 13:6, Matthew 6:33

 

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  Zechariah 4:6

 

Looking to God brings strength from the Holy Spirit!

 

B.   Thank God for watching over our __________.

 

Psalm 121:3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.

 

Psalm 139:7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.  (Philippians 1:6)

 

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

 

Psalm 121:5 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.

 

Spend time developing a  “I am thankful for” list.

 

II.             Seek His __________ and _____________ with your whole heart.

 

Psalm 121:8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.  Psalm 48:14

 

A.   Know the ________________ of guidance and direction.

 

Complacency: I don’t need any more help.

Confusion: The problem isn’t that bad after all.

Compromise: by going back to the place of temptation.

Catastrophe: give into the old habit, hurt, resentment or habit comes back

 

B.   Make time for ______________ that support guidance and direction.

 

“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together.” Hebrews 10:25 (GNB)

 

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the

fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 

1.   Reserve a Daily Time with God for self-examination, Bible

Reading and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and gain the Power to do it.  (Ephesians 5:18b, 6:17)

 

Mark 1:35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

 

Start a Bible reading plan:  Begin at whatever pace you can, but begin!

 

2.   Slow down long enough to hear God.  If you can worry, you can meditate deeply on God’s word. Worry is just negative meditation. 

 

“Happy are those who … are always meditating on God’s laws and

thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a

river … that do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.”

Psalm 1:1–3 (LB/GN).

 

Look forward to what God has in store for you in 2019!

God’s best is yet to come. I Corinthians 2:9

Spiritual Growth Questions for December 30, 2018

Opener:  Share something you are thankful for from this past year.

1.   Read Psalm 121 three times.  What thought ministers to you?  Why?

2.   Read Psalm 121 and look for the word “keep.”  What “keeping” promise does God make to His people?  How does God’s idea of keeping differ from ours?  How can this be helpful in the new year?

3.   Read the following verses and describe the gift that each one is presenting?  How can these gifts be reflected in our attitude?

Romans 5:17 _________________________________________

John 5:24 ____________________________________________

John 10:28___________________________________________

John 4:14, Philippians 4:11 _____________________________

Ephesians 2:8 ________________________________________

Ephesians 5:16 _______________________________________      

4.   Which one of these issues do you battle and which one keeps you from reaching your goals? 

Complacency:  I don’t need any more help.

Confusion: The problem isn’t that bad after all.

Compromise: by going back to the place of temptation

Catastrophe: giving into the old habit or hurt.  The hate, resentment or bad habit comes back.

5.   Read Hebrews 9:12-14, 10:22, I John 1:7.  How can dead works keep us from worshipping God passionately?  What should we do about them?

6.   Read Psalm 1:1-3, Jeremiah 17:7-8.  How can you implement these promises in 2019? 

7.   List one or two goals that you have for your relationship with God for 2019.  Pick a partner for prayer, help and accountability?

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