Be Ye Separate

New September Study 2021

Other September Studies

Maybe these should really run Elul 1 through Yom Kippur and follow the Jewish calendar, but for now September is the general time of the Fall Feasts, the Feasts we are waiting to be fulfilled by Christ’s return, which make it a good month to choose to set apart for extra prayer and Bible study to help us stay alert.

*There is a bonus addendum as Lesson 31 even though there are 30 days in September.

*These are all checked over by my husband. We release these together.

Scriptures are mostly linked to the NASB 1995 version. Where I quote verses in the text, they are from the NASB unless otherwise noted. Those are mostly linked to Biblehub, so you could see those verses in other translations if you wanted.

To use on My EP, add from Bible (end of the list) or as a Parent Add-On. Remember that the Extras page has an extra Bible block that you can use.

Lesson 1

  1. If you are reading this on My EP, you can click on the lesson number link to go to the course page to read the notes on the course such as translation used.
  2. This year’s September study is on being separate, being called out, living in the world and not of it.
  3. We’ll be looking at all those things first through the verses that command us to live in that way and then going through the lives of the saints of old, seeing how they lived it out (or didn’t).
  4. Today, I want to look at a few words. We find these especially in the book of Exodus. They are: holy, sanctified, and consecrated. They are very similar.
  5. They come up time and time again in the discussion of the tabernacle and the priests. God is going to dwell there, so it must be holy; and those that enter must be holy, OR THEY DIE.
  6. Moses’ brother Aaron is chosen for the task and his sons after him.
    • Exodus 28:1  “Call for your brother, Aaron, and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Set them apart from the rest of the people of Israel so they may minister to me and be my priests.”
  7. The priests are to be set apart. In the New Testament, all Christians are called priests.
    • 1 Peter 2:5-9  You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ … But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
  8. And that’s the crux of what our words mean: holy, consecrated, sanctified, set apart.
  9. Here are the Strong’s definitions for the words in Exodus 29:37 translated as “holy.”
    • apartness, sacredness; to be set apart or consecrated
    • The same exact word in Hebrew (apartness, sacredness) is translated as either sanctify or consecrate in this verse (in the varying translations).
  10. Sanctify and consecrate are like the verb forms of “holy.” They mean to make holy, to set apart.
  11. God is holy. We are called to be holy. 1 Peter 1:16b  “You must be holy because I am holy.”
  12. That’s your calling, to be holy. That means you are called to be separate. That’s the calling we’ll be seeking to understand.

Lesson 2

“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD.”  — 2 Corinthians 6:17a NLT

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord.”  — 2 Corinthians 6:17a KJV

  1. “Be ye separate.” This is the verse this page is named after. Let’s look at it today.
  2. The verses leading up to this give the context.
    • Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 NKJV
  3. The answer to all these rhetorical questions is “none.” There is no fellowship between righteousness and lawlessness, or communion between light and darkness.
  4. There is no agreement between the temple of God and that of idols. And then it points out that you, as believers, are the temple of the living God. We’re to have no part in idols, no communion with darkness, no fellowship with lawlessness.
  5. There is no place for casual “Christianity” that just shows up when it’s expected,  convenient, or personally beneficial.
  6. We are God’s people, so we are told to come out and separate ourselves from unbelievers.
  7. That’s what we’ll be looking at as we do this study. How can we live in this world and not be of it?
  8. The Lord has led our family through different stages of separating ourselves out. One time was related specifically to these verses. The Lord used the command to not be “unequally yoked” to lead my husband to leave his job as an English teacher.
  9. They were controlling his schedule and when they scheduled him in, he had to go. He went on a three-day fast, shut himself away and prayed, and came out with a life-changing decision of following the Lord and trusting Him to provide.
  10. He left his work to yoke Himself to Christ alone and at the same time we unyoked from our missions agency, which felt like a business organization. We didn’t want a work week and paid vacation time and all the requirements to make sure we didn’t have to rely on God. Of course that’s not what they say; but what exactly is the thought behind all those different types of insurances and saving up for resettling back in the States? We wanted to live ministry 24/7/365.  We want to trust God alone, not man. We walked away from the organization and the whole system of raising support.
  11. So, there was a separating out from the unbeliever, but there was also a separating from a system of relying on man. We may say we’re trusting God to provide for us and thank Him for our food, but it’s different when you have no next meal and then God  provides right on time!
  12. If you lost your job today, would you say, “What am I going to do?” or “Thank you, Lord, for using that job to provide for us. Can’t wait to see how you’re going to do it next.”

Lesson 3

“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.”  — 2 Corinthians 6:17 NLT

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”  — 2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV

  1. We’re still at “Be ye separate.” We didn’t get to the second half of the verse.
  2. It’s a command with a promise.
    • Touch not the unclean thing; don’t touch their filthy things.
    • And I will welcome you.
  3. What are these unclean things and where are we being welcomed?
  4. Think of that list in the verses leading up to verse 17: darkness, unbeliever, Baal, lawlessness, idols. These are the unclean things. The life of the flesh, the life given over to anything other than to God.
  5. We could look at it from the other side and say unclean things are everything not from God. Everything that isn’t light, righteousness, holy.
  6. In the Old Testament, regular people and regular items, such as plates and clothing, were made holy, were set apart for God’s service. Your home may be of God if you dedicate it for His use and His glory.
  7. We can give Him our lives, our bodies, our money, our possessions, our time, our family and friends, our careers, etc. We can give them over to be sanctified and set apart for His purposes. Then He can use them as He wills for His glory, if you are really giving them over to Him.
  8. That’s what I am going to be encouraging you to do. Give it all to God. Let your whole life be sanctified and set apart to Him.
  9. The second part of that verse is being welcomed. The next verse continues with: “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 ESV.
  10. When we talk about becoming a child of God, we tend to say things like, “Come as you are. He accepts us just as we are.” We give the impression that nothing is required of us. And while it’s true our salvation is a complete gift and unearned, when we come to the cross, we come to die. We give up our lives and take on His life.
  11. That’s what baptism is, a burial and resurrection. It’s our separating out, leaving the old life behind. In Christ we are a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come.
  12. If you are holding onto the old, it’s time to let go. Don’t leave one foot out the door. Enter in.

Lesson 4

  1. Read Genesis 11:27 – 12:9.
  2. What was the call from God on Abraham’s life? What was he told to do? What was he not told?
    • He was told to go.
    • He wasn’t told to get somewhere. He was told to just go. He was told he would be shown the land he was to go to. He would have to follow God to get there because he needed God to show him where he was going.
  3. And what was Abraham’s response?
    • We only know that he went. And we know that he continues to walk with God and to obey His commands, and God shows him the land his descendants will inherit.
    • At this point in the story, God promises to make him a great nation and to give the land to his descendants.
  4. Abraham has to take it on faith. He has no descendants at this point. He won’t see a lot of what God says will be accomplished. He has to take it on faith.
  5. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith can only exist where something is unseen. 
  6. We ask God to reveal things to us, Himself, His will, His plans, what the future holds, but if He revealed it all, there would be no more faith. And we are saved by faith, so that is a bad thing!
  7. To be a Christian is to not see. At the same time, it’s not a blind faith. We see God. How? Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. That’s what we studied in the last year’s September study.
  8. In the Scriptures we see God eternal through the Old and New Testament. We need to first understand the person of Jesus Christ. Then we can then read the Old Testament through the filter of Christ so that we see the loving, merciful, gracious God of the Old Testament. Anyone disparaging God’s name using Old Testament passages involving people dying doesn’t know Christ, and therefore doesn’t know the Father.
  9. And so, God calls the Christian. We don’t have to know where, just that He calls us to Himself. Then, wherever the Spirit blows, we go with Him. Some will stay in the same place their whole lives. Some will be wanderers on this earth. We’re all in the same boat, though, temporary visitors, just sojourners on this earth like Abraham was a sojourner in a foreign land.
  10. He didn’t get to see the fulfillment of all God’s promises. We won’t either. No one gets the full picture because we all must live by faith. We NEED to not see everything. Our life depends on it; we are saved by faith.
  11. So, the next time you are just wanting God to lay out the plan of how it’s all going to work, try instead thanking Him that He will go with you each step of the way, guiding you all the way to the place He has prepared for you, now and in eternal dwellings.

Lesson 5

  1. Read Genesis 13:14-18.
  2. In Genesis 13 God fulfills his word and shows Abraham the land. In order to just see the promised land, not even receive the promise fulfilled at this point, he had to first leave where he was.
  3. He had to go out.
  4. When we become Christians, we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness into God’s kingdom.
  5. If we want to live and walk in the kingdom of God, we have to leave the old kingdom behind. There’s no such thing as having it both ways.
  6. Abraham had to leave his old life to see the promise of the new life. He didn’t get the new life right now, not completely, but he had the promise.
  7. When we become believers, we put to death the old self. Baptism is the symbol of that.
  8. We receive the glorious promise of new life in Christ. We receive the promise of complete sanctification, being made holy and set apart for God alone.
  9. And then we do the work, like Abraham walking from country to country and living in tents instead of settling in.
  10. Abraham didn’t settle in a city. He lived in tents. We can’t settle anywhere. We have an upward call of God.
  11. For the Christian, settling is retreating. Our call is to press on. Our call is to keep moving toward Christ. There is never a “good enough” in Christianity. “Good enough” is the same as backsliding.
  12. We must never stop seeking Him and surrendering to His glorious purposes.

Lesson 6

  1. Read Hebrews 11:8-16.
  2. What do these words mean?
    • alien, stranger, exile
  3. Abraham and the other believers referenced in “all these” considered themselves as strangers and exiles on earth.
  4. The words strangers and exiles in the Greek here mean foreigner, a foreigner who is a resident, meaning migrants and immigrants.
  5. They didn’t consider earth their home. Our home is in heaven and our citizenship is in heaven.
  6. I don’t want to kill your patriotic spirit — or actually, maybe it does need to die, or parts of it need to die.
  7. It’s not that we’re to be unpatriotic, but we can love our country with a heart of gratitude to God, not in the sense that we somehow made a great nation. “We” are not the best. God is the best.
  8. Can you spot a foreigner? It’s harder in America than in other countries because we are so diverse, but an accent can give someone away. In some countries foreigners stick out like a sore thumb since the locals are so uniform in how they look.
    • There are other giveaways. I remember sitting in a sandwich shop with a friend in Macedonia. She was a native. We spotted some foreigners. My husband and I could pass ourselves off as natives if we wanted to, but these I pointed out had to be foreigners because of their watches, backpacks, and sneakers. She said, “No, you can tell because of how fast they eat.”
  9. The point is, we’re supposed to be that foreigner. We’re supposed to stand out. People are supposed to notice that we’re different. People are supposed to notice that we don’t belong.
  10. Do you fit in? I hope not.
  11. This isn’t just about outward appearance. We need to be careful of falling into cultural Christian rules and lifestyle guidelines instead of following the Holy Spirit for ourselves.
  12. We should be generous without needing a receipt 🙂 or something in return. We should put others first in selfless ways that other people just can’t understand until they learn that you are a Christian, and to live as Christ is to die to self.
  13. It’s not about the list of dos and don’ts that makes you right or wrong. It’s about loving God and loving others. It’s that love that produces a life that fulfills all the dos and don’ts because their heart wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lesson 7

  1. Read Genesis 17:1-14.
  2. Here’s a big ask. Abraham is asked to set apart himself and his people by marking themselves by circumcision.
  3. It’s a mark of separation.
  4. We are asked to be marked by the circumcision of the heart.
  5. What is the circumcision of the heart?
    • Circumcision is a cutting off. Something has to be cut from our hearts.
    • We can find the point of heart circumcision in Deuteronomy 30:6 ESV.
      • And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
  6. The circumcision of the heart is so that we love God with all our hearts and souls, so that you may live.
  7. Circumcision of the heart is life or death. Being set apart for God is life or death.
  8. How much of our hearts and souls are supposed to be made to love God?
    • All
    • All your heart and all your soul is to love God.
  9. The circumcision is a cutting off. It’s related to that dying to self. We need to walk away from our old life and embrace the life of Christ and life in the Spirit.
  10. Ezekiel 36:26 describes a heart operation.
    • Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
  11. We receive a circumcised heart by faith, just like everything else. And the result of receiving our heart circumcision? Here’s the next verse.
    • I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
  12. He will cause us to walk in His ways and obey. Do you feel like you have to obey God? If not, your heart could use an operation. As believers, we are no longer slaves to sin but SLAVES to RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Lesson 8

  1. We’re moving on from Abraham. Read Genesis 19:1-11.
  2. How is Lot separate from the world?
    • He has a different moral standard than those around him.
    • Others are trying to use the strangers in the city, and he is trying to bless and protect them.
  3. We can stop for a moment and think about the previous lesson about strangers. We are the strangers. We, believers, are the strangers, the ones the men of the city were trying to attack and abuse. We are the ones God prepares for by having a man of righteousness in place and prepared to receive us. And God is ready to send supernatural intervention as needed.
  4. We will get to the question of why Lot was still living there if he knew how evil the people were, but we do know from Peter in the New Testament that Lot did know they were evil. The events of the night weren’t completely out of the blue.
    • Read 2 Peter 2:7-9.
    • Lot lived in Sodom but was not of Sodom. He didn’t conform to their ways, even was tormented in his soul about how they lived.
  5. Does the sin of your nation torment you? A Christian should be tormented by sin, not tolerant of it.
  6. People’s sin shouldn’t be our entertainment, but our torment.
  7. Jesus must have been a joyful person, Life Itself, but he wept. He was sorrowful over His people.
    • “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” Luke 13:34
    • It’s the longing of a parent with a rebellious child. He wants to hold them close and protect them, but they have pushed back and run away.
  8. Does your heart yearn for others to know the love of God? Or does it yearn for the things of this world?
  9. We are to be in the world, not of it. We are to long for the eternal things of God and not the temporal things of earth.
  10. What does your heart long after?
  11. What breaks your heart?

Lesson 9

  1. Read Genesis 19:12-26.
  2. Before we go further with Lot, I want to look at this verse, Ezekiel 16:49 KJV.
    • Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
  3. There was sin that led up to the horrific sin in Genesis 19. Sodom was lazy, greedy, and prideful.
  4. Sin starts with a thought that becomes an attitude, or pre-disposition you could say, which then becomes the action; which, in turn, can then become the habit, leading to becoming a lifestyle, identity, or diagnosis.
  5. The sin of Genesis 19 could have been avoided if they had set themselves to the Lord’s work. If they had humbled themselves to give to the poor, Genesis 19 wouldn’t have happened, none of it.
  6. We aren’t to set ourselves apart just by outward appearances. Yes, people should see and notice that we are different, but it shouldn’t be hypocritical play-acting. It should be the natural reactions of someone who loves God and loves others.
  7. We set ourselves apart for God first, on the inside.
  8. That circumcision of the heart is an inward change.
  9. We take thoughts captive. We should be thinking differently than the world about money, love, marriage, children, business, rights, sickness, death, and on and on. We’re different.
    • The wisdom of this world is foolishness in the sight of God. 1 Cor. 3:19
    • We can’t desire to look wise to the world. All their wisdom is foolishness!
    • We must have another level of wisdom, spiritual wisdom that only comes from God.
  10. Our thinking should be based on Bible truths mixed with Holy Spirit teaching, all filtered through a lens of love.
  11. There have been times when I have been contrary on purpose. “If they do it that way, I’m going to be the opposite. If they say that, I’ll say the opposite.” Sometimes it’s to my gain, like the doctor saying it was “impossible.” That made me mad and God defended His honor and did the “impossible.” Sometimes it’s to my harm as it leads to judging others.
  12. In order to be different and to act differently, we need to think differently. We do that by taking thoughts captive. Being separate starts in the mind. We separate the good from the bad and hold fast to what is good.

Lesson 10

  1. We read in Ezekiel that Sodom had “fullness of bread.” This was a prospering city. We skipped one part of the story. I want to go back there before we go on.
  2. Read Genesis 13:8-13.
  3. Why did Lot choose Sodom? How did he make the decision?
    • He chose by sight.
    • He saw what it looked like. It appealed the flesh. It was pleasing the eye and had the promise of prosperity since it was well-watered. It is even described like the garden of Eden. It looked like a paradise to him. It would be hard not to make that choice.
  4. The last verse, though, shows what God says: that the men were exceedingly wicked.
  5. This reminds me so much of this verse.
    • 1 Samuel 16:7b  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
  6. If we are separate, we need different vision than everyone else. We need to live by faith and not by sight.
  7. We’ve talked some already about how sight prohibits faith. So, we should want to not see! I know that’s not at all how we think or feel. But should it be?
  8. What about this verse? Hebrews 12:2a Berean Study Bible
    • Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
  9. How is that verse related?
    • What if we only saw Jesus? What if we only saw the One who gave us our faith and is perfecting it?
    • Then would we need to see anything else? Would we want to?
  10. The life of faith shouldn’t be a dread! It should be an exciting love affair.
  11. Yes, the path could lead through times of sorrow, through valleys where death casts its shadow, but eyes set on Jesus see the light beyond the shadows, see the comfort promised to the sorrowing, see the future promise of the table set in the wilderness and the forever home with our Father in heaven.
  12. If we just choose Jesus to set our hearts and minds to and our sights on, then we have no where else to look. We won’t give into the temptation to believe what our eyes see. We’ll know the Truth and walk in freedom.

Lesson 11

  1. Read Genesis 19:15-26.
  2. God’s angels reveals God’s plan and Lot hesitates. His wife looks back.
  3. Why would Lot hesitate? Why would his wife look back?
  4. I can think of only two reasons.
    • One, they didn’t believe. Maybe Lot didn’t really believe the angels. Maybe she was looking back to see if anything was really happening. Maybe the sons-in-law thought he was joking because he lacked conviction in his efforts to warn them.
    • Two, they didn’t want it to be destroyed. Yes, they knew the sin was bad, but they had benefited from the prosperity of the city. It was a city with “abundance” as we read in Ezekiel.  They didn’t want to lose their wealth, their lifestyle. They could have moved. They weren’t tied to the place. They had chosen to stay. My guess is that the comforts of the wealth kept him there.
  5. Can you think of what Jesus says about hesitating and looking back?
    • And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 60 But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-60
    • “The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:37
    • But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 NLT
  6. Unworthy. Unfit. Those are strong words. If we’re given a command, a “go,” we’re expected to go. He has made us worthy of the calling by putting His spirit in us. Hesitating, looking back, deeming something else more important are all signs that we’re missing something.
  7. You can’t understand the fullness of God’s love and the greatness of His glory and want to go back or want something else more.
  8. So, if we’re waffling between two worlds, not wanting to let go and follow God wherever He might lead, then there’s a problem.
    • One problem would be if you aren’t saved and don’t have God’s Spirit in you. Give up your life to Him and receive His perfect life in exchange. Ask Him to cleanse you from your sin and to put His Holy Spirit in you.
    • Another problem would be if you are worshiping an idol. You are loving something more than you love God if you are unwilling to follow Him, if something is holding you back. Ask God to search your heart and show you what is keeping you from full abandonment, full surrender to His good purposes for your life. Ask for forgiveness and get rid of it by His grace. You are never asked to do the work of salvation, just to make the choice. You can because He is able.

Lesson 12

  1. Next we’ll read about someone who was willing to leave their home to be saved.
  2. Read Joshua 2:1-14.
  3. Rahab didn’t know their God, but she knew His reputation and she feared God. Her fear of the Lord was the beginning of her wisdom, and she helped the Israelite spies and was saved for it.
    • By faith the prostitute Rahab did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace. Hebrews 11:31
    • In the same way, was Rahab the prostitute not justified by works also when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? James 2:25
  4. Was she saved by faith or by works?
    • She demonstrated her faith by her works. You can’t say you have faith and nothing in your life backs it up. That’s the point of the book of James.
  5. Rahab and her family were saved when the rest of the city was destroyed. She was saved by her fear of the Lord, which she had because she believed. Her belief led to her actions which set her apart from everyone else.
  6. God set her apart. She wasn’t just saved that one moment. Her faith led to her becoming part of God’s people. She becomes the mother of Boaz. Remember him? He marries Ruth, whom we will look at too. That means she’s not only in King David’s lineage; she’s in Jesus’ lineage.
  7. God redefined her. She was a prostitute. Now she’s an inheritor of the kingdom and has an eternal legacy.
  8. God saves us. It’s His work. He is the One that made her new. Rahab became a new creation.
  9. But she had to believe. She had to make a choice. She had to take action. She took a step of faith. God completed the transformation.
  10. Our faith can’t just be internal. Our mind knowledge of God has to effect how we think and speak, which becomes heart knowledge that affects how we feel and respond, which becomes gut knowledge that affects how we react and make choices.
  11. Our lives have to be changed by our faith. If there is no transformation, there is no transformational power. That power comes from the Holy Spirit. Ask God for it and surrender yourself to Him.
  12. Give up your own plans for His best plans. Give up your past and walk with Him into the future He has planned for you.

Lesson 13

  1. We need to get back to people like Noah and Moses, but let’s go ahead and look at Ruth. She was also a woman in David’s and Jesus’ lineage who was willing to leave behind the home she knew.
  2. Read Ruth 1:1-18.
  3. She says, “Where you go, I’ll go.” That’s the way we need to talk to the Lord. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. We need to have our eyes on Jesus and be willing to only go where He’s going and not wander off on our own.
  4. How do I know I’m going where Jesus is leading?
    • by faith
  5. We are saved by faith. You need it.
  6. I have separated myself to God. I offer myself as a living sacrifice to be consecrated and set apart for His good works that He’s prepared for me.
  7. I ask Him to lead and to guide and to order my days and to not let me get off track, etc. And I believe He’ll answer my prayers. I believe He’s smart enough and capable enough to figure out how to show me what to do, how to guide me, and redirect me if necessary. He can figure out how to speak to me so that I will hear and understand what He’s wanting to teach me. God’s big enough. He’s up to the task. I just have to trust Him to do it.
  8. I pray that He’ll lead my children too, so I trust Him to. I don’t have to control their actions. They have a Good Father leading them in the way they should go.
  9. Ruth’s act wasn’t just one of faith though. While Rahab’s faith action was based on the fear of the Lord, Ruth’s faith action was based on chesed, love, lovingkindness, that perfect agape love of the Father.
  10. She makes a decision out of love. While the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom, pure love is the fulfillment of all those things.
  11. Ruth leaves her culture, religion, family, and doesn’t listen to those encouraging her to turn back. She takes the God of Israel as her own. She gets her own new creation and new definition too, from stranger to child.
  12. She does all that out of love. Love believes all things, so in love, we can walk by faith.

Lesson 14

  1. I mentioned Ruth didn’t listen to those encouraging her to turn back, to do the “right” thing, to do what anyone else would have done. She separated herself from her people and gods, but she also separated herself “from the pack,” so to speak, by not doing what was expected, typical.
  2. Noah was also someone who didn’t do what his culture expected of him. Of course, that separation didn’t start with the act of building the boat. It started with his righteous living, which must have started with a fear of God.
  3. Read Genesis 6:6-14, 7:1-5.
  4. He was found blameless. We know that blameless people don’t exist. The Bible itself tells us that no one is righteous and that everyone has sinned.
  5. We also know that, even though the law hasn’t been given, on the ark there will be clean and unclean animals and Noah will sacrifice some from all of the clean animals for an offering to God.
    • Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. Gen. 8:20
  6. Noah had a faith in God. He honored God. He showed his reliance on God by giving up animals from their limited supply as a sacrifice.
    • You never have too little to give! Giving when you have little is an act of faith that shows you know that money is not what you are relying on to take care of you, that it’s God you are relying on.
    • Sacrificial giving, which can happen at any income level, is worshipful giving. Worship involves a sacrifice. You know what else does? Covenant. The Old and New Testaments are the Old and New Covenants. They are both sealed with sacrifice. Making a sacrifice is making a covenant connection with God, not that we are bribing Him to do something for us, but it’s like we’re renewing our vows, our covenant vows, saying I’m yours and you are mine. I am trusting You and putting myself in Your hands. And He is saying I am faithful to fulfill all My promises to you.
  7. A marriage is for a lifetime. Covenant vows are for a lifetime. Noah was in it for the long haul. He spent years laboring, obeying, enduring mocking. I don’t know if his family was supportive or mocking as well. He didn’t walk away from obeying. He didn’t walk away from faith when it was hard to be different, to stand out. He endured.
  8. You know what else endures? LOVE.
  9. We need to love God, simple as that.
  10. A true and pure love for God that is based on who He is, and not what we get out of the relationship, is a love that will endure through all the hard times. It’s a love that will overshadow the naysayers and all the noise of culture and those around us.
  11. How do we get that love? By faith.
    • “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
    • He gives us His perfect love that doesn’t fail, that always endures.
    • We can build up our faith and stir up the love given us by getting to know our Love better. We can get to know Him through the Word, especially by looking at Jesus and then looking at the rest of Scripture through the lens of Jesus. And we can cultivate that love by spending time with our Love in prayer and fellowship. We can speak to Him like we believe He’s listening. We can expect Him to answer our prayers and be watching and listening for how He’s doing it. We can acknowledge Him throughout the day and share our lives with Him completely.

Lesson 15

  1. Moses’ life set apart began at birth.
  2. Read Exodus 2.
  3. Moses was born into the family of Levi. They had yet to set themselves apart, and God had yet to set them apart, but God knew who they would become – the priests.
  4. God sets Moses apart from birth by inspiring his mom to hide him. He was set apart from all the other babies who were being killed.
    • Satan tried to kill the babies to prevent the deliverer, Moses, from coming. He failed.
    • Satan tried to kill the babies to prevent the deliver, Jesus, from coming. He failed.
    • Think of the millions of babies being killed today. Who is Satan afraid of?
  5. Moses was set apart by being raised in Pharaoh’s household. What seemed like a tragedy was preparing him for his future. Nothing bad can ever happen to a believer, because God works all things out for the good of those who love Him!
    • I adore the part of the story where Moses’ mom gets to nurse him and get paid to boot, but I also love that his adopted mom seems to become part of Israel. (Note “Pharaoh’s daughter“)
    • God blesses those who bless His people, like Moses’ adopted mom.
  6. Then Moses grows up. He grows up set apart. He would have been circumcised on the 8th day. He would have known he was different. He knew he was a Hebrew. And He identified as a Hebrew instead of trying to deny his heritage and be accepted as one of Pharaoh’s own.
  7. He sets himself apart by defending a Hebrew. He doesn’t do it in the best way, but God uses it in his life to remove him from Egypt and the life of someone raised in luxury in the home of the Pharaoh. He has his wilderness experience. He has to learn and grow apart from what he had come to know as home. He leaves his home too, like every other person we’ve talked about in these lessons.
  8. In fact, I’m not sure there is anyone who will be in these lessons who did not have to leave their home. Think of the disciples. They were called to walk away. You have to be prepared to walk away. If you can’t leave it behind, then you can’t follow Jesus. To follow someone, you have to walk away from where you are at. You can’t stay put and follow someone at the same time.
  9. Moses knows he’s a sojourner, a person who temporarily resides in a place.
  10. You have to know that you are a sojourner. This home is not your home. You are a citizen of heaven. You belong to the family of believers. You are part of the body of Christ.
  11. If your bond isn’t stronger with your heavenly home and with your heavenly Father than with your earthly home and family, then you aren’t given over to Christ completely. You are unworthy of being a disciple if you are not willing to “hate” your family for His sake, if aren’t willing to just leave it behind and walk away. Jesus doesn’t lie. Take Him at His word.
  12.  Is there anything God has called you to walk away from that you have refused to give up? Your home, your church, your job, your neighborhood/state/country, your extended family, your investments, your “security blankets”? Only you know.
  13. Walking away may not seem prudent, but it’s the wisest thing you could do.

Lesson 16

  1. Read Exodus 3.
  2. This is the burning bush story. How does Moses set himself apart here? Or, more accurately, how does God set Moses apart?
  3. Remember, we are called to separate ourselves, but God is the one who sanctifies and consecrates and sets apart. We present ourselves as living sacrifices and He consecrates the offering to be set apart for His purposes. That’s to be our life, one offered to God that He gives back consecrated for His glorious purposes.
  4. God calls to Moses. God knows how to get his attention. Believe God knows how to speak so that you will notice and hear Him. Believing you can’t hear God speak to you is believing God can’t speak to you. Have faith in Him.
  5. God sets apart the moment by having Moses remove his sandals. This is holy ground.
  6. Do you consider meeting with God a holy time, a time and place set apart to Him?
  7. Yes, we can talk to Him all the time, but I would encourage you to have a time and place consecrated to meeting with God, set apart for Him, your secret place where you meet and spend time one on one.
    • I roll out of bed and onto my knees. There’s no alarm; it’s not a set time except for first thing. And it’s right in my room next to my bed, not that nothing else takes place there, but I give that time and place to God before I ever get a drink or go to the bathroom or look at a screen. It’s for me and Him and isn’t shared with anything else.
  8. Moses is given a mission. He then questions it and his role in it.
  9. Questioning God’s ability to carry out the job He’s given you to do is just like questioning your ability to hear God speak.
  10. You may feel humble questioning your ability, but you are being dishonoring to God in doing so. You aren’t saying you aren’t able. You are saying He isn’t able.
  11. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” is a humble statement. It means you acknowledge God as the one who is doing the work, not you.
  12. Let’s trust Him with our lives. Surrender your life like the puny loaves and fishes which weren’t nearly enough, just like you and I aren’t nearly enough in and of ourselves, and let Him bless our lives and multiple them into abundant life to be passed around to bless the multitudes.
  13. Don’t question God. Rejoice in the impossibleness of the assignment because it means He’s going to have to do it. And that’s the way you should want it!

Lesson 17

  1. Read Exodus 4.
  2. I wanted to keep going a little further with Moses. This chapter isn’t so much about him separating himself out, but it continues the calling and Moses’ response.
  3. God calls Moses again to leave his home. He had to leave his family. He had to leave Egypt. Now he has to leave Midian. He probably had a cushy life there as well, as the son-in-law of the chief.
  4. God calls Moses to go. Moses will be set apart from the Egyptians and the Hebrews. He really has no home with either.
  5. Even though he has family among the Hebrews, no one is waiting for him with open arms. He will be rejected. He will continue to be rejected even after they follow him.
  6. Moses brings up more objections. I love the fact that God doesn’t say “never mind.” He doesn’t give up on Moses. That’s how I want/need God to deal with me!
  7. God gives Moses some miracles. It’s not enough. We can fool ourselves into believing that if we just had the miracle (whatever it is) then we could believe…or we would share our faith with…
  8. We (my husband and I) spent some time thinking like that when our son was diagnosed with severe brain damage. He has had several healings (a huge thing is that he can talk normally), but he’s still in the wheelchair. There were times when it was hard for others to want to accept prayer from us because they’d see him and have no faith in the prayers. It seemed like if God would just do the miracle then others would be so full of faith and drawn to the gospel. But who God is doesn’t change with our experience. God is the God who heals. God is the God who loves. God is the God who is able. God is the God who sees and cares. And on and on. He is unchanging. We don’t need anything more from him. He gave His whole self to us. Christ already accomplished everything. He doesn’t need to do anything more. We can’t be waiting on something.
  9. The miracles weren’t enough for Moses. Think of all those who saw and experienced the miracles of Jesus and then walked away. The crowds shrank at times. The crowds disappeared when it got hard. The miracles were not enough.
  10. We need to love God and serve Him because of Who He is. He is never going to change, so we will never change in our devotion to love and serve Him.
  11. If we love and serve God for selfish reasons, because of what we get out of the relationship, and if we ever feel like one of our “needs” isn’t being met with the relationship, then we lose heart and walk away.
  12. We can’t seek the thrill of knowing God apart from the thrill of knowing Him purely for Who He is as revealed to us in the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit.
  13. That’s the God we need to follow. That’s the God we should want to follow. That’s the God we need not question or demand from because He’s got this and He’s got us. Give yourself to Him!

Lesson 18

  1. Read Exodus 5.
  2. We’re going to stick with Moses because we have to get this in our heads: being set apart for God isn’t being set apart on a bed of roses with free room service.
  3. Being set apart for God’s purposes means being broken and spilled out like Jesus.
  4. If you want to be transformed into the image of Christ, it means having your side pierced. It means having those closest to you reject you.
  5. Moses goes. God gives him lots of help. God doesn’t just send him on his way and stay behind. He goes with him. He sends his miracle power and even big brother Aaron to help.
  6. The people Moses came to help are mad at him and blame him. They are even trying to use God against Moses. “May the Lord look upon you and judge you,” they say to him.
  7. That doesn’t feel good.
  8. Then Moses does what we should try to never do. He asks why. “Why did You ever send me?”
  9. God can handle your asking why. But you can’t. If you go there, get out as fast as you can. Think of all those Psalms that start, “Why, Lord?” but then end with, “You are an awesome God and I praise you!” Those aren’t a direct quote, but a frequent theme in the Psalms.
  10. I can tell you why. Because He is good, loving, just, pure, righteous, faithful. That’s why. So rejoice.
  11. These moments of when it all seems wrong is why we remember our past with thanksgiving, knowing all God has done for us; and when we think of tomorrow, we give it all over to Him with thanksgiving because of all He’s taking care of for us. He had it. He’s got it. The why is our good and His glory, so again I say, rejoice.
  12. And while it’s good to ask God to search your heart and reveal if there is any evil way in there, it’s not good to give up at this point and decide you missed God. Doing that, again, is denying Him, not humbling yourself. It’s saying He wasn’t able to lead you. Trust Him.

Lesson 19

  1. We could read so much more with Moses and see the separation. God separates out His people. He lets them be in the light while the Egyptians are in the dark. Those who fear God come inside and are protected from the hail. Those who fear God obey His word about the blood of the lamb and are saved from the destroyer coming after the firstborn. God separates the Israelites and they cross the Red Sea securely while those pursuing them are wiped out. It just goes on and on. God fights for them against their enemies. He shows that He is on their side and fights for them. Again and again. He shows that His people are His.
  2. And it all goes well, until they don’t reciprocate.
    • They make their own gods to follow with the whole golden calf. They didn’t keep themselves set apart.
    • The tribe of Levi sets themselves apart at that incident and then later become set apart as the priests.
  3. Then the people want a king. Why? To be like everyone else! They don’t honor God as their king. They don’t want to be different and set apart. They want to be like those around them.
    • That’s  a good warning to keep your eyes on Jesus. You’ll become like what you are focused on. Be careful what you are looking at. There’s a reason people make vision boards. Let Jesus be your vision. “Be thou my vision…”
  4. They get Saul. They are told he’ll be trouble, but they loved having him anyway.
  5. Read 1 Samuel 13:1-14.
    • Saul immediately acts apart from God and gets in trouble and then tries to justify himself instead of humbling himself.
    • We’re told God has found a man after His own heart.
  6. We all know that David sinned. Remember “blameless” Noah and “blameless” Lot? They were human. They had sinned. Their flesh wasn’t always right, but their hearts were right.
  7. I know that’s a tricky thing to say because our hearts spill over into our words and actions, but look at the difference in David’s response when confronted by the prophet. Saul was quick to start listing his excuses. David was cut to the heart. “Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam. 12:13)
  8. David wasn’t “after God’s heart” in that he was the spitting image of Christ. I tend to think David was “after God’s heart” because he pursued God’s heart. Think of all those love songs David sang to God. 🙂 His heart belonged to God and God’s heart belonged to him. He was set apart as God’s own.

Lesson 20

  1. Then we come to Solomon. He was set apart in that he was set apart on the throne by God to be leader of His people. He was set apart for a mission, to build the temple. He accomplishes it.
  2. God does His part in setting Solomon apart. Solomon does not reciprocate. When we say that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion, this is what we’re talking about. It’s not just doing some stuff and not doing some other stuff. It’s receiving God’s love and loving Him back. It’s God choosing you and setting you apart for Himself and you choosing Him and giving yourself over to Him for His purposes, your choosing to be set apart.
  3. Read 1 Kings 2:6, 9 and 3:6-9.
  4. We see Solomon turn to God in the very beginning. His father, David, keeps telling him how he knows Solomon is going to be a wise king. Solomon knows he’s not all that and asks God for wisdom. God gives him wisdom and so much more.
  5. We see hints of the trouble in the big celebration at the opening of the temple.
  6. Read 1 Kings 8:20-21.
  7. Did you spot the trouble? He talks about himself a lot. In his prayer, he repeats the phrase about how “I have built” this house five times.
  8. Then we see the real trouble in the list of his stuff.
  9. Read 2 Chronicles 9:13-28.
  10. What’s the trouble?
  11. Read Deuteronomy 17:16-18.
  12. He did everything he wasn’t supposed to do. What are the chances he was obeying that last one and reading his own copy of the law every single day?
  13. And the final nail in the coffin. Read 1 Kings 11:4.
  14. He dedicated the temple to God and to himself.
  15. He dedicated gold to the temple and to himself.
  16. His wives? They were dedicated to other gods and to himself.
  17. His heart was for himself. You can’t have two true loves. He didn’t have a heart that was after God. God wasn’t his true love.
  18. The split allegiance led to destruction. You can’t have it both ways.

Lesson 21

  1. Solomon couldn’t bring himself to separate himself from the things of this world that he loved, namely women and money, though after years of searching and finding no meaning in all his wealth and relationships, Solomon did come to this conclusion:
    • …here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments… (Ecc. 12:13)
  2. In the Old Testament, we do have a group who were dedicated to obeying God’s word and to telling others they should do the same – the prophets.
  3. The prophets were some of the most literally separated out people in the Bible.
  4. They lived lives set apart, sometimes very literally.
  5. Read 1 Kings 17:1-7.
  6. Read Isaiah 20:1-4.
  7. Read Ezekiel 4:4-8.
  8. Could you do it? Could you do any of that if you knew God was telling you to? It’s hard for me to even imagine trying to carry out any of those directives.
  9. Do we draw lines with God? Is there an extent to which we’ll obey, to which we’ll sacrifice, to which we’ll give up our lives, to which we’ll be set apart and dedicated, but then that’s all? No more? Do we have a limit to our devotion? Is our love not unending?
  10. Do we tell God you can have this, but not that?
  11. Do you fear God in the wrong way? The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, but it’s not right to fear that God might make you do something crazy like one of the prophets, or He might choose imprisonment for you, or He might choose some other suffering you just aren’t okay with.
  12. That is not the right kind of fear of God. The right fear of God leads you to obey no matter what. The wrong kind of fear of God makes you run from God because you don’t want to hear what He’s asking you to do.
  13. The wrong kind of fear of the Lord is a fear that stems from not knowing God. God is love. God loves perfectly. Perfect love casts out all fear.
  14. If we knew how perfectly we were loved, there would be no fear of what He might do to us or what He might ask us to do.
  15. We can’t fear if we believe God is who His Word shows Him to be. Do you believe?

Lesson 22

  1. Read about this prophet. Read Matthew 3:1-6.
  2. John the Baptist was set apart.
  3. John the Baptist dressed differently. He ate differently. He lived in a different place.
  4. Do you really think his family was pleased? Don’t you think there was at least some relative telling him he should settle down and marry? Wouldn’t it have been expected he carry on the lineage of the priesthood? It was a very respectable position of ministry. He wasn’t carrying on in a respectable way, though.
  5. Of course, that’s just speculation, but it is something Christians have faced, even the giving up of respectable ministry positions to follow God. People don’t understand that.
  6. Francis Chan gave up his successful megachurch to follow God.
  7. I know someone personally who pastored a big “prosperity gospel” church until God convicted him that wasn’t the true gospel. He walked away from the big church, the big house, the big salary and started a house church.
  8. The famous prayer warrior George Muller went to college to study to become a pastor. His father was happy to pay for the tuition even while George was partying and gambling, but his father was none-too-pleased when he actually became a Christian at his theology college, because then George wanted to be a missionary and share his faith instead of moving into a respectable position.
  9. It’s even those “good” things that God might ask us to give up. Just because it’s Christian, ministry, church related, whatever, doesn’t mean it’s what God wants from you. It doesn’t make it automatically God-ordained.
  10. We need to pour ourselves out for God, not for Christian works. Being busy for God for the wrong reasons isn’t God-glorifying.
  11. We need to devote ourselves to Him, not to doing stuff for Him that He didn’t ask us to do.
  12. Only when we are sent by God is the the work going to be lasting when tested, because otherwise, it’s built with human hands and will eventually fail when burned with fire to see if it was the real thing or not.
  13. God doesn’t look at outward appearance; God looks at the heart. That’s how we need to live, from the heart out, letting our love for God drive us to what we do. We need to be God’s first and the doing should be the side affect. We should never start with the doing. The doing (of good works) will never create a pure heart; it can’t because we aren’t saved by works. Our hearts have to be given to God to transform and then we can work from the right place with the right motivation and get the right result, God’s glory.

Lesson 23

  1. Read Matthew 4:1-11.
  2. Even Jesus had to be set apart. We call things like this a “wilderness period.” John went into the wilderness, and then when the time was right, God sent people to him. It’s a time where things seem stalled, nothing is happening, but in God’s eyes it’s the preparation. He knows the setting apart comes first, then the doing.
  3. Not that Jesus didn’t already belong to God and not that He needed consecrating, but His human self had to be victorious over temptation in order to become the perfect sacrificial lamb. It was something Jesus had to go through.
  4. We offer ourselves on the altar. The fire of the Lord is on the altar. It’s there to make our offering acceptable by burning away the impurities and leaving the pure behind.
  5. This wilderness time of preparation is a time of sanctifying. It’s a time of: we’re already saved, but working to live out our salvation, how we’re sanctified and we’re being sanctified.
  6. The fire could look like temptation. It could look like persecution. It could look like suffering. But it needs to look like love to us. We need to see God in the wilderness.
  7. The Israelites complained that they were dragged out into the wilderness to die. They were kind of right. We are supposed to die in the wilderness. That self stuff that is still clinging on is supposed to die and be buried out there.
  8. God’s preparing you. Let it die, whatever is clinging on and dragging you back, let it die. Bury it in the wilderness and don’t let it resurrect itself.
  9. Rejoice in the purifying. Rejoice in the work God is doing. Know He is good. Know He is love.
  10. You have to know who He is. You have to know He is for you and His love towards you is steadfast. In that knowledge you can rejoice and submit to the work He’s doing in your life in the wilderness. Without that knowledge and understanding, you can end up fighting the wrong battle, fighting against God’s good and perfect plans.
  11. The goal isn’t to end all suffering, all troubles, all trials and tribulations. The goal is to become like Jesus, to become purified, to become spotless. After all, isn’t it the spotless bride Jesus is coming back for?

Lesson 24

  1. Read Luke 5:1-11, 27-29, the calling of the first disciples.
  2. Right after Jesus’ wilderness time where He was tempted, He goes into the synagogue and announces He is the Messiah, the One sent from God to save His people. They want to throw Him off a cliff. Then we have Peter. How does Peter set himself apart?
  3. Instead of judging Jesus, he judges himself. He knows he is a sinner and Jesus is holy. He is the first to come to that initial point of salvation we all must go through – seeing the divide between a holy God and our sinful selves.
  4. Matthew, along with Simon and Andrew, separate themselves by leaving their work behind. What does that mean for them?
    • We read that Matthew seems to have a big house. We know that Peter had a wife.
  5. What would it mean for you if today you and/or your spouse left their job because of the Lord’s call, just walked out? Can you imagine it? What would it mean if it were in response to Jesus saying, “Follow me?”
  6. My husband did walk away from his job, just like that. And we walked away from all our sources of income, just like that. But, it was in response to the call of Christ. To us, it was Him asking us to step out of the boat. And we did. And he was there to hold us up. (You can listen to some of our miracle stories here. Some were from this time period of about a year and a half where we lived by miracles.)
  7. What was the cost of separating themselves out from their lives and separating themselves to Jesus? We probably don’t know it all, but what can you think of?
    • They left their jobs, meaning financial security.
    • They left their families. We don’t know what impact that had. Simon and Andrew worked for their dad. How was their father feeling when left to work alone? How was a wife feeling when Peter left his work and home?
    • I was supportive when my husband told me he was leaving his job. It was an exciting time. Together we walked away from the whole thing. And I’ve been supportive of my husband traveling for ministry. The Lord was so good to us in giving us a sign each time to confirm the trip, so I wouldn’t be upset at the loss of time or money. Maybe their families understood or maybe they were mad. It is only easy for me to be supportive when I know the Lord is calling and we’re following. If I’m questioning that, then it’s a struggle to offer that unconditional support. But I still have to come back around to trusting God is bigger than it all, no matter what right or wrong decisions are being made.
    • Did you get martyrdom on your cost list? All the apostles eventually give up their lives.
  8. We’re to count the cost of being a disciple. The American gospel is preached in such a way that coming to Christ is about benefiting ME. It’s all about what we get from God. And the Good News is that we get God Himself in the bargain and we definitely get the better end of the deal. But, how often when someone is sharing the gospel, do they talk about the cost?
  9. And, too often, when people think about the cost of following Jesus, they think about having to give up their vices, their pet sins they are attached to. That’s not it at all! Giving up your sin should be a joy, a deliverance, a freedom. You should not even like it anymore, you should want to get rid of it if your heart was really changed God’s Spirit.
  10. The cost is total death. The cost is everything. The cost is giving up your life in order to receive His life.
  11. And what did Peter and Andrew and Matthew receive in return?
  12. Eternal life, love, joy, peace, hope, saving faith, purpose, identity to name a few.

Lesson 25

  1. Let’s look at one more disciple being called, Philip. And then Philip goes and gets his brother, Nathaniel.
  2. Read John 1:43-51.
  3. We don’t know Philip’s situation at all. Jesus just says, “Follow me.” At some point he runs off to fetch his brother.
  4. Philip knows that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus didn’t tell him. Jesus seemed to have no interest in trying to convince anyone to follow Him. He just made the invitation and went about doing the work He was sent to do.
  5. But Philip tells Nathaniel that Jesus is the One they have been waiting for. He knew Jesus right away because He had gotten to know Him first in the Scriptures. So, when he was confronted with Him, Philip recognized Him.
  6. Would you know the real Jesus if you saw Him? Or, have you made your own image of who He is that would make you like the Pharisees who chased away the One they said they wanted?
  7. Nathaniel is skeptical at first. Jesus didn’t fit the image. He doesn’t think anything good could come from Nazareth, but he’s willing to go see for himself. Jesus gives him what he needs, and gives him a little miracle. Jesus tells him that He saw Nathaniel under the fig tree.
    • There is an awesome moment in the Visual Bible version of this. It shows Nathaniel praying under the fig tree.
  8. Nathaniel believes. Jesus will give us what we need. If He’s not giving it to us, we don’t need it. I’ve mentioned before the feeling of needing a miracle to confirm something. The Pharisees saw plenty of miracles and asked for miracles. It didn’t turn into belief and repentance.
  9. Philip and Nathaniel also walk away and follow Jesus. Philip just goes. Nathaniel asks a couple of questions. Why were Nathaniel’s questions okay?
  10. They weren’t about clinging to his old life, such as, “Can I first go and…” They were questions that were seeking the truth. Jesus is the Truth. Nathaniel was seeking the truth and found Jesus.
  11. We’re allowed to want to know the truth. We should seek the truth. The trouble is when we think we know the truth and then reject Jesus or some part of who He is because it doesn’t line up with the “truth” we’re so sure of.
  12. Set yourself apart from all your theology and all you know is true, like “nothing good comes out of Nazareth,” and set your heart on seeking the truth and find Jesus.  Get to know more of the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth.

Lesson 26

  1. Read Mark 10:17-27.
  2. Here’s someone who counted the cost and decided it was too much. However, his heart is sad. He’s in conflict. Maybe it’s a sadness that will lead to repentance.
  3. The disciples were still missing some of who Jesus was at this point. They are amazed that a rich person wasn’t saved. A rich person was blessed, according to their way of thinking. The Mosaic covenant told us so: obey and be blessed. They believed a rich person had to have God’s blessing, so if someone with so much blessing can’t be saved, what chance does anyone else have?
  4. The Book of Job teaches us we don’t always see the why behind the blessing and the curse. The outcome for the blessed believer is blessing. The trouble along the way doesn’t mean you’ve rebelled against God by sinning and are now cursed.
  5. The blessing of provision is a constant, sure supply, our needs always being met. The blessing of provision isn’t abundance of stuff so that we no longer need to rely on God to provide for us. God knows that abundance can be the death of a believer. It’s the poor who are rich in faith, not the poor who are cursed.
  6. The rich young ruler was trying to save himself. He asks what he has to do to be saved. He wants to accomplish it. He obeyed the commandments. But checking off a list doesn’t save you. Becoming His is the only way, giving up your life is the only way to save it.
  7. Telling the rich young ruler to sell all his possessions wasn’t one more box he had to check off in order to earn his salvation. It was about setting his heart free from his stuff, so that he could give himself to God and love God with his whole heart.
  8. Compare his story with that of Zacchaeus. Read Luke 19:1-10.
  9. Jesus doesn’t interrupt Zacchaeus and say, “This one thing you lack. You must sell all your possessions.”
  10. It wasn’t a checkbox. It was his heart. Zacchaeus doesn’t ask what he must do. He joyfully receives Jesus into his life when he recognizes that Jesus has accepted him. Receiving Jesus changed his life, changed his heart. Giving back wasn’t a requirement for salvation; it was a response to salvation.
  11. Yes, we are to live without sin. Yes, we are to do good works. But they are a response to salvation, not a requirement to earn your salvation.
  12. Getting free from sin and doing good works are a requirement for salvation only in that they show we are saved, that our hearts have been transformed by the love of Christ. If you are choosing a life of sin and selfish works, then you can know you don’t yet know salvation. Seek Jesus and find Truth.

Lesson 27

  1. The verses quoted back in Lesson 2 were about coming out and being separate, about how light and darkness have no fellowship with one another. Those come from the book called 2 Corinthians, a letter written by Paul.
  2. Here’s Paul’s background. Read Philippians 3:4-16.
  3. He counts his position, his authority, all the “blameless” perfection he attained, as nothing, as rubbish.
  4. We don’t set ourselves apart by being perfect according to the law, or the law we created for ourselves. The Amish have set themselves apart by their culture, by their dress, by their lifestyle, but it doesn’t mean they are saved. They aren’t Christians. You aren’t saved by living a certain way.
  5. We don’t set ourselves apart. God sets us apart. Those Philippians 3 verses are great at showing the both-ways: God does it and gives it to us and then we live it out. It can’t work the other way around.
  6. Paul, who grew up to be a Pharisee, believes he was set apart from before he was born.
  7. He sees God’s hand on his life. He knows it was God who set him apart. He knows it was God who chose him. You aren’t saved because you were so good or so wise in making the right choice. You are saved because He chose you and drew you to Himself. Everything we have and are is because of Him. We should be nothing but eternally grateful.
  8. Paul’s response to being set apart and being set apart in receiving the gospel was to set himself apart. God acts and Paul responds.
  9. God set Paul apart. Paul sets himself apart to God. Paul doesn’t run to man. Paul runs to God. If only we would have the same reaction!
  10. Paul doesn’t think twice about losing his position, his family, his power. He found God. It was everything to him. Everything else instantly became rubbish.
  11. Read 2 Corinthians 11:24-27. What did being set apart to God mean?
  12. Read Romans 5:1-5. What was his response to knowing Christ and suffering for knowing Him?
  13. Being set apart meant suffering and it meant joy.

Lesson 28

  1. Let’s not look at any more specific people. Let’s look to the end. Read Revelation 18.
  2. Babylon is going to be destroyed. The command is issued, “Come out!”
  3. Babylon is described as having luxuries and as living in sin. It reminds me a lot of Sodom. Sodom was a place of sin, but Lot’s family chose to stay. He saw the evil and it bothered him, but the draw of the luxury and comfort and status and whatever else was there was so much of a draw that it held them there. It killed Lot’s wife, as she turned back longing for her life. She wasn’t willing to walk away, even though it meant saving herself.
  4. Do you see walking away as necessary to save your life? Jesus is the Truth. He wasn’t lying when he said that you had to lose your life to save it.
  5. I kind of see Satan as having tried to pull off the end-time-ruling-the-world scenario over and over again throughout history. Eventually, he will pull it off because it will be in God’s timing.
  6. Egypt was an antichrist government trying to rule the world and oppress or destroy God’s people. We see it with the Babylonian empire. We see it in the Roman empire. We see it in Hitler and Nazi Germany.
  7. These were the powers of the time. Hitler used lots of Christian talk and his followers were “Christian.” Many pastors supported him in the beginning. Of course, the Nazis killed Jews, who were God’s people, and the Christians, God’s people, who were against Satan’s ways of hate, death, and destruction.
  8. In the Spanish Inquisition and other such incidents, we see powers seeking to kill and destroy God’s people.
  9. As we see evil spread in America today, it likes to wear a mask called “love.” It tries to appear “Christian.” It wants to appear good and right.
  10. How could we be deceived by it? One, the Deceiver is behind it. He lives to lie, to trick you. The way not to be deceived is to know the Truth. Get to know Jesus so no fake can fake you out.
  11. One of the tricks is to seduce you with the comforts of life. It’s a life that promises to be free from struggles as we cushion our lives as much as possible to do all we can to avoid trials and tribulations. Avoiding suffering, trying to prevent it or end it as fast as possible, is trying to act as God in your own life and to reject His gift of trials and tribulations.
  12. Related is the trick to get you to believe you need something other than God to save you. Any time you find yourself talking or acting like you need something other than God to save you, let that be a wakeup call that you are being deceived.
  13. Repent and throw yourself on God’s mercy. Salvation in the Greek is “sozo.” It doesn’t just mean to have your sins forgiven and go to heaven. It means protection, provision, healing, all those ways God takes care of His children. He saves us every day in many ways. Antichrist governments want you to rely on them for your healthcare, for your education, for your food, for anything else they can convince you that you need from them. They want you to NEED them, so then they have the power over you. But Christians are to know better. We need nothing but Christ. God provides our daily bread. “Give us this day our daily bread.” How many times have you prayed that? Did you believe He was providing your food that day? Really? Then you don’t need a job or government handout to provide it for you. He can use those things if He wants to, but He doesn’t need to. Not at all!

Lesson 29

  1. Read Revelation 14. In particular, we’ll be talking about verses 14-19.
  2. We see the separation in many places here. There is a remnant preserved, marked for Christ.  There are those marked for the Beast; they separated themselves by their choice of whom they would worship. Satan isn’t going to show up and say “bow down and worship me.” He’s trying to trick people. They will be worshiping him by relying on him to save them. They will lose their lives by trying to save their lives, just what we talked about in Lesson 28.
  3. Then we see the final separation. There are two harvests, rapture and wrath.
  4. And at that point, there’s no more chance to choose sides. It is finished.
  5. The choice needs to be made now. The choice isn’t whether you want to go to heaven or hell. The choice is, who is your Savior?
  6. You need to ask yourself, do you really believe? Is Jesus the Truth? If you believe Jesus is the truth, then you have to believe that you have to lose your life to save it and that you’ll lose your life if you try to save it. And if you believe that, you will live that. If you won’t live that, then you don’t believe that, then you don’t believe in Jesus.
  7. Ask God to search your heart and show you what’s there. See your actions for what they show about what you really believe. Hear your words for what they say about what you really believe.
  8. There’s a lot I want to say here, but I’m not going to say it. If you really want God to be your savior, then ask Him and let Him show you what you believe and work out your salvation on your knees.

Lesson 30

  1. Read 1 Thessalonians 5.
  2. This is also a look at the final separation. You can read the Bible and see the separation constantly. Samuel is given to the temple. The Nazarite is separate; Samson was a Nazarite from birth. In Ezra and Nehemiah, the Hebrew men separate themselves from their foreign wives. We see the constant struggle of Israel with being called to be separate but being drawn into “Babylon.”
  3. They ask for a king to be like the others. In doing so, they were denying God as their king and savior. They bring so much trouble on themselves.
  4. There are those among the Israelites who long to go back to Egypt, back into slavery, because of the lusts of the flesh. It’s just like Lot’s wife looking back, longing for a life that pleases the flesh. It caused her death. All of them longed for their lives apart from God and in doing so lost their lives.
  5. What is it you seek after? What is it that you long for? Honestly. Get your heart right before God. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, then there is no need to worry about having what you need. Just be His.
  6. Here are verses 23 and 24 from 1 Thessalonians 5.
    • Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
  7. There is that word, sanctify. Do you remember what it means? To be set apart, to be made holy, to be consecrated to God for His purposes.
  8. The prayer and blessing is to be kept complete, mature, blameless.
  9. Jesus is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand blameless before the Father (Jude 1:24).
  10. Remember, your perfection, completion, maturity, blamelessness is all a gift from Him. You are called to be perfect. But you are called to be perfect in Christ Jesus. Remain in Him. Don’t look back. Overcome by being still. Abide. Remain.
  11. Let the last part of that Scripture encourage you. He who calls you is faithful. He will bring it to pass. It’s His job. Your job is to believe. Trust Him to do it. Don’t turn back to relying on yourself or on a false savior. Trust Your God is faithful.

Lesson 31

  • The lessons are over; there are 30 days in September. This is a little end note.
  • I found this definition of worship that I had written out after researching the word in Scripture.
    • Worship: living humbly before God, offering Him a life of obedience by faith, rejecting the world’s ways and embracing His. (a surrendered life)
  • While I was writing this, our family got a dog. As soon as she sees me, she heads straight for her bed to lie on her back for a belly rub. To give her some time and attention, I take that time to sing. So while I was writing this, I was singing each morning these two set-apart songs.
    • Father, I adore you  (I think of Romans 12:1 when I sing this.)
    • Take My Life and Let It Be  (Here’s the tune, but it doesn’t do all the words. I changed up the words. Make it a prayer. Make it meaningful to you. The lines about voice wasn’t really meaningful to me, so I changed it to: Take my mind and let it dwell, on thanksgiving knowing it is well.)
  • Now is the time to separate yourself out. Now is the time to be marked for Christ. If you are marked for Christ, you will not be marked for another. He keeps His own. (Deut. 15, John 10:28)
  • Now is the time to decide who is your savior. If you were looking to someone or something else to protect you or if you were relying on yourself for your own “salvation” in the last year, then something is off. You’re denying God as your source of life, love, hope, justice, protection, provision — salvation.
  • I’ll leave you with Jesus’ prayer for you (John 17:13-18).
    •  But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.