Session 1: We’ve Lost Our Minds

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

– 2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV

The song “Start Right Here” doesn’t pull punches. It is my candid re- sponse to what I see happening in the Church today. It is meant not as criticism but as a loving reminder from an accountability partner. It is no coincidence that the first two sections of the first verse and the chorus all begin with the words, “We want….” That pretty much sums up the attitude of Americans today. I’m afraid it has permeated Christ’s Church.


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While we drift further away from what Church is supposed to be, it seems we’re getting more involved in what we think the world is supposed to be.

We fire out opinions and convictions in tweets and posts, and we take a stand on everything that’s happening somewhere else. It’s amazing how many of us have an opinion on a major issue until that issue shows up in our family. It’s so much easier to throw a rock at somebody far away. We take our stands on things that don’t cost us. When it doesn’t cost us to take a stand on something, maybe we don’t need to say what we’re about to say. Maybe that’s for someone else to take a stand on—someone who is actually in the trenches in that particular problem or heartache.

I’ve learned the hard way that when we throw our words, we rarely hit the people we’re aiming at; we almost always hit someone else. We feel like we’re close to a lot of the controversial topics of our day just because they’re on a social media app on our phones. Instead of letting our voices be heard, sometimes we need to be willing to listen to the hearts of others and let our love be seen. Biblical Christianity is personal, not impersonal. It’s an invitation, not a condemnation.

We want politicians to take care of everything. We want our pet causes at the forefront. We want all the right laws passed. I’m all for voting our scripturally informed conscience, but no president is going to save our country. No president is going to save our families. He or she does not exist. One Person will.

Only Jesus.

We want laws to take care of all the bad stuff for us. The tyrants that we want to kneel and the walls that we want to see fall down? We can’t legislate that. But 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

That’s an if-then statement. There’s not even a way to mess up that verse. There’s no way to read it wrong. It starts with the Church. In our heart of hearts, we really do want the walls that divide us to fall down and the land to be healed, but when we examine where the Church is headed, it’s not going anywhere near the direction of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

While we always know exactly what everyone else needs to do get right, God seems to always want to talk to me about my own heart. Every single time.

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways….

It doesn’t really matter what we want to start happening in the world out there. If we want anything eternal to happen, it has to start with us. It has to start right here.


Discussion Questions

Have you ever said or posted something for which you originally thought you had good intentions but later realized you acted in the wrong spirit? What did you learn that now informs your actions and responses?

If God wants us to “start right here,” what does that look like for you? With all of the turmoil in our world today, what is the Lord impressing upon your heart when you read 2 Chronicles 7:14?

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    Aubrey Jordan
    Aubrey Jordan
    November 9, 2020 10:26 am

    One thing I have learned from standing on a soapbox about issues is that I have absolutely nothing to say except to advocate for those who have been there; for those who get it. I can’t speak for the black population because I’m not black, I can’t speak for the population facing tough pregnancy decisions because I’m not pregnant. I can’t speak for refugees and immigrants because I’m not one. And I have no right to limit the rights of another human being because they don’t believe like I do. But what I can do is listen and learn, validate,… Read more »

    Jean
    Jean
    Reply to  Aubrey Jordan
    November 21, 2020 11:03 am

    Great comment Aubrey. I so need to be better in the political arena, so have been stepping out and praying! Thank you for sharing!

    Calpal
    Calpal
    November 9, 2020 7:13 am

    Excellent start! We, me included, do not like looking in the mirror and seeing all that is wrong with our own lives, thoughts, perceptions. We want to “fix” everybody else. That’s backwards of what God is saying to do. We can only account for ONE, ourselves. By our example may we reflect Christ to have others inquire of us “what’s different” in our lives. It starts within me.

    Jimmy
    Jimmy
    November 9, 2020 7:20 am

    The hard part of all sin is the accountability, right. How do we set a standard of righteousness and still show empathy? Is the answer, everything is Ok? There are some crimes that need to be punished and a standard needs to be upheld. Or no one will be safe. Truth is understanding that this is a evil world. We need a standard to live by. It’s not all ok. I hope people understand that not everyone will repent and then do right. We need laws, and we need the police.

    Darla Martin
    Darla Martin
    Reply to  Jimmy
    November 15, 2020 1:19 pm

    Amen

    Carmen
    Carmen
    November 9, 2020 12:00 pm

    Ok this study is going to be good….so needed. We (the church) have to get away from our own victim mentality. No more pity parties. Here in the USA we have no clue what true persecution is. We are merely inconvenienced. We must remember we’re in exile and we must shine! Thanks for the”big picture “ reminder! 😃

    Darla Martin
    Darla Martin
    Reply to  Carmen
    November 15, 2020 1:19 pm

    Yes amen

    Martha
    Martha
    November 9, 2020 7:21 am

    I love this topic because it slaps me in the face! I left a church once because I was more focused on what other people were doing or not doing instead of just focusing on Jesus and me. It’s much easier to be judgmental of others than it is to see our own faults and shortcomings. Thank you for this Small Group Study.

    Chelsea
    Chelsea
    Reply to  Martha
    November 9, 2020 10:26 am

    That Is great, thank you for sharing God bless!!

    Lavigne Kirkpatrick
    Lavigne Kirkpatrick
    November 9, 2020 8:34 am

    The “start right here ” for me is first get humble. Then listen, be still and listen for God’s direction. Finally, it is to KNOW that fear is not from God, because He gives us a spirit of love, power and a sound mind. God’s got this!

    Patricia Donna Cannon
    Patricia Donna Cannon
    Reply to  Lavigne Kirkpatrick
    November 10, 2020 7:07 am

    Amen!

    Richard Alvarez
    Richard Alvarez
    November 9, 2020 10:39 am

    I always said that it begins with our own self conviction and doing what we need to truly be followers of Jesus. We must be doers of God’s word and not just readers of it and choose to love rather than condemn.

    Diane
    Diane
    November 9, 2020 6:04 pm

    If you want to make a change and a difference, that has to start with you. Be that change, be that difference. I have been praying asking God let your light shine in me. Let me a difference to someone today.

    Ann Marie
    Ann Marie
    November 10, 2020 7:04 pm

    Awesome message, thank you. I definitely need help in dealing with my heart And God’s plan for me after a very difficult 2020. I know never forsakes us, but am feeling very lost right now. I look forward to continuing this series!

    Dana Nelms
    Dana Nelms
    November 9, 2020 10:37 am

    I learned a long time ago that I have to be careful what I say and how I said. Sarcasm is my long time weapon of choice and Holy Spirit is definitely still working on me. We have to let Him work in us and sometimes that means He puts a hand over our mouths or holds our hands so we can’t post that response until we have had time to think through the repercussions. I am grateful that God loves me enough to keep working on me.

    Deborah Copley
    Deborah Copley
    Reply to  Dana Nelms
    November 12, 2020 4:08 pm

    I had to learn through the book Boundaries the difference between being reactive and responsive. Reactive is during the high emotional turmoil inside. Responsive is allowing the emotions to subside before responding to a situation. I have learned to be straight to the point without attacking when being responsive. I can set my boundaries and speak clearly about behaviors I will no longer tolerate without being hateful. I cannot control anything or anyone but I can control how I respond to a situation. Sometimes I fail but I have gotten better. That is part of the fruit of the Spirit’s… Read more »

    Last edited 5 months ago by Deborah Copley
    Shannon
    Shannon
    Reply to  Dana Nelms
    November 13, 2020 7:36 am

    Right there with ya! Psalm 141:3 is one of the verses pinned on my bulletin board: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”

    Sierra
    Sierra
    November 10, 2020 12:41 am

    This session really hit home because I’ve experience an instance this year where I did post something I thought would change a situation that happened to me. Yet, later on, I realized that it was definitely posted in the wrong spirit. It was a spirit of vengeance and anger in which I had acted. I learned that what I had posted only escalated the event that had happened and it only hurt myself in the end. Instead of posting about my experience, I could have talked to the person directly to try to get a better understanding of their actions.… Read more »

    Last edited 5 months ago by Sierra
    Jaylene
    November 12, 2020 10:42 am

    I am truly appreciative of this study right now, especially at this time. God truly is Faithful. I pray and Thank the lord for searching and showing me my heart, even when it’s hard to see. Yet I know it’s out of Love and for my good and His Glory. I find myself struggling with the the urgency for us to give it all back to God; families,churches,schools, cities, states, nations, all of it. Tomorrow isn’t promised but eternity is and a lost soul is devastating. Then God gently reminds me that interceding and carrying are two different things. Jesus… Read more »

    Darla Martin
    Darla Martin
    November 15, 2020 1:17 pm

    I was just thinking this morning that it doesn’t matter what President we have. It doesn’t matter who our people in charge are as long as we, ourselves, do what is right according do God’s Word that’s what matters. That’s where we start to make the change not only in our hearts, but in those around us. God is moving and it’s up to us to wait and watch and move when He tells us to move.

    Debbie
    Debbie
    November 15, 2020 2:34 pm

    When I started to read 2 Chronicles 7:14 from my own Bible I only got as far as “humble themselves” when the Holy Spirit just stopped me in my tracks. Humble myself. I like to think that I’m humble enough and tolerant of those who disagree with me. Just loving the collective ‘them’ like Jesus loves me. But that’s a lie, not intentional but still. Someone puts a post say on Facebook and it doesn’t set well, in fact it downright makes me angry. My knee-jerk reaction is to fire back with several well thought out scriptures, or big rocks… Read more »

    Karen
    Karen
    Reply to  Debbie
    November 23, 2020 8:17 am

    Amen!

    Kathy
    Kathy
    November 15, 2020 5:38 pm

    This is a good reminder that I am responsible for my own actions. It starts with me. I need to be the change I want to see. I have no idea the circumstances someone may be facing. When I start to lose it when someone isn’t acting as I think they should, instead of getting upset, how about I ask God if it bothers Him, or just me. Pray for them, smile at them, and be kind. A life lesson I’m learning as I live it out daily.

    Jean
    Jean
    November 21, 2020 11:09 am

    Social media has drug me down. I sit home almost 24/7 dealing with my husbands cancer diagnosis in February, caring for a 7 month old great granddaughter, my husbands healing in July. However, I have no friends, no outlet and have had to step out of social media because it makes me become angry. I have stopped watching the news, stop getting involved in the CoVid/political media and just pick up books and read.

    CBajo
    CBajo
    Reply to  Jean
    November 28, 2020 6:34 pm

    I have done the same. Let the world have their chaos. As for me, I’m choosing to unplug and distance myself from all the “junk” out there right now and to “let go (of what’s going on in the world) and let God (guide, replenish, and restore).

    Teresa
    Teresa
    Reply to  Jean
    November 30, 2020 5:53 am

    Amen, Jean! I stopped working at end of January and have had some major life changes since then. I too am guilty of getting sucked in to social media and the doom/gloom of the news. I am so much happier when I stay away from those things. I need to focus more on God’s Word and not man’s.

    Kelly
    Kelly
    November 9, 2020 6:41 am

    Awesome

    Tammi
    Tammi
    November 9, 2020 10:55 am

    Such a good word. It all starts with me. Thank you and God Bless

    Janna
    Janna
    November 11, 2020 10:48 am

    This is such a good (and very timely) reminder to hold up the mirror before posting blanket statements or frustrations online. It would be amazing for God to “forgive our sin and heal our land” (that is so needed right now) so this verse is a good reminder that we need to humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways first.

    Laura Huffstetler
    Laura Huffstetler
    November 11, 2020 10:23 pm

    Ouch… stepped on my toes! 😁 Thank you for this reminder.

    Teri
    Teri
    November 12, 2020 7:13 am

    This devotional hit home I need to humble myself

    Kspald
    Kspald
    November 12, 2020 10:38 am

    Thankful for God’s Word. Plus nothing/minus nothing.

    Pat Corbin
    Pat Corbin
    November 12, 2020 6:42 pm

    I am so happy to be here! I am doing any and all studies i can. I need the encouragement. I know the Lord, I am in love with Jesus but i have been dealing with anxiety. I get mad because I KNOW BETTER! Thank you so much!!

    Pat Davis
    Pat Davis
    November 13, 2020 6:09 am

    Humble ourselves = seeing that everyone was created equal and loved by God Pray = talk with God before we talk to others Seek His face = focus on God and the things that are above not earthly Turn from wickedness = ask God to show me the things that I do that are not of Him I have found that in my self-righteousness I thought I was speaking the truth in love….but just because I can, doesn’t mean I should have. If I pray before I speak or hit that return button to post I have found more times… Read more »

    Michelle
    Michelle
    November 13, 2020 8:20 pm

    As someone who is in the first year of a new profession, I strongly feel the need to prove myself. Many are the days my tongue unleashes empty or hurtful words (speaking negative about a coworker’s actions), and thankfully with the help of the Holy Spirit such words are fewer. Several verses come to mind that bring humility. To “start right here” reminds me that I am here for a general purpose to show kindness, do what’s just, and walk humility. And, I cannot fulfill the specific purpose God has called if I cannot do the above. To “start right… Read more »

    Amanda
    Amanda
    November 14, 2020 3:33 pm

    I posted something on facebook the other day that i regretted later. I am battling covid and i posted that you find out who really cares when you are sick. When i posted it i felt justified. After words i felt shame that i was feeling self pity. God has been and will contine to be with me. That is whi i need to learn to lean on. I pray i can do better with letting go and letting God do his thing.

    Debbie
    Debbie
    Reply to  Amanda
    November 23, 2020 5:25 pm

    Amanda, I’m a little late joining but I wanted to let you know that I’ll pray for your complete recovery. My granddaughter had covid and we found out that it takes longer than a 2 week self quarantine to get back to normal. In Christ, Debbie

    Catty Lamb
    Catty Lamb
    November 15, 2020 11:54 am

    Great reminder to start each day inviting Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, to lead me, and to stop and look in the mirror as a reminder that each day is a gift from God. How can I impart to others that Jesus is there for them too! Who do I see? Who do I want people to see? Great message!

    Thank You and God Bless!!

    Marti
    November 15, 2020 12:55 pm

    It appears that most everybody here is young..I’m far from it but our thoughts and actions aren’t far off. I don’t like Facebook but it keeps me involved in the world. As a Christian and a mom I feel compelled to add my advice or “righteous indignation” to a post I see. TheHoly Spirit aided by one of my daughters has helped me see I May and most probably am doing more harm than good. We as Christians need to be approachable, loving, and friendly. But when we respond in an angry tone we aren’t. Right now I am starting… Read more »

    Debbie
    Debbie
    November 15, 2020 8:13 pm

    A few years ago I posted a response to what I felt was a personal attack from a fellow believer. I was justified in my righteous anger. But later as I reread my post, I realized I was letting Satan separate us as sisters in Christ. And boy did I look for those rocks as it was so aptly described If I had it to do over, I would have stepped back, prayed, and responded in a much kinder way. It might have opened a door for real and meaningful dialog.

    Lisa
    Lisa
    November 16, 2020 8:28 pm

    Over the past year I have tried to quite myself more. I’ve had more alone time due to COVID. A big part of me realizes that God is using Covid for His good. He has slowed us down, brought many of us to our knees, and we are opening up more to God’s leadings. This verse really hit me. It has to start with me. It has to start with you. If all God’s people would humble, repent, seek guidance from above, and let go of it is all about me. If all Christian would seek God and pray United!… Read more »

    CBajo
    CBajo
    Reply to  Lisa
    November 28, 2020 6:37 pm

    Beautifully said!

    Teresa
    November 17, 2020 9:13 am

    Don’t look at the speck in someone else’s eye when there is a plank in your eye come to mind. Does anyone have the Bible verse for that? I’m thinking it is is proverbs. I agree we must look at ourselves instead of always pointing the finger. But we must not be overcome by the worldly evil. We must stand up for God and live our lives by His standards written in the Word. Lead by example and also admit our wrongs. Which is the humbling part. His mercies are new every day!

    Michael McCaskill
    November 20, 2020 6:07 am

    This is a great start to this series. A great reminder to stop focusing on what I think needs to change in the world and begin focusing on letting God change my heart so that my eternal story can have a happy ending.

    David
    David
    November 20, 2020 7:11 pm

    Start with me God. Use me Lord, here I am! Daily continue to help me see my own blindspots and continue to give me a heart of flesh and not of stone. Lord let me always see those 3 fingers pointing back at me when I am pointing at someone else.

    Karen
    Karen
    November 23, 2020 8:37 am

    Thank you for this simply stated truth and the refocusing affect it is having. It seems I’ve been praying for quite some time (as many of us have) for God to heal our land. It’s easy to skip to that part and leave out the humbling of ourselves part that comes first. I’m learning, repeatedly, that God IS answering our prayers as He promised. But I miss seeing the answer sometimes because He does not answer as I expect Him to. It’s been a time of learning how to look for His answers without clouding my mind with my way.… Read more »

    Renee Johnson
    Renee Johnson
    November 23, 2020 8:54 am

    God’s Grace is so ABUNDANT IN LOVE FOR US!!! Learning to give the same grace one day at a time… is progress!

    Karen
    Karen
    November 23, 2020 10:54 am

    What a great discussion. Thanks again for your transparency and the good words. This study is an answer to prayer…..and again, He has answered in a way I didn’t see coming.
    P. S. It is so good to know that I am not alone in the social media dilemma! There are many “righteous” posts I have deleted instead of sending. Lol…Not always tho…..still learning 💙

    Kathy L.
    Kathy L.
    November 9, 2020 7:24 am

    Excellent message. Thanks

    Connie Dillard
    Connie Dillard
    November 9, 2020 9:35 am

    Amen! Thank you!!!

    Tina
    Tina
    November 9, 2020 1:12 pm

    Love the “if” “then” statement. Reminded me of excel and how I will be able to remember the application of this verse. Super job.

    Robin Atkinson
    Robin Atkinson
    November 10, 2020 6:33 pm

    Thank you for this

    Tammy
    Tammy
    November 12, 2020 3:25 pm

    Thank you !! I needed this !!

    Amy cole
    Amy cole
    November 12, 2020 10:37 pm

    Thus is going to be a great study.ot all starts with us

    Carla
    Carla
    November 13, 2020 6:57 am

    Thank you this message. We are called to love and starting with ourselves is the simplest concept, yet as humans we want to correct what’s wrong with everything else. Grateful to have heard this !!

    Brenda Emmett
    Brenda Emmett
    November 13, 2020 2:01 pm

    Raising guilty hand already!

    becky schroeder
    becky schroeder
    November 14, 2020 8:34 am

    thank you for reminder, we all have fallen short, sometimes I just hate looking in the mirror, I know how bad I can be and the media is not helping me, I just turn it off and watch pure flix or sermons on you tube

    Rick Donka
    Rick Donka
    November 14, 2020 8:18 pm

    This Bible study helps me be assured of the fact that even though I love my church, my family does not. I have been convicted (humbled) to allow them to find a church where they can truly praise God in the hope that they will draw closer to Him. I humbly ask for your prayers for patience while they look. This also helps me to know that I need to focus on Him so that whatever they choose, as long as it is Bible based, wee will be good.

    Betty Warlick
    Betty Warlick
    November 15, 2020 8:24 am

    Thank you

    Last edited 5 months ago by Betty Warlick
    Judee
    Judee
    November 16, 2020 5:31 am

    I can relate. I’ve grown a lot in this area over the years, but it’s a good reminder as I’m still growing. Thank you for this teaching.

    Deana Strickland
    Deana Strickland
    November 16, 2020 5:53 am

    Thank you.

    Tammy
    Tammy
    November 16, 2020 8:25 pm

    I have been faced with some very difficult issues that are still happening in our church since January. I have felt abandoned, alone and lost from my friends there. Fell into the poor me attitude big time. God has been tugging at my heart showing me that I’m not alone in these issues and others are hurting as well. He has directed me to reach out instead of waiting on others.
    Seeking God for help put him back into the priority of life and showed me to put others first, and he will take care of me.

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