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Posts Tagged ‘Bible study’

 

WOW! It is already 2019! The last year of the decade! Time is certainly flying by and 2018 seemed like it was gone with a blink of the eye. I have dedicated 2019 as my year in prayer. I decided to make prayer my focus this year for one reason. My youngest, Ty, will be 18 in December and this will open up an entire new season for me. I need to know what God’s will is for me in this next season. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I try to open my own doors and control my own destiny. It never works out well. If the door opens, I end up overbooked and stressed trying to juggle my new commitment, my job and family. Most of the time, though, God shuts the door and I am frustrated by the feeling of being stuck in my job and my life. Yes, I am where I am supposed to be for now. I have accepted that until my kids were grown, where I am is where I am supposed to be. A new season is coming and I have no idea what I am supposed to do. I know that I am passionate about prayer, justice, building relationships, and loving people to Jesus.

My life verse is: 

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 

In the New International Version it is, “proclaim the Gospel to the poor.”

My Life Vision is:

To be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, show compassion to a hurting world and serve others out of love.

I, also, have to keep in mind what God keeps whispering to my spirit over and over:

Teach My People To Pray!

I have decided that I will NOT try to open any doors on my own this year. I will “be still” and allow God to reveal my purpose in His timing. Instead, I will pray. Which is actually the best thing I can do anyways. Prayer is already a discipline in my life. I usually have a continual conversation going with God as I go about my day. Before you get the idea that this makes me super spiritual or anything, I’m not. I am simply a person who deals with worry and anxiety and I have found that if I keep God close to me through prayer during the day that it helps me “let go of that which I can’t control” and gain some semblance of peace in my life. I have implemented three practices that I will use to seek God’s will for my life this year:

  1. A Prayer Journal: it is nothing fancy! I am not creative at all! It is simply a 1″ 3 ring binder that is divided into 13 sections. I have my life verse, my life vision and the prayer of Jabez written on paper at the front to remind me daily what I am passionate about. In section #1 I have my own personal petitions. I have Sunday-Saturday focused prayer points (Christ follower, as a mom, steward, life pressures, purpose/work, wisdom/discernment, fears/anxiety) and then I have extra paper for my immediate needs and answers to prayer. Sections #2-6 are for my kids (spouses are listed with the child that he/she is married to: Cherokee & Chris). Again, I have focused prayer points for each day of the week based on where they each are in their lives. Sunday’s prayer focus for all of us is Christ follower/Passion for God. I have added extra paper in each section for immediate prayer needs and answered prayers. Section #7 is for the grandchildren. Same set up as the others, but I am putting all of my grandchildren in one section. Section #8 is a section for urgent prayers. Prayer requests of anyone not listed in my journal or any world events that need immediate prayer. Section #9 is for extended family. I have a list of those I pray for on a daily basis with extra paper for immediate needs and answered prayers. Section #10 is for those I want to love to Jesus. I keep a list of family and friends who do not have a relationship with Jesus that I pray for on a daily basis. I, also, keep extra paper for immediate needs and answered prayers. Section #11 is for the Church. I have specific prayer focuses Sunday-Saturday that I pray for the church. I have tried to hit on every point, so most days have more than one focus (ex: Sunday: outpouring of the Holy Spirit, rid the Church of false teachers, remember Jesus as the Head of the Church). Section #12 is a 31 day of prayer set up for America. God has given me a passion to pray for America and the Church of America. These 31 day of prayer plans can be found on the internet. I found mine here. I have tweaked it a bit to fit me and what God is telling me specifically to pray for, but this gives you an idea of how you can pray for this great country. Section #13 is for focused prayers for the World. Again, I have set it up for Sunday-Saturday, using the seven mountains of prayer (seven spheres of influence) as my focus for praying for the World. You may wonder what this prayer journal has to do with seeking God’s will for my future. It is simply something I felt important in implementing in my personal prayer time. As I pray for others and the World as a whole, I know that God is working to create the perfect opportunity for me.
  2. The Daily Examen: The Daily Examen is a spiritual practice created by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. It was created to help us focus on God’s presence in our daily lives. It is a practice of reflection at the end of the day. Knowing where we felt God’s presence and where we felt a disconnect. It helps us acknowledge when we were acting according to God’s will and when we were not. It helps us ask forgiveness where we need it and ask for grace in facing tomorrow. The Daily Examen has 5 steps. To implement the Daily Examen in your life, you can find the steps here. I decided to implement the Daily Examen to help me focus more on God’s presence in the craziness of everyday life. I want to use it to help me focus on listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. I am also using it to help me remember that I am an example of Jesus in the World and my actions do affect others.
  3. The Bible: I am doing a Bible reading plan focusing on reading through the New Testament this year. I am focusing on how to become a disciple that glorifies God. I am also seeking wisdom while waiting on God.

I pray through the prayer journal every morning and do the Bible study and Daily Examen every night. As hard as it is I am not going to try to open any doors on my own. I am going to wait and pray. I will keep you updated on any developments and I trust that by December 17th there will be an open door for me to walk through.

 

 

 

 

 

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Word of God

I have started many, through the Bible, reading plans and have failed on many, many occasions. Let’s face it, the Bible is not the easiest book to read. Parts of it can be hard to understand and other parts are downright boring. I can read the same passage a hundred times and get nothing out of it and a few months later, something clicks and I feel like I’m reading it for the first time.

Even through the difficulties, I stick with it. Why? Because the Bible is God’s handbook for living. There is wisdom for EVERY situation we could ever face and encouragement for times of trial. God speaks to us through the Bible. I learn life lessons through the imperfect people that God chose as role models for us.

Remember the most important reason that we need to study the Bible; it points us to Jesus. The Bible is all about Jesus. As you read, look for Jesus.

Studying the Bible works in two ways: 1. Filling our hearts and minds with God’s Word 2. Taking that Word out into the world.

Input

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Hearing- There are times when I can’t focus on what I’m reading and I will listen to a sermon instead and it really sinks in. The internet is a great source of online sermons on just about any topic or scripture. Many churches will upload their Sunday sermons to their websites, so the general public has access to those during the week.

I love to listen to my local christian radio station. Many Hymns and contemporary christian songs are based on scripture and I enjoy the snippets of Bible study and encouragement.

I’m sure that we have all watched a T.V. evangelist at one time or another. With Cable T.V., we can now watch sermons, Bible studies, Biblical history shows, christian movies, etc.

Going to church is, of course, still the ideal way of hearing God’s Word.

Reading- Like I said earlier, I have tried many, read through the Bible, plans. What it boils down to is discipline and sacrifice. I am reading through the Bible in a year now. It isn’t always easy and I tend to have a short attention span, but God is worth it and so I make the sacrifice.

The internet is full of Bible reading plans. Go through them and pick the one that works for you.

If you really feel that you can’t read through the Bible, word for word, then pick a book of the Bible and pick out the main characters and main events and read about them. Journal about the character, who he/she was, strengths, weaknesses, ways we can learn from this person. Same thing with an event. Write down what the event was, why it was important and what we can learn from this event today.

I am a voracious reader, so when I read my devotional or other christian based books, I will sometimes write a blog post on a scripture I have read. This allows me to dig further into that scripture and God’s Word really sinks in that way. I have learned things that I would not have learned otherwise.

Journal what you read. If a scripture jumps out at you, write it down. What about that passage spoke to you and how can you use it in your every day life? What has that scripture taught you?

Like Verse 2 above says, meditate on the law, day and night. We have to be intentional about letting God’s Word sink into our hearts. Remember that what goes in, will come out. Garbage in, Garbage out. The love of God in, the love of God out.

Output

James 1:22

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Luke 8:21

He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Matthew 7:24

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

God makes it abundantly clear that we need to put His Words into action. It does us no good, if we can recite the Bible backwards and forwards, but our every day life does not reflect that knowledge. This does not mean that we have to be Biblical scholars. Most of the 12 disciples were not Biblical scholars. They were fishermen, tax collectors and doctors. God just expects us to allow what we know of Him to make an impact on the world around us.

Love one another– John 13:34

Be kind and compassionate– Ephesians 4:32

Forgive one another– Colossians 3:13

I encourage you to look up other scriptures and find out how God expects us to act towards each other.

Part of putting action to God’s Words is serving each other. 1 Peter 4:10 tells us that we should use whatever gifts we have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace.

We are God’s Ambassadors on this earth. God tells us exactly how to treat others and He expects us to obey His Word.

*Challenge- find a Bible reading plan and get into God’s Word. Let it seep into your spirit and overflow into the lives of those around you. God says that we will be like a tree planted by streams of water and that we will not wither. That is an amazing promise! So, get in the Word!

God Bless!

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bloom where your planted

 

 

Philippians 4:11-13

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Paul knew what hardship was. He wrote four of his letters while he was imprisoned. Paul’s letter to the Philippians was written while he was in prison. Paul suffered severely for his beliefs. He was imprisoned, he was flogged, and he was exposed to death more than once, but Paul had faith in God and he never quit giving the message of the Gospel.

Every day circumstances can cause discontentment in our lives. I have worked in the food service department of a local convent for 2 1/2 years now and although I love the sisters and my work environment, I often get frustrated because I want to be doing more for God. I know that God has called me to a full-time women’s ministry and that is where my heart is. I have been guilty of arguing with God and have been a bit whiny. I have complained that “all these other women are serving in full-time ministries, why shouldn’t I be able to?” I admit, I have sounded like a petulant child. No wonder my heavenly Father has left me where I am! I have finally realized that until I can be content in my present circumstances and allow God to use me where I am, I will not be able to move forward in a full-time ministry. Why does it take us so long to learn these lessons?

Paul says in this passage that he has learned the secret to being content in any and every situation. What is Paul’s secret?

1. Love (1:9)

2. Confidence in the Lord (1:14)

3. Union With Christ ( 1:21, 4:13)

4. The Privilege Of Suffering (1:29)

5. Humility (2:3)

6. Unselfishness (2:20)

7. Losing What The World Prizes (3:8)

8. A Heavenly Goal (3:20)

9. Helpfulness (4:3)

10. Being Worry-Free (4:6)

11. Godly Thinking (4:8)

12. A Grateful Heart (4:14-16)

Paul desired to do God’s will, even if it meant suffering and death. Paul also trusted God to bring something good out of his suffering. Paul truly had a servant’s heart. His only desire was to serve God and to serve those God sent him to. If we allow ourselves to become servants and allow God to use us right where we are today, then we open the door to future assignments. We have to be willing to find contentment wherever life has us today. Become that willing servant to whomever God puts in your life and watch as God works in our own lives and the lives of those around us.

I am challenging you to look outside of your own situation and find someone else that you can help or encourage, even if in a small way. Cultivate that servant’s heart within yourself and find contentment no matter what your circumstances may be.

*1-12 of Paul’s secret was taken from John Mark Ministries http://www.jmm.org.au/articles/15401.htm

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think

 

 

Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

If I am completely honest, I have to admit that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart have not always been acceptable in God’s sight. I have been guilty of yelling at my kids when I am frustrated and overwhelmed. I have been guilty of snapping at the cashier in my impatience and I have been guilty of complaining about co-workers when they aren’t doing things my way. I have also been guilty of thinking un-Christlike thoughts. I don’t like when I do these things and am immediately filled with remorse. My loving Father in heaven convicts my heart and brings me back to Him.

It is an ongoing battle though. Every day is filled with opportunities to lash out with unkind words and harbor unkind thoughts.

James 3:5-8

5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

I know how discouraging this verse sounds. How can we ever gain control over our tongue, if the Bible says that no human being can tame the tongue? And if the words of our mouths stem from the meditations of our hearts, then what hope is there to live like Christ? I am here to encourage you, my friend, it does take some discipline on our part, but if we make the effort to be the example of Christ in our own sphere of influence, God in His mercy and grace will show us the steps to take. Below are some ways to become that example of Christ that God calls us to be:

  1. Study God’s Word: Meditating on God’s word allows us to hide His word in our hearts so that we may not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). If you are struggling with an issue today, rest assured there is a scripture that addresses that issue. The Bible is definitely my go to book when dealing with a tough situation or simply to sing praises to my compassionate and loving Father.  There are many free Bible studies for women online and relatively inexpensive on Amazon.com. If you have a Christian book store near you, check there also.
  2. With today’s obsession with media and entertainment, it is easy to let things into our hearts that are evil. I have been astounded at the violence and sexual content in television shows lately. We have to make the decision to turn the T.V. channel/radio station or turn them off to keep our hearts pure before God.
  3. Think Before You Speak: this is one I have trouble with! When someone says unkind words to me or simply has a different opinion from mine, it is sometimes hard for me to keep my mouth shut. Especially, when my pride has been wounded and my ego bruised. I constantly feel like I have to defend myself or have the last word. I have gotten better at keeping my mouth shut, praying for wisdom in the situation and choosing my words more carefully, so I don’t add fuel to the fire. As in many other areas of my life, I am a work in progress. Sometimes we simply need to walk away from the situation when our evil tongues are itching to sting someone with it’s deadly poison. In those situations where we can’t walk away, pray for God’s wisdom in dealing with the situation. I promise He will give you the right words to use in every situation.
  4. Pray: I am constantly in prayer throughout my day. Now, before you think I am some super spiritual person, let me reassure you that some of those prayers are of a whiny child simply wanting an easier day at work. I know people who can sit in prayer for hours at a time and I am glad that there are those who feel called to that type of prayer life, but I am not one of them. With 5  kids, a job, and other responsibilities, I have found it necessary for me to pray on the go. God has called us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) anyway, so it makes sense that being in a continual conversation with God throughout our day is going to help us in deflecting the poison arrows of the enemy.  Asking for forgiveness immediately when we sin, asking for wisdom, patience, self-control etc. immediately as a difficult situation arises, saying a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude when given good news or when we have been the recipient of God’s favor. Being in that continual conversation puts us in the place where the meditations of our heart will be acceptable to Him.
  5. Get involved in a local church: getting together with other Christians provides us with a support system when we need one and accountability partners when we are facing the temptation to sin. Becoming active in the local body of Christ keeps us close to the Vine (Christ) and provides the strength we need to keep the enemy at bay.

I have addressed five important ways to stay close to God and be that example of Christ in our lives. It takes discipline. Being a Christian is not easy, but it is so worth the effort to have that peace in my life, even in the midst of chaos at times, that comes from knowing and living in Christ. Being attached to the Vine gives us power over Satan and allows us to live victorious lives no matter what circumstances we may be living with. I encourage you to incorporate these steps into your life and you will find yourself a living example of Christ. We cannot tame our tongues on our own, but with God’s help the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts will be acceptable to the One we seek to honor and glorify.

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