Category Archives: Bible Study Community with Kendra Graham

Scripture, Bible study, God’s Word, Kendra Graham

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — Esther 1:1a

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Esther 1:1a

“Now it took place in the days of King Ahasuerus….”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  It took place in the days of King Ahasuerus…

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   It took  place in the days of King Ahasuerus…so what does that mean?  What were the days of King Ahasuerus?  King Ahasuerus was better known as Xerxes the great.  Xerxes ruled and reigned over the Persian Empire from 485bc-465bc.  Xerxes was a wicked and cruel leader whose motto was, “One world, one ruler,” and that one ruler was him.

God’s chosen people, the Israelites, find themselves in the midst of the Persian Empire as slaves to Xerxes–like 44% of the world found themselves at that time.  How did they end up there?  What happened to God’s promise to His people about having a land of their own?  God’s people conquer in the book of Joshua, but here in Esther they are conquered.

God’s chosen people were to obey and follow God, and if they did, God would bless them, but if they did not, God would send them into exile to discipline them and bring them back to Him.  Israel obeyed for awhile, but then… they stopped.  God was true to His Word.  King Nebuchadnezzar came in to Jerusalem, and in 536bc, wiped the city out.  Remember, Daniel and his friends were taken and in Daniel 1:1 they firmly decide not to defile themselves… they decide to go vegan before vegan was a trend.  Daniel and his friends were found to be more fit than all the other captives, so they get to keep their diet.  God shows Daniel and his friends favor.  Daniel ends up being a confidant to not only the Babylonian kings, but to the Medes and the Persians as well.  This is unheard of!  #ThefavorofGodisreal.

Daniel is a prophet and tells the people that God will allow them to return to the land of promise after 70 years of captivity.  Darius (Xerxes father) releases God’s chosen people to return back to their land of promise.  Less than 1/4 decide to go back… and now… here we are… the days of King Ahasuerus…

Soooo why did the Israelites not return?  God had CLEARLY called His people to be led by Him to their land given by Him.  Was Persia such a fabulous place?

It’s easy to point our fingers and judge for sure… there was a time in my life when I read this book and did just that… judged them.  I mean seriously… if they had returned like they were supposed to then there would be no need for Esther to risk her life… but no… they are disobedient, stiff necked people.  Yep.  So am I.

Would you have gone back?  I mean, you just got that promotion at work… your kids just got into the best school system… 1st world amenities…to go where?  Last time they heard about Jerusalem it was burned to the ground, completely destroyed.  No indoor plumbing?  Having to boil water over a fire?  What school system was in place there for your kids so they could have a shot at some sort of future?  Yeah… none.  It’s not like they could site visit and then if they didn’t like it, return over the long weekend.  You go–you stay.

Oh… so “God” had called them out?  Well…. where has God been these past 70 years?

God has been SILENT–that’s where God has been.

NOW God wants us to give EVERYTHING up and follow Him?  Trust that His Word is true for me and my family?  Hmmmm…. wow… now that my friend, is quite a gamble isn’t it?  And THAT is where we find ourselves today… not so far off from those Israelites in 536bc.  That very same calling is on our lives… TRUST that God’s Word and His promises are true and will hold…. for me.  There it is.  In the days of Ahasuerus… God’s people found themselves still living in exile… because it was hard to gamble it all on the fact that God is who He says He is.  We don’t know we need to be #delivered until we need to be delivered.  The Israelites needed #deliverance… so in chapter 1 Almighty God was going to work on that.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  SO, what say you?  Has God placed a calling on your life that you have put on the back burner?  When things calm down, when I’m more economically stable, when my kids are out of the house…  What is keeping you from going all in?  What is preventing you from believing and taking God at His Word?  Will God really be faithful to you?

Maybe God has been silent for YEARS… and now… you are to just believe His Word will hold for you in your desperate situation?  Has God allowed a desperate situation in your life so you have no options left on the table except to trust Him?

When has God shaken you to wake you up to your need?

LIVE IT OUT:  Today… help me to surrender the battle I face at the feet of Jesus.  Help my unbelief and #deliver me.

___________________________________________________________

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove it started last week, but it’s not too late to join us!  We’d love to see you in person.

Registration is open and you can sign up online for Kendra’s evening study or by calling 1-800-950-2092.  (Click here to sign up for the morning study with Jane Derrick.)


NOTE: If you are unable to attend Kendra’s winter Bible study at The Cove in person (January 10 – February 21, 2017),  we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.  We are also streaming the study LIVE via Periscope.  Can’t watch live?  Don’t worry, you can catch the replays in the Periscope app indefinitely.  We will begin streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening around 7:15 p.m. ET (give or take a few minutes).

Not sure how to use Periscope? 
1.
 You must first sign up for Twitter (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2. Then you sign up for Periscope (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.

Make sure to follow The Cove on Twitter and Periscope, so you will be notified when we go LIVE.  We are @TheCoveNC.

UPDATE from January 10th study (last week): Friends, we had major technical difficulties with the LIVE streaming.  We are chatting with the tech people at Periscope and Twitter and hope to have it up and ready to go next week.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Please pray this will get figured out.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Psalm 62:12a

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Psalm 62:12a

“And lovingkindness in Thine, O Lord…”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  Lovingkindness is Thine, O Lord..

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  

Have you heard the song, “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin?  This is the song rolling around my heart and mind as I review for the Bible study workshop tonight at the Cove.

The word “lovingkindness” in the Hebrew is the word “checed”… this is a word that’s difficult for scholars to define because it has such a deeper meaning than we can articulate.  The closest meaning they have agreed upon is this: “the loving kindness of a father toward his child.”  God moves to us with the love that a father has for his child.

I understand that not all of us had that “perfect” father experience… but the love of God towards us, is just that… the perfect father experience.  God rules with a “fatherly rule.”  The kindness of a father speaks to the motivation and the heart that God has towards us.  God rules with fatherly tenderness.  God rules with the fatherly wisdom of what is best for us… not necessarily what we want or think we are entitled to.   He knows what we need before we even think we need it–before we cry out for help He is there to #deliver us.  He is perfect in all of His ways.  He loves us more than we even accept, so much in fact, that He sacrificed His own life for us, so that we might live. It’s who He is.

God’s love toward us  not only implies love and tenderness, but it implies the fact that He is to be followed, to be listened to, to be surrendered to.

Surrendering to follow our good, good Father is a challenge, isn’t it?  We don’t trust that He has our best in mind.  Often we think God just wants to hurt us…if only He would bend to our every whim, then we would trust Him.

I argue, it is precisely that He does not bend to our every whim which is the reason to trust Him.  Praise God we have a heavenly Father who can see what is for our best! Praise God we serve a God who moves towards us in fatherly tenderness when we don’t deserve it!  Praise God He is a Father who is desperate to spend time with us, walk with us, lead us, and guide us!  God rules from a compassionate heart, He loves you, He loves me!  This is the intimacy of God for us: His hand made creation.

Oh, that through this study, this year, you would find an intimacy with Jesus that you have never known.  We don’t know what challenges 2017 will hold, but what we can be assured of is this:  “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD #delivers him out of all of them!”  Psalm 34:19.  May we run to and find refuge in the arms of our God, full of the lovingkindness of a good, good Father.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Where is God calling you to trust Him?  Do you believe that He wants the best for you?  How has God tried to show you how loved you are by Him?  Do you fight His love or accept it?

LIVE IT OUT:  Determine to spend time with God on a daily basis, in His Word, claiming His character.

___________________________________________________________

What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
__________________________________________________________

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove it starts tonight!  We’d love to see you in person.

Registration is open and you can sign up online for Kendra’s evening study or by calling 1-800-950-2092.  (Click here to sign up for the morning study with Jane Derrick.)

Watch, as Kendra shares what you can expect from her study on the book of Esther:

NOTE: If you are unable to attend Kendra’s winter Bible study at The Cove in person (January 10 – February 21, 2017),  we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.  We are also streaming the study LIVE via Periscope.  Can’t watch live?  Don’t worry, you can catch the replays in the Periscope app indefinitely.  We will begin streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening around 7:15 p.m. ET (give or take a few minutes).

Not sure how to use Periscope? 
1.
 You must first sign up for Twitter (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2. Then you sign up for Periscope (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.

Make sure to follow The Cove on Twitter and Periscope, so you will be notified when we go LIVE.  We are @TheCoveNC.

UPDATE from January 10th study: Friends, we had major technical difficulties with the LIVE streaming.  We are chatting with the tech people at Periscope and Twitter and hope to have it up and ready to go next week.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Please pray this will get figured out.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — James 4:8

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  James 4:8

“Draw Near to God and He will draw near to you”  - James 4:8.

Step 1

THE FACTS:  Draw near to God,  He WILL draw near to you.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  New Years is upon us this week!  The ending of the year, but most importantly, the beginning of the next!  Some of us are happy to see 2016 come to a close and some of us are sad — wanting to hold on to moments in time that seem to fade away with the seasons.

New Years is a time of hopeful optimism for most of us, hoping the best is yet to come!  Well, the best is here and it is stated so simply in this verse!  This is one of my most favorite, clear verses in all the Bible!  What hope! What anticipation!  What amazement lies ahead! Draw near to God and He WILL draw near to you!

This verse does not say:  “If you draw near, God MAY draw near to you… it’s a gamble”… Nope! Play the Vegas odds on this one baby! IT’S a SURE thing!  You see, we were created by God, with His hands, in the dirt in the Garden of Eden!  All other creation was created with just a word, but man and woman were different!  Man and woman were hand crafted with the very fingertips of God!  Psalm 139: 13 says, “For You created my innermost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”  God created us, each differently, each purposefully, on purpose, with purpose…. so many have heard that, but so few actually believe that!

God created us then to do what?  God created you and I to walk with Him, to know Him and to need Him.  By the way…we HATE the needing part… we hate to need anyone.  Here, in this verse, it says just that.  God is here, pleading, calling, wooing us to spend time with Him, yet often, we turn a deaf ear and refuse to listen.  We don’t like where we have to go to meet God, or we don’t like where He wants to go with us… or we don’t like the way He takes care of things in His time, in His way…. so we prefer to keep our distance.  We have a list of reasons how God is doing it wrong, but we will never spend time seeking out the why’s and the where’s of God’s presence.

The fact is: you are God’s hand-made creation and you mean everything to Him.  Your opinion on that statement will never change the fact of the statement.  So If God wants us to “Draw near” then how do we do it?

1.  Find Time.  Yup.  Start with 5 minutes and go from there.  Hard to do, but essential. (This time is separate from regular church time.)

2.  Open God’s Word and pray, asking God to speak to you.

3.  Do the three question Bible study method that I use in this blog.

  • What does it Say?
  • What Does it Mean?
  • What Does it Mean to me?

Don’t worry about getting through all of these questions on a verse every day if that’s too much.  Tackle one question per day.

4.  Live it out.  As you listen for God to speak in His Word, live out what He nudges your heart to do. Usually God will move your heart to go and do things you would never really think of on your own… or at least nudge you to do things in a way you could not have come up with on your own.  God is alive and active in His Word which never changes.  We need to go to God where He is, not where we think or want Him to be.

This is a process.  This takes time.  This is what it looks like to seek. Seeking takes time, perseverance and fortitude, but God in His Word says that if you do seek Him…. you will find Him!  Jeremiah 29:13: You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart.  It’s the Who we are seeking… not the what we want out of Him.  Many just desire the what… but God…. pleads for you to desire the Who… because He formed you in your mother’s womb, and oh! how He desires to draw near to you!  If we take the steps to draw near to God, I bet we will find that He’s been there the whole time, and we’ll wonder how we missed His presence for so long!

SO THIS YEAR, let’s turn a new leaf!  Let’s BELIEVE God and His Word.  Let’s decide to draw near indeed!  Let’s commit to this for an entire year… then next year at this time… look back and try to count the ways that God Almighty walked with us, spoke to us and #delivered us.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  In the last year, who or what have you been desperate to draw near to?  A better bank account? A certain relationship? A different job?  A family? Status?

In this next year who or what are you looking to draw near to?  What are your ambitions?  What if your ambition was to draw near to God?  What is keeping you from drawing near to God?  Do you have a list?  Have you ever considered laying out your list to God on why you won’t draw near to Him?  Maybe the answers you want from Him are available… but it will require seeking them out?  Are you willing to invest?

LIVE IT OUT:  Today, I will open God’s Word and do the three questions… I intend to hear God speak to me through His Word, then walk as He leads.

___________________________________________________________

What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
__________________________________________________________

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, here in Asheville beginning in January 2017, we’d love to see you.

Registration is open and you can sign up online for Kendra’s evening study or by calling 1-800-950-2092.  (Click here to sign up for the morning study with Jane Derrick.)

Watch, as Kendra shares what you can expect from her study on the book of Esther:

NOTE: If you are unable to attend Kendra’s winter Bible study at The Cove in person (January 10 – February 21, 2017),  we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.  We are also streaming the study LIVE via Periscope.  Can’t watch live?  Don’t worry, you can catch the replays in the Periscope app indefinitely.

Not sure how to use Periscope? 
1.
 You must first sign up for Twitter (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2. Then you sign up for Periscope (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — MATTHEW 1:21

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Matthew 1:21

“She will bear a Son, call His name Jesus, He will save His people from their sins.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  She will bear a Son, call His name Jesus, He will save His people from their sins.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  Merry Christmas!  Jesus has come!  The Gospel has been born and has been fulfilled!   I’ve been reading a great book by Timothy Keller called, Hidden Christmas, and it has captured my mind and thoughts about Christmas like never before.  The book delves into the genealogy of Jesus, and has brought things to the surface that I’ve not ever really thought about.

We always hear that Jesus is the “Son of David,” meaning, King David!  Well, Jesus–being the King of Kings, it only makes sense that He would come from a kingly line, right?  In Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, King David is mentioned but he is mentioned in a way I always kind of skimmed over, “David, the father of Solomon, by Bathsheba, who had been the wife of Uriah”  Matthew 1:6.

The one thing David probably wanted everyone to forget about him (adulterous affair which lead to the murder of Uriah), is actually in the geology page of Jesus.  King David, needs a Savior.

Who else is on the list?  Well, there is a Canaanite woman who was a prostitute…Rahab–saved in Jericho…then, there is a Moabites–Ruth, and don’t forget Tamar, who tricked her father in law into conceiving a son with her.  This is the bloodline of Jesus! The great grandmothers of Jesus, are in desperate need of a Savior.

It’s amazing that Matthew even included women in the list, because in that day and time the culture did not recognize women in their ancestry at all, it only went through the men!  What a pedigree Jesus has!  Herod the Great was known to actually blot certain people out of his genealogy because he was ashamed of them and didn’t want people to know there was any relation, yet  here, Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, claims them all, regardless of what they had done! Praise God!

Jesus was not coming to prove His worth to anyone, or pad His resume so He could advance up the ladder of power and wealth.  Jesus came for a very real and messy problem, and that problem was sin.  The Bible says, “All fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.  This verse could not be more clear than by the very bloodlines of Jesus!  The closest relatives of Jesus, needed Him desperately to save them from their sins.

I love that the family of Jesus included both Jew and Gentile.  We are all God’s hand made creation which started in the Garden of Eden, and He loves us more than anything.  God loves us so much, that He came Himself, not trusting us to anyone else, “…. for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”  God came Himself, “… and they shall call His name Immanuel, which means, “God with us”- Matthew 1:22-23.

We need Jesus, pure and simple.  Our bloodlines and our lives are just as messy, if not messier than the ones listed here in the beginning of Matthew, but know this:  THERE IS HOPE and His name is Jesus!  Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary, and grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.  Jesus lived a perfect life, and performed many miracles, but that is not the reason He came.  Jesus came, to die, to save us from our sins.  Jesus came to bring peace between God and man where there had been enmity.

God loves you too much to leave you to your own devices, so He came and poured out His extreme wrath on Himself since you and I were not created to carry such a burden.  Jesus died so we can live.   “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23.

In this season of gift giving, I pray that you would receive the greatest gift of all, and that gift is the very forgiveness of God.  It can be  hard to receive because we like to be the giver, we like to be in control, but this gift will always be out of reach and cannot be earned.  There’s no buying it with your Amazon Prime membership, so God has freely given it, and it is Himself.  We are created to walk with God, to know God and to need God–it’s not a design flaw.  Oh that this Christmas you would accept that gift found under the tree, the tree of life, which is the cross.

The reason for the season is that Jesus came to save us from our sins.  May this acceptance of the precious gift of God be forever in your bloodline from here on out.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Do you know your desperate need for a Savior to save you from your sins?

When have you received the gift of God?  Have you ever asked Jesus to forgive your sins?  Did you realize that sin was the entire reason Jesus came?

Will you receive this gift today? Now?

LIVE IT OUT: Today I will stand amazed at the love God has for me!  Oh that He came Himself, not trusting me to another, to live a perfect sinless life, to die a sinners death, and then to rise from the grave!  Today may I count my blessings that I know Jesus!

Today, if you have never accepted that free gift of God, pray a simple prayer today, “I believe You came Yourself, God with us, and Your name is Jesus.  I pray you forgive me for my personal bloodline full of sin.  You lived a perfect life, died a sinners death for me and then rose from the grave!  Thank you for forgiving me!  Teach me to walk with You.  Amen.

___________________________________________________________

What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
__________________________________________________________

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, here in Asheville beginning in January 2017, we’d love to see you.

Registration is open and you can sign up online for Kendra’s evening study or by calling 1-800-950-2092.  (Click here to sign up for the morning study with Jane Derrick.)

Watch, as Kendra shares what you can expect from her study on the book of Esther:

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — ESTHER 8:2, 7-8

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Esther 8:2, 7-8

“And the king took off his signet ring which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai.  And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. (7) So King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold I have given the house of Haman to Esther, and him they have hanged on the gallows because they had stretched out his hands against the Jews.  Now, you write to the Jews as you see fit, in the king’s name and seal it with the king’s ring; for a decree which is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s signet ring may not be revoked.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  The king took off his signet ring and gave it to Mordecai.  King said to Esther, “BEHOLD, I have given the house of Haman to Esther, now YOU WRITE as you see fit, in the king’s name, seal it w the king’s ring; a decree written in the name of king & sealed with signet ring may not be revoked.”

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

It matters what you do, it matters that you believe and act on the beliefs that you so passionately profess.

Here in the story, the climax has been reached: Esther has prayed and fasted for three days, she has stepped out in faith and trusted that God had given her the title of queen, “For such a time as this.”

Esther, risking her life walks into the throne room and after two banquets, she pleads for her life and the life of her people living in the Persian empire.  The king is incensed–who would dare try to kill his queen?  Killing the queen is tantamount to treason, an action worthy of death.  Haman is identified as the culprit.  Haman is promptly escorted out of the room with a bag placed over his head.  Haman will be hung on the very gallows he built to impale Mordecai, who is the enemy of Haman, but the hero of Jews.

Haman is gone, but the edict of Haman is still very much alive.  In just 9 short months, the Jews across the Persian empire will be slaughtered.  Esther has saved her own life from Haman’s hand, but now she continues to plead for the lives of her people.  The king must reverse the edict, the king must do something so that he saves her people, and in verse 3 we find Esther weeping and pleading at the king’s feet.

I LOVE the response of the king!!!  “Behold! I have given…”  I love the word “behold”.  Behold is a demonstrative participle which means the king is demonstrating (showing) Esther the power that she possesses.  The same power that Haman had in order to write an edict to destroy is the same power Esther has to protect and save.  Esther possesses the very power of the king to write an edict that cannot be revoked!

The king then tells her to GO AND DO IT!  GO! Esther, in the power of the king of Persia!  Go Esther!  The very words written on the page will be sealed with my signet, proving it is binding!  GO Esther!! YOU WRITE!  And there it is.

Think for just a second, what if Esther said, “Yeah, I hear what you are saying–I see the ring and all–and I hear you telling me that whatever I write you will stand behind it and “okay” it, but honestly, I just don’t believe it.  I like the ring and all, and I will wear it and show everyone that the king gave it to me and explain that there is just nothing that can be done for my people.  I tried.” #supercoolring #canthelp #sorry

THAT WOULD BE CRAZY!!!  The king had delivered the Jews, but Esther needed to step out and believe the power that the signet ring is endowed with.  Esther was charged, “You write,” and she did.  God delivered His people through the ring of a pagan king, because Esther and Mordecai wrote and completed the task set before them.

Can you hear the Jeremy Camp song playing in the background as you read this?

“The same power that raised Jesus from the grave!  The same power that commands the dead to wait, lives in us!  The same power that moves mountains when we speak.  The same power that can calm the raging sea, lives in us.  He lives in us.”

YES, THESE WORDS ARE SO TRUE! Let’s sing it!  BUT do you REALLY believe the words, or is it just a catchy tune?

All the promises in Jesus are yes and Amen (2 Cor 1:20)!  That means that ALL, ALL, ALL God’s promises are as if they are done and completed already in our lives!

We are free! 

We are #delivered!!! 

We don’t believe it.  Oh, I have faith for you, I believe God has delivered you, but me?  Often times I do not believe the  promises of God are yes and amen for me.

For such a time as this, it is time that we begin to STAND and, just as Esther was charged by the king, we must also “behold “and remember what we have been given!

Step 3

APPLY IT:  What would you do differently if you really believed that the very power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead really lives in you?

 Where has God called you to make a stand  or send out a statement, but you don’t believe that you have really been delivered?  Will you ask God to show you specifically?

Hint: It will always be hard, and more often than not, it will usually not be something you would have chosen yourself.  Faith is HARD… but it is how God proves to YOU that His promises are ALL yes and amen to you!

Have you gone to church for years, and profess to be a Christian but your life is not reflective of the power of Christ, but the fear of failure?

LIVE IT OUT:

Ephesians 1:18-19 — “I pray that the eyes of your heart (and mine) may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His (Jesus’s) inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which he brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand.”

That same power is the desire of God to work through us.  Oh, how God wants to show us our faith is not in vain in the Lord (I Cor 15:58).

Today STAND, SIT, WRITE, PRAISE, WALK, RUN in VICTORY!  Believe, then go and do because you are free, you are #delivered.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
__________________________________________________________

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, here in Asheville beginning in January 2017, we’d love to see you.

Registration is open and you can sign up online for Kendra’s evening study or by calling 1-800-950-2092.  (Click here to sign up for the morning study with Jane Derrick.)

Watch, as Kendra shares what you can expect from her study on the book of Esther:

2017 Women’s Bible Study is Open For Registration

The 2017 free Women’s Bible Study is right around the corner and we hope you’ll make plans to join us in January.

Watch as Jane and Kendra share about their studies in the videos below:

Online registration is available this year, so click here to register for Jane’s Tuesday morning study (January 10 – February 28, 2017) .  If you prefer, you may also register by calling 1-800-950-2092.

An optional $12 lunch will be available after Jane’s study each week, but reservations must be made by noon on the Friday prior to each week’s study.  To make your lunch reservation, call 828-298-2092.  Lunch is a popular option, so be sure to get your reservation in early, as dining room seating is limited.

Register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study (January 10 – February 21, 2017) by clicking here.  If you prefer, you may also register by calling 1-800-950-2092.

Please share this post with your church and your circle of women friends and family.

See you in January!

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Esther 3:1

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Esther 3:1

“After these events, King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite and advanced him and established his authority over all the princes who were with him.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  The king promoted Haman, the Agagite, and established his authority over all princes.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

After these things…. what things?
After Esther, Mordecai’s niece, had been chosen as queen?
After Mordecai had received a position at the king’s gate?
After Mordecai had personally saved the king’s life by getting wind of an assassination plot, informed Esther, who informed the king, who then found the information to be true?

After all these things, Mordecai was recognized, Mordecai was promoted, Mordecai was seen by the king as as asset to the kingdom…. or NOT.

Mordecai was not only overlooked for the promotion, which he probably rightly deserved, but that promotion was given to his sworn enemy, an Agagite.  The Agags were a group of people who were enemies of the Jews.  It goes back to those years of wandering in the desert with Moses.

So what do you do with that?  All your hard work is not recognized.  Your loyalty not thanked.  Your friendship with the queen ignored.  Then to top it all off, your arch enemy is promoted over you.  That is pretty much the story of Mordecai’s life.

Always looked over.  Always having to sacrifice.  Never rewarded.

Mordecai lost his parents, he lost his single life when he chose to raise his niece Esther, then lost her to the king.  His life could be summed up in the next country music hit!

What do I love about this verse?  I like the fact that I don’t read in the following verse: #storyofmylife #nothinggoesmyway #Godhatesme #WhereisGod?

Mordecai could have taken a much different route in his assessment of the situation.  Instead, Mordecai states the facts.  As we get into the text and chapter more, we see that this Agagite that was promoted was a manipulative, power seeking, arrogant, evil man.  Again, for me, more questions…. why do the cunning sneaky people always seem to get to the top?  Why does God seem to ignore the faithful, and allow evil to rise with such ease?  We miss God’s favor even in the times of injustice. If Mordecai could see to the end, he would see God is moving the scenes, working in the shadows in the midst of injustice for the deliverance of His people.

We are incapable of seeing the favor of God at times, because when it really comes down to it, we don’t believe–really believe–that God is in control.  We believe God needs our help, we believe God needs us to right the societal wrongs.  I know I’m quick to shake my fist and my head at the way God allows some people to rise while smothering (it seems to me), those who are really trying to serve Him.

If you can relate, then pick your head and your heart up.  Read the rest of the book!  God does have this, and He moves in a more profound and large way than i could have ever dreamed of! God does see everything.  Faith, unfortunately is not about a life of emotional blessing after blessing.   Often, it seems like it is the exact opposite!  Frequently God has to knock the bottom out of us, and really get us in touch with humility in order to get us in personal contact with Him and His character.  We will never cry out to Him until we are desperate.

It is not about the “what” God gives us, it’s about the “Who” we get in the process! We get to know God in a personal way.  God needs us to move from a theoretical knowledge of Him, to a personal one.  God stretches our faith, allows it to struggle in the depths, so when deliverance comes in a mighty way, we can then boldly say, “I KNOW in Who I have BELIEVED and KNOW that HE IS ABLE!”  Faith is not faith until it is struggled with and stretched.  I hate every minute of it! BUT in the end, I LOVE it!  In the end, I can’t help but proclaim, “Oh how He loves you and me!”  Be confident!  God does see.  God is working.  God is in control.  We are free!  We are delivered from being dependent on promotions and the spotlight.  Nothing that is done for the glory of God goes unseen or unrewarded.  Keep on serving Him with passion!

#Delivered

Step 3

APPLY IT:

What causes us to doubt that God is in control, aware of the dire situation we are facing?

Can you relate to Mordecai in this story, always overlooked and forgotten about?  Will you, today, in this moment give that feeling of injustice to God, and ask Him to show you how or ask Him to give you confidence that He sees and is indeed still working on behalf of you, because you are His?

When have you demanded God work in a certain way, and God didn’t, so you got angry only to see days, weeks, or years later, that God did understand more than you could see at the time?

Will we look for God’s favor, and remain on our knees even in the midst of questioning and injustice?

LIVE IT OUT:
Today Lord, as I walk through this day, help me to focus my eyes on the FACT that You are in charge! Help me not to look to people, a job, a title, a promotion,or a government to give me hope for the future, but help me to solely look to You and trust that You hold me and my family in the palm of Your hand.  #Delivered

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
__________________________________________________________

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, here in Asheville beginning in January 2017, we’d love to see you.

Registration is open and you can sign up online for Kendra’s evening study or by calling 1-800-950-2092.  (Click here to sign up for the morning study with Jane Derrick.)

Watch, as Kendra shares what you can expect from her study on the book of Esther:

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Esther 4:16

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Esther 4:16

“Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  I and my maidens also will fast in the same way.  And thus I will go into the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  Assemble all the Jews in Susa.  Fast and pray for me three days (night), I and my maidens also will, thus I will go to the king, not according to law, if I perish, I perish.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:
“To everyone who has been given much, much will be required.” Luke 12:48

Many of us in swing states are being bombarded with campaign commercials, everywhere we go.  So, as Christians, who do we vote for?  HRC?  The Donald?  McMullin?  Johnson?  Does God’s Word give us a clear cut answer?  There are many Christians and theologians giving their two cents regarding who we should pull the lever for, and if we don’t follow their advice we are seen as wicked people who have sold our souls…. so some of us will stay at home and not vote at all, letting whatever happens, happen. But is that right either?  We are known as “One nation under God,” as a country where “God’s grace has been shed.”  So what is the right answer?

I love this verse in Esther, and I think we can receive encouragement and direction from it.  The lives of the Jewish people were in the balance–slated for slaughter–with nothing to be done to change the outcome. Or was there?  Ahhh, there was! Queen Esther, who had no “real” power at all, but was the one God called to stand up at that moment in history.  The “king” that Esther would risk her life to speak to, was Xerxes.  He called himself, “The king of kings,” the “Almighty.”  He had a complex for sure.  Xerxes was not a king who regarded life as precious…he was willing to sacrifice the lives of every man in his army if he could have control over Greece.  An evil and cruel dictator, Xerxes had his previous wife banished from his presence forever for one act of disobedience.  Worse yet, the right-hand man of this king was Haman, who was just as evil and manipulative–a true enemy of God and His people.  Haman is the one who made the kill order for the Jewish people across every province in the Persian empire.  (Cue the evil laugh…can you hear it?)

Esther was the only one with access to King Xerxes (kind of).  She needed to be summoned by the king to have the “privilege” of access, and he hadn’t summoned her in quite some time.  Esther couldn’t just walk in to the throne room uninvited unless she wanted to lose her life.  This posed a problem…what help would she be to the Jewish people if she was dead?  Esther had been silent regarding her Jewish heritage since she’d been placed in the palace.  Esther could have run away, she could have hid, she could have said, “What is the use?  What can my words do to make a difference?”  Esther was not ignorant about who she was dealing with.  Esther was absolutely right.  What could she do?  Esther could make things a lot worse–especially for herself, if you think about it.  Esther knew her own limitations, but she knew the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords… and she had access without limit to Him.

Esther turned to prayer and fasting for three days and called the Jews in the city to do so as well.  Esther would go and meet this responsibility head on, believing God would go before her.  If this meant the end to her and her people, it meant the end.  Still, she would gather her courage and go.  To whom much had been given, much was required.  Esther met the challenge.  Perhaps that is why she was Providentially chosen to be where she was.

We as Americans may not be kings and queens, but we do have access to the same Almighty King of kings and Lord of lords that Esther had.  The people of Persia had no right to vote for their leader, but we do.  Now is not the time to shirk the responsibility that has been given to us.  Running from the problem of the candidates is not gathering our courage.  What if three days before the election, we as God’s people who have been entrusted with this civic duty, prayed and fasted together, then, after three days, we put on our robes and went to the polls to vote for the person that God has laid on our hearts?

Remember, throughout time, God has used even the most wicked of kings like Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, Ahab and Xerxes, because right in the middle of the darkness, He had the light of His presence, and in the end, delivered His people in spite of the odds.

There is a time to hold our tongues and keep our heads down, but that time is not now!  Now is the time to move from silence to supplication, as Esther did.  Now is the time to make a STAND on our knees like never before! My prayer for this election is found in Psalm 31:3, “For Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.”

Step 3

APPLY IT:
Will we determine to move from silence to supplication on behalf of the responsibility God has entrusted to us?

LIVE IT OUT:
For Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me today, give me the ears to hear, the heart to understand and the feet to follow.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
__________________________________________________________

To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — Luke 14:26

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Luke 14:26
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  If any come to Me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:
WOW! This seems a little harsh, right?  Where are the loving verses  that we are so used to?  Why the hate?  Is this contradictory?   A lot of people skip over this in devotions and sermon, thinking surely God got this verse wrong in the writing of His Word… But did He?

Recently God taught me the meaning of this verse, and it was a hard lesson to learn.  My husband travels a lot, and because of this, misses out on things like school functions during the week and soccer games on the weekends, so I’ve made it a point to try to get to everything and represent for the two of us.  I decided, way back before the birth of my first child, that I would do all I could to be very present.  This decision means I must say no to a lot of things that I am asked or pulled to do.  My first instinct is to always say no right off the bat to everything, no praying needed, the answer is just no –always no.  So, in that still quiet voice, what do I do when God wants me to say “yes”?  I still say no. 

I was asked to speak at a Ladies Morning Out about 7 months ago.  My answer was “no”.  The woman in charge of the event kept pressing me to pray about about it.  I kept saying no.  I’m too busy:  I have 3 kids, I have anywhere between 2 and 5 soccer games to attend each weekend, and most of the time those games are anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours away and often take place in different states–even in the same day.  Logistics are always running in my brain, and I can hardly get done what I need to get done, forget about adding one more thing to the pile.  The answer is “no”.

Don’t you see my very valid excuses?

Long story short… one month later, the answer was, “yes”, and I was mad about it.  My husband Will was going to be home, so he was going to drive to the first game in South Carolina, and believe it or not, the second child had her game changed to a local field, and I would be able to make it to the game.  I would just have to find her a ride so she could arrive the customary hour before to warm up.  One would think that I would be elated with how God worked that all that out for me.  Well… not so much.  I was still mad.

What it comes down to is that I want to do what I want to do.  Here in this verse in Luke, God is saying, “Kendra, I need you to put Me above a soccer game.”  That may be easy for some of you, but boy howdy, that is hard for me.  God was not even asking me to miss my child’s game at all…I would only be missing the warm up,  so that I could spend the morning in His presence with a group of other women… even if it’s inconvenient for me.  I was quickly becoming a Jonah in my heart…

BUT GOD… loves us enough to teach us and to love us in spite of poor, selfish attitudes.  Amen?!

I needed to go and speak to those women, why? Did I have some amazing insight that these women needed? Ummm no, but God needed to get His grip back on my heart.  God spoke to me that day, forget about speaking to anyone else, it was all for me.  Who do I love more?  My kids and their functions?  Or Him?  God is not asking us to neglect our families at all, please don’t hear that, but God is asking to be placed above them.  There shall be no other gods before Me.  Some people need help on saying no, they say yes to everything and are sucked away from what is important, but for me, I needed to say yes this day to my God above all else.  HARD to DO!

I still complained the whole way there and back, but luckily, God is used to working with and loving us with those Jonah hearts.  A lesson I will not soon forget.  This very verse came to mind and heart before, during, and after the message I gave that day.  Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus!

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Who or what are you placing above God in my life?  Do I say yes too often, or do I perhaps say no too often?

Is there something you don’t want to do or somewhere you refuse to go, even if God is moving your heart to do so?

What will you commit to pray about instead of just immediately answering to?

LIVE IT OUT:  Today, help me to have listening ears, a willing heart, and obedient feet to where or who You call me to.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
__________________________________________________________

To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — I Corinthians 10:31

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  I Corinthians 10:31
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Step 1

THE FACTS:  Whether you eat, drink or whatever, do all to the glory of God.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  

There’s a song that Steven Curtis Chapman sings that is based upon this verse, “Every little thing that you do.. bring a smile to His face, tell the story of grace.. what ever you do, it all matters…”  I’ve needed this song this past and the coming week to help me focus on the moments that God puts in front of me.   Whether it’s cleaning the house, doing laundry, helping with homework, cheering at a game, working at the hospital, or listening to my husband or kids, I need to do it to the glory of God.   This can be hard.

I battle wanting to be doing and being somewhere else–doing something more important in my eyes–than whatever it is that I currently am.  This needs to stop.  Oswald Chambers made a statement that left a mark on my soul,  “Ministering in everyday surroundings does NOT mean we select our own surroundings.”  So often I think I know where I need to be and what I need to be doing, but believe it or not, it’s through the daily grind that God is patiently teaching me to bring Him glory…. in whatever I do, even something as basic as eating and drinking.

Think about some of the things Jesus did–some were “menial” things really–that made a huge difference.  Jesus washed nasty, dirty, stinky feet.  He ate dinner and broke bread, savoring the moment with His disciples, pouring His last words into them.  Jesus sat by a well and asked for a drink.  In the process He changed a woman’s life, and subsequently, an entire town.  Jesus brought glory to His Father whether it was cleaning, eating, or drinking.

Our character, and what we really believe about who God is, comes out in doing these menial things, too.

As I pondered this, I realized that I cannot do the things God puts in front of me on a daily basis for the glory of God without the power of God coursing through my  heart, soul and mind.  I cannot, because it is not in me to do these things AT ALL.  I cannot use a towel and water basin, as Jesus did, to the glory of God, without God empowering me to do so.

I am weak, shallow and prideful, but God loves me enough to strengthen me, deepen my relationship with Him, and humble me through everyday tasks.

What a mighty God we serve!  It matters to God that what I do, I do for His glory, because of His name sake.  There’s no room for complaining.   I like to think that when God asks me to do something really big and important that I’ll be ready to shed my selfishness and do what He calls me to, and in doing so, glorify Him.  Honestly, if you and I cannot be trusted to bring God the glory in what He puts in front of us today, in this moment, what ever makes us think He should trust us with anything bigger?

Wash the feet of those teenagers, those co-workers, that spouse that God has trusted you with today.  Let’s steadily minister in the everyday opportunities given to us in this moment and just see how God shows up.  These “little” things, like the song says, matter.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  What menial things are on the page for you to do today?  Will you ask God to empower you to do those things today for His glory?  When have you gone about your day for God’s glory and saw God show up in an unexpected way?  Do you battle with insignificance?  Today, how will you set that battle aside as you focus on where God has placed you and ask Him to focus your eyes on where He is in your everyday circumstances?

LIVE IT OUT:  Today Lord, empower me to do those little things for Your glory, even when in my eyes there is no glory to be found in them.  Today Lord, open my eyes to the people you place in front of me as I am eating and drinking at the table, and Lord, open my heart and my mouth to pour into them YOU as I engage over Cherrios, yogurt, or a bagel.  Change me, so they can see You.  #tothegloryofGod #today #don’twastethemoments

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
__________________________________________________________

To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.