Category Archives: Bible Study Community with Kendra Graham

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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Esther 3:2-4

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 3:2-4

“And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king commanded concerning him.  But Mordecai neither bowed down or paid homage.  (3) Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai,  “Why are you transgressing the king’s command?” (4) Now it was when they had spoken DAILY to him and he would not listen to them, they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would stand; for he had told them he was a Jew.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

2: ALL king’s servants at king’s gate bowed & paid homage to Haman,  the king commanded, but Mordecai.

3: The king’s servants at king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you transgressing  the command?”

4: DAILY they had spoken to him, he would not listen, they told Haman Mordecai’s reason: he was a Jew

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   It was the law of the land to bow to Haman.  Mordecai did not.  There is so much debate on why Mordecai didn’t bow.  Was it personal pride or his God-fearing duty?  Let’s just for a second go a little deeper and not get so caught up on the surface.

Just go along to get along… it’s your duty to be a good citizen.  Don’t speak out or stand out… blend in…. for the safety of everyone.  It’s just easier that way.  Let’s not make waves.  NOW that is the culture we live in.  We are so pressured on all sides by political correctness, it’s suffocating.   Sometimes God moves in your heart in such a way where it becomes very clear… if you bow… you will be disobedient.  All the others, often times even the Christians around you seem fine with the accommodations … but for some reason, your heart is stirred. Mordecai’s heart was stirred.  Perhaps he had privileged information that no one else had regarding Haman… he is after all the enemy of the Jews. This refusal to bow put Mordecai in a tough spot.  When you make a stand, it will be noticed, and if that stand is for the #Truth of God’s Word or the #Gospel… odds are it will not be received well.  This is just how it’s always been… even in 478bc.  Be prepared for push back.  Know that it is what God has called you to.  In your obedience, God will strengthen your weak knees.

The king’s servants DAILY tried to help Mordecai change his mind.  I get the sense that they plead with him.  PLEASE MORDECAI… BOW!  Just do it and get it over with.  It’s not hard.  Our obedience will not only put us in a hard place, but those around us.  Mordecai is breaking the law.  He could fix everything for everyone if he would just do the action required!  The king’s servants who witnessed this are bound by duty and honor to report him, or they will be seen as collaborators.  Perhaps they really need this job… they can’t afford to lose it.  Maybe there is a promotion around the corner for one of them, and they are not willing to risk their entire career and livelihood on Mordecai’s morals.  You cannot expect others to feel equally called to the stand that God has called you to make.  Don’t get mad at other people or other Christians because they go into self preservation mode and don’t stand up for you or with you.  This is your stand, set in your heart by God… make THAT STAND… alone if need be. Don’t shrink back.

I love the fact that Mordecai’s line didn’t move.  He was #unshakable.  Mordecai’s obedience would be costly–obedience always is.  I am reminded of the story I heard from Saeed Abidini just last year after he was released from an Iranian prison for his stand for Christ.  If Saeed would just denounce his faith in Jesus, everything would get a lot better.  He would receive medical treatment for his wounds, he wouldn’t be daily beaten, and he could possibly get released!  Saeed said that daily God would give him the strength to stand in obedience.  #Unshakable #refuse2compromise.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Where is it that God has called you to stand out?  Do you catch yourself saying, “When I have a more important position, I will make a stand, but not here, not now?”  Have you been making a stand but get frustrated because the “Christians” around you don’t seem to be called to the same stand, so you judge them?  Do we want the ease of God’s blessings but not the hardship of obedience?  Where is it that God has called you to be #unshakable?

LIVE IT OUT:  Make your stand where God has called and refuse to compromise.  Bloom where you are planted.  Be #unshakable

___________________________________________________________

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.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Esther 2:9 & 17

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.

Finding Favor image for KG blogKendra Graham notes from :  

Esther 2:9 :  Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him.

Esther 2:17:  The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor…..

Step 1

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

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   Good news for Esther, right? She has found favor…..

Esther has been orphaned…lost both parents!  Where is the favor in that?

Esther is then raised by her cousin/uncle Mordecai…. is he the crazy uncle? Probably… haha  where is the favor in that?

Esther is then “sought” and  “gathered” with other young virgins of the empire.  Where is the favor in that?  Did she want to be taken away from her home and put into a harem?  If she doesn’t win the title of queen, it’s not like she gets to go back home… where is the favor in that?

Did she say in her heart… “#storyofmylife”… figures I would get taken.

One can look at the happenings of Esther two ways… one, she is so lucky! And two, what a terrible series of events for this poor young girl!

What way do you look at Esther’s story?  We have the benefit of knowing the end before the beginning… we can read the whole story and plead with Esther to hold on… it’s all going to be fine in the end! God is going to use you in a HUGE way that the Jewish people will never forget and will always celebrate!

We can’t see the end of our stories though… can we?  We have the promise of Philippians 1:6, “God who began a good work in us will complete it,” but do you believe that?  You see…. real time is a downer.  We can look back and see God’s AWESOME hand of Providence in Esther’s life… but can WE find God’s hand of favor in our lives… right in the middle of it?

Did Esther feel God’s hand of favor or perhaps the opposite of favor?  Do you see God’s hand of favor… or perhaps the opposite?  FINDING the favor is HARD… oh, it’s right there but it literally breaks our heart, and is near impossible to see whilst in the thick of it.  Hear this…do not forget to look back and see the hand of God moving and working, giving peace, strength and wisdom right in the middle of the storm!  Hold on to those promises even if they seem as if they don’t apply to you, at the moment, or any moment…claim Hebrews 13:5 “…for He HAS said, I will NEVER leave you or forsake you!” No man can destroy what God has determined to preserve and protect. Believe it.  This is faith…. believing that which you don’t see (Hebrews 11:1).

The truth is…. we don’t want to see God’s hand of favor in tragedy.  Let’s just be honest about that.  We don’t want to think that God is on the throne and allows tragedy.  We have more questions than answers.  I am sure Esther would agree with you.  I want to argue, however, that it is because of the tragedy and hardship in our lives that we see, we really see, that Jesus is Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.  Why would we ever need such a God… if we never had just that…. tremendous need?

Find the favor of God in your life… look for Him not so much in the easy times… look for Him holding, caring and #delivering you in the tragic ones.  Find it.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Will you seek out God’s hand of favor on your life amidst the tragedy and questions?  Will you seek it until you find it?

Are you in the middle of tragedy and crises this very moment?  Will you seek to find God’s favor in it?

When have you felt that since God did not #deliver you in the way you demanded and in the time you demanded that God does not favor you?

Will you claim God’s faithful character in faith on your life even when your eyes don’t see it?

LIVE IT OUT:  Find God’s hand of favor in your life.

___________________________________________________________

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.

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.
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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.

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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 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

___________________________________________________________

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.