Tag Archives: Online Bible Study

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Psalm 62:9-12

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 :  Psalm 62:9-12

“Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie;
In the balances they go up;
They are together lighter than breath
(10) Do not trust in oppression
And do not vainly hope in robbery;
If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.
(11)  Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;
(12) And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
For You recompense a man according to his work.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:

Men of low degree, men of rank are together lighter than breath.
If riches increase, don’t set your heart on them.
Once God has spoken, twice I have heard THIS: POWER BELONGS to God.
Loving kindness is Yours.  You recompense a man according to his work.

Step 2

THE LESSONS: 

David had a period of struggle, silence, surety, and finally submission.  It’s a process.  Don’t you hate that?  I know I do.  I wish that in my heart of hearts I could just get to this submission part without so much work and heartache.   I wish we didn’t have to have the adversity in order to bring us to the feet of Jesus, but honestly, it’s in the adversity that we see our extreme need.  God is so patient with us, and will bring us through so that our hearts know that power indeed belongs to God.  We must experience Truths in order to really be able to say we believe them.  We believe Truth because we have seen the promises of who God is to be real in our personal world.

David has had his character questioned and assaulted.  In the beginning of this Psalm, David is in a panic for all that is going on.  David could be unseated, David could be mocked, people could believe the lies, and David could lose his standing among the people who he needed to trust him.  I love the fact that David did not hold on to his status so tightly.  David heard with his ears, but twice, more importantly heard with his heart that God is in control. God will have David where He has David regardless of the chatter and the dire look of the situation. God is in control?  God has this?  This is hard to grasp…hard to believe.  It makes us feel better if we can “do” something to fix it.  I want to “do”, I don’t want to wait…. especially in silence, like David has done here.

Once we wait in silence, focused on the Word of God and we will see that in this ever shifting and changing world, our only surety is the Truth of who God is.  God’s Word will stand.  God’s Truth will hold.  We do not know this, and we cannot submit to this way of thinking until moments like this in David’s life, and similar moments like this in our lives, when all we have, and our only hope is that truly God is who He says He is and His Word will hold.

God sees you in your situation.  God sees how your world is uncertain, falling apart, stressful, and you don’t know how it’s going to work together.  God sees how other people get joy out of making your life difficult and hard.  Press in to God’s Word.  KNOW this: Power Belongs to God.  No man can usurp the power of God as stated in these verses.

Hope in the power of God, gives us the strength we need to daily walk through our circumstance in faith, and then in the end, just like the Apostle Paul says, it’s a “hope that does not disappoint”(Romans 5:5), because in the end we will see that God has got this.  We will hear with our eyes and ears when we read the Word, then hear with our hearts when we have that personal testimony of how in God’s lovingkindness toward us, gave us strength to press in.  Jesus will walk us through and teach us, ever so patiently about who He is.

Submission to who God is, in the end will become a “sigh” of relief instead of a “sigh” of anxiety and frustration.

Step 3

APPLY IT:

When have you been brought through this process that David has, so that you know the Truth of who God is in His Word is the Truth of who God is to you?

Do you question whether God will make things right, and if He understands the direness of the situation?  How hard is it to trust that in submitting to God your hope is not in vain?  Will you listen for God to speak not only to your ears, but to your heart?  (This is HARD… because my heart already hurts so much, it’s so HARD to let God take the anxiety and work it out the way He wants.)

LIVE IT OUT:

LORD, today you know the enormous amount of anxiety I have in my heart over situations and people I cannot control, yet I keep trying to control them!  I think if I am anxious about it, I can change something, but LORD, these moments are meant to press upon me my need for an Almighty God.  Be that Almighty God to me today and as I hold on to the hope of Your Word, give me the strength in faith to take one baby step after another pressing in.  Give me a great testimony of You through all of this.  Help me in this struggle to trust, and in silence, give me Your surety, as I submit to You with my head, so that in the end may I know You more in my heart.

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

 

 

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Psalm 62: 6-8

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 : Psalm 62: 6-8

6: He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

7: On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

8: Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;

God is a refuge for us.

Step 1

THE FACTS:
6:  He only in my rock, salvation, stronghold, I shall NOT be shaken
7: On God: my salvation, and glory rest, the rock of my strength, my refuge
8: (So YOU) …Trust in Him ALL times, pour YOUR heart to Him, God, refuge for US

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   Here in these verses is where the Psalm changes. Did you catch it?  Look back to the first few verses…. David is immersed in struggles, his circumstances.  He is overwhelmed, yet as the world comes down on him hard and fast, he has decided he will not be “greatly shaken,” because he will-on purpose-make God’s Word and God’s promises his stronghold.  His head will tell his heart to endure, press on and believe God is who He says He is.

In the next few verses, David has some questions, and as he pours out his heart before God in the midst of pain and frustration, he pauses.  David’s outward struggle moves to an inward silence.  David will wait for God to speak before he does.  Ugh… I still sigh at this.  This is so hard.  So much hurt… yet David pours that hurt out to God, refusing to project that pain upon anyone else… even if they deserve it.  Selah.  Silence. Ugh. *sigh*

Now… from struggle (vs 1-2) to silence (vs.3-5), to sureness and security (vs 6-8).  As soon as David’s moment of silence is over, what are the words spoken?  I will tell you what his words do NOT do, they do not spew out bitterness and hurt upon those who sought to hurt him and destroy his reputation.  No, they speak of confidence and strength in GOD, not the disappointment of man.  In verses 6-8, David’s words are strong and sure.  God IS MY guarding rock.  Here David is speaking from his heart…not his head.  David is coming out of this time of silence, waiting upon God, with absolute confidence that God is his encircling guard–this Truth was spoken in verse 2, but it was LEARNED in the school of silent waiting upon God.  In David’s moments of silence he learned that the I Am that I Am, is El-Shaddai, his strong tower, his safety.  In David’s silence of mouth, God was able to speak to his heart and open his eyes so David could see who God is.  David, in these verses now has absolute surety that his refuge is secure.

David has not trusted God in vain.  In silence David pressed in to those issues that were pressing down on him with such force he thought he would crumble.  David didn’t crumble, because the Rock that encircled him will always stand.  David has chosen wisely.  David pressed in to the end, and because of that, he can say to us, with clarity, confidence and courage, YOU, all of YOU… who find yourself in this situation, when you think you can’t stand for another minute, when you think the world is about to tear you apart…. when you can’t rectify all the rumors and assumptions about the situation… “TRUST in God at ALL times,  pour out YOUR heart… In God’s presence is your strong refuge.”

You are not forgotten.  You have not been left out to dry.  You have not been thrown under the bus by God.  God is not ignorant of the pain you are enduring justly or unjustly.  Just as David was being protected by God, God will protect you.

When we spend time in silence, saturating our hearts and minds on the Truth of who God is, then, God’s Truth, God’s Word, goes from being a tag line and a nice theory you hear each week in Sunday School or at Bible study, to being believed, being REAL.  Saying something is true and knowing something is true, in actuality, are very different things.

The fact of who God is, traveled 18-inches down from the head of David to his heart, as he struggled through the silence, then  from his heart, his mouth SPOKE (Matt 12:34)….the silence broken, and the words were a precious testimony that no one could take away from David, or you or me…. this testimony of who God is would have never been learned if David refused to be silent.

“Though it tarries wait for it” Habakkuk 2:3….. dawn is breaking…. press in.

Step 3

APPLY IT:   Do you have confidence in God as your strength and salvation, or do you believe your salvation from this particular situation is based upon your own strength, ability, and wit?

Has God called you to a time of silence so that you can know–that you know–that you know–that God loves you, God sees you, and God will be YOUR refuge?

How do you need God to be your refuge?  Will you saturate yourself in the Truth of God’s Word as you press in or will  you bug out, finding it easier to believe the lies that God has forgotten you?

Can you say with confidence as the Apostle Paul did in 2 Timothy 1:12, I KNOW whom I have believed and AM persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day?

LIVE IT OUT:  LORD, give me an open heart in this time of SELAH, so that when I speak,  it’s Your Truth on my lips.  As I focus on who You are, draw me closer to You… help me remember that You are able, You are Strength, You are love, You are refuge, You are protector, and that the plans you have for me are plans  to prosper, not to harm, plans to give hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 #Truth #SELAH

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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Psalm 62:3-5a

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 Psalm 62:3-5a

“They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position; how long will you assail a man, that you may murder him, all of you, like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?  They delight in falsehood; they bless with their mouth, but inwardly, they curse.  Selah.  My Soul waits in silence for God only.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:
How long will you assail a man, murder him, like a leaning wall, tottering fence?  They counsel: thrust him down, they delight in falsehood, they bless with their mouth, inwardly curse.  Selah.  Wait in silence for God only.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

There is the saying, “Good guys finish last”.  That is the saying that brushed through my mind when I first read these verses.  It’s the crooked business men/women that seem to get ahead.  It’s the people who have no boundaries and no conscience that get whatever they want.  Just turn on cable news for a solid 60 seconds and you can hear multiple political smears between candidates calling each other liars and thieves.  It’s hard to make it nowadays if you are determined to live a life with integrity.  It’s impossible to make it in politics.

David is asking these men, “How much longer will you try to press me down? How much longer will you try and try and try again to destroy me?”  Lies are being said about David in public.  Flattery is being given liberally in the presence of David.  Envy, jealousy, and hatred is the root cause of why these men are trying to bring him down.  David sees through it all with discernment.   What does he do to deal with these people?  Does David take it to the papers in an op-ed?  Does David do a sit down personal interview on Fox News Sunday to set the record straight?  No.  David pauses.  David pauses? Who has time for a pause at a time like this?!

SELAH, is a musical term for pause.  Our immediate reaction is to try to set the record straight.  David’s first reaction is to pause.  Pausing is so important.  It’s the hardest thing to do in the world.  Pausing makes us look guilty, right?  Pausing will make people think we are involved in all those things we are being accused of.

Pausing helps us gain focus back on where we need it to be.  Pausing gives us a moment to reflect.  Pausing will enable us to make clear decisions.  Pausing, most importantly, gives us that crucial moment to recalibrate our heart and soul back to God, His Word and His promises.  This is not easy peasy for David either.  You hear his complaints, you hear what is against him, and David is not just ignoring it, and saying it doesn’t matter, he’s not saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.   It matters to him what is being said and done against him.  It truly matters, and it hurts, deeply.

Can you relate?  I can.  I want to fight, and scream and yell on David’s behalf (and my own) and make it right, and make those people see their error, so that they will be silenced.  David’s reaction is not to silence all the rumors, not to silence all the lies, not to silence the rotten flattery in his face, but David’s response is to be silent himself, determined to wait for God to move and to do.

David makes the physical decision here… his heart, telling his brain to tell his mouth and body to be silent. ugh.  Sorry… that is hard stuff.  I’m thankful we get to read and see here, that even David struggled with this.   There is no way to actually do this without the power of God.  We have to get in His Word, know His promises, and then believe them.

God never seems to work in the time frame or in the way we would like or demand.  His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9).

Step 3

APPLY IT:

Will we put our trust in the fact that God has got a firm grip on our circumstances, and the beat on the street?  Will we set our heart to tell our brain to tell our body to *pause* and mouth to be silent and wait for God?  ugh.  *sigh*  Sorry… that is just my natural reaction.  This is hard stuff.

SELAH.

LIVE IT OUT:

LORD, help me to pause today, and trust that You understand and know, and as things according to me are falling apart… perhaps truly they are just falling into place. Give me the strength to pause and believe You over everything else.

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

Kendra Graham’s Bible Online Bible Study – Psalm 62:2

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 Psalm 62:2: 

“He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  My stronghold. I shall not be greatly shaken.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

When I read this verse, the portion that stood out to me was, “My stronghold.” A stronghold is something that has an overwhelming grip in a person’s life. We all have strongholds in our lives, and if asked, we can probably name a few without having to think too hard: shopping, eating, gaming, surfing the internet, exercising, toxic relationships, drugs (illegal and prescription), smoking, alcohol, TV, iPad/iPhone, money, work… one day we wake up and realize that our thoughts, actions and days are obsessed with certain things…. these things have a stronghold on us…. some good, some bad.  It seems to me though, that the bad things seems to reach their tentacles in deeper, farther and faster than the good things.

Here in Psalm 62, David is saying that God is his personal stronghold. David won’t be shaken, because the Eternal God is his refuge, the place he runs to hide…. if you are like me, I tend to run to places like denial or the couch to take a nap and pretend like everything is fine, first, and then I will call a friend or two and tell of the injustice that has come my way and who is to blame. After I am done shaking my fist and raising my voice, I will then come up with a creative solution, instead of patiently and quietly enduring, focused on God’s Word trusting that He’s got this. God and His Word tend NOT to be our stronghold and refuge, but our last resort.

What I also like about this verse is that David says not only is God His stronghold but that, “I shall not be greatly shaken.”  David is not in denial about the fact that he is human, and that there are going to be those moments when you receive that phone call that devastates you, or receive that diagnosis, or have that meeting with your employer that crushes your spirit into a million pieces, or that circumstance that cruelly enters your life without rhyme or reason and literally shakes you and sends your life, heart and mind whirling.  There are things in this life that will shake us to the core and David’s life is not a life of exception to that.  Life events will happen and David will wobble, David will stress, David will be concerned, and I like that.

Sometimes we look at these awesome pillars of faith in the Bible, and we think they are superhuman–we rationalize, “Well, I’m not David… it was easier for David, because he was a man after God’s own heart.”  We give ourselves an out, because God must have been more visible to David than He is to me in the moment.  That is not true.  God was visible to David because David made a choice to make God his stronghold, to make God’s Word the place he ran to first, not last.  David, on purpose, set his heart and his mind to believe regardless of external factors! David repeated to himself in and in his personal journal of thoughts that God is who God claims to be in His Word, and David would tell himself over and over again, saturating himself with #Truth, because being shaken, well that is just a fact of life.  God is his rock and his salvation, not anything or anyone else.

We will be shaken by life.  Where you and I run to matters.  You are not alone.  You have not been set out to dry.  You and I have a place of refuge, a place of safety, a place to run and be protected and that is in the arms of God who loves you and I so much He came personally, in the form of a man, not trusting us to any other, so that He could be our personal stronghold.  Gird yourself on purpose in the strength of God’s Word.

Step 3

APPLY IT:

How have you been shaken? Where have you run to in order to find solace, peace and strength to face the storm of uncertainty?  What can be described as the stronghold in your life?  Is it the Word of God?

LIVE IT OUT:

Today…. life is hard…. uncertain…. certain elements are crushing… LORD, be my stronghold. Strengthen me according to Your Word and Your unchanging character.  Help me to deliberately place my trust in You.  Give me a testimony of Your refuge and protection.

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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 Bible Online Bible Study – Psalm 62:1

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” 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 Psalm 62:1: 

“My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation.” Psalm 62:1

Step 1

THE FACTS:  My soul waits in silence for God only. From Him, my salvation.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

When I get in a jam, when I’m being pushed down, when I’m being threatened, what do I do?  I get creative.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I will fuss, and squirm and complain to almost all of my friends; you see, I am a verbal processor, so as I’m fussing and complaining, I’m coming up with a battle plan to alleviate the pain and the hurt  by manipulating the circumstance and “fixing” things as fast humanly possible…. and there it is…. “as fast a humanly possible”.

David, in this psalm (62:1) is hurting and needing rescuing from God.  In the meantime…. while David is hurting, fretting, freaking out and doubting, he will assure himself with the character of God…. verbally processing who God is… not who his enemy is, not what his enemy has done, not what his enemy deserves from him in retaliation, not a bunch of other people’s opinions about how he should handle the situation, but David, on purpose, places his trust and his focus on who God is and who David is to God. How hard is that?!  While David is waiting for God to answer, David will wait in silence. In silence…. that really does not describe me. Maybe it describes you.  It describes what David is making himself do. By waiting in silence, David is physically placing his confidence in God.  David is “on purpose” enduring, persevering and trusting God with absolute certainty that God will answer and God will come through because it is who God is.  David is refusing to accept anyone else’s arms or charms to save him, because he knows that while it may have immediate benefits, in the end, all others give a false hope that will eventually leave him to a place of delusion, worse than before.  David has a quiet confidence in God and God alone.

Quiet confidence?  No lashing out in retaliation?  Being assured that God will save me?

Many of us are more faithful to our ideas about God, who He is and what His salvation for us and our particular situations look like. We know how, what, when, where and to what extent we need God to intervene, and if God does not intervene in the correct way according to us, then we have the right to be mad, angry and disavow Him and His character.  We love to raise our dust fists to God and tell Him how He failed on our behalf.  We don’t want any part of persevering, enduring, waiting and in the meantime we especially don’t want to be silent!  We like the idea of God’s faithful character…. but in reality… we are more faithful to our own ideas about who God should be in our opinion, rather than who He truly is.

What a great lesson we can learn here from David…. David mentally clears his head and his heart about what he feels and thinks about the situation and he becomes deliberate on committing his thoughts and heart to dwelling on the TRUTH according to God’s Word, not the “truth” according to himself.

It’s time to get into God’s Word and see who God says He is, and then, on purpose, actually believe Him!

Step 3

APPLY IT:

What current situation in your life are you tempted to take into your own hands because God is not working for you,  or defending you, or making things happen the way you want or think you need?  Can it be said of you that your dependence is upon God?  If we were never put in situations to doubt God would come through, then we would never have to “on purpose” rest in His character, so when was a time that God did come through, not in the time or way you thought, but you ended up seeing Him and learning more about who He is and who you are to Him than you could ever imagine?  (Would you consider sharing it here, or with someone in your life to encourage them?)

3

LIVE IT OUT:

LORD, today, give me the confidence I need to trust in You. I am always so tempted to fix things myself, or make things happen, even in areas I have absolutely no control over.  Help me to wait for You and You alone, in silence.  Today, bring to my mind those times where You sought me and delivered me.  Help me not to forget the goodness of my God.

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

Kendra Graham’s Bible Online Bible Study – Acts 16:23-25

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 Acts 16:23-25

“When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;  (24) and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. (25) But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:23-25

Step 1

THE FACTS:
(Verse23) struck with many blows, threw into prison, (verse 24) fastened feet in stock, (verse 25) Paul and Silas were praying and singing to God, prisoners were listening.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:
Recently, some of the information about what happened behind closed doors to Saeed Abidini has come out in interviews in the media. I had the honor of spending a day with the Abidini family not so long ago. It overwhelms me when I hear the horrible atrocities that Saeed had to endure. Saeed was beaten so badly one day that he was unable to sleep for 20 hours, he was in so much pain. What did Saeed do? He prayed for his captures, his family, the other prisoners and praised God. This blows my mind. How is this humanly possible? Answer, it isn’t.

How often do we read these stories, especially the one of Paul and Silas in prison, and we tell it with such gusto each and every VBS season, how God shook the prison and set the captives free, and they sang in prison and it was great! It is great… but when you hear of a beating first hand, of someone you know, and you look in their eyes, and you see the scars, and you hear of the torture… it is almost something you don’t want your children to hear or ever know about.

It’s sobering. It’s frightening.

At least it is to me. Perhaps you have a greater faith than me and would step up with gusto to endure such cruelty. I tend to have an easier time bringing questions to God about the whole situation. I did not listen to Saeed’s story and break out with a hymn of praise as he was describing the beatings. Tears were welling up in my eyes and my heart was heavy. That was me, don’t get that confused with how Saeed was.

Saeed had the most peaceful look upon his face, as if he was remembering those moments in the dark with Jesus. Saeed is not bitter or angry, instead he is grateful that God entrusted him with such a story of grace. There were others in the prison who needed to hear Saeed’s prayer and praise. There were others, an American, who needed his encouragement. There were prison guards who needed to know that Jesus saves, and gives strength to the weak.

Saeed said that while in prison, the presence of God was so permeated that you could not miss it if you tried. God was so close to him, and His presence so real to him in this time that he could not help but praise His name. Saeed was pressured to turn his face away from Jesus, but he said he couldn’t… not even if he tried. Then he praised even more. God trusted Saeed with a difficult testimony.

It takes so much less for me to run from God and shake my little dust fist in the air and tell God that He got all this difficulty wrong in my life. God needed Paul and Silas to press in here, in this prison, because there was a jailer and captives that He loved more than anything. Paul and Silas had been in the streets for days preaching about the Gospel to the Philippians, but alas, it would not be the testimony preached from the rooftops that would reach these particular people… it would be the testimony lived out in prison that would finally capture the heart of the jailer.

God was trusting Paul and Silas with suffering, they had to be in the innermost cell… they had to have a jailer employed to keep them in… the lengths God will go to for one person, a jailer no less… but through it all, the presence of God would so drench that place, that even when the foundations of the prison would shake, the captives would refuse to leave.

This is what the presence of God does.

We were created to experience His presence, and in His presence, joy is inevitable even when your feet are in stocks. It wasn’t the fact that Saeed, Paul and Silas were delivered from the pit that gave them joy, the fact of joy was the presence of God in the pit.

“Freedom in Christ is not a matter of location, but a matter of the heart” -Casper Ten Boom (when he was captured and placed in a concentration camp in World War 2.)

Step 3

APPLY IT:

What about you? Perhaps today you find yourself in a pit, in a place of struggle and everywhere you look is darkness and frustration, and you are questioning where God is in this???

Today, will you ask Him to focus your eyes on Him, and even in this place of bondage, give you freedom? Where is it that you need to press in to, and grab a hold of that testimony God wants to forge in your life? “When God leads us down hard paths, He gives us strong shoes.”- Corrie Ten Boom from The Hiding Place.

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LIVE IT OUT: Today Lord, open my eyes to see where You are working. Give me strength to walk where You lead.
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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.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

 

Kendra Graham’s Bible Online Bible Study – Hebrews 11:39

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 Hebrews 11:39

And all these having gained approval through their faith did not receive what was promised.  Hebrews 11:39

Step 1

THE FACTS:
All these gained approval for faith, did not receive what was promised.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

This is tough for me….I don’t like these last few verses here in Hebrews 11.  I love the stories of Abraham, Moses, Joseph and and Daniel… but from verse 35-40, the tone changes abruptly, and I don’t like it.

Last summer I took care of a patient.  She was a kind sweet girl, a godly young woman.  I was privileged to sit by her bedside for 2 days and listen to her story.  The second day, the two of us watched her baby’s heart beat for the last time. The tears rolled, the questions built.

We had prayed for days!!!

What was this all about?  Why did this happen?  This was her 4th loss.  Now this sweet patient was battling for her life and was on the verge of needing a hysterectomy, and then the hope of child bearing would be forever taken from her.  Oh, my heart.

This patient looked at me and said, “Kendra Graham, God is good all the time and all the time God is good.  It will be easy for me to question God’s allowance in this situation, but today, for this moment, I will pray that God will give me the strength to praise Him. His character, His love does not change because of my situation.”

My patient was clearly a woman of faith.

What do you do when God answers your prayer contrary to everything you have been praying?  My faith is shaken at much less than this, trust me.  This woman knew in whom she believed.

When God gives you a desire, a vision, and then tells you all you will experience is heartbreak and suffering this side of heaven, and you will never see what you’re praying for come to fruition, does your faith still stand?

When your back is up against the wall, and you could easily curse God and die, run so far from Him and never miss Him, what do you do?  Does it matter?

It does matter.

These saints here in Hebrews 11 may not have their names listed, since they are listed as “others,” but their faith is no less than the faith of Abraham and Moses.  These “others” are in God’s Hall of Faith.  Here, these people held on to their faith to the death. These people did not conquer kingdoms and shut the mouths of lions, but their faith was forged so that they could pass the baton on to you and me.

The faith of “others” was not misplaced.

“Others” had their eyes fixed on Jesus, and God’s Word says in verse 11:38, that the world is not worthy of such saints.  These “others” had their faith firmly fixed on the “who” holds the outcome and not on the outcome.  It wasn’t about the results, it was about who holds the results.  The faith of these “others” will never be tarnished or taken away with time.  It matters that you press through.  It matters that you don’t quit now.  It’s easier to escape than it is to endure. Sure you have every reason in the world to walk away, but it matters that you pass on to the next generation, that if you never receive the “what” the “Who” you are trusting is more important.

There is a nobility in faith, a legacy that is worth it. Faith is endurance.  We are in need of endurance.  For those who endure to the end will be saved.  Endurance is proof of your salvation, to God? No!  To you!  Your faith matters.  Faith takes Guts and Grit for the glory of God… isn’t that worth passing on?  A portrait reflecting the likeness of Jesus….  One who endured the cross, and sat down at the right hand of God.

Don’t give up.  Press in today.  Ask for the strength to press in again tomorrow.  Those who have gone on before have paid far too dear a price for us to drop the baton now.  Pass on endurance.

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APPLY IT:
What is God asking us to press in to?  Where in our lives are we in need of endurance?  Have you walked away because God did not deliver you in the way you demanded?  Will you hold to His Word in spite of the results?  Will we keep our eyes fixed on the Who, and not the what?

LIVE IT OUT:
Today, LORD, relieve me of this tremendous burden, I pray you deliver me from it, but if you will receive more glory from me enduring even this without deliverance, give me the strength of Your Son to bear it for the glory of your name.  May I continue to hold on to the promise of WHO you are.

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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.
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NOTE: We have streamed all of Kendra’s studies this year via Periscope.  You can catch ALL the replays here.

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.

You don’t have to have Periscope to watch the replays.  You can just click on the links below.

Click here to watch Week One’s study with a special performance by artist Jared Emerson.

Watch Week Two’s message on TRUTH here.

Watch Week Three message here.  Kendra shines a Light on the woman with issues.

Watch Week Four message here.  Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches.

Watch Week Five message on Acts 22 here.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Ephesians 6:17 and Acts 22:1-2

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 Ephesians 6:17 and Acts 22:1-2

And take the helmet of salvation…  (Ephesians 6:17)

Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you. And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect they became even more quiet.  (Acts 22:1-2)

Step 1

THE FACTS:

(Eph 6:17) Take the helmet of salvation

(Acts 22:1-2): Brethren & fathers hear what I offer to you.  When they heard Hebrew they became more quiet.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

How many of us heard about Joe Kennedy before this fall?  I know I didn’t.  I don’t have a TV to get local news, or the paper… but I heard about Joe Kennedy via social media.  Joe Kennedy, assistant football coach of Bremerton, Washington’s high school, was fired this year for a 7-year tradition of having a 20-second silent prayer at the 50-yard line after each football game his team played.  Think about that…. 7 years of faithfulness… and not until this year do we hear hoot or holler of Bremerton, Washington’s high school football team.

The enemy saw fit to remove this man from his post, because he was having too much of an impact.  WOW… then in enemy flair… he overreaches and in turn, others are encouraged (like me), to engage their communities for Christ.

Why did Joe do this?  Joe was just an assistant coach… not of an NFL team… just a random high school team… Joe did this because of the story that God had worked out in his life years before.

Joe’s canvas was stained and messed up, but God… saved him.  Investing in and praying for these boys was a small way in which  Joe was entrusted by God to serve Him.  (There is no such thing as “just” an assistant when we are a branch connected to the Vine… the trap of insignificance is tempting to us all.)

Our stories, our testimonies… are what bring us together and together we have an impact because of the work of the cross.  The helmet of salvation… each helmet fits differently because all of us have  different dimensions of need.  The helmet of salvation is something you purposely take ahold of.  We can’t wear someone else’s helmet… it wouldn’t fit, and they will need it when they engage the world today.  God fits us each personally for our own helmet, our own story of Him, that no one can take away.  No one can take something away that happened to you, and that you experienced, it’s yours… it’s what makes you, you!

This is why God does not throw out the canvas that we have painted all over, He takes that same paint that we had in hand, and begins to paint the reflection of another story over our canvas.  Redeeming ALL the splotches, splashes and smudges to reflect the glory of His Son, Jesus.  Now… this is a story worth telling and not hiding from anymore.

This is where we find Paul in Acts 22.  Paul’s canvas was not pretty prior to God entering in.  Paul’s paint-medium of choice was the blood of innocents, of Christians, namely Stephen.  But God…. is in the redeeming business, and God will redeem the most horrible of decisions we make if we allow Him to do so.

In Acts 22–I love this–because, this is Paul, telling his story, engaging with his people of whom were exactly like he was in the past.  Who better to engage and testify than someone who had made the same choice back in the day?  So Paul, with his helmet of salvation firmly in place, the Word of God strapped to his feet, and the presence of God giving him boldness to speak, Paul spoke with all the love that God has for His people.

“Brethren and fathers, hear this defense that I now offer to you…” this was the same way Stephen started his defense so long ago when Paul was judge, jury, and executioner.  Now Paul, with the same love Stephen had, is sharing the same story of God’s love and grace, but with the story God gave Paul.  Paul spoke in their own dialect, so that none of the meaning would be lost.  Paul was ready to give his life for the Gospel, because of the grace he had received, he could no longer keep quiet, and had to proclaim his story in Jerusalem, where if anywhere, there, should have made a huge difference.  The result didn’t matter, his story about how God had hounded him down, relentlessly, and showed him, not hate and judgment, but love and grace, had to be told.  Paul was compelled to tell… because God was compelled to hound.

I love this chapter because Paul doesn’t hold back.  It’s as if Paul’s portrait is in full display, and Paul takes the Light of God and shines it all over those portions anyone in their right mind would run from, but the more splotches, the bigger the smudges, the greater the grace.  Paul is very aware of who he is, but greater than that he is very aware of who God is, and can’t help but share it.

God has entrusted you with a story–with your story–and your story matters.  There are people, like it or not, who need to hear your story of the great grace of God.  We can’t change the strokes of paint on our canvas, but we can allow God to change the story it reflects.

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APPLY IT:
What story is God wanting to repaint to show His grace instead of your shame?  Will you allow God to paint, using the medium from that spot?

Where has God called you to engage with your story?  Joe Kennedy’s story was told in a 20 second silent prayer each game for 7 years, what does engagement look like where you are?

Will you grab ahold of your story, firmly set that helmet in place as to protect you from ideas of insignificance?

LIVE IT OUT:

LORD, help me TODAY to engage those You send down my path, knowing in Whom I have believed because of the great story of Your grace You have written on my heart. May that grace be evident in the way I deal with people and love those you put in my path.

#yourstorymatters
#myhandsHispurpose
#mymessHisglory
#HeRedeemsALL

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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.
__________________________________________________________

NOTE: If you are unable to attend Kendra’s winter Bible study at The Cove  in person (January 12 – February 23, 2016), we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.  We are also streaming the study LIVE via Periscope.  You can catch ALL the replays here.

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.

You don’t have to have Periscope to watch the replays.  You can just click on the links below.

Click here to watch Week One’s study with a special performance by artist Jared Emerson.

Watch Week Two’s message on TRUTH here.

Watch Week Three message here.  Kendra shines a Light on the woman with issues.

Watch Week Four message here.  Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches.