Tag Archives: Online Bible Study

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Luke 24: 17,21

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 :  Luke 24: 17,21

“And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad.  (21a) “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.”’

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

He said, “What are the words you are exchanging with one another as you walk?” They stood still looking sad.  “We were hoping it was He who was going to redeem Israel.”

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

Has God ever not fit into your box of what a good God looks like?  I don’t think we readily want to admit that we put God into a box, but I hear it a lot, not only from others, but in my own speech as well.  “How could a loving God….” — you fill in the blank.  God doesn’t fit in any box, and that, my friend is a good thing!  Some of us are so hurt, that we find ourselves walking away from the God who loves us and gave Himself for us.  We are not happy about walking away… we just can’t make our idea of God match the reality we see and feel.

Here, in Luke 24, we meet up with two disciples walking to Emmaus from Jerusalem, after the crucifixion and resurrection.  The disciples had been charged to stay in Jerusalem, but here we find two men, described as disciples of Jesus walking the seven miles to Emmaus.  The men were sad, confused and on the verge of despair.  Jerusalem was the place where everything they thought they believed in was shattered on the cross when Jesus submitted His spirit and died.  Jesus died and was then placed in a tomb.  Three days had passed from Friday to Sunday, and now the tomb was found empty.  There were “some women” (24:22) who said the tomb was empty but they then claim they saw Jesus alive. After the women passionately tell their story, some disciples went (“some of us” 24:24), and the tomb was empty for sure, but Jesus they did not see.  It makes no plausible sense that Jesus would show Himself to “some women” and leave “some of us” out.  I mean, Peter and John are disciples, the “big” two, you know?  So these two men, here in Luke 24, crushed in spirit, did the only thing they could do…. LEAVE the situation entirely.  Run…far and fast away from the pain.  It didn’t matter that some of Jesus’s last words were to stay.  Everything they had believed about who Jesus was or is, was at that time in complete limbo.  Have you ever been there?  Can you relate?  Everything you have been taught to believe about who God is, is flipped upside down in a minute?

The men were probably going back home… going back to their lives pre-Jesus.  BUT that is not the end of this story…. it is only the beginning.  Jesus, God with skin on, relentless and compelled for His handmade creation, pursued them, and “began traveling with them” (24:15).  I LOVE THAT!  Jesus went seven miles out of His way to hound down these disciples!  I love that when Jesus got there He didn’t scold them for leaving, or tell them they just never listen, or condemn their confusion and sadness.  Jesus asks in verse 17, “What words are you exchanging while you walk?”   These men LEFT Jesus, but Jesus refused to leave them!  Jesus LISTENED.  How amazing is that?  Jesus was not mad that they didn’t “name it and claim it” and he didn’t scold them for not being joyful in all situations either! Jesus listened to ALL their pain, all the way to Emmaus…. the opposite direction of where they were supposed to be.

The men laid their souls bare, telling Jesus of all that had happened.  These men were verbally processing everything they had seen with their eyes, everything they had believed in their heart, everything that happened that morning at the tomb.  Often when we talk it all out with God, what is on the surface really is not the real deal of why we are so upset.  The men were so upset because Jesus was not who they truly believed Him to be.  The men used what they had seen and felt to draw a logical conclusion that was against what they had believed.  What they believed and what they saw did not match, so they fell on the side of logic. The men thought Jesus was the Redeemer of Israel.  That is the root of their sadness.  Their idea of what a Redeemer of Israel was to look like all added up while Jesus was alive (24:19), but not since witnessing the cross.  Since Jesus did not fit in their box, they walked away from the source of all that pain and disillusionment.  That totally makes sense to me.  I see the same pattern in my life time and time again.

Jesus hounds them down, listens to their pain, and then legitimizes the Truth.  In Luke 24:26, Jesus reminds the men of the prophets and their words.  The prophets spoke Truth.  Jesus could not remind them of His words, because you see, every word Jesus spoke was in limbo… the men were not so sure His words were Truth and life anymore.  So Jesus, tenderly, reminded them in all Truth what the Redeemer looks like.  Pressing these men to remember out of love.  The hope these men had in Jesus as the redeemer was not misplaced, but their emotions at the time were, and their emotions were driving them in the opposite direction of where they should be.

The Truth is powerful.  We must cling to the Truth when our emotions are screaming and hot tears are burning our souls.  Hold on to the Truth.  The emotions are real, but let’s press in to the Truth and not allow them to drive us away from the One who loves us and gave Himself for us.  Let Him meet you on your road today.  Pour it all out to Him.  Your heart matters!  Let’s strive together to be driven by Truth. Encourage today with the Truth of God’s Word given in love.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

When has my belief in who I thought Jesus to be been put on the ropes?

How have I put God in a box?

Have I allowed my emotions and logic to drive my belief about God, or will I be determined to be driven by Truth?

When have I poured out all my doubts and questions to Jesus?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today I will press to cling to the Truth and not be driven by my emotion.  My hope is not misplaced in Jesus…. oh that He would strengthen my grip!


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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Mark 10: 46-48

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 :  Mark 10:46-48

“And they came to Jericho.  And as He was going out from Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.  (47) And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene he began to cry out and say, “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!” (48) And many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”’

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

As He was going from Jericho, with disciples and a great multitude, blind beggar Bartimaeus was sitting by the road. When he heard it was Jesus he began to cry out “Jesus Son of David have mercy on me!” Many sternly told him to quiet but he kept crying all the more.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

We don’t show up in Jesus’s path — He shows up in ours.  I love this story for so many different reasons.  Can you see Jesus leaving the city of Jericho? The disciples, the crowd, the buzz, the noise.  Jesus is on His way to the cross, but before all those events happen, He happens along Bartimaeus, a blind beggar.  Bartimeaus hears that it is Jesus of Nazareth coming his way, and he begins crying out.  Why is Bartimaeus crying out?  Bartimaeus is crying out because he is in desperate need.  Isn’t that wonderful?  Bartimaeus knew he was in need of Jesus!

We hate being needy and desperate, it’s not the American way.  Bartimaeus knew his desperate need, and more so, knew Jesus was the only answer to that need.  What a blessing is that?  I love that Bartimaeus didn’t yell out blaming God for his condition, we all would understand if he did, haven’t we all been there? Bartimaeus yelled with perseverance and submission to who Jesus is, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Bartimaeus knew Jesus is the Messiah.  A blind beggar knew Who’s presence he was so close to being in, and refused to miss his opportunity.  Jesus was coming, and he would cry out with all that he had if it was the last thing he did.

The multitude was thrilled and encouraged that Bartimaeus was crying out!  Or not…  the world, even those who are seeming to follow Jesus will often times be the very ones to try to keep you down.  I don’t think the crowd intentionally did not want this blind beggar healed, I just think sometimes out of the best intentions to “insulate” Jesus, those following forget why He came and who He came for.  Jesus came to and for the desperate and messy.  Often when we are trying to get to Jesus everything and everyone will be a road block to getting there…. to Him.  The real question is, “What will detour you from reaching through the multitude to Jesus?”

We will listen to the crowd of voices in our head… “Jesus doesn’t want to be bothered with the likes of you.”  “Jesus has better things to do, more important things to do, than to spend time with you.”  “You are too far gone, too messed up for Jesus to fix.”  We end up believing the voices screaming at us, and we shrink back, allowing others to define what God sees when He sees us.

I LOVE the fact that Bartimaeus disregarded it all, and he cried out all the more.  If Bartimaeus did not continue to cry out here and now, he may lose his only opportunity.  Jesus is here now.   Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of David.  Jesus is the only One who can do anything about his condition.  IF Jesus refuses to heal him, it will not be for his lack of crying out for the opportunity to ask.  If Jesus did or didn’t heal him, it would not change the fact of who Jesus (Son of David) is, but a touch from Jesus sure would change who Bartimaeus was.  It was worth the risk, the humiliation, and it was worth pressing through, and crying out in spite of the rejection and lack of support from all those closest to him in the crowd.  Bartimaeus was completely at the mercy of Jesus. Jesus hears his cry and asks him what he wants.  Bartimaeus wants his sight.  The darkness immediately falls away, and the blind beggar is healed.  Jesus tells him, “Go your way” and Bartimaeus began to follow Jesus.

If not for the blindness and poverty of Bartimaeus would he have ever cried out with such desperate fervor for Jesus?  We don’t know we need Jesus until we desperately need Jesus.  How thankful did Bartimaeus become for his blindness, for his personal darkness?  Jesus came to him, met him there and healed him.  It was Bartimaeus’s personal story of darkness that gave him words to speak in the light.  Jesus meets our personal desperateness with His mercy, if we will but call out and persevere, refusing to lose heart.  Sometimes, it is not until we are trusted with total darkness that we realize how precious it is to walk in the light.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

Crying out in the darkness of our situation to God with loud anguish will often make people uncomfortable and they will want to silence you, but take heart:  Isaiah 58:9  “Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry and He will say, “Here, I AM.”’  We all want immediate results from God, but will you continue to cry out all the louder when it seems no one is listening, especially God?  What exactly are you looking for from God?  Bartimaeus articulated exactly what he wanted…. mercy.

Ephesian 2:4, “But God who is rich in mercy with His great love, loved us.”  Do you believe God is rich in mercy for you?  It’s in these times of darkness that our true belief is flushed out to the surface.  Will you cry out all the more?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today,  cry out to Jesus.   Claim His name, His promises and for the sake of who He says He is, hold on to your faith against all odds.  #overcomer


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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — John 21:20-22

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 :  John 21:20-22

20. “Peter, turning around saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His breast at the supper and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’  21. Peter therefore seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what of this man?’  22. Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’”

 

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them. Seeing him, he said to Jesus, “What of this man?” Jesus said, “If I want him to remain, what is that to you? You follow Me.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

Isn’t this just it? Jesus forgives us, restores us, sets us straight… then– in one moment– BAM! Our focus is lost. I see something shiny and I’m off in another direction in a minute. I like that these verses are in here. Peter struggled with the same things I did!

Jesus graciously and tenderly restored Peter, refocused him on his set purpose, and before the conversation was over, Peter was asking about John.  What about John? Peter had just learned that his purpose was going to be HARD, HARD, HARD–without much personal glory. Tending lambs and feeding sheep is a pretty thankless job; therefore, Peter may have been tempted to think of himself and all his hard work as insignificant. SO…what about John? Does he get platform? Prestige? Wealth? Or is John’s lot similar to Peter’s? Who gets the better calling and purpose? I am sure none of us have never done that!

I love the simple answer that Jesus gives, don’t you? It reminds me of the book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Horse and His Boy. The boy in the book sees Aslan the lion wound his friend. The boy is confused.  Aslan is supposed to be a good lion. Why would he injure like that on purpose? The boy asks Aslan why he hurt his companion. Aslan answers, “Child, I am telling you your story, not hers.” Isn’t this just it? Jesus is telling Peter his story, not John’s or Andrew’s or Bartholomew’s. Jesus tells me and you our individual stories, not the stories of our spouse or our children.

 Your life has purpose. Your life has incredible meaning. Your life is not insignificant like the enemy pleads for us to think. The purpose and meaning of your life is found in those same two words that Jesus told Peter: “Follow Me.”  It does not matter what anyone else has been called to do or not to do. What matters is that today, you and I follow Him. Get into God’s Word. Allow God’s Truth to focus you for the day. Truths are hard. Set your mind and your heart on them. Hear Jesus say to you in this moment, “Follow Me.” The choice, as always, is yours to make; but, oh, the places you will go and the miracles you will see, even in the mundane… if each of us will personally, individually choose to follow.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

Have you ever compared what God has called you to do versus what God has called someone else to do? Have you ever thought you would have more success and do a better job if God called you to XYZ instead of ABC?

What will you choose this day? Will you choose to settle your heart into God’s Word and follow Him? Or will you lay down some options for your life that you need God to follow on your behalf?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today, Lord, help me to keep my eyes on You… not looking around seeing how everyone else seems to have it together and I don’t. Help me to follow Your lead today for the entire day… then give me the strength to make the same choice tomorrow. Everything inside of me seems to always want to veer off the rails. Keep me focused.


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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – John 21:17

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.

Kendra Graham notes from :  John 21:17

HE said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, Do you love Me?”  Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”  And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You.”  Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

He said the third time, “Simon, do you love Me?”. Peter grieved because He said the third time, and he said, “Lord, you know all things, You know I love You.”  Jesus: tend my sheep.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

We all fail.  We have things that we have spent a lifetime hiding in the deepest, darkest places of our souls.  As Christians, why do we hide these things away?  I hide them away because I know what a huge disappointment I have been to my Savior.  I have shamed His name, denied His power, and I want that as far removed from my life as possible.

BUT GOD…. don’t you love those two words?  BUT GOD, loves us enough not to leave our failures in the depths of the dark… but Jesus, who is the light of the world goes into the deepest darkest places and casts His light there… why? To shame us?  Do we not already feel enough shame about that already?  I mean, seriously, we are about to burst asunder with shame… No, the Light of Jesus is not to shame and demean us further or demand repentance, or force a promise never to do it again. Jesus’ desire is to heal us, redeem us, #deliver us and propel us to His calling and purpose.  Jesus knew Peter would never embrace what he was called to do if this situation was not dealt with once and for all.

Peter had denied Jesus three times the night of Jesus’s betrayal and death.  Peter who brazenly said in John 13;37, “… I will lay down my life for You” yet mere moments later, his lips vehemently denied the One he claimed to agape love.  This is hard.  This is something we can all relate to.  We have actions and words said in our lives that have vehemently denied Christ, and we wish we could erase them.  Since we can’t erase them, we leave them in the dark.

BUT GOD… came to Simon Peter here in John 21 and asked him, “Do you love Me?”  Jesus asked this three times for Peter’s three denials.  Jesus was asking Peter, “Do you agape me?”  Do you, Peter, love me more than your life?  Peter responded, “Yes, Lord, You know that I phileo You.”  Phileo is the love of friendship and affection, but not self sacrifice.  Peter was saying, “You know Lord… You know I failed at that agape thing… You know when the rubber hit the road, I ran.  How can I tell You agape now, when You know… You know all things.  You know the biggest word for love I can legitimately use is phileo.”  Here, in verse 17, Jesus  takes agape off the table and asks Peter, “Do you phileo Me?” and Peter responded, “I phileo You.” The verse says it–so grieved Peter to say it.  Now Jesus is agreeing with Peter? Uggg. Hurt. Deep regret.  Honest self awareness is HARD… we all fall short and we hate it (Romans 3:23).  (The Truth will set us free… but it will make us miserable first.)

BUT GOD…. ahhh,… Now that Peter is broken over his inability to agape, NOW Jesus in HIS GRACE reveals to Peter that in his weakness…in his failure…and in his brokenness he can now be given a high calling!!! “Feed my lambs.”  It is  not until we are broken in pieces and humble that those pieces can be food for the most precious commodity on God’s heart, which are His lambs.  It’s in our weakness that He is strong.  It’s in the bringing to the surface, that which was hidden in the dark for so long, that we experience true redemption and grace and then can speak of it for others.  It was the love of Jesus that broke Peter, not the justice of an angry God that demands payment for sin.

The love of God is stronger than the justice of God… I battled over that statement.  Here, at Easter time… it was God’s justice and holiness that required the cross, but it was the love of God–in Jesus, who endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2) that satisfied the demand for our sin.  God’s love for us is greater than His desire to punish us.  We see that here in John 21.  Jesus is not wanting to shame Peter, but allowed Peter’s wounds so that He could heal Peter and propel Peter to his calling.  Peter had to descend step by step down the ladder of humility so that he could rise to his purpose.  Humility not humiliation… Jesus humbles… our own pride humiliates.  We usually refuse both.

This Easter, at the cross, where the love of God trumps the wrath of God, where justice and mercy are perfectly met in completion, will you allow the Light of the world to bring to the surface that denial, that action, those words, so that you can be more than forgiven, you can be redeemed, restored and propelled?  You have a high calling on your life! Let it all come to the surface!  You are in the hands of a loving God.

God crush our hearts by Your love this Easter!

Peter did not hide his denial.  Peter was restored publicly and since that moment, has encouraged billions of people to know about it, so that those same billions could see the tender love of the Good Shepherd.  Peter is still feeding the sheep with his testimony which truly began with personal humility before a holy and loving Jesus… do you see that?  He refused to keep his failure, restoration or redemption to himself, he gave it to Jesus to do with as He pleased.  In our brokenness and humility, God can do whatever God wants to do with us and in that we become #propelled2purpose.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

This Easter, will you allow God to have His way with whatever He wants?  Will you show Him your phileo love for Him as you give Him the right to use what He wants for His purpose?  Is there something keeping you from that intimate relationship with Jesus that you were created to have?  Will you, this Easter, open your heart and give Jesus open access?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Lord, we can’t… we can’t do this.  To allow You to use things that humble us is HARD… it’s soul hard! We spend a lifetime on reputation and image, but God, You made Yourself of no reputation and took on the form of a servant (Phil 2:7).  Lord, give me the strength to be humble so that You can propel me to Your purpose– not my own.


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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — John 18:1-2

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 :  John 18:1-2

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of Kidron, where there was a garden, into which He Himself entered, and His disciples. (2) Now Judas also, who was betraying Him knew the place for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

Jesus had spoken these words, went forth with disciples over ravine, where there was a garden, into which He entered and disciples.   Judas betraying Him, knew the place, Jesus often met there w/ disciples.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

Night had fallen.  Jesus had taken time out with His disciples in the upper room, breaking bread with them and pouring wine, symbolizing what was to happen within the next 24 hours. Judas had left the last supper to go and do what he intended to do.  Jesus went forth.  Those are powerful words…  Jesus went forth, knowing what Judas was in the process of doing, knowing what was on the horizon, knowing that truly His body was going to be as broken bread and poured out wine…. yet…. He went forth.

Jesus and His disciples made their way through the city, out of the east side gate, over the ravine of Kidron, and into the garden.   Was there a chill or a dampness to the night as they approached the little brook there?  Did the disciples have to tighten their outer garments to keep warm?

The garden was in sight.  This was a garden place that the disciples knew well… ALL the disciples knew well, even Judas.  Jesus could have gone to a different garden… a different town… but no, this night, this is why He came, so He went forth.

How often had Judas met Jesus there?  What sermons, what individual chats did they all experience, there in that place that were not written for all of us to know?  How personal was this place to them?  To Judas?  Very personal… they knew it… the words are not… “Yeah… I think I know where you are talking about…” or “Let me pull that up on google maps”… Jesus met OFTEN there WITH them– THERE–His disciples, His best friends.  Have you ever wondered if the reason Jesus often met there, in that garden place, was to ensure that this moment, this night would happen?

You see, we desperately need Jesus to go through with this, or we are doomed.

Every person who experienced a miracle in the ministry and life of Jesus, needs Jesus to go through with this night, lest their infirmity be returned 100 fold…. we were not created to carry the burden of our own sin…. so Jesus went forth, leading the charge, not hiding from it, compelled by His great love for us–His handmade creation.

This particular garden is located on the east side of Jerusalem and in a few hours from this moment, Jesus will be drug from the east side of Jerusalem, and in the end will be lifted up high on a hill, on a cross on the west side of Jerusalem.  Jesus will complete it all, for all.  Sin will be put away as far as the east is from the west.  So, you see, we need Jesus to not shrink back here, and so Jesus went forth.

Jesus went into the garden that night, not only to pray for the strength needed, but He went to that garden–to that place–that night, to be found, by the one betraying Him.  Have you ever thought about that?  Jesus did not go to hide, He went to be found.  Jesus came to be found by you and me, so He shows up in places that we know well, so that we won’t miss Him.

I reflect back in my childhood all the way through today, and I see distinct places where Jesus was found along the way.  I see His providential hand moving the scenes even if I missed it at the time.  Jesus came to be found by you, too!  If you have never found Him, spend this time before Easter, in this period of lent, looking for Him, asking Him to open your eyes, so that you can see Him. Jesus endured this night, not to play some mystical hide-and-go seek game with you… but He went forth to be found.  Don’t miss Jesus this Easter!

I love those who love Me; and those who diligently seek Me will find Me. Proverbs 8:17

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

Where can Jesus be found in your life?

Will you ask Jesus to reveal where He is, if you cannot see Him?  Sometimes, it comes down to the fact of our pride… we don’t want to know because we want the excuse that God has abandoned us… but God with skin on went forth to be found this night in the garden… for you, and for me.  Let’s start fixing our hearts on the Truth, even if it’s hard.

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today, see where Jesus can be found in my life, whether it be in an ordinary or extraordinary place, and thank Him specifically for that.


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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Esther 9:29

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 9:29

“Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter of Purim.” 

Step 1

Your Extraordinary Call

THE FACTS:  

Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew wrote with full authority to confirm Purim.

He sent letters to all Jews in kingdom of Ahasuerus, words of peace and truth.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

Esther was not just “Esther” she was “Queen Esther.” Esther had been queen for about 6 years at this time… it was not new, she just had no idea of the influence and authority she had been granted until she “selah-ed” … paused… simmered in who God is, what His promises are for her, and then stepped in the faith that God’s promises and His Word would hold.

It was in the stepping that she found that God had gone before her and had already #delivered her.  What did Esther already have that God wanted to use???  Well… in chapter 5 Esther put on her royal robes…. that was the start.  God was not going to use something she didn’t have… God had already #delivered her with something she DID have.  Here in chapter 9… Esther is finally stepping into the authority she was given and she used…. a pen.  Esther picked up that pen with ALL AUTHORITY… I love that she is daughter of Abihail… she is still that orphaned girl–an ordinary girl with an extraordinary calling–that picked up a pen and wrote with authority! Esther surrendered the ordinary she had in her hand to Almighty God and He made it extraordinary… drawing His people unto Himself.  Esther’s faith drew a nation NOT TO HER but to GOD!
God used a stick in the hand of Moses.  God did an awful lot through that seemingly ordinary shepherd’s stick, to again, draw HIS people to Himself.  In John 21, the disciples had a fishing net in their hands… God changed the use of that net for fish, to a net for men and began to draw a dying world to Himself.  God used their net, to bring His hand made creation to HIMSELF… not to the disciples.         Look what God can do through ordinary items that He has put in our hands!  The problem is that often we want in our hands what someone else has in their’s or we want the spotlight, and the glory for ourselves.  “If God would only give me “that”… well then I could really reach people for Him.”  Our focus is not quite right, often due to the lack of “selah” … a pausing to simmer in who GOD is, not who we think we are.There is an extraordinary call on your ordinary life.  Stop getting bogged down in believing your purpose is less than it is because all you have are the mundane repetitive things of life! Instead ask God to give a new meaning to your mundane!  Ask God to transform the mundane to extraordinary even in those little things you do.  Watch God use your mundane to draw your kids, your neighbors, your Sunday school class, or even that person your meet in the line at Walmart, to Him for His glory.In Ephesians 1:18-23, Paul pleads that we would know the hope of our calling, and greatness of the strength and power of Jesus on a personal level.  We have spiritual royal robes, that many of us have yet to don.  Oh that we would submit and surrender that which is in our hand, and see what God will do with it.  It will take courage.  It’s time to stand.  You are not alone. #deliveredwithpower

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

What is in your hand currently that God wants to use in an extraordinary way to draw His people to Him and His glory?

 Are you willing to ask God what is in your hand and then wait for Him to show you?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today, do all, no matter how mundane for the glory of God with all the authority that He has given you as a child of the King.


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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — 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.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

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

Kendra Blog Title

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

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

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

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

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

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

Don’t you see my very valid excuses?

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3

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

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

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

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

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Proverbs 3: 5-6

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 :  Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  Trust in the LORD with ALL your heart. Lean NOT on your own understanding. In ALL your ways submit to Him.  He will make your path straight.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  UGH.  That’s what these verses mean, in a nutshell, to me.  These verses are HARD for me.  “Trust in the LORD, lean not on you own understanding…”  These statements are hard  for me to both process and implement, especially when life involves trusting God with your children.

One of my girls right now has been placed–providentially–in a HARD situation.  She feels overwhelmed, under-qualified, like she carries the pressure of the world on her shoulders.  She’s struggling, stumbling and drowning.  As a parent I want to sneak into her brain and her heart and help her to feel courageous and confident in the fact of God’s promises.  I can’t do this for her.  The choices are hers to make.  UGH!

It’s interesting how I can see where and how my daughter needs to have faith, walk in confidence of God’s promises, and know who He is, when it comes to her situations.  Yet, when it comes to me doing the exact same thing in my own situations, I freak out, feel overwhelmed, and think God has abandoned me.  Hmm, I wonder who she learned this from?

God is working out in each of us the exact same thing: TRUST/ FAITH.  A life of trusting in the LORD and not on our own understanding will never become a reality except through CONFLICT.   There are situations where we don’t want to trust in the LORD, or we want to lean on our own wisdom and understanding. We’re convinced that our own thought processes are logical and make sense, and from our point of view, God’s thought process does not.

Trust, by definition, isn’t trust without being tested and proven.   God allows us to be in places where we have a choice to make: 1. Trust God and His Word and that His promises will hold, or 2. Trust ourselves and our limited view of the event.

All too often I veer off and choose #2, because I like the illusion of having control.  God is good, and loves us enough to place us in circumstances where we’re required to make this choice.  Oh, how He pleads in His Word with us that we would trust in Him–trust that He will make our paths straight, and that as we model that choice to our children, they would, in turn, understand that as God’s promises hold for us, those same promises will hold for them.

Regardless of choices made by others, may it be said of us, that we will submit our ways to the LORD.  This is SO HARD in the here and now, but the result is promised, “He WILL make our paths straight.”  We must believe that what God has said He WILL do–He will indeed do–and in spite of not understanding or seeing the end before the beginning, we prove our trust/faith as we take one step at a time, minute by minute.

As I type this out, I’m processing and trying so hard to trust.  It’s difficult to observe struggle in the lives of those we love, isn’t it?!  I’d love to take the struggle from my sweet girl! I’m trying to claim these verses for myself in this moment, and praying that someday, she will, too.  #thestruggleisreal #trustisHARD #God’spromiseswillhold

Step 3

APPLY IT:  In what ways is your faith being tested?  What is challenging your trust in God right now?  Will your choice prove your faith in the promises of God or kill it?  Where do you need to submit your ways to Him?  How will you do that?

LIVE IT OUT:  Oh Lord, give me strength, for my strength fails me continually!  Help my unbelief as You guide my feet and give me the strength to step forward on Your promises and not to run in fear.  You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Time 2:16).  Today, I will choose to put my hope in You and will determine to praise You, my Savior, My God (Psalm 43:5).  Help me to trust the hardship of my children to You, as You are working out in them the exact same thing You are working out in me!

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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.