Tag Archives: Online Bible Study

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.
__________________________________________________________

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.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Joshua 1:9

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 Joshua 1:9:  

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage.  Do not tremble or be dismayed for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage, do not tremble or be dismayed, the LORD your GOD is with you wherever you go.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  Well, here we go! It’s the last week before school officially starts.  I don’t know about you, but for me, as I look to this year, I see all the places I need to be and the commitments I’ve made, and instead of being excited and ready to conquer the new school year with fresh energy and focus… I kinda want to hide.  Schedules…demands…yuck! Gone are the days of sleeping in and enjoying the summer.  Now it’s off to science fair projects and research papers.

I have three kids: one in high school, one in middle school, and yes, one in elementary school…just to keep things going in completely different directions!

When I asked my kids about what they are looking forward to this year, all of them expressed…. fear.  The girls are afraid because they are on new travel soccer teams and they don’t know the girls or the coaches.  My middle school daughter is afraid because this will be her last year in a school she absolutely loves.  My youngest and only son is scared because he is homeschooling this year and is afraid his teacher may lose it come Christmas. :)  OK, that is a REAL fear! I am afraid because what if I can’t homeschool adequately?  What if I can’t get these girls to their games across the wide blue yonder each weekend?  What if the school work load is too hard and these children need more help than I have time to give them?  Fear…. fear… fear.

Fear keeps us from doing that which God has called us to.  I may not be preparing to march around Jericho, but I sure feel the impending battles that are just around the corner.  Has God really called me to where I am?  What is it God is doing this school year in our family and among all these schools and teams we are part of?

I go back to Joshua 1:9 often because it reminds me that God knows that fear is a very real emotion that we battle with.  God did not chide Joshua for having fear, but He did call Joshua not to give in to fear.  We have a choice who we give the power to in our lives.  Fear is our natural response, so we must saturate ourselves in the Word of God on a daily basis.  This is our only hope.  We need to determine to trust that God IS with us and will lead us.  Setting our hearts and minds to believe the promises of God as we step out daily is a HUGE challenge, but so worth it.  God loves to leave us in these dependent situations, where we can’t even begin to conquer or vanquish all that is demanded of us.  This way, God stays at the forefront.

As the academic year begins and we feel pressed upon and pulled in so many directions, may the first direction we determine to set our feet, eyes and heart in, on a daily basis, is in the Word of God.  In the Joshua 1:8, it says, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall mediate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do all that is written in it; for THEN you will make your way prosperous and you will have success.”  Success summed up: Stay in the Word of God and follow His lead…. day by day, by day.  Let’s dedicate to do that this school year, and show our children what courage looks like.  Courage is following hard after God.  Just do and go where the LORD leads today, then again tomorrow…all for His glory.

I love the quote accredited to Ambrose Redmoon: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important.” As my kids and I discussed our fears, we came up with the promises of God that we can focus on instead.  Fear quickly turned into anticipation of what God will do and how He will accomplish the impossible in our personal lives.

  • God is faithful and true (Revelation 3:14).
  • God will not leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
  • With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
  • Our God reigns (Psalm 93:1).
  • “See, I have set before you an open door and NO ONE can shut it, for you have a little strength, have kept My Word and have not denied My name.” Revelation 3:8

Step 3

APPLY IT:  How have you given in to fear instead of faith?  What promises of God do you need to claim to get through the day?  Are your eyes seeking to see things beyond today?  Will you determine this school year to begin your day with your eyes and heart set in God’s Word?  Where is God calling you to be courageous?

LIVE IT OUT:  TODAY, I will claim the promises of God as I go out.  LORD, may You and Your promises trump all fear, and give me the courage to tackle what You have set before me this day.

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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 — Matthew 11:28-29

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 : Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  Come to Me all who are: weak & heavy-laden.  I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from Me, you will find rest for your souls.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  This blog post came on a difficult day for me.  I’ve been given the day off from my job at he hospital, which might not seem like a bad thing, but in my heart of hearts I can’t afford the day off.  I’m a labor and delivery nurse and mostly just work in the summers and a few other dates throughout the year.  This schedule gives me flexibility, but is not a consistent source of income.  This day off set my fingers running numbers, and put my head and heart in an absolute panic!

In this moment, God purposely set my eyes in His Word on this verse today: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls” Matthew 11:28-29.

Like me, have you ever had a difficult time resting?  Like being in control?  I like knowing that my children’s needs will be provided and paid for by hard work.  But not today…God whispered in my ear, “Rest.”

After panicking and shedding a few tears, I wondered, “Doesn’t God know I NEED this day of work?”  While I was crying, God whispered again, “See how tired you are, dear one?” And as I write  these words, I’m off to crying again.  I am tired…so tired, weary and heavy laden.

This verse is in red… red letters…the words of Jesus–God with skin on, and He has said specifically to me (and you too)…”COME TO ME, {Kendra}, and I WILL give YOU rest.”  Jesus is giving me a rest from my responsibility– not in the way that sounds–I don’t want to walk away, hide in my house and quit my job…but God is willing and able to give me rest in the midst of work.  Isn’t it comforting to know that while we take responsibility for our children and love them more than words can say, ultimately, they belong to God who loves them more than we could even imagine?

An alternate rendering of this verse in the Greek explains it like this, “Come to me all you who are working to the point of exhaustion.”  Is there anyone out there who can relate?  Some of us are absolutely overwhelmed.  We have things on our plate that we never asked for, and we have found ourselves in a  stormy, out of control, season of life where we are just trying to breathe.  Where we are working and working, and doing the very best we can, but rest is eluding us.

So what do we do?  This verse tells us exactly what to do… “COME TO ME.”  I’m seeing that perhaps God is allowing me to be completely over my head and in a place where I can’t handle it.  I think maybe God allows times like this to prove His sufficiency to me.  God is flushing the pride out of me and reminding me that it’s not about my control over anything.  This verse shows me where I am… and then tells me to come to Him with it all.

So, where do I go? Where do you go when you are stressed to the max? Who are we turning to?  Are we going to the wrong source?  Is that why we are in such a panic?  I know that’s why I’m in such a panic.  I want to turn to my job, pay check and bank account…. which is always, and will always be insufficient.  Perhaps being overwhelmed and unable to make numbers crunch is actually a wake up call to come to a deeper intimacy with my God (Psalm 63).

After I come to Jesus, the next command the verse gives is to take His yoke upon me.  The phrasing here, with the yoke being put on…you put the yoke ON.  This phrase “putting on a yoke” does not imply that the oxen will sit in the barn, but that he is going out to work.  The way oxen work is that the younger, more ignorant oxen is paired with an older one; the younger oxen just follows in the steps and in the direction that the older oxen goes in.  The older oxen bears most of the burden of the work and knows where to go in the work; the younger oxen just has to focus on following where his partner leads.

Here we see God is not swooping in and erasing all our problems in a grand manner. He is not lightening the load just yet, but we are to come and stick our head in His yoke and follow where He is going amidst the responsibilities that are before us.  HE promises this: YOU (personal pronoun here, you, {Kendra!} WILL find rest for YOUR soul.

Jesus is not relieving me of the responsibility, but rather relieving me of the burden of that responsibility if I just follow Him.

Today, through His yoke, He led me to actual REST.  The burden for my workday rests on Him.  The burden of the needs for my kids rests on Him.  GOD HAS GOT THEM and ME in His hands… God loves my children more than even I do! I am saying this out-loud to myself as I type it, because it is so hard to believe sometimes.

We all want to control our own hours, pay checks, every little aspect of our own little worlds, and yet God wants us to rest, and let Him bear the burden.

Each of us must set our yoke to follow Him.  HARD WORDS for me today, how about you?   He’s telling us to REST…REST…REST.  So what choice do we have?  I have chosen to rest today, calling on Jehovah Jirah–MY Provider, YOUR Provider– who is not ignorant of our needs at all, yet knows them more intimately than we can ever imagine.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Who or what is the source you run to when you are weak and overwhelmed and have worked yourself to the bone?

Will you set yourself in the yoke of Jesus and His Word, or will you try to solve everything in your own failing and insufficient strength?

Is this time of your life perhaps pressing down so that you can see your extreme need for an all- sufficient God?

Is God calling you to a deeper intimacy with Him through this circumstance?

LIVE IT OUT:  Today, when I begin to panic every hour on the hour, knowing that all I have to give is insufficient, I will set my head to claim in my heart who YOU are.  Today I will REST in Your yoke, You have given 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.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Psalm 63:1

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 63:1

“Oh God You are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”Step 1

THE FACTS:  Oh God, You are my God; earnestly I seek YOU, my soul thirst for YOU in a dry and weary land.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  Daily there is confusion and chaos.  I love to go back to this verse a lot.  It’s one of those verses that tends to steady my feet and focus my gaze.  Oh God… “Oh God” being the God we pray to at meals, sing to at church, hear the pastor preach about….. but MY GOD… now “My God” is something entirely personal.  My God is personal.  Jeremiah 9:23-24 says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches,  but let him who glories, glory in this: that he understands and knows Me, that I AM the LORD.”  This is the purpose and the key to life.

To know the LORD… to spend time in God’s Word.  God’s Word is Truth.  (John 17:17)

In times like this, when information is pouring into us at the speed of light… it is important, to daily–before the chaos begins– to spend time soaking in the Truth.  God’s Word has been true from the beginning of time and will not cease to be true today.  God can be trusted.

With so many things vying for our attention, vying to control us, we must now, more than ever, decide to know “my God” and not settle to just hear about who He is from others.

God loves you more than anything, and knows the struggle and confusion of life, so He came, personally, with skin on, and His name is Jesus, so that we could walk through this life with Him.

When you are tired, weary and exhausted…. earnestly seek “my God,” for “My God shall supply all your needs in the riches of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19).

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Are you in a dry and weary place in life?  Do you know “my God” or have you settled to listen about “oh God”?  Will we get into God’s Word as God’s people and begin living lives to glorify Him or will we live in fear of what will happen next in this crazy world?

LIVE IT OUT:  Today I will be determined to get into God’s Word and begin to learn about this God who loves me more than anything.

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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 — 2 Timothy 1:7

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 :  2 Timothy 1:7

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but power, love and sound mind.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   When I read this verse today, I couldn’t help but think of my father-in-law, Franklin Graham.  Franklin is criss- crossing America this election season going to each state capital and pleading with God’s people to pray for the country.  There has been push  back in some states, but that doesn’t seem to deter the vision and passion that God has given him, as I watch God’s power illustrated through his message and work.

When God gives a vision to His people, He provides the power needed to see it accomplished.  It seems that often the church has been satisfied to be the “silent” majority.  We are so afraid to offend and so afraid of our speech that we make sure all of our words are politically correct, and in doing this, we have chosen to live powerless fearful lives.

Boldness matters.  We absolutely cannot fulfill God’s plan for our lives without boldness.  There is a difference between being bold just to hear ourselves speak, and being bold because it is what God has called us to do.  That is why I think in this verse Paul is urging Timothy and other believers that along with God’s limitless power, he has strategically placed the word “love”.  God so loves the world, He said so, and He proved so in John 3:16.  Being bold and powerful in the name of Jesus involves loving His hand made creation.  God calls us to do big things, only possible through His power, AND in HIS love.  It’s not a power trip we are going on, it’s not a spotlight we are stepping into, it is a service we are accepting to show others the love of God through His call and in His power.

Lastly, this all comes together with a sound mind.  This does not mean that everything God calls us to do or things He places in our hearts to do will all make sense, because quite often, we know it is God’s vision because it defies all logic.  When God calls us to do things, they are as Henry Blackaby likes to say, “God-sized”.  We tend to keep God in a box that we can explain–but what kind of God is that if we can explain everything away with logic?  God does the impossible.  God’s people should have personal testimonies in their lives of God’s impossible workings.  What God calls us to will always be clear…. and that clarity will be the very thing that makes our knees shake with fear.

Let’s be realistic here too…while we’re talking about it… we will experience fear.  It’s just natural, however,  this verse challenges us to literally set our fear aside, and focus on the new spirit that God Himself has given us.  Fear and timidity will keep us from using the gifts that God has given.  God has given us all we need to live daily as unstoppable over-comers.  The choice is ours.

I love how 2 Timothy continues…. (8) Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord….  Oh that our lives would reflect an amazing impossible story of God’s love and power in our personal lives and that we would have the boldness to shout it out!  We may not be called to criss-cross America, but this I know…. You will have an amazing testimony of God’s power in your life.  Let’s not live life and miss everything we were created for.  There is no better time to start than the present!

Step 3

APPLY IT:  What will rule your life and dictate your actions?  Fear or boldness in God’s Word? Are you satisfied living a safe, timid life apart from the “more” that God has called you to?  Don’t know where or how God has called you to live courageously? Get in God’s Word, and ask Him to show you.  Will we live lives claiming the Truth that God is a God of clarity, not a God of confusion? (I Corinthians 14:33)

LIVE IT OUT:  Today, LORD, give me boldness where I need to be bold, give me clarity, give me Your love for Your people as I claim Your power to walk through doors I would rather run from.

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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.