Tag Archives: The Cove Bible Study

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Mark 8:34

 

ONLINE BIBLE STUDY-1

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!

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Kendra Graham notes from Mark 8:34

WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.  In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

FACTSAnd He summoned the crowd with His disciples and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.” Mark 8:34

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.  Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?

LESSONS:  “Let me explain…. listen to me on this…. it’s really hard for me, but…”

OK… so this may seem a bit random to you as you just read those words, but it’s where I am.  I’m currently in the throes of preparing for the upcoming Winter Cove Bible Study–on discipleship of all things, and God’s sweet way of bringing home a particular piece of Scripture, is for me to experience it.  I hate that my learning style is so kinesthetic!  If only I could be more auditory… perhaps things would be easier to learn.

So…God recently called me somewhere.  Somewhere new.   I spent the last eight years coaching a middle-school girls’ soccer team at one school, and have now taken a coaching position at a new school.  Was this new school always on my radar screen?  Ummm…no.  I actually thought I would never leave where I was.  God loves to keep things interesting for all parties involved!

In Mark 8:34, Jesus says, anyone who wishes to come after me… So that means I’m invited to live that life, walking with God–the life that I was meant to live before the beginning of time.   The “anyone” in the verse includes me, it includes you, and in the words that follow, it includes a choice.

IF I want to follow Jesus… then… I will deny myself.  UGH.  That is a hard one… I have so many great ideas of where I could be most profitable for the Kingdom of God–my list may or may not be alphabetized!

Deny myself… let go of my ideas and aspirations of where and when I want to serve Him, and just daily… follow Jesus.

I find myself making excuses to people that I hang out with–explaining why the change in location of my service, and that it’s not that I’m mad, or have a point to make… it’s just that I am called.

I find myself, day after day, making justifications and validating to everyone the reasons, the verses, the days in prayer behind this change of venue.  Have you ever been there?

Maybe you have taught Sunday School, led VBS or sang in the choir year after year, you are like the stable person everyone can count on to show up and then…. God calls you out?   Were there rumors started on why you stopped, and you feel like you need to constantly  expound, illustrate, spell out, and clarify why you are doing or not doing something?

Perhaps you have felt God tugging at your heart for a while now, to leave a place, go to a place or a person, or that He is calling you to just STOP it all, and not go anywhere, but just to rest.  Well friends… that is where I am.  I wish I could say it’s easy, and I don’t care about what people think, but alas…. that would not be true.  SO, I must decide daily to cling to the One who matters, the One I have decided so long ago to go after, and His name is Jesus.

Know this: your purpose in life, and my purpose in life belongs to God.  God wants to use us from HIS perspective, in HIS way, down HIS path.  If it is truly HIM we want, then we must trust that God will not lead us wrong, neither will He lead us to anywhere that He isn’t. God leads us to where He is!!!  He says, FOLLOW ME, that means He goes first!  He calls you and me to a prepared place!!!  Isn’t that comforting?!

The last thing we need to do is make an excuse for following hard after Jesus–the One who was found worthy to be slain for my sin. Knees knocking, heart hurting, questions blasting… Lord, strengthen me to follow.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.  Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

Am I willing to follow Jesus, or would I prefer for Him to follow me? Where is Jesus bidding me come?  What fears do I have?  What excuses have I made for where Jesus is calling me to go?  Is it time to let the excuses subside, and my feet start following?  Do I believe He leads me to where He is?

LIVE IT OUT!  Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

LORD, today, help me trust where YOU lead me… whether you crush me, exalt me, bless me, or simply just love me in a personal way that I know You are near.  Help my unbelief.  Silence my need to make excuses for running to Your presence.

Homework: Pick a verse or a few verses and use the three-question method to see what the lessons are, how they apply to your life, and how you can live it out.

Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

JOIN US FOR OUR FREE WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY AT THE COVE,  BEGINNING JANUARY 12, 2016.  

If you can attend in-person, we’d love to see you.  Click on one of the links below to register.

If you’d like to register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study (January 12 – February 16, 2016), click here.
NOTE: If you are unable to attend in person, we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.

If you’d like to register for Jane Derrick’s Tuesday morning study (January 12 – February 23, 2016), click here.

 

Kendra’s Bible Study… Nehemiah 2:1-5

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!

Kendra Graham NOTES from Nehemiah 2:1-5 

WHAT DOES IT SAY?  THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage.  DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts.  Do not paraphrase.  Use the actual words of the passage.  This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts.  If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it. 

Verse 1a: In the month of Nisan 

Verse 1b: I took up the wine and gave it to the king. 

Verse 2a: The king said, “Why is your face sad?” 

Verse 2b: I was very much afraid 

Verse 3: Why should my face not be sad when the place of my fathers’ tombs lies desolate, consumed by fire? 

Verse 4a: The kings said, “What would you request?” 

Verse 4b:  So I prayed 

Verse 5: I said to the king…. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS. 
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact.  What are the people doing that they should be doing?  What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow?  A promise to claim?  A warning to heed? An example to follow? 

Verse 1a: God brings things about in God’s timing.  It is God’s impossible assignment and calling for Nehemiah from the start, so GOD must do it all and I must wait upon the LORD to move.  NO need to manipulate the situation or try to push things through on my own wisdom, power and timing.  Faith is continuing to pray and expect in spite of the time lapse. 

Verse 1b: Here Nehemiah was just doing the job that God had placed before him to do.  No more, no less.  God knows where He has placed me, God knows where to find me, so instead of complaining where I am and that I am not “doing” what I want for God, trust that He has a plan and will bing it about in His time.  In the meantime, work hard where I am for the glory of God.   

Verse 2a:  God opens eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to listen in His time.  GOD OPENS the doors!!!!  Don’t waste a bunch of time and energy trying to pry them open!!  Faith waits with expectation!! 

Verse 2b:  Even GREAT men of faith are very afraid!!!  Just the word “faith” indicated there will be opposition and courage needed. 

Verse 3: Nehemiah laid down the Truth of the matter.  He did not try to paint a softer picture of the Truth or a more “palatable” one.   Faith speaks the Truth even where very afraid. 

Verse 4a:  HERE IT IS! The defining moment.  A small hinge that opens a big door! The king speaks four words because it is God who moves the heart of the king.  Nehemiah’s prayer of faith is becoming sight right before his eyes!  What will he do?  When God opens the door, it is open wide, the way is clear. 

Verse 4b:  Nehemiah STILL NEEDS God.  I love that he doesn’t say, “Great God! I got it from here! Much thanks!”  Even the fact that God is opening the door, still Nehemiah needs the strength to walk through it.  Faith is required the whole way! There is always a GAP between what I can do and what God must do when God calls us to His impossible assignments.  To realize our need is such a gift from God.  Nehemiah knows, “Lord I need You, oh I need You! Every hour I need You!” 

Verse 5:  Faith walks.  Faith is a verb.  Faith is what I DO (chapter 2) because it rests upon what I believe (Chapter 1). 


WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush.  Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next.  Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to? 

Verse 1a: What causes me to lose faith that God can and will do something?  What has God placed in my heart to believe (A calling? A person who will come to the LORD? A certain situation to be resolved?) Has the time lapse made me question God, or will I continue to pray, believing, because God put it in my heart to believe? 

Verse 1b:  Is it easier to complain and question God in where He has placed me day after day?  Or will I choose to seek and honor Him, where He has trusted me to be, as He molds me for His plan and not my own? 

Verse 2a: Am I looking to see how God is going to open doors in my life or am I busy complaining about the fact that He is not opening the ones I want when I want? 

Verse 2b:  It is ok to be afraid, but in the end will I give the power in my life over to the fear I have of men or God?  Will I allow God to stretch my faith in spite of my fear? 

Verse 3: When do I hold back with the Truth because I don’t want it to hurt anyone?  Will I trust God for the timing, tone and words lovingly giving the Truth when it is demanded of me without pride or fear of consequence? 

Verse 4a: When God opens the door and the way IS clear, will I step-to or step-away?  John 6:66 “As a result, many withdrew.” Will I press in? Have I pressed in? When? What was the result?  Have I shrunk in fear?   

Verse 4b:  Am I quick to pray?  Do I realize how desperately dependent I am on Jesus? 

Verse 5:  If my beliefs are evidenced by what I do then how do I prove my beliefs through my actions?  What do I really believe? (If I REALLY believe cereal is the BEST breakfast food, then in my life there will be evidence of eating cereal at breakfast a lot…. does that make sense?)

LIVE IT OUT!
Look over all your facts, lessons and applications for a given passage. 

Is there a main theme to them?  Does one verse stand out over the rest for some reason?? 

Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart.  Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

LORD, help my unbelief!  Give me the strength to wait when You say wait, to speak when You say speak and to walk when You say walk.  Open my ears to hear, and my heart to listen and my set my feet to Your path today as I go out.

Homework:  Do the three questions onNehemiah 2:10-20. 
Bonus Challenge:Three questions on any or all of Nehemiah 3.

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com  and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

Kendra’s Bible Study…Ezra 1:1-5

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!

Kendra Graham NOTES from Ezra 1:1-5

WHAT DOES IT SAY?  THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage.  DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts.  Do not paraphrase.  Use the actual words of the passage.  This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts.  If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

Vs.1: In the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, in order to fulfill the Word of the LORD, the LORD stirred Cyrus so he sent a proclamation

Vs.2:  Cyrus, King of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms on earth and has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem

Vs.3:  All His people, may God be with them!  Go to Jerusalem in Judah and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel, He is the God in Jerusalem

Vs.4:  EVERY survivor, let the men of that place support him with silver & gold, goods &cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God

Vs.5: Then the heads of households of Judah, Benjamin, and the Levites arose, everyone who’s spirit God had stirred to go and rebuild the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact.  What are the people doing that they should be doing?  What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow?  A promise to claim?  A warning to heed? An example to follow?

Vs. 1: God is WORKING!!! Through that difficult person who seems to defy God, not prove God! HOPE in the middle of captivity! God moves according to His Word.

Vs.2:  God is sovereign over all, even brutal kings who don’t know God (this includes the boss you work for, or the family you may be in, or the administration in the local school system your kids go to, even the present day government!)  God is in charge, on the throne….(Isaiah 6) when things seem as if they are falling apart, perhaps they are falling into place (Anne Graham Lotz)

Vs.3:  God calls His people to do big things and to leave their comfort zones. 

Vs.4:  God provides resources from unusual places that we could never guess if we tried.  When God stirs us and calls us, God will provide! 

Vs.5:  Often God calls us to specific tasks, specific people, a specific place, and often when He stirs my heart to do and go…. my response instead of getting up and going in obedience is, “But I can’t!  This will never work out, it is an IMPOSSIBLE task!” In these impossible situations we cry out to God to change our circumstances and we will believe…  and God says, “Oh if you just Believe ME and take Me at My Word, watch what I will do with your circumstances!” 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME? NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush.  Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next.  Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

Vs.1: Have I forgotten that God is here, in the middle of my circumstances, working things out for my good and His glory?  Do I trust Him?  Do I know the promises of God’s Word that I can claim with certainty?

Vs. 2: What has happened in my life or in the world that makes me question whether or not God is in charge?  When has God surprised me by working through a certain person or circumstance that I thought was impossible?

Vs. 3: What has God stirred my heart to do?  Have I the courage to believe and go?

Vs.4:  Do I believe God will provide for me?  Do I think that even though God called me, I am in charge of making it all work out, and when I look at it, I realize there is no way I can logically accomplish what He has asked, so I walk away?

Vs.5: What am I missing out on because I do not have the courage it takes to believe God and go when He stirs my heart?  When has God stirred my heart and then provided all along the way to my amazement?  If I have not ever stepped out like this, do I know someone who was called by God to an impossible situation then watched as God provided?

LIVE IT OUT!
Ask God where He is working in the middle of my circumstances, and then ask how I need to pray, what He needs me to do and where He wants me to go.  Ask God to stir my heart for His Word, and give me the strength to stand on it, and cling to It, regardless of my doubt.  Praise God for being in charge!

Homework: Ezra 3:1-3

Our annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove begins on January 7th.  Click here to register.

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com  and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

  

Annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove Begins January 7th!

Womens events small versionLadies, we can’t think of a better way to start the New Year than digging into the richness of God’s Word with other women in our area. 

Are you in? 

The Cove’s free annual women’s Bible study begins on Tuesday January 7th!     

If you have attended before, we hope you will be coming back.  If you have never been, we hope you will come and join many other local women in an encouraging time of fellowship and studying the Word of God in the quiet, majestic beauty of The Cove!   

Our Tuesday morning study, Finding Great Joy in the Celebration of Jesus, will be led by Jane Derrick beginning at 9:45 a.m. and concluding at noon.  There will be an optional lunch available for $10. 

Watch here as Jane offers a special invitation to leave behind the busyness of the Season and begin your New Year celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Our Tuesday evening study, Rise to the Occasion, a study in the Book of Nehemiah, will be led by Kendra Graham beginning at 6:30 p.m. and concluding at 8:30 p.m.  

Watch here as Kendra invites you to take a stand and experience the Great Awakening of God’s people. 

While the studies are free to attend, you must register to participate.  Click here or call 1-800-950-2092 to register.   

Are you in an existing Bible Study and/or Sunday school group?

We encourage you to take a break from your routine and let this 7 & 8 week study be a place of renewal and inspiration for your entire group.  

Kendra’s Bible Study…Judges 2:20-23

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!

Kendra Graham NOTES from Judges 2:20-23

WHAT DOES IT SAY?  THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage.  DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts.  Do not paraphrase.  Use the actual words of the passage.  This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts.  If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

20:  The anger of the LORD burned against Israel.  This nation transgressed My covenant and has not listened to My voice

21: I will no longer drive any nations which Joshua left…..

22: In order to test Israel by them (my commandments) whether to keep the way of the LORD (as their fathers) or not

23:  The LORD allowed the nations to stay…. He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact.  What are the people doing that they should be doing?  What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow?  A promise to claim?  A warning to heed? An example to follow?

20:  It matters to God when we disobey.  The word “covenant” means “an alliance, a pledge an unbreakable promise”.  God promised to give His people their own land, and promised to drive out the other nations right before their very eyes, if His people would follow where He lead, and obeyHis voice.  If God’s people would obey Him, in turn His people would be protected, cared for, fed, blessed beyond description and strengthened.  Sounds like a good deal eh?  If God’s people do not obey Him, they will not receive the benefits of abiding with Him.  Israel chose not to obey.  In a world where covenants can be broken as quickly as they are made, this is not so with God.  God always keeps His promises; for this reason, we can rest assured when we follow God that He will not change His mind or go back on what He said He would do.  This is both good and bad….

21:  Israel wanted these ungodly nations to stay, God said to destroy them…. So God gave them exactly what they asked for.  Sometimes exactly what we want or think we need is not the best for us… but literally the worst for us.  God’s people were so far away from caring what God said one way or the other, God gave them what seems an awful punishment… He gave them what they wanted.  God will allow us to get to the bottom of ourselves because He loves us.  God will allow us to make bad choices, and will also allow the steep consequences to follow.  God allows this, because in this we see just how much we need God.

22:  God allows us and brings us each and every one to a crossroads of personal choice.  It says here that the LORD will “test” His people.  What is it you want?  Really want?  Will YOU follow the LORD?  The question is not will your buddy or friend follow, Will you follow?  Your mom may have followed Christ, your grandmother, your father or grandfather, BUT WILL YOU? We were created by God with a God shaped hole that only He can fill, but so often we try to fill that space with all the shiny stuff life has to offer…. a new job, house, car, spouse, kids….. etc.  We were created to walk this life learning and leaning upon our Creator Who has set up guidelines for our protection, Who has a plan and a purpose for our lives and who loves us more than anything.  The catch is…. the choice is up to us…. to follow or not to follow.

23:  God promised to drive out the nations before His people and give His people the Promised Land…. woo hoo…. BUT God’s people didn’t want it.  They did not want the other nations to go…. sooo…. God allowed His people to feel the full force of the consequences of the choices they made.  Note:  God did not make these choices, however; it seems we always like to blame Him for the current painful predicament we tend to be in.  God allowed Israel to have what they asked for and all it ended up bringing was pain, sin and bondage… just like God said it would.  (Those nations they wanted to stay eventually turn on Israel and take them into bondage.)

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME? NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush.  Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next.  Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

20:  Are you trying to live an obedient life according to God’s Word this day?  Can you say you are concerned about obeying God?  What does an obedient life to God look like? Did you know your disobedience mattered so much to God?

21:  Do you think God cruel because He allows you to hit rock bottom because of your own poor choices?  When have you hit rock bottom? 

22:  Who will you choose to serve?  Who or what are you currently serving?

23:  Are you blaming God for circumstances of personal sin and bad choices in your life?  When have you blamed God for keeping His Word?  When did a thing you desperately wanted to have only bring pain and heartache when you finally received it?

Homework: Judges 3:1-2

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com  and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

Kendra’s Bible Study…Judges 1:28 & 2:1-2

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!

Kendra Graham NOTES from Judges 1:28 and 2:1-2

WHAT DOES IT SAY?  THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage.  DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts.  Do not paraphrase.  Use the actual words of the passage.  This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts.  If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

1:28  When Israel became strong they put the Canaanites to hard labor but did not drive them out completely.

2:1 The angel of the LORD (Jesus) came and said, “I brought you out of Egypt and led you to the land I swore, I will never break My covenant with you.”

2:2  “But you have not obeyed Me” 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact.  What are the people doing that they should be doing?  What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow?  A promise to claim?  A warning to heed? An example to follow? 

1:28 It is so easy to get lax when “we become strong”…. and veer off course one, two or twenty degrees.  It seems that once God does great and mighty things in the hard times, that when things start clicking for me is often when I stop obeying.  When we are desperate, we tend to need God every hour, when we are doing ok… we rely on ourselves, after all, we are “strong”, right?  This is a HUGE RED FLAG!  STAY ON COURSE…..  in the hard times and not so hard times…. following after God is a day by day choice we make whether we realize it or not.   LORD help me to stay dependent on You… Open my ears to hear and my heart to obey. 

2:1 Despite my poor actions, unwise decisions, and disobedience…. God will still hold to His Word and keep it.  God’s promise is not dependent on me!  PRAISE GOD!  God will be faithful to me because He is faithful!  Even though Israel never held up their part, God will not forsake His people! WHAT hope, what a relief!  What a God we serve!   

2:2 The love Jesus has towards us, compels Him to bring our sin and disobedience from under the carpet and deal with it out in the open.  Israel thinks the reason they can’t win is because they don’t have chariots and military forces (Judges 1:19), but we have to remember Jericho…. what did they have in way of military strength to defeat that fortified city?  They had a heart to obey and actions to follow.  It is easy to forget that it is God who goes before, it is God who does the work.  We follow and get to watch in OBEDIENCE.  Obedience is hard, and instead of it getting easier as they went along, it got harder.  You would think Israel would remember back to these huge amazing victories that they should have lost, and that would give them the strength to take that step forward… yet God calls us to things where there is ALWAYS A GAP between what we can do and what GOD MUST DO. Faith grows through a state of dependence on God to come through.  It is not about our strength or wisdom, but by the character of God and God alone.  We have nothing to bring to the table except the ability to obey.  Dependence is NEVER easy… no matter how many victories you have had in the past…but it is always worth it.  LORD, help me to remember this! 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME? NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush.  Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next.  Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

1:28   Have I veered off course?  Was there a time where my very life depended on obedience to God, yet, afterwards, when things settled down I fell away? 

2:1 When has God been faithful to me in spite of my behavior and poor choices?  Do I need to be reminded that God will not forsake His people?  Have I felt forsaken? Why?  What promises of God’s character am I holding on to right now? 

2:2 Have I gotten lax in my obedience?  Is God trying to get my attention? What sin needs to be dealt with?  Am I obeying today what God has called me to?  Have I made excuses why I am not living a life of victory in Christ when really it boils down to a lack of obedience?

LIVE IT OUT!
LORD, living in a state of dependence is hard and humbling.  Help me to remember today as I go out, that if I obey where you are calling, then You will lead me to where You are. You go before me….  Give me ears to hear what You want, eyes to see where You want me to go and feet to obey.  How our flesh struggles against this state of dependence!  But in our dependence upon God, we can truly experience what Paul says in II Corinthians 12:9-10  “when we are weak then we are strong”. LORD, help us to know that indeed, Your grace is sufficient for me. 

HOMEWORK:  Judges 2:3-5 

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com  and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

Kendra’s Bible Study…Judges 1:1-2

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!

Kendra Graham NOTES from Judges 1: 1-2

WHAT DOES IT SAY?  THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage.  DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts.  Do not paraphrase.  Use the actual words of the passage.  This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts.  If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

1.    After the death of Joshua, Israel inquired of the LORD, who shall fight against the Canaanites?

2.   The LORD said, “Judah, I have given the land into his hand.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact.  What are the people doing that they should be doing?  What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing? Is there a command to follow?  A promise to claim?  A warning to heed? An example to follow?

1.    Even though great men of God die, nothing of God dies.  It is easy to be tempted to live in the past.  If I have breath in my lungs, God is still working, moving, and calling me, and His people to follow Him. 

There was no one appointed to be the next leader.  With Moses there was Joshua, now with Joshua dead, the nation of Israel really needed to depend on God in a more abiding way now, daily seeking God instead of daily looking to the leadership of men.

Israel knew the Canaanites were a problem for them, they knew it was too much for them to do and they needed God to go before them, so they inquired of God first!  A nice start!!

2.    And the LORD said…. God is still speaking to His people if His people would ask, seek and listen.

God goes before His people and does the work, our job is simply…. and quite possibly, the hardest thing we will be faced with doing and that is following where He leads.  God has a specific plan for each of His specific people.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME? NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush.  Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next.  Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

1.    What is it that God has called me to do?  Do I know?  Am I willing to ask, or am I afraid of what the answer may be?  Am I seeking the leadership of God or following blindly the leadership of men?  Is God the first or last place I go to for answers?

2.    Is God speaking and am I listening?  Do I believe God has something to say to me, or just other more important people?  Do I believe God has a specific plan for me? Am I willing to come to Him daily and ask Him what it is for this day?  Am I willing to follow where He leads, or do I prefer God to bless me where I lead?

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you says the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

HOMEWORK:  Judges 1:28, and Judges 2:1-2

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com  and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

Kendra Graham’s Bible Study…Matthew 6: 24-33

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!

Kendra Graham NOTES from Matthew 6: 24-33

WHAT DOES IT SAY?  THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage.  DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts.  Do not paraphrase.  Use the actual words of the passage.  This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts.  If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

vs 24:  No one can serve two masters.

vs 25: For THIS reason I say do not be worried about life, what you will eat, what you will put on. Is life more than food & clothing?

vs 26: Look at the birds, your heavenly Father feed them.  Are you not worth much more than they?

vs 27: Who by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

vs 28-29: Observe the lilies, they do not toil or spin, yet not even Solomon clothed himself like one of these.

vs 30: If God clothes the grass of the field, will he not much more clothe you? Oh you of little faith!

vs 31-32:  Do not worry.  Your heavenly Father KNOWS you NEED ALL these things

vs 33:  But seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS WILL be added to YOU!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact.  What are the people doing that they should be doing?  What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow?  A promise to claim?  A warning to heed? An example to follow?

vs 24:  Everyone serves someone or something.  Either we serve all the world has to offer (Power, prestige, position, fame, money, social status, relationship status, facebook status…) or we serve God and follow Him wherever He leads us.  It is either all about me or Him.  Two choices here.  Impossible to serve both.

vs 25:  FOR THIS reason…. Jesus is saying here, He understands the pull the world has, so much to worry about! Bills, jobs, sickness…. so many things demand our attention, but keep it all in perspective…. it can overtake our every minute if we are not careful.  Life is so much more than all the things we have to worry about.

vs 26:  YOU are my handmade creation.  Created to walk with Me, know me, need me.  The birds are my spoken creation.  If I care, if it matters that they eat, HOW MUCH MORE you matter to Me!  YOU MATTER.  Your needs are on the heart of Jesus, they have not been overlooked.

vs 27:  Worry is a time waster.  Maybe hope has been taken off the table, the walls are closing in, and there is nothing I can do to change the situation… what this does is point to my tremendous need for a Savior.  Maybe it is our need that brings us to Jesus.

vs 28-29: The lilies don’t work themselves to death to garnish the attention of the Creator… they draw the attention of the Creator not because of what they DO but because of what they are.  You draw the attention of the Savior not because of how you have done such great things, or how you have made a mess of things, you garnish the attention of your Creator because of WHO YOU ARE!!! You are HIS handmade creation!!!!!

vs 30:  We have enough faith that God will provide for everyone and everything else in the world, but we don’t believe He will do it for me!!!

vs 31-32:  God knows our NEED….  God is provider.  He is not beating us down here… in all eternity that He had to think about what words He would say to us with skin on, He says, “I know…. I know”  things are hard, you are trying desperately just to make ends meet, and I know…. I got you… it matters to Me! Your need is on my mind. Be assured of that!

vs 33:  SEEK ME FIRST… let go of the world, grab My hand, seek out who I am and who I desperately want to be to you! I PLEAD personally with you, seek ME and SEE ALL THESE things come together.  Maybe, when all is falling apart, just maybe it is really falling into place.  You were designed to need your Creator.  Seek Him today.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME? NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush.  Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next.  Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

vs 24:  Who or what am I serving?  Honestly….

vs 25:  Do I meditate throughout the day on God’s Word, or my overwhelming life?  What is the space in my brain taken up with throughout the day?

vs 26: When have I felt overlooked?  Do I really hear what Jesus is saying here?  And that is…that MY needs trump those of the birds?

vs 27:  Do I carry my worry around with me or do I let the need I have bring me to Jesus?

vs 28-29:  Have I thought it is what I do that garnishes God’s attention instead of the FACT of who I am?  Have I thought I needed to “clean things up” before I come to Him instead of coming just as I am?

vs 30:  Do I struggle with personal unbelief?  Do I not believe God will be faithful to me?

vs 31-32:  Did I know my need was on the mind of God?  Did I know God created me to be needy of the One who can meet my need?  Have I felt like I have fallen through the cracks of God’s mind?  Will I claim this verse for me and my family today?

vs 33:  What is causing me to seek out everyone and everything else first instead of the God who created me, loves me and died to prove it?

HOMEWORK1 Samuel 3: 1-10

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com  and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

Kendra’s Bible Study: Exodus 17: 1-7

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!

Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture.  We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.

Step 1:  Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the facts)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the lessons)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice)
1 How do I view the Bible?

Kendra Graham NOTES from Exodus 17: 1-7

WHAT DOES IT SAY?  THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage.  DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts.  Do not paraphrase.  Use the actual words of the passage.  This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts.  If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

1.   Israel journeyed in the wilderness of Sin according to the command of the LORD, there was no water.
2a. The people quarreled with Moses, “Give us water” 
2b. Moses said, “Why quarrel with me? Why test the LORD?”
3.   The people thirsted and grumbled. “Have you brought us from Egypt to kill us and our children with thirst?”
4.   Moses cried out to the LORD “What shall I do w this people? A little more and they will stone me.”
5a.The LORD said, “Pass before the people.
5b. Take your staff you struck the Nile with and go.”
6.   “I WILL stand before you.  You shall strike the rock, water will come, the people may drink.”
7.    He named the place Massah and Meribah because Israel tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact.  What are the people doing that they should be doing?  What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?
Is there a command to follow?  A promise to claim?  A warning to heed? An example to follow?

1.Sometimes we will do EXACTLY what the LORD wants, follow Him where He leads and walk right into hard and great problems.  It is possible to be in the will of God and be faced with EXTREME hardship.  Hold on…. He doesn’t lead where He is not.
2a. The people had a REAL problem, it is ABSOLUTELY a concern, don’t bust their chops here… BUT in their problem they went to MOSES not God.
2b.What could Moses do about the Red Sea when Pharaoh was chasing them? NOTHING, Moses is just a “sheep” too, it was up to God to deliver.  Same lesson here, what could Moses do?  Could Moses create water? No.  He would have if he could have.  Don’t look to other “sheep” to fix things or blame the “sheep” for not doing something that only God can do.  It is EASY to blame someone for my hardship, but often, God is trying to teach us to trust Him. 
3. We are so quick to downshift to blaming God, “You lead me out of slavery, using awesome and mighty deeds, you opened the Red Sea and killed the most threatening military in the world… to kill me and my kids”.  We hate to see our kids struggle and many times we blame God on their behalf instead of allowing God to work in their lives as well.  It is hard to do.
4. Moses went straight to God.  Maybe this is why he was trusted to lead?
5a. Moses still had to lead and face the people; in spite of difficult circumstances where he was being unfairly attacked… it would have been easier to shrink back at this time from leadership but he did not.  Don’t shrink back from where God has entrusted you to lead.
5b.  Moses was to take that staff, the one that turned the water to blood, the one that was raised as the Red Sea opened… it is as if God is whispering to Moses in a time of crises, “Remember who I AM; I AM deliverer.”
6. God calls us to do things that don’t make sense sometimes, this took a LOT of faith for Moses to obey… after all, remember he was on the verge of being stoned by these people.  God calls us to do things where He MUST come through or we are in serious trouble… this is where our faith is forged.  We like to talk about dependance on God, but when it comes down to doing it and living it out…. that is where we hang our heads and walk away.  HARD TO DO.  GOOD JOB MOSES!!!!
7. God is proven faithful through obedience.  

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME? NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.
As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.
*Do not rush.  Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next.  Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to? 

1. Has God called me to a place that is REALLY hard and I feel completely lacking what I need to survive?  Unemployment?  Opposition?  A job that is not providing what I need? A marriage that is unrepairable? 
2a. Who am I going to with my issues and problems?  Am I going to God first or last?
2b. Am I disappointed with a person in my life because they can’t fix what I need God to do?3. In a hard situation in my life or the life of my children, how can I direct my own thoughts as well as theirs to God?  Is this a teachable moment for all of us on God’s love and faithfulness?  Or will I settle in to complain and blame?
4. Am I an example of taking things straight to God or only after all better options have failed?  Has God entrusted me to lead others as an example straight to God? How am I doing in that?
5a.  In what circumstance has God entrusted me to face the people and the problem when I would rather run from it?? AND RUN FAR? 
5b.  What past faithfulness of God do I have to hold on to, in order to get me through this situation where I must depend on Him to come through?  Will I have the courage to stand? 
6. How have I been called to obey the Living and True God?  Do I trust Him?
7. Have I chosen to complain, whine and grumble instead of looking to God and obeying His Word?  What does God’s Word have to say about my need and my situation?  What does obedience to God look like in my situation?  Will I ask Him then be careful to do all according to His Word?

LIVE IT OUT.
Look over all your facts, lessons and applications for a given passage.  Is there a main theme to them?  Does one verse stand out over the rest for some reason??Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart.  Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

Today LORD, help me to lay out my issues that seem a mile long.  Speak to me in Your Word, lead me and guide me in not only what to do, but what to say.  May I not test You or sin in my desperateness, but help me to trust in You.  Lord, help my unbelief.

HOMEWORK:  Exodus 17: 8-13 

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com  and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

A Special Christmas Scripture Study by Kendra Graham

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study.  This is a place where we can come together and share 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!

Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture.  We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.

Step 1:  Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the facts)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the lessons)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice)
1 How do I view the Bible?

Kendra Graham NOTES from Luke 2:8-20

What does it say? The Facts. 

8.  In the same region shepherds were keeping watch by night
9.   An angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, they were afraid
10. Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy for all
11. Today, is born a Savior, Christ the Lord
12. This will be a sign, a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger
13. Suddenly a multitude of heavenly host praising God
14.  Glory to God in the highest on earth peace with whom He is well pleased
15.  The angels had gone, the shepherds began saying, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing the Lord made known to us”
16. They came in haste. Found the baby as He lay in the manger
17.When they saw, they made known the statement told of the Child
18. All who heard it pondered at the things told by the shepherds
19. Mary treasured and pondered these things in her heart
20.  The shepherds went back glorifying and praising God, all they heard and saw was just as had been told them

What Does it Mean? Lessons we can learn.

8.   The shepherds were the outcasts of society.  Shepherds were also considered “unclean” so a shepherd could not go to the temple, they were too filthy.  Imagine being told you were too dirty to worship God!  You were not even invited!  When a shepherd went to town they must yell, “Unclean” so people would quickly run away.  They did not have a thrilling job, but a very difficult, hard and often times dangerous job for little pay.  Shepherds had to work 24/7, often times in very harsh conditions.  What do you think a shepherd thought about at night?  Do you think they pondered their importance to God?  If I were a shepherd I would be tempted to think God cared about everyone,  except dirty ole, ignored, outcast, me.  It’s easy to believe the lie that I am insignificant.
9. God can bring light to even our darkest nights.
10. The words spoken from heaven were not words of condemnation or judgment but of joy, excitement, kindness and love and they are for you, shepherds.  Angels from heaven? Surely they must have a message for someone more important than just a shepherd.  No, sweet shepherd, you have not been overlooked, you have not been cast aside! Heaven has news, the first of the news was entrusted to those society had sidelined and deemed “outcast”.  The message was not just for the shepherds though, but for ALL people!!!  This includes you and I!  Hope, REAL HOPE in a hopeless dark place where we are tempted to think we are abandoned and forgotten…. yet no! Heaven sees you and I and is shouting and praising the birth of Jesus!  Jesus has come for you and me!
11. Jesus, this Savior is for us!  “For unto YOU THIS DAY!”  A Savior!  The shepherds you see were looking for just that!  A savior!  The government that had promised freedom, yet brought oppression.  The government that had promised ease yet had brought them extremely high tax burdens instead, The government had promised freedom for all, yet brought fear and slavery.  A savior was needed.  A Savior IS NEEDED still today.  Heaven still rings with the TRUTH, Jesus, a Savior was born that very night in Bethlehem for ALL people!
12. Heaven is clear on how to find Jesus.  No two ways about it.  No confusion.  God is not a God of confusion but clarity! (I Corinthians 14:33). Jesus is also close and easy to get to. Jesus is not hiding from us but begging us to come!
13-14.  Glory to God in the highest and Peace on earth.  Heaven sings of it at the top of their lungs!  Peace in a time of distress! Peace in a time of burden! Peace in a time of turmoil! Peace in a time of despair!  Peace in a time of depression! Peace in a time of heartache and despair!  Peace between God and man, a relationship that had been strained by sin since the beginning will be at peace through Jesus! This is something to sing about!  15-16a. The shepherds decided to go straight away in haste to Bethlehem.  They did not search the “Yelp” app for a sheep sitter in the area, they did not wait until they could get cleaned up first to go see Immanuel, God with us. The shepherds did not write a list of pros and cons on why maybe tonight is or is not a great time to go.  Jesus was there, in the manger, that night, if they didn’t go then, they would have missed the opportunity.   Each shepherd had to decide and go for himself… Phil could not go for David, Josh could not go for Jim, they all had to make that personal decision for themselves.  There was no one excluded from the invitation, there was room for all.
1
6b.  The shepherds found the baby in the manger.  Jesus was found right where heaven said He was!  God’s Word is true, and the Shepherds experienced it that night.
17.  After the shepherds experienced God’s Word to be true, they could not hold it in, they told what had happened.  No longer did it matter if people thought they had eaten some bad fish on that hill that night and hallucinated… how many times did they say on the way to find Jesus among themselves, “No one will believe us… let’s just agree that what happens on the hill stays on the hill…”  yet, after they saw Jesus, they could not hold in the message of heaven!  A Savior indeed was born and God leaned His angels out of heaven to tell them, the shepherds!
18. When people hear your testimony of how Jesus changes your life, there will be wonderment!  It didn’t matter that the shepherds were outcasts anymore, they had been changed by Jesus, and everyone had to hear!
19. Mary is reminded that God’s Word is true.  How she may have needed the shepherds story.
20. The shepherds were changed.  You can’t come to Jesus and go back the same! What did the baby “do” for them?  Did they go back with a million dollars?  A new house?  Were they able to pay their bills all of a sudden?  What about a new job, so they didn’t have to be outcasts any longer?  Jesus, you see, changed the state of their heart!  They saw that night how precious they were to God!  Freedom, peace and joy are not hinged upon a physical location or a certain job or way of life, freedom, peace and joy are a state of the heart that only Jesus can give.  The shepherds experienced it that night.  People even today are hearing the testimony of the shepherds and coming to Jesus! What is the state of your heart today?

What Does it Mean to Me? So now what do I do with that?

8.   Do I know Jesus was born for me?  Am I tempted to think the story of Jesus at Christmas is for everyone else but me because I have fallen through the cracks of God’s mind?  Do I realize I am NOT insignificant to God?
9.  What causes me to think I am a lost cause in the darkness unable to be seen by a loving God?  Do I realize the One who breaks the darkness also reigns over it?
10. Am I in need of real hope that won’t pick me up to let me down?  Will I finally choose to put my hope in Jesus who will not disappoint?  And the HOPE of JESUS does NOT DISAPPOINT us, because God has poured out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.”  Romans 5:5
11. Did I realize God sent Jesus, for me?  To whom do I look to for Truth? Does it seem like I have trusted in everyone and everything else only to be let down?
12.  Did I know God was so clear on how to find Him and does that fact bother me?  Am I looking for another way to God?  Am I tempted to think Jesus is being exclusive, when really, Jesus is just being clear and simple lacking confusion? John 14:6 Jesus said, “I AM the way, the Truth and the life, NO ONE comes to God EXCEPT through ME.”
13-14.  How many of us need the peace of Jesus with all the chaos in our lives?  Do you have that peace with God that Jesus came to bring?  Is it time I stopped looking to the world and its leaders and friends for this kind of superficial peace and went straight to Jesus who died to give it to me? What or who am I allowing to keep me from coming to the Prince of Peace?  Isaiah 9:6.
15-16a. Am I waiting to get things straightened up in my life before I go to Jesus? Do I realize I can never get things fixed without Jesus?  Have I been hoping that someone else would go first, or for me?  What personal decision have I made about Jesus and am I confident with that decision if I were to enter eternity this moment?
16b.  How many times have I been let down by other’s definitions of the word “Truth” in my life, my job, my family, my governmental leaders? Am I ready to go and see for myself that real Truth is only found in Jesus?
17-19.  How has Jesus changed my life and who needs to hear about it?  How do I need Jesus to change my life so I will have a testimony of God’s power to tell?
20. Do you need Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Almighty God, Wonderful Counselor, and Everlasting Father to change your life this Christmas? Did you know you too can have the same testimony the shepherds had that night?  Jesus came for you!

This Christmas simply take a moment to pray to the God who loves you so much, He came down personally to this world to fix the gap sin (anything we do wrong, the tiniest lie, the smallest infringement, to the largest)  has placed between us.  Just as the tide on the seashore fills the smallest dent to the largest hole when it comes in, the blood of Jesus covers all we have done in life to separate us from Him, if we just ask!  Will you ask Jesus to change your heart today?  Experience the same change those shepherds did that night!  It didn’t matter that they were still “just” shepherds, they knew that God not only saw them, but that they meant everything to Him.  You mean everything to the God who created you to know Him and walk with Him through life.  This Christmas will you give your heart to Christ?  You won’t regret it.  The shepherds sure didn’t!

Lord God, thank you for coming to us!  Jesus, who is God came to make things right between us by dying on the cross, shedding His blood so that I could be forgiven.  Thank you for going to the extreme, and doing whatever it took, for me.  Overwhelm me by your love.  You died, then three days later rose again from the grave conquering the sin that has kept me away from you my entire life.  Forgive me for things I have done to separate us.  Change my heart as you changed the shepherds heart that night you were born. 

If you prayed that prayer, those same angels that told the shepherds of the birth of Jesus are praising and raising the roof in heaven, for YOU!  Jesus loves you and saw you as the reason to be born that night!  Now, begin your walk with Jesus here on earth by studying His Word, the Bible. 

Join us this year in this online study as we encourage one another daily in God’s Word!  God bless you!  Remember, peace is not a location, but a state of the heart that only God can give, for He is the Prince of Peace, why settle for anyone else? Amen and Merry Christmas! 

Homework: Psalm 1:1

If you can make it to The Cove in person, join us on Tuesday evening, January 8, 2013, for a 7-week study on Psalm 23.  It’s free!  Bring a friend, neighbor or your Bible study group.  all are welcome!  Click here or call 1-800-950-2092 for more information and to register.