Category Archives: Bible Study Community with Kendra Graham

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

Kendra Graham Online Bible Study – Judges

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 JUDGES

So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD” (Judges 6:6, NKJV).

What does it Say?

Israel was greatly impoverished and cried out to the LORD

What Does it Mean?

We don’t need God … well, until we need God. We hate that God allows hardship.  If God really loved us then He would give us everything we wanted—when we wanted it—and would not allow any difficulty or struggle to come into our lives.  God would not allow us to hit rock bottom, that’s for sure!  Isn’t that what we think a loving God would be like?  When life hits us hard and knocks the wind out of us, we do not question our love for God—we question His love for us.

In verse one of this chapter, we read, … the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD.”  Israel decided against following God’s laws, choosing instead to follow their own hearts.  God’s chosen people believed that they knew best, and that they no longer needed God.

The Israelites started out focused on God; and as they walked with God, He allowed them to prosper. Somewhere in the midst of prosperity, however, they forgot God. Israel decided to live life the way they wanted to; they did not want to be strapped down to God’s Word and obedience to Him.  And the Scriptures tell us that Israel’s God—refusing to force obedience—allowed His people to walk away from His protective hand. God allowed the Midianites to ruin and ransack the land.  The first few verses of this chapter reveal how the Midianites were like locusts on the land—everything that had been full became empty, and the land was left barren.  The livestock and crops were taken.  The children of Israel were living in caves and dens, full of fear that the Midianites would come back and take their lives.  The lives of God’s people had not just fallen apart—they were completely dismantled.  God’s people had lost everything.  The people were greatly impoverished.

How long did it take for God’s people to come back to God? Was it right away?  Did they return before they wandered too far from God?  Did they quickly see how God loved them, instantly understanding that walking with God and following His laws was for their protection not for harm?  Sadly, no.  Israel was no different than we are.  We walk away from God. We demand God leave us alone; and then when He does, our lives really fall apart and our fists fly as we blame God for everything . In our pride and stubbornness we determine we will “show God,” so we fight and fight and fight the Midianites until we are utterly exhausted. If we’re honest, it is not Midian we are so upset with—we’re angry with God for being so far away from our terrible plight.

Meanwhile, God has not gone anywhere. It was not God who walked away.  God is still where He can be found (Deuteronomy 4:29, Isaiah 55:6), but we refuse with all that is in us to go back to Him.  So we continue to live in our pride, digging a hole deeper and deeper until we are greatly impoverished physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.  Here, in this passage in Judges, Israel fought Midian and lived in their own stubbornness for seven years. Yet God is patient and has eternity to wait.

Israel did not turn and cry out to God until they had lost everything.  They lost their land, their prosperity, their food, their homes…their pride.  Did you know that it is impossible for a prideful, arrogant person to “cry out to the LORD”?  Prayer takes humility.  Prayer takes an attitude of “I need You, God because I can’t without You.”

Seven years of hardship.  Seven years of pain.  Seven years of loss.  Seven years of bitterness towards God for allowing Midian to do such atrocities.  Seven years of living in their pride, even in the midst of humiliating circumstances.  Seven long years of trying to show God they could fix it without Him.

But God loves us enough to wait. We have such a misunderstanding of God’s love, don’t we?  When I read this passage I could not help but think of the prodigal son.  The Father allowed the son to leave, and then he waited.  Love waits.  It waits until we are done.  God’s love kept Him waiting for His people, and that same love keeps Him waiting for you and me. God has not gone anywhere. God is found in His Word, and in His Word you and I will find that God is love. He loves for His children to cry out to Him. When we cry out to God, we find Him waiting with arms open wide—not condemning us, but loving us.

You and I were created to walk with God—to know Him and to need Him. As we walk with God and cling to His promises day by day, we will not find our lives to be problem free and full of material wealth, yet we will live a life full of God.  God’s purpose and personal plan for each of us is to live a life full with Him!  In the midst of hardship we can have peace, patience, and perseverance (John 16:33, 2 Corinthians 4:8).  In the midst of prosperity we can have a thankfulness for God’s generosity and presence (Psalm 127, James 1:17).  The key to a life of purpose is God Himself.  Cry out to God today and begin anew to walk with Him.

What Does it Mean to Me?

What causes you to cry out to the LORD?

When was a time you walked with the LORD faithfully, but then fell away?

What will it take for you once again to walk with the God you were created to walk with?

LIVE IT OUT

LORD, today as I cry out to You, help me to come back to You. Teach me Your Word.  Walk with me once again as this new day starts.

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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Kendra Graham Online Bible Study: Mark 15:39

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM Mark 15:39

A Triumphal Entry

And when the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

What Does it Say:
The Centurion standing right in front of Him saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God”

What Does it Mean:
The book of Mark goes through the narrative of the crucifixion in a unique way.  Recently I was reading, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire by Nigel Rodgers and was pretty amazed by what I read.

Romans had what was called a “Triumph”.  A triumph started probably back in the days of the Greeks, but Octavian, Caesar Augustus made the honor of triumphs for emperors of Rome only.  When Rome would win a major battle, there would be a huge parade, celebration in the street which would parade the captives of that particular battle in front as proof of his accomplishment and then the emperor, “humbly” behind.

The triumphator, the emperor, would be taken into the place of the palace called the Praetorium, where the Praetorium guard of Rome would be.  The elite soldiers would take a special sash called a toga picta, which symbolized, and drew the connection between the emperor and one of their Roman gods, like Zeus, Mars or Jupiter.  The emperors since Octavian were known as the “sons of the gods” and these triumphs would remind the people of that very thing.  The Praetorian Guard was the closest thing to the emperor so they would of course know the deity of the emperor more intimately than anyone, so for them to dress the emperor was a very important part of the triumphal process.  The emperors would often pay off the Praetorian Guard, so that they would really make a convincing show of this whole process.  The soldiers would place a crown of laurel upon the head of the emperor.  The emperor would begin the processional in the field of Mars  (Campus Martinus) and proceed down the sacred way to Capitoline Hill (the place of the skull where tradition has it that as the Romans were building their city, a full in tact human head was found here).  At Capitoline Hill the captives were either killed or they were set free depending on the rule of the emperor.  The Roman guard would go before the emperor on this journey and would exclaim to the crowd, “HAIL! The son of god!  HAIL, the son of god!”  The crowd would cheer and bow as the emperor passed. Lastly the emperor would ascend up the steps of the temple of Saturn with one man on either side.   One man would tell him that he is the son of god and the other would remind him that he is mortal.  The emperor at the top of the steps would be offered a goblet of wine, which he would pour out on the ground as an offering to the gods and to Rome signifying that the emperor would give his life blood for the gods and Rome. The crowd would cheer.  An animal would be sacrificed there, at that place to satisfy the payment to the gods in thanks in adoration for the victory and power that Rome enjoyed.  The city would feast the rest of the day.


(Picture:  Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified)

Now, read Mark chapter 15.  How would the disciples explain to the Roman world the triumph of the Savior, Jesus, to a pagan world who did not know the Word of God and were not looking for a Messiah?  Through the triumphal procession of Jesus.  The similarities cannot be ignored.  Mark 15:16, the soldiers took Him, Jesus into the Praetorium and dressed him in a fine kingly toga picta of purple and fashioned for Him a crown, not of laurel but of thorns.  They put it on Him.  The guard went before him on a procession (Mark 15:18) and exclaimed, “Hail! King of the Jews!” They led Him out of the palace and through the city, to crucify Him.  They brought Him to a place called , Golgotha, translated “The place of the skull” (Mark 15:22).  Jesus wound through the city along the way called the “Via dolorosa” which means the way of suffering and is seen today as “the sacred way” as many this Easter will make their pilgrimage down the same way.  The soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh, Mark 15:23, but He would not drink it.  The guards continued their mocking and jeering in the face of the son of God who was not just symbolizing that He would pour His life blood out for His people the Jews and the world, but He was doing it (John 10:17-18).   He was crucified between two thieves.  One thief proclaimed, (Luke 23:39) “Are You not the Christ save yourself and us!” The other thief asked Jesus to “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).


(Picture: Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified)

All this was taken in by the Roman Praetorian Guard in Jerusalem.  This particular centurion soldier at the cross saw Jesus as the undeniable Son of God.  How many times had that soldier been a part of Roman triumphs?  How many times was he forced to bend his knee to the emperor exclaiming that the emperor was the son of god?  How often had he been paid off by the Roman authorities to pronounce the deity of the Roman leader?  Yet here, in front of the cross, this man proclaimed without payment or force, “Truly this man was the Son of God”.  He had seen so many imposters, that here, at the cross, the Truth of Jesus was seen.  Even the Roman world would be able to see, understand and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God (Matthew 16:16).

Do you see similarities to that of a Roman triumph?  Truly this was the ultimate triumph.  The triumph once and for all for sin.  Jesus triumphed at the place of the skull.  Jesus triumphed over sin at the cross and three days later rose again and triumphed over death at the grave.  The cross is not a defeat, but the greatest triumph that the world will ever see.

Many of us have seen failures of men who claim to be next to God.  We have seen failures of leaders who preach the Word the God.  We have seen failures of godly men and women who have fallen to adversity in this world.  We have seen failures of the church.  We have seen failures in Christian schools and universities.  We have seen failures in Christian organizations.  It is so easy to focus on all those who have fallen, but truly isn’t that just proof of the reason and desperate need of the world for Jesus?  This Easter, let’s join the centurion at the cross standing in front of Jesus alone.  As we look to Jesus this Easter may our words ring ever so similar to that centurion as we proclaim, “Truly, this is the Son of God!”.

What does it Mean to me?

Who do you say Jesus is?  Everyone must decide about Jesus.  This Easter will you make that choice to cry out to Jesus who alone is able to forgive and redeem your sin? (Acts 16:31, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:33, Romans 5:8, I Corinthians 15:3-4)

When have you truly taken the time to see Jesus for who He has proven Himself to be?

LIVE IT OUT.

Dear God, I am a sinner and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

Daily read the Word of God and get to know the love this God has for you since before time began.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — HEBREWS 12:1-2

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!

To make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box on this blog (on the side of the page on desktop, or at the bottom on mobile). It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight to your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S NOTES
FROM HEBREWS 12:1-2

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus…

What Does it Say?

We have a cloud of witnesses surrounding us.

Let us lay aside every encumbrance and sin which entangles and run with endurance, the race before us.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus.

What Does it Mean?

This past week has been difficult, to say the least. I knew the passing of Billy Graham was on the horizon; but on the same note, I thought “Daddy Bill” (my husband Will’s grandfather) would always be here. My heart is sad, and hopeful, and at the same time overwhelmed and joyous.  There are so many conflicting emotions swirling around inside. Our final evening Bible study of 2018 took place last week, and the last message brought from the Word of God at The Cove before we received the news of Daddy Bill’s home-going keeps rolling around in my soul.

Therefore, since there is such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us… We forget that, don’t we? We tend to get trapped into the thought that what we are doing doesn’t matter and has no kingdom impact; but that, my dear talmid, is a lie.  What you do does matter.  How you RUN this race does matter.  It does matter that you are faithful and that you follow the Rabbi—that you are covered in the dust of Rabbi Jesus.

If there is anyone who has demonstrated a determination to be faithful to Jesus and the Word of God, it is Daddy Bill. I, of course, had the honor of being able to spend time with him in his home and at family dinners. There was never a time when you visited with Daddy Bill that he would not with #Boldness proclaim the Word of God and share how God’s Word was continuing to transform his life.

FAITHFUL

Faithfulness cannot be attributed to a person until their race is done. Faithfulness takes, first of all, a daily decision to RUN.

RUN!  What has sidelined you?  An impossible situation?  Marah (bitterness) in your heart towards God? An ailment, like that of Blind Bart? (See Mark 10: 46-52.) A calling you don’t want to embrace?  That scarlet letter you’ve been wearing? Do not let anyone pour water on the fire in your soul that was started by the Word of God! Do not allow the enemy of God to steal, kill and destroy your purpose!  If the enemy cannot steal your soul, he will steal whatever else he can, and often it’s the impact and purpose belonging to the people of God.  The purpose that you have been created for is LIFE and LIFE abundantly, so LIVE!

How do we determine to be faithful?  We can be assured of faithfulness if daily we decide to fix our eyes on Jesus. It’s so hard in this ADHD world to fix our eyes on one thing—there is so much that glitters out there, but come! Come daily, dear talmid, and fix your eyes on Jesus in His Word. Daily faithfulness is a daily choice.  RUN!

The motorcade on Saturday was absolutely beyond words. As Daddy Bill’s body left the Cove that day, loaded in the hearse to begin the journey to his childhood home of Charlotte, North Carolina, the streets were lined with witnesses.  Tears streamed down my face, and the memory still chokes me up. There were signs with messages like #FINISHEDWELL and salutes from onlookers …. all the way to Charlotte! If that motorcade had gone through every state, I dare say each one would’ve told the same story. There is a cloud of witnesses and millions more on YouTube, TV and social media.  

 IT MATTERS THAT YOU RUN

You have no idea the impact of one faithful person. Daddy Bill ran the race before him. He ran his race and no one else’s. It is just as important that you run your race! Often someone else’s race may look more prominent or impactful, but that is simply not true. Your race matters. You have no idea the impact you may have on another life. Perhaps just as many people are impacted by YOUR race as those crowds I saw on Saturday. But God, being gracious and understanding your human propensity towards pride, keeps it hidden from even you!

This summer I met a girl playing soccer at a university in Nashville, Tennessee. When asked what she wanted to do, she shared that the desire of her college-age heart was to share Jesus through worship. I spent just ten minutes with her, but the fire in the soul of that freshman soccer player kept the fire in my soul burning. Yet although this sweet young lady had such fire, she admits she is struggling to keep the fire going. I spoke with her again in January, and she told me that she knew she felt called to impact; yet she has not had the impact she anticipated. That’s when I told her she had impacted me. I believe this young believer is struggling to overcome—holding on to an ember of that original fire. I hope and pray she keeps running. She is at a crossroads—her testimony is yet to come.

 You never know where your fire will catch, or how your fire will help someone else continue in faithfulness, so run! RUN, and don’t give up. Hold on to the promises in the Word of God.

RUN… 

You may not have started out well. You may have stumbled along the way.  Please listen to me here: It is not too late! Come! Get into the Word of God and #LIVEBOLD!  The biggest barrier to finishing well, like Daddy Bill has, is that it takes this kind of fight to persevere and endure.

RUN, and determine to endure to the end—finishing the race without anything left, because it matters.

What Does it Mean to Me?

 Am I running with endurance, #BOLD, or am I hiding amid spectators in the stands, hoping to go through unnoticed, missing the impact God has created me to have?

LIVE IT OUT

RUN!  RUN to the Word of GOD every morning. RUN, following the Word of God throughout the day.

Click here to view my Bible study message from last Tuesday, February 20, at The Cove.  I pray it charges up your soul to finish well today, and the next, and the one after that.

My heart’s desire is that all of us together can #LIVEBOLD unfiltered lives, impacting this world with the Gospel of Jesus.  Let’s RUN together, covered in the dust of the Rabbi.

–Kendra

If you do not know Jesus and are ready to lay aside your sin and fix your eyes on Him,  please click here to learn more:  Steps to Peace With God.


All of Kendra Graham’s Bible study messages from the last seven weeks are available at  Periscope @TheCoveNC . To order CDs or an MP3 of these messages, call Ruth’s Attic Bookstore at The Cove: 828-771-4800, option 3.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — MATTHEW 28

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM MATTHEW 28

Matthew 28:18-20

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.’”

What Does it Say?      

  • Jesus spoke: All authority has been given Me in heaven and earth.
  • GO make disciples of all nations.
  • Teaching them to observe all I commanded. I AM with you.

The Lessons

How appropriate that these are the last words of the Rabbi to the talmidin. After a talmid had followed a Rabbi and learned all there was to learn, the Rabbi would then, according to Mishna tradition, say, “As far as it is possible, you are like me now. Go! Seek others who will imitate you, because you are like me, and when they imitate you, they will be like me.” 

This is the point we have come to with the Rabbi Jesus and His talmidin. The work of Jesus is completed once and for all. The Bible from beginning to end tells us all of the extreme love that God has for mankind, His handmade creation. It is the story of His love reclaiming a broken world.

The Son of God has opened seas and made dry paths across the abyss for His people…He has ventured to crowded cities during Passover to heal and commission. He has climbed mountains, crossed angry seas, pulled men out of tombs, chased down paths, and built charcoal fires to bring one at a time to the true knowledge of the personal love that He has for them.

We have seen the authority of Jesus proven by the Word of God. Jesus did not come to authenticate the Word of God; the Word of God authenticates Jesus.  The Word of God is always the standard.  Jesus, here is reminding the talmidin of that authority and that it still belongs to Him.  It is because of who Jesus is that we can go into all the world and preach the Gospel, the Good News! Redemption is here for a broken, messy and needy world, so Go!

Go!” Right here, right now, the command is given!

It’s as if Jesus is saying,

“I, the Rabbi, have chased you down, I know you see it! You came with Me and I set you free, removing  the walls that kept you hidden, scared, confused and beat down.  Now, GO!  Where I found you, find others. You now have the Story—the Gospel—burning deep inside your soul. It will propel you towards purpose—My purpose—to tell a broken world that the True Gospel has come!

“Go! Go across streets, across towns, across borders, across seas, to hurting people who are living in tombs! Go even to people who may—or may no—hold your worldview! Go even into Decapolises!  Embrace them with the True Gospel!  GO! Call others to COME follow you, so that you can teach them what it looks like to follow Me. This means you may have to spend time with them and do life with them.

“GO! Plead with them!  All authority is Mine, so I have the power to save you and to save them! GO! Preach with boldness the mystery of the Gospel. (See Ephesians 6:19).  Live a BOLD, unfiltered life, healed by the Gospel of Peace.”

This is the charge: Go everywhere and tell of Jesus. As you go to work, to church, to soccer practice and soccer games, reflect the Rabbi in all you do.  Continue to be covered in the dust of the Rabbi.  How do we do that when Jesus is no longer physically walking the earth?  We are covered in the dust of the Rabbi by continually being in the Word of God.  Often it’s the Word of God—our Bibles—that are dusty, and not us.

The Word of God is the only thing that can transform lives.  His Word is the authority, and it will transform your life to the purpose it was meant to have from the beginning of time.

There are two kings in this world. One king has the sole purpose to steal, kill and destroy your soul. And if he can’t have your soul, he will settle for stealing your fire, your purpose and your passion for God and His Word. The other King—the King of kings—has come to give you life and to give it with abundance.  The choice lies with each one of us.  You and I will bend our knee to one of these two kings. (See John chapter 10.)

GO! “Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it” (Philippians 1:6).

Dear talmid, please know that you were not delivered just for deliverance’ sake, but you were delivered for purpose—for impact! You have been #Delivered to #LIVEBOLD impactful lives!  Jesus gave up His life so that we could have life and have it abundantly.

GO! Step out—and stay out—of your comfort zone. RISK it all to GO! Go where the Rabbi leads you. It may not be necessarily where you want to go, or think you should go, but GO… press into faith.  We have settled far too long for leading quiet, obscure, ineffective lives.  We’re free! We are #Delivered to #LIVEBOLD unfiltered lives.

COME! Be part of the story. Be covered in the dust of the Rabbi, and then GO! Don’t let anyone pour water on your fire. Go with passion.

What Does it Mean to Me?

Where is it that we go on a daily basis? As we go, how are our lives mirroring Jesus?  Which is more dusty in our lives, the Word of God, or us from being in the Word of God?

LIVE IT OUT

Today I will spend time in the Word of God; and as He sends me out today, I will mirror Jesus to the world around me.

Click here to join us tonight on Periscope as we finish our 2018 Evening Cove Bible study series, #LiveBOLD.

Click the link below to enjoy a poem written by Kendra’s twelve-year-old son, Quinn.  The topic relates to tonight’s study content, and we know you’ll be blessed as you read!

“God’s Purpose for You”

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — JOHN 21

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM JOHN 21

Restored to Purpose

 And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
John 21:19b (NKJV)
THE FACTS:

He said to him “Follow Me”

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

John 21 is a raw passage and hard to get through when you really feel the open wound that Peter had. On the night of the crucifixion he had denied Jesus, straight to the face of the Rabbi that he had been Talmid to. If only Peter could go back in time and undo one thing….

How many times have we said that very thing? “If only…..” So we put a lid on what we will allow God to do in our lives. We put a lid on the calling, on the imprint God is allowed to have on our lives and on the world around us. We are wounded. We are suffering. We are guilty. We are disqualified.

Here in John 21, Jesus bring Peter back in front of that charcoal fire. Was it because He wanted to rub Peter’s nose in the filth of his failure? No.  It was to heal Peter.  Healing occurs when we allow those things buried and covered in shame to be brought out, cleaned and healed.

Peter was ready to return to his life as a fisherman. He was ready to give up his calling to build the church so that someone more deserving and less stained could step in and take the reins.  What Peter did not realize was how important humility is in the Kingdom of God.  Peter had a HUGE dose of that…. now.

Now that Peter had allowed Jesus to expose his wound, he could heal. It’s the opposite of what we want to do, the opposite of what we think would propel the Kingdom of God.  Now, in Peter’s humility, he can seek out the lost.  Now that Peter is humbled, he can feed lambs and shepherd the sheep.

It is near impossible to truly shepherd sheep in arrogance… the arrogant shepherd would eat the sheep in his self-righteousness. Now, after experiencing the restoring love of Jesus, Peter could reach out to other hurting sheep and restore them.  Now that Peter had been broken, the sheep could feed off those broken pieces of his pride.

We hate that God uses our brokenness. We think He uses only “perfect” people who have not done “that”… that thing I have done.  I have spoken to many a hurting Christian who is very aware of their shortfalls and has chosen to wear their scarlet letter day in and day out; they choose to remain in bondage to shame and guilt, thinking that’s as good as it gets for someone “like them.

The TRUTH is…. the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.  The enemy may not have stolen our souls, but that king from that other kingdom has stolen our purpose, our impact.  We settle for living lives of surviving instead of thriving.  Jesus said He came to give us life and to give it abundantly (John 10)… but do we believe Him?  Do we really believe Philippians 1:6, “For I am CONFIDENT of this very thing that He which has begun a good work in us will complete it”?

What is the secret to living life abundantly? John 21:19b says it all, “Follow Me.”  Follow the Rabbi.  The call had not changed, and neither had Peter’s purpose.  The Rabbi continued to call to Peter, “Come.”  Remember, the Rabbi asks a Talmid to follow him, not because the Talmid has potential to know what the Rabbi knows; the Talmid is charged to be what the Rabbi is—to #bethemessage.

Jesus was just as relentless for Peter as He was for Blind Bart and the tomb raider… Peter just had no idea of his desperate state until now. What a blessing to know the depths of grace!  God still wants to use Peter, and He still wants to use us.  Yet we don’t want Him to use that” part of our story; we would prefer God use our strengths rather than our weaknesses.  We’d rather lose an arm or a leg than to expose our brokenness.

Restoration is not cheap grace. God will show us that weakness and humility are advantages.  When you are weak, you are dependent. Peter pressed though the exposure of his failure, and now at the end of the chapter, a curtain can be drawn over it.  It has been dealt with in its entirety.

There is therefore now no condemnation in Christ, Romans 8:1.  Do not handicap your usefulness for God by constantly rehearsing that failure. Remember the pain it caused—that is redemptive—but remember too that the guilt and shame that has kept you bound has been paid for by the cross of Christ.  SPEAK of the grace you have received.

Today, choose to follow Jesus. It’s not about where you have been or what you have done; it’s about who you are: you’re God’s handmade creation and you mean everything to Him.  “Come, Follow Me,” the Rabbi says.  Be covered in the dust of His Word.  #Bethemessage

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

What are your reasons NOT to Follow Jesus?
What are your reasons TO follow Jesus?

How have you been #Allin or #Allout?

What redemption story has Jesus written in your life?

LIVE IT OUT:

Follow Jesus today as you open His Word, and follow where He leads.
Courage often follows obedience…. so be courageous.

– Kendra

Download Kendra’s notes on Jesus from the Old Testament.

Click here to watch the video that was shown at the beginning of last night’s bible study.

 

P.S.  Catch up on the story of #LIVINGBOLD as we Follow the Rabbi:
See The Cove’s Periscope page for our past Bible study messages!


HOMEWORK:
Matthew 28:19-20

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — LUKE 24:26-27

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 Luke 24:26-27

Ad Fonte!

Luke 24:26-27

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory? (27) And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:26-27, NASB)

THE FACTS 

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things?
He explained to them things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
 

THE LESSONS

In his book, Martin Luther, author Eric Metaxis describes how confused and frustrated Martin Luther was with God. After having become a monk, Luther had more questions regarding God and who He than he had before he had ever taken the vows. The longer he served as a monk, the more confused Luther became. If only there was a way that he could understand the heart of God. THEN…. a novel idea came to him: “What if I made my cry, Ad Fontes!’” (The Latin phrase, Ad Fontes means “Back to the Sources!”)
Martin Luther dusted off his red Bible and began his search to discover who God says He is, not who Luther assumed Him to be. An AMAZING discovery was found by the inquisitive monk: Jesus is the Word of God in flesh!
The two disciples walking away from Jerusalem on resurrection Sunday were absolutely devastated.  Rabboni, their Rabbi—the one they left everything for in order to follow—had been crucified on Friday; then on Sunday they had received the news that the tomb of Jesus was empty. Jesus was just gone. What in the world was going on? Was Jesus even real? What just happened? Had they really given up lucrative jobs, homes, and comfort to follow Jesus?
These two men walking the road to Emmaus were labeled “disciples,” which in that day and culture, as we know from our studies, meant that they followed the Rabbi. They followed where the Rabbi went, listened to what he taught, and did what he did. Remember: Talmidin do not want to know what the Rabbi knows, they want to be what the Rabbi is. A talmid will give up his entire identity in order to be identified with the Rabbi. This was a lifestyle, not just a Sunday or Wednesday hour-to hour-and-a half.
These talmidin believed Jesus to be the Christ, the Messiah, the King of the Jews, the Deliverer who had been promised since Genesis 3:15. On this day, they were beyond sad as they walked away from Jerusalem. Jesus had not delivered them at all. If anything, being identified with Jesus now would put them at greater risk with not only Rome, but also with their own leaders. With chaos, pain and suffering swirling around them, they did the only logical thing: they walked away.
Jesus, however, was like no Rabbi was or ever will be. Jesus—the risen Jesus—on resurrection Sunday relentlessly went to these two disciples, not to chew them out, but to remind them of what they knew…. of Who they knew. Jesus was patient as He listened to all the reasons the men gave for why He could not have been the Messiah, Son of David. These men truly had proof that they had seen and heard. There was one problem: Jesus had died before He delivered His people, so they could only conclude that He was NOT Messiah.
Jesus had crossed a churning sea for a naked tomb guy, had diverted through the busy streets of Jericho to hear a blind man preach, and had shone light in the darkest places. Here in Luke 24, this same Jesus walks seven miles out of His way to give the greatest message never recorded on why He is Messiah. The Good shepherd leaves the 99 (or the other 11), to hunt down these 2 unknown talmidin.
Jesus did not chide the two weary disciples for not remembering what He’d said countless times; because Jesus does not authenticate the Word of God, the Word of God authenticates Jesus. All the words Jesus spoke were now in limbo anyway. Could they be trusted as Truth?
So AD FONTES Jesus went. The men and women of that day were VERY well versed in the Word of God. By the age of twelve, most boys and girls had memorized the first five books of the Bible, and most had huge portions of the prophets memorized as well. Without tablets, iPhones or iPads at the touch of a finger, they had to put to memory the precious Word of God. Often we interpret who God is through the lens of our circumstance, but here, Jesus would look at who God is, then see what that does to the current circumstance of these talmadin.
Jesus made it very clear…. the Messiah must suffer… THESE things. ‘Come on, boys! Do you not know Isaiah 53? Psalm 88?’ Cut off… afflicted… wrath of God…. bound… despised… bones out of joint… encircled by evil doers…led to slaughter… bruised… at exactly noon when the high priest was cutting the throat of the lamb without blemish and without spot, a loud cry from the cross came out, “IT IS FINISHED!
In verse 30 of this passage, Jesus broke the bread….remember… “This is My body, BROKEN for you” and poured the wine…. “This is My blood”… “Do this in remembrance of Me….”
WAAAAIIIITTTT a MINUTE!! Oh! Oh! Oh! And then they saw. The Truth of God’s Word may not be what we want to hear. We may not like it. But it points to Jesus.
The eyes of the talmidin were opened and they saw through BELIEVING the Word of God, not through believing what they thought the Word of God should be. As the Truth grabbed hold of these men, they realized that the grip that sin had on them from the beginning was broken. The enemy had bruised Jesus, but Jesus had crushed the head of that other king from that other kingdom. They were delivered from the grip of sin, redeemed beyond Rome, redeemed for eternity. Sin had been conquered on the cross and death at the grave! God’s wrath was met; and at the same time, His mercy was given!
“The GRAVE is empty” was no longer a message of sadness and confusion, but a message of JOY and clarity: Jesus is Messiah, Son of David, Son of the Most High God. Who else would suffer through those things that MUST be done to bridge the gap of sin except God Himself! God came Himself with skin on, and His name is Jesus.  The Truth of the Word of God set a BOLD direction in their lives that could not be tamed. 
Ad Fonte! We have so many assumptions of how God should be and what He should do, but have you ever personally gone to the Source and asked God to show you who He says He is? Jeremiah 29:13 says, “If you seek Me, you will find Me if you seek with your whole heart.” 

 

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

When have we settled for looking at God only through the lens of our circumstance instead of looking at who God says He is and then looking at our circumstance that way?

How often are we in the Word of God vs. the word of commentaries, pastors and Bible study teachers?

LIVE IT OUT

If I want to #LIVEBOLD, I must be in the Word of God and allow the Truth of God’s Word to settle in my heart and drive my steps.

–Kendra

HOMEWORK

Do the Three Questions on John 21.

P.S. Ladies, there are two more weeks of our evening Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, and hope you’ll  join us!  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY – MARK 5:6-7

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” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from Mark 5:6-7

Mark 5:6-7

 “Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him” (Mark 5:6, NASB)  “and crying out with a loud voice, he said, ‘What do I have to do with You, Jesus Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!’” (Mark 5:7, NKJV)

 What Does it Say?      

Seeing Jesus from distance, he ran up, bowed before Him.

Crying out with loud voice: “What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me.”

Step 2

What Does it Mean?

Here, Jesus and the disciples are on “the other side.”  As we discussed at length last week, the disciples—the talmidin—would have never gone to the other side, ever.  Focused on obeying God and staying out of the world, the disciples had no room for the mess that was Rome.

This man who lives among the tombs, naked and crazed, is a very good example of why they stay away from the other side. This man is a Gentile (unclean), naked (unclean), has all sorts of wounds oozing blood (unclean), and doesn’t just touch dead things, but LIVES with the dead (SUPER DUPER UNCLEAN).

Yet Jesus is driven to this man… a man who is an absolute mess. Jesus sees beyond the physical, beyond what is obvious, beyond the persona that is put out for everyone to see and to fear. In Roman society that places high value on beauty and accomplishment, there is no one worth less than this man—yet Jesus sees him as worthy—so much so that He has crossed the angry sea to get to him.

Overcome by demons, the man is driven by the demons that reside within him. Yet verse 5 says, “Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up to Him.” Isn’t that something? The demons know that they are in submission to Jesus! They know they must bow down in the presence of the Son of the Most High God; BUT the demons think they have a plan to beat God at His own game.

That is the arrogance of the enemy.

 What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” The demons here are claiming that they have legally and legitimately stolen this “other side,” and, specifically, this man. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10); that is their plan, and has always been their plan.

“This side”—this Roman side—sees Caesar as god. “This side” has no room for Jesus! “Go back to Your other side, Jesus!” The demons understand the power of the name of Jesus, so they are literally saying here, “GO!  In the name of Jesus, leave me and everyone over here alone!”  Casting out Jesus in the name of Jesus?  That is #BOLD.  The demons understand who Jesus is. Oh, that we would!

Notice what the demons do not say in this passage: They do not say, “In the power of Neptune,” nor do they call on the name of Zeus, Apollo or Mars. The demons know that every single god that is worshipped on this other side is powerless. It’s only the name of Jesus.

Only the name of Jesus offends. Our world and today’s culture are no different. The world and its culture actually legitimize the name of Jesus by running so hard from it. “There is no other name given under heaven whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Now Jesus binds the demons by His Word, sending them to the bottom of the sea and healing the mind of this man.

How many of us have been here, where this man is?

Maybe we are not streaking through the streets, cutting ourselves with sharp stones or living in a graveyard, but we are no better off. We hurt. We suffer. We shriek out in response to the pain in our souls night and day… but the nights… oh the nights are so long. We have been kept from our purpose.  Our lives have been stolen from us, and life has destroyed our fire. Some of us feel that we deserve the lot we have, because of the choices and decisions we have made. We continue to hurt ourselves, because we believe this is as good as it gets for us. I have been here. I have, in my anger, hurt and despair felt lost and forgotten by God and driven by bitterness and anger.

BUT! Praise God! Jesus has come “to seek and to save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10) God Himself has come to that “other side” where we’ve been hiding. Where we have been hoping on one hand God would just leave us alone to die, but on the other hand praying that someone would see and care. See here, God cares! God cares so much that He came Himself—not trusting you to another—to free you, to #deliver you. We often come at Jesus just like Legion did in this story, with fists flying and speech reeling. But GOD sees beyond our pain, beyond the legions of deep, deep hurt, and He speaks HIS Word.

The very name of God is the only name that saves (Acts 4:12); yet so often we prefer to use that name against Him, just like Legion did here. BUT Jesus comes anyway, to speak the power of Truth over us, the power of Truth found in the Word of God.

You were meant for more than this. Are you tired of being bound?  Are you willing to be set free?  He came to preach the GOOD NEWS! “To release the captives and set free those who are oppressed” (Isaiah 61:1-2).  Come… come to Jesus in your pain, mess and hurt.  The choice is yours.

What Does it Mean to me?

What legion of emotions and circumstances have you bound?

When did you come to Jesus and how were you #delivered?

Everyone follows someone or something. Who or what are you following? What visceral response do you have at the name of Jesus?

LIVE IT OUT

In humility, not arrogance, I bend my knee to Jesus. I will get into the Word of God and determine to believe Truth.

P.S. Ladies, our in-person Winter Women’s Bible Study at The Cove is now underway, and it’s not too late to join us!  Let’s get together Tuesday evenings in January and February and dig into the Word of God.  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Mark 10:47-48

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 Mark 10:48

Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept on all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

THE FACTS:

Many were sternly telling him to be quiet; he kept on more. Son of David have mercy on me.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

Bartimaeus was blind, so he lived a life of begging for scraps to stay alive. One day Bartimaeus (we’ll just call him “Bart”) heard with his ears that Jesus was walking through Jericho. There sat Bart, begging at the back gate as people left the city on their way to Passover in Jerusalem.  Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem as well—to the Last Supper and to Lazarus, who had been dead a few days.

Suddenly Bart began to yell, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). The crowd did not like this, because they could not hear the teaching of Jesus; all they could hear was the shrieking of an unimportant, forgettable blind man.  Oh how they wished Bart would pipe down!  They pressured him to stop; he did not.  The crowd continued all the more to pressure Bart to quiet, but he refused.

What was blind Bart saying? I argue the reason Jesus even went through Jericho—and not around the Jericho bypass (especially with Passover looming)—was because blind Bart was the message. Jesus went through Jericho for two reasons: First, to gather a crowd to hear Bart’s message; and second, to heal Bart.  Bart was saying, “Jesus, Son of David.”  This was a BIG deal.  Bart was telling the Jewish crowd on their way to Passover that Jesus was the Messiah. This very statement would be what the Sanhedrin would use to crucify Jesus in the next week or so.  This was a BOLD message, and Bart was preaching this message in his darkness.  The crowd bullied him to stop. Yet Jesus didn’t stop Bart’s message, nor did He stop the crowd from pressuring him. Did you ever think about that?  Jesus allowed Bart to be bullied into shutting his mouth. What would Bart do?  Why would Jesus allow that?

Last week we noted that when God delivered Israel out from under the thumb of Pharaoh, He led them to the desert. Why?  Deuteronomy 8:2 gives us the reason: “To test them to see what was in their hearts.”  So God would know what was in their hearts?  NO—so that Israel would know what was in their hearts. Marah—bitterness—was in their hearts, and God needed to deal with it. What was in Bart’s heart? A message of hope.

Have mercy on me!”  Bart had the hope of healing because he knew who Jesus was.  Even if Bart had not been healed, it would not have changed the fact that Jesus is Messiah.  Even if Jesus ignored him, even if Jesus walked by or would not defend him in a crowd that was yelling at him, Bart’s message did not waver and did not change.

What would make your message waver and change? Bart would preach Jesus Messiah.  Bart was the message. Perhaps Bart begged often in the courts of Jericho’s synagogue, hearing the teachings of the Torah and scrolls of the prophets.  With his keen sense of hearing, Bart connected the dots of Messiah better than those who had seen Jesus do countless miracles.

Bart, being blind, knew his own desperation and need for Jesus. When Jesus walked by, Bart’s message could not be taken from him. In his darkness, in his blindness, in his pain, Bart preached until he was heard.  Tested in his heart, and in spite of being ignored by Jesus and bullied by the crowd, Bart continued to preach Jesus Messiah.  He continued to plead for mercy until he received it.

Jesus stopped (verse 49).  Bart’s faith stopped Jesus in His tracks.

Then Jesus, through the crowd beckoned Bart to him.  Cruel?  Seriously.  Think about it.  The crowd is mad and annoyed at Bart.  Jesus is not right beside him, obviously, because He “beckons” him to come (49).  Bart is blind, and Jesus is asking him to weave through a crowd?

I love that it doesn’t matter to Bart.  BOLD Bart gets up, leaves everything he owns in the world, and takes that first step.  I’ll bet there was help after that first step was taken.  It’s the first one that seems so daunting, so impossible–so cruel even.  But God will make a way when there is no way.  Bart believed this.  Jesus did not promise Bart healing; Jesus only called to him.  Yet Bart left everything just to be in the presence of Messiah, knowing Jesus would take care of the rest.  What faith!  Blindness in the end is not what Bart is known for; we remember him today for his  BOLD belief.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

When have we been tested to know what is in our hearts? Did we press into belief, or raise our fists in “Marah”?

What has caused our message of Jesus to waver and change? Culture? Pressure for tolerance? Scientific data?

How is our belief known to the world around us?

LIVE IT OUT:

Lord, open my ears to hear your message of Truth to me, then open my mouth to make known with BOLDNESS the mystery of the Gospel.  (Ephesians 6:19, NASB)

– Kendra

P.S. Ladies, our in-person Winter Women’s Bible Study at The Cove is now underway, and it’s not too late to join us!  Let’s get together Tuesday evenings in January and February and dig into the Word of God.  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Exodus 15:2

Kendra Blog Title

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

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” 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 Exodus 15:2

The LORD is my strength and song,

And He has become my salvation;

This is my God and I will praise Him

My father’s God and I will extol Him.

THE FACTS:

The LORD is my strength, song, my salvation, my God. I will praise Him, I will extol Him.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

The Israelites were on the bank of the Red Sea–Egypt was in hot pursuit.  The hand of God had released Israel from under the yoke of bondage and had exacted judgment upon the Egyptian gods.  All those Egyptian gods, including the ruling Pharaoh, were no match for God Almighty, the #deliverer.

Israel was panicked though.  The people had followed God, which led to the sea.  They were hemmed in… freedom was somewhere on the other side.  The Egyptian chariots were closing in fast.  The Israelites could hear the war cry of angry soldiers led by an even angrier Pharaoh.  Death was certain…. or was it?

Moses cried out to God and God parted the Red Sea.  The land was not muddy and mucky to walk across, but it was solid and dry. The Sea represented for Egypt and the Israelites an abyss.  The sea was “bottomless”, a place of death, a place where the gods came from, the underworld.  The sea was a place to be feared.  The Israelites could do nothing about that abyss that stood before them, destruction on either side, so God did.  God made a way, across the abyss, across the “underworld”, now the choice would lay in the lap of each Israelite.  What do they do?  Do they cross, or do they stay?

I know some of you are like, “That’s crazy! OF course they cross!

Come on!”  Put yourself there.  The sea was an image just as much as Egypt was an image of everything they feared.  It may have looked like a trap to them.  How many times do we think God is trapping us and just walking us off a cliff?  What about you and your kids go first, and I see if the walls of water stay…. then I will decide!  There is no time for hemming and hawing, though.  The choice must be made.  The opened sea offers the #hope of #deliverance.  The shore offers sure death.  The shore is what they know.  The sea is an unknown.  The Israelites could do nothing to open the sea and do nothing to hold the water back.  The Hebrews could do nothing to aid in their deliverance, they just had to accept it, trust that God would save them, as they walked across Hades on dry land.

We like to have a hand in our deliverance, don’t we?  We want to be part of it, to ensure that it will stick.  Well, we don’t have that option any more than the Hebrews did on this night.  We either stay on the shore of Egypt, or we walk across to freedom.  We cannot have one foot on one side and one foot on the other.  A choice must be made and that choice is an #allin choice.  If you stop in the middle of the sea, to have some deliverance and some captivity, you drown in the middle.  The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus has come to give life and give it abundantly (John 10).   We are created to serve someone or something, it’s either Egypt, with its power, prestige, and excess, or it’s God.  There are two kingdoms, and the Bible says you cannot serve two masters (Luke 16:13), you serve one, and the one is your choice.

God was not going to force Israel to freedom, to where He is, but He would make a way to get there.  Each Israelite had to choose.  They did nothing to obtain their deliverance, but they had to receive it and walk across that sea.  #Allin or #Allout.  As they stepped off the bank of Egypt and began to walk to the other side, something miraculous happened, a song welled up in their souls.  We do not get the song until we step and receive.  We want the song beforehand, but that is not how it works.  AS we trust and put feet to our faith, we see that the walls of water will stand, we see that the path across is dry and will hold and will not swallow us up.

When they got to the other side, God became personal to each of them.  Each of them sang their song of #deliverance.  God provided corporate #deliverance and a personal #deliverance to each one of them personally.

God saved ME!  God provided for ME! God protected MY family, God held the water back for ME! God is MY deliverer.  God became personal.  Oh God became MY God.

We can do nothing for our #deliverance.  God came down, personally, not trusting you to another, and His name is Jesus.  Jesus lived a perfect life, and as He died on the cross, that cross became a path across Hades for all of us.  Jesus rose from the dead the third day and crushed death.  God has made a way for us to get to the other side.  #Deliverance is offered corporately but must be personally received.  The kingdom of this world has come to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus has come to give life and give life abundantly.  The choice is yours.  You cannot serve two kingdoms.  Israel proclaimed “You are highly exalted” in verse one.  Exalted derived from the Hebrew word Meloch, which means king.  Each of us is following someone or something, which kingdom that is, is our personal choice.  Choose wisely.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

Who or what are we following?  Which kingdom?

We are #allin but on what side?

Who or what is keeping us on the side of Egypt when we know its intentions? (Steal, kill, destroy.)

Is the reason we are slow about accepting deliverance because we want a hand in it?

Do we have a personal story and song of #deliverance?

LIVE IT OUT:

Today is the day of salvation.  Today accept the free gift of deliverance that the cross offers.

Oh God, I am a sinner, I have been following, been a slave to the kingdom of this world.  Thank you for making a way through it all.  Thank you for dying on the cross and conquering sin on the cross and death at the grave.  By faith, I step, accepting your free gift of salvation.  I am #allin for You.  You are highly exalted.  You are my God and my deliverer. Help me to follow You.

– Kendra

P.S. Ladies, our in-person Winter Women’s Bible Study at The Cove begins today.  It’s not too late to join us!  Let’s get together seven Tuesday evenings in January and February and dig into the Word of God.  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — John 10: 9-11

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 John 10: 9-11

  “I am the door of the sheep, if anyone enters through me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy; I came that they may find life and find it abundantly.  I AM the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

THE FACTS:  

I am the door of the sheep. If any enter through me he shall be saved, go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.  I came that they may find life abundantly.  I AM the good shepherd; lays down his life for the sheep.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

I’ve been thinking about this verse in conjunction with my trip to Israel for the past six months.  I had the opportunity to go to Bethlehem, where Luke 2 describes how the shepherds were living in the fields, keeping their watch over their flocks by night.  Wil and I weaved our way through the city and out to where the hills were littered with caves.  These caves are where shepherds would bed down for the night as they hustled the sheep deep into the darkness of the cave for safety.  At the mouth of the cave there could be found evidence where fires had been, blackened marks on the roof of the cave.  The shepherds would start a fire, cook their dinner perhaps, and maybe use the fire for warmth and protection from any wild animals that would be tempted to attack their sheep.  The shepherd would then bed down in the front of the cave, lying his body across the opening so that an intruder would first have to get through the shepherd before attempting to take the life of one of his flock.

mouth of cave where shepherds would stayStanding there in the darkness of the cave was overwhelming.  The John 10 parable of the shepherd and the sheep came alive to me.  I could hear the sheep bleating in the dark, not understanding why they had to be trapped in this cold, dank, dark place.  I could see the shepherd as he set up camp for the night.  Unbeknownst to the sheep, their safety was first and foremost on his mind.

Can you see it? The sheep are in the cave, protected by the physical body of the shepherd.  The shepherd will lay down his life and die before he relinquishes one sheep to the slaughter.  The shepherd’s body is the actual door.  The LIFE of the sheep is on the mind of the shepherd.

The sheep will go in for protection led by the shepherd and will be led out by the shepherd to eat.  So what do they eat?

Standing on the hills outside of Bethlehem made me wonder this very thing.  I asked our local tour guide and pointed to the lushest spot that I could see from the hill just beyond the city.  Do they eat there?  Are those the pastures of Bethlehem that David penned the 23rd Psalm in?  There was what seemed brown desert as far as my eyes could see… except for this one beautiful patch of greenery! An oasis in the desert!

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Our guide laughed,  “Oh no! The sheep would never be allowed to graze there! Farmland is hard to come by here in the desert, there are not fields of green!  The sheep may be able to glean the fields after harvest, but never be allowed to romp in the crops!”

Ok…. then where in the world would these sheep eat?  Luke 2 says they were living in the “fields by night” and Psalm 23 says pasture land… is that not lush green new delicious grass as far as the little sheepie eyes can see?

Standing in the “fields” which are really  “shepherds’ desert hills”, because that is where the caves would be found and where they would bed down, he told me how the sheep have always grazed in that land, and it has been rolling around in my mind ever since.  It isn’t what I thought.

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 Across the hills, there are noticeable sheep grazing trails which he pointed out.  All I see are trails in the dirt and I see rocks, a lot of rocks, I don’t see a bit of green.  More confused than ever, he explained to me about the desert climate.  Rain is a luxury in places like this, but there is a little humidity in the air, and it does rain, a little.  This little bit of rain combined with the humidity will accumulate on the rocks in the hills (fields), and underneath these rocks, as the water accumulates in the shade of that rock, a mouthful of yes, lush new green grass will grow.  The shepherd will look for a hillside that was exposed to this moisture and bring his flock to graze it from top to bottom or bottom to top.  Each step, a mouthful for the sheep.  The sheep must continue to follow the shepherd because he knows what hills have the food.

I could now see, each step, contains just enough food for the next step, and there’s not enough grass to bask in that one place for the rest of your life, but enough for the day.

This reality changes everything.  Today’s pasture is not enough to fulfill tomorrow’s needs.  The shepherd knows where the sheep need to be.  The shepherd leads the sheep through the desert, not for their harm, but to provide for their life.  The shepherd leads the sheep in the dark dank cave at night, not to punish or torture the sheep but to protect them.  The shepherd lays his own body across the door, not to keep the sheep in, but to keep the enemy out.

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 How often have we had the wrong view of God?  We look at God through the eyes of sheep, we can’t help it, we have more in common with the sheep than with God.  BUT GOD, loves us anyway, and in those very hills, in those very skies that I gazed into, that day, I remembered the night that was lit up with all heaven as the angels proclaimed to the shepherds and the sheep, “For unto YOU is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!” The hills that had fulfilled the needs of the sheep that day were those very hills facing the city of David.

Like it or not, we all follow someone or something, even you leaders out there.  The Word of God says, that everything else is like a thief, that comes to steal your joy, kill your dreams and ultimately destroy.  Have you ever asked yourself, “Is this all there is?”  LIFE is not elusive.  Jesus came to give us LIFE, to take us back from the thief that has stolen everything and restore us to the LIFE that He has intended us to have from the beginning of time.  It doesn’t look like we think, just like those sheep trails, but God with skin on came for US.  Jesus came to be our Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of peace Isaiah 9:6.  We are all created to follow after someone or something, so Jesus came, to lead us and to give us life abundantly, one mouthful at a time.

Jesus said I AM the good shepherd, so who better to invite to His bedside the night of His birth, than those shepherds who understood what it was like to lead, love and protect the sheep?

For God, so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to be that shepherd for the sheep. Jesus would indeed lay down His life so that we, His sheep, could have life abundantly.

Glory to God in the highest! 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

Where are you looking for sustenance in life?

When have you demanded that God provide everything you need up front?

Who or what are you hoping in to find your daily needs met?

What really do you expect God to do for you?  Have you been looking at God as though He is torturing you instead of providing and protecting you?  Will you seek to find the Good Shepherd this Christmas in His Word?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Open God’s Word today and glean who Jesus is, and how He desperately wants to lead you and give you life.  Ask today that your eyes be open to where He is, in this season, in your life.

– Kendra

P.S. Ladies, registration is open for my 2018 Women’s Bible Study at The Cove.  Let’s get together seven Tuesday evenings in January and February and dig into the Word of God.  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Watch the 2018 Women’s Bible Study video here: