Category Archives: Bible Study Community with Kendra Graham

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

KENDRA GRAHAM SPRING BIBLE STUDY

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you  will grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. 

STEP ONE: Pray

STEP TWO:  Read the Text. 

Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink.

(Exodus 17:1, NASB)

STEP THREE:   WHAT DOES IT SAY?
THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE

All the congregation of Israel journeyed from wilderness of Sin according to the command of the LORD, camped at Rephidim and there was no water for people

STEP FOUR:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
THE LESSONS

Have you ever felt like God had definitely led you to a place; I mean you felt a calling deep in your bones and it took such a tremendous act of faith on your part to trust God in His leading, only to get where He led and all you see is lack and hardship?

I am sure you all are better than me, but my first reaction is not to get on my knees and pray, my first reaction is to raise some serious questions.  Did I hear God right?  Was this all a huge mistake?  Why would God impress such a bold move of faith and then lead me to a place like this?

I have some questions about what God is up to. Does He hate me?  Has He abandoned me?  Has God led me right off a cliff just to watch me fall?  Did God lead me here so that He could hide me from everything productive?

Here in Exodus 17:1, God’s people have followed Him all the way from Egypt, through the Red Sea, to Marah, to Elim, to the wilderness of Sin, and now to Rephidim.  Where is Israel going?  The people of Israel are on their way to Sinai.  God has promised to take them out of Egypt (Exodus 3:8) and lead them to Sinai (Exodus 3:12), and then God will lead them to the Promised Land (Exodus 3:8).

The Wilderness of Sin is halfway to S-I-N-A-I. Rephidim is 3/4 of the way to Sinai.  Israel is ALMOST there!

Rephidim was historically known as a “place of resting.” It was a place in the desert where there were palm trees, and it was known for having water. Yet here in this passage, when the Children of Israel arrive at Rephidim, there is no water.

This is a problem.  There is expectation when God leads you and calls you to a place, isn’t there?  Israel had faithfully followed God and His leading for more than two months at this point.  They had done some grumbling along the way, yes, but the Bible tells us the “whole congregation” followed God.  What did they get for following God?  Hardship and need.  As we come to this part of the story, it almost seems as if God went out of His way to dry up the water that was supposed to be there, doesn’t it?  It seems that way to me.

I think that at times as we read a familiar Old Testament story and already know its ending, some of the original tension of the story can be lost, and we’re almost prevented from getting a real appreciation of the amount of faith God was calling His people to have. Let’s stop where we are and live in the moment of this verse: God’s people followed Him to a place where they would have a greater need than before.  Can you see that in your own life?

God’s people could not manufacture water in the desert.  So many times we do not come to God until all other options are off the table, so God, in His grace and love, brings us to places where we cannot be creative enough to provide for ourselves.  God wanted His people thirsty.  Why?

God’s name is “Jehovah Jirah”—Jehovah, the LORD, the God who is highly exalted above all Gods, and Jirah, who wants to be personally known as your provider. The fact is, we do not know that God provides for us, until we have need.  We do not know that He is the Living Water (John 4:10, John 7:38)…until we thirst.  My soul within me cries “Ugh!” and “Yay!” at that very statement.  I hate to have need! Yet I love when I get to see God provide.

I tend to have faith that God will provide for Israel, and for Moses, and for my pastor, and for all the really important people in the world; yet my faith fails when it comes to me believing that God wants me to know He is my provider.  God wants to write His name across the stories of our lives, and He cannot do that so long as I continue to be so self-sufficient.  Dependence is both a great place to be and a hard place to be.  God was leading Israel, and God is leading you and me.  Let’s hold on to that together.

God leads us to where He is… out of Egypt to Sinai!  For the Children of Israel, Sinai was the place of God’s presence.  Remember that God goes before us like a shepherd goes before His flock (Psalm 23).  Keep following the Shepherd. Keep depending on Him. Keep pressing on, and keep your eyes on Jesus when all your eyes can see is dry desert and all your soul can feel is a deep thirst.

Hold on to the fact of who He isShout it out!  Shout it in the car…on your walk…in your house on top of your coffee table:  “JEHOVAH JIRAH is God’s name, and because of HIS name He will be MY JEHOVAH and MY PROVIDER even when I can’t see how!”
(See I Samuel 12:22)

STEP FIVE:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?
NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY
.

 When has God led you to a place that seemed more lacking than full?  When has Jehovah written His name, “Jirah,” your provider, across the story of your life?  How is God trying to teach you to trust in His name?  What causes you to doubt that God will provide for you?

STEP SIXLIVE IT OUT.

Today, in all the chaos, in all the empty, and in all my thirst, I will claim the name of Jehovah Jirah; even if I do not feel it or see it, I will shout what His name is and ask God to open my eyes and heart to the truth that He is “Jehovah” who wants to be known to me as “Jirah.” 


Will you prayerfully consider encouraging someone with your story of how God wrote His name of “provider” across the story of your life?  We would love to hear from you here, in the comments section.  Also, consider sharing your story of God’s provision with someone in your own community.  As God’s people we need to get back to a place where we not only remember His name, but believe it!  Your stories can help encourage us to hold on to Him in the hard and desolate places.  Life is hard, but Jehovah is Jirah!

Thank you again for joining us for this Bible study. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Praying that you have a very blessed week ahead!


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

 

KENDRA GRAHAM BIBLE STUDY – WEEK 6 HANDOUT

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. Below is the handout for Kendra’s final week of evening Bible study, with a few homework questions at the end. 

*To view this final Bible study via Periscope, click here.

STEP ONE: Pray

STEP TWO: Read the Text.

Exodus 33:21-23 (NASB)

(21) Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; (22) and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. (23) Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.

STEP THREE: 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.

(21)     The LORD: There is a place by Me…you shall stand…on rock

(22)     It will come…while My glory is passing I will put you in cleft of rock and cover you with MY hand until I have passed

(23)     THEN I will take My hand away and you shall see my back, but face shall not see

STEP FOUR:  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?  Meditate on these. Ask God what lesson it is that He wants you to hear or learn.

(21)    If we want to see the glory of God first-hand, then we have to go where God is. To know “my God” will take effort and patience. God calls us to specific places because He wants to be personally known by us. He is often visible in our lives, but we don’t like the location, the effort demanded or the amount of faith that it will take to get there.

(22)    God tells Moses that He is going to show Moses His glory; then, when God gets there, He places Moses in a dark and hard place, only to then cover it with His hand and make it even darker. This is not the “glory” we were anticipating when we asked.  God trusts us with dark places for a reason. We need to hold on to His promise when we can’t see how it is going to work out and we surely don’t understand it. This dark, hard place would not be how I thought God would show me who He is. God’s promises are #ENOUGH to hold to in the dark.

(23)    When God takes His hand away, we will be able to see His glory on the backside. Once God passes, His presence changes everything and we can see all the places He has unmistakably touched here in the desert. His presence is #ENOUGH to make this dry, unforgiving place, a place of refuge, not a prison, a place of blessing not curses, a place of thankfulness not bitterness. His presence is #ENOUGH in our deserts, period.

STEP FIVE:  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?

(21)    Do you want to see God’s glory in your desert? What are you willing to do, and what are you not willing to do? Has God called you to come to a place near Him but it doesn’t make sense, and the journey will be uncertain? Maybe God is calling you to the desert, and that is not where you want to see God, so you stay put? Did you realize that there is effort required each day to come to where God is in His Word and listen?  When it comes down to it, do you really want to see God’s glory in your life on His terms or yours?

(22)    How many times do we have more questions than answers about where God has placed us? When have we questioned God’s methods in our lives?  Are we trying to get out of this hard, dry place on our own before God’s glory passes by? What causes us to bug-out early and forget His promises to us? IN this dark, hard, dry place, will we hold to the hope that God has not forgotten or forsaken us here? What promises are you holding to in the dark of your situation?

(23)    Has God been working in this desert and you have missed it? Are you willing to look back and see all the places that God led you, held you, and protected you in your suffering? Has God ever flipped a dark place around for you, where you hated every minute of the struggle, but when you got to the end, and you looked back you saw God in unmistakable ways? Will you allow God to make this desert a place of refuge for you?  Will you trust that God is #ENOUGH for you? Will your faith be forged or forgotten in this place?

STEP SIX:  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.

God’s presence is Available and is #ENOUGH

…Focus my feet to come.

God’s presence is #ENOUGH in the dark

…Focus my heart to hold on to His promise.

God’s presence is #ENOUGH to see me through

…Focus my eyes to look and see what He has done
and where He has been in my life.

Jehovah—who is highly exalted above all gods—wants to be known personally by you.

I pray that 2019 is the year in which God’s people allow Him to teach us and test us, even in the desert, and show us how to do more than preach the Message with our lips, but BE the Message with our lives.

Shalom and blessing to you

Shema Israel!

                                                            Adonai Eluhanu

                                                            Adonai Echad

I know the journey is hard and unbearable at times; hold to the promise of who Jehovah is, and we will find that I AM that I AM is more than, #ENOUGH

God bless you all!

–Kendra Graham


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 Bible Study: Week 5 Handout

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. Below is the handout for the fifth week of the Bible study with a few homework questions at the end. 

I AM
#ENOUGH
TO BE YOUR BANNER IN THE BATTLE

 

The Three Questions
I AM #ENOUGH to be your banner in the battle….
STEP ONE: Pray
STEP TWO: Read the Text.

Exodus 17:8-12a (NASB) (8) Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. (9) So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” (10) Joshua did as Moses told him and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. (11) So it came about as Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. (12a) But Moses’ hands were heavy….

  • STEP THREE 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.

8: Amalek came and fought against Israel. 9: Moses to Joshua: Choose men FOR US and go fight Amalek. I will station myself on top of hill with staff of God in hand. 10: Joshua fought against Amalek, Moses Aaron and Hur to top of hill. 11: As Moses held hand up, Israel prevailed, let hand down Amalek prevailed 12a: Moses’ hands were heavy.

  • STEP FOUR: 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? Meditate on these. Ask God what lesson it is that He wants you to hear or learn.

8: There WILL be battles. People will try to take our freedom and send us back to slavery. In these moments we can often experience incredible periods of doubt, during which we question everything and wonder if maybe this “freedom thing” just isn’t for us. During these times it’s easy to slip back into victim mentality, thinking this is as good as it gets for people like us.

9: There are different responsibilities for different people in the same battle. Even here we see Moses display great faith as a leader should. #lessoninleadership God is #ENOUGH, and God’s plan for Moses was not on the battlefield but on the praying field. Be confident in where God has called you, and don’t try to control areas that you are supposed to delegate and let go. “for us” – Notice the direction was not to get the strongest, the smartest, or the ones with the most experience…the only qualification for battle was to find those men who are “for us.” God chooses people who have hearts that are for Him. Your resume may be impressive…your Biblical knowledge may be superb…but if your heart isn’t right… you cannot be trusted and will not be chosen for battle.

10: We need to man our unique battle stations and not drop the ball, sleep in, or forget to show up. The battle is real, and real lives are in the balance. It matters that you show up.

11: The posture of prayer. Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer is the work.” When we direct the eyes of others towards Jehovah in our personal battles, we begin to see Jehovah Nissi overwhelm the enemy and empower us in His strength to continue to fight and press in and not give up. When we drop our eyes from the vertical to the horizontal, the battle will overwhelm us and take our breath away. Prayer is essential to see the victorious work of God personally and corporately.

12: Prayer can bring us to weariness more than any other action. Prayer is work that we have to set our minds and hearts to! Don’t give up because of the way things seem, or because of the lack of movement or the length of time you have been pleading. Keep praying in the weariness…often at the weariest moment is where we will see the biggest victory.

  • STEP FIVE: 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?

8: When has there been a battle in your life that you had to fight? How often would we rather just appease the enemy, thinking the enemy will leave us alone if we are just tolerant enough? What battles are worth fighting? What hills are worth dying on? Are there any? Have we hidden from the battle too long? How are we called to stand and to “do all to stand” (Ephesians 6:13)? How does that look today? Where have I been satisfied to have a victim mentality?

9: Where have you been called to serve? Are you able to serve in your area with passion and precision, or do you feel like you also need to serve in all the other areas as well because no one will do it right if it’s not you leading in every aspect? What kind of heart would God say you have? What, or Who, are you “for”? Are you for you? Are you for God? What do your actions say about who you are for? Are you willing to ask God to reveal who you are for? Do you have a heart to be for Him, or do you have a list of reasons why you are too injured, too weak, too hurt, too ignorant to be used by God?

10: What keeps you in bed and prevents you from showing up daily to the battle? What causes you to think that your presence is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things?

11: Are you panicking about all your eyes see? All your heart feels? The immensity of the battle? The reality of the battle? Will you decide today to pray over that battle each and every morning, even before you get out of bed each day? Will you take that step forward today…come out of hiding, reach your arms to heaven, and pray and look to Jehovah who wants to be your Nissi, your banner? How would it look today for you to walk out in strength keeping your eyes UP, UP, UP all day? It will take determination….

12: What are you weary of praying about? When, in your weariness, have you seen victory? Will you share that and encourage another weary soul with it?

  • STEP SIX: 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 I will show up to the battle… in my role… Today I will pray for the heart Jehovah needs me to have Today I will pray… pray… and pray… not ignoring the fight Today I will KNOW…. I AM THAT I AM IS MORE THAN #ENOUGH in my battle Shout that out throughout today, then tomorrow Help my unbelief.

Watch the Bible Study online! Click here.

HOMEWORK:
Do the Three Questions on: Exodus 33:17-23 Read: Exodus 32 and 33

Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com


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 BIBLE STUDY: WEEK 4 HANDOUT

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. Below is the handout for the fourth week of the Bible study with a few homework questions at the end. 

AM
#ENOUGH
to Quench Your Thirst…

STEP ONE: Pray

STEP TWO:  Read the Text.

  Exodus 17:1-3 (NASB)

Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink.

Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?”

But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

 

STEP THREE:   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:    All the sons of Israel journeyed according to the command of the LORD and camped at Rephidim. There was no water to drink

2:    The people quarreled with Moses “Give us water” Moses: “Why do you test the LORD?”

3:    The people thirsted for water, they grumbled “Why now have you brought us from Egypt to kill us, our children and livestock with thirst?”

 

STEP FOUR:  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? Meditate on these. Ask God what lesson it is that He wants you to hear or learn.

1:   It is easy sometimes to get into a performance trap. We have done everything God requires, like go to church, follow His commands, memorize the Word, help people, do what is right even when it’s easier not to…. and where has following God gotten us? To a place of urgent desperate need. I don’t like that. God leads us to places that require a dependent faith on Him.

2:   God has let me down, so I am not moving until He shows up and fixes this. The people “tested” God. We often get tired of God being the One to give the tests, well, it’s my turn. Prove who You are, and I will believe. God says, believe who I AM and see how my name is proven. We don’t like that. We demand God lead us to a place of excess… it looks empty. The thing is… this is a place where God provides in excess… to overflow! We just need to know where to look.

3:   It is here, when we are hurting, thirsty, and full of more questions than answers that we literally cannot remember a single blessing the freedom God gives us. It is at times like this, when Sinai is literally in view, that we quit. Slavery was easier. It is here, when we can’t go another step, that we throw our faith away. Our hearts are tired and we hurt…. so we will leave God before He leaves us. He may be faithful to you, but He will not be faithful to me. God is not #enough. If we leave now… we will miss the miracle.

 

STEP FIVE:  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:   When have you tried to control God with your good works, church attendance, Bible study teaching, and amazing ability to follow…? When was a time where you know God led you to a certain place, only to find that when you got there, or were in the process of getting there, you found lack rather than abundance? Did you question whether you heard God correctly or not? (Honesty is REALLY hard here….)

2:   When was a time where you got tired of all of God’s tests and you felt like it was your turn to refuse to move until you received an explanation? How hard is it to live on promises and not explanations? What promise of God are you currently trusting God to come through on?

3:   If you were to make a list of your blessings from God vs your grievances, which list would be easier to compile? Do you really believe I AM that I AM is more than #ENOUGH? Why or why not? What part of your desert journey caused you to question everything about God? Did you quit or press in? If you quit, what obstacles were in the way of turning back and pressing to Sinai? What promises do you need God to come through on? If you pressed in, then in what way did you see God that you would have missed otherwise?

STEP SIX:  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.

 

Write down the name of God, who He promises to be to me…

            Call on His name, hold to His name

                        Look for His name to be evident today… even if it is not                                                  evident in the way I demand.

                                    I AM THAT I AM IS MORE THAN #ENOUGH.

                                                Shout that out throughout today… then tomorrow.

                                                                        Help my unbelief.

Watch this weeks Bible Study: Click here.

HOMEWORK:

Do the Three Questions on:

 Exodus 17:9-16

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com


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 BIBLE STUDY: WEEK 3 HANDOUT

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. Below is the handout for the third week of the Bible study with a few homework questions at the end. 

AM
#ENOUGH
to FEED you…

STEP ONE: Pray
STEP TWO:  Read the Text. 

Exodus 16:1-3 (NASB)

1 Then they set out from Elim and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt.  2 The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.  3 The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt when we sat by pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

STEP THREE:  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.  From Elim, all the congregation of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin between Elim and Sinai
  2. The WHOLE congregation grumbled against Moses & Aaron
  3. Sons of Israel said “Would that we died by LORD’s hand in Egypt by pots of meat when we ate bread to the full; you brought us into wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
STEP FOUR:  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? Meditate on these. Ask God what lesson it is that He wants you to hear or learn.

  1. When God moves, we need to follow; even if it means leaving comfort for the unknown. Things get hard and we tend to give up in the middle. We want God to make the journey easy, predictable and comfortable. Being in the middle is a HARD place to be.
  2.  It is human nature to look to blame people for why you are where you are.  We tend to blame others for not being God.
  3. When things get hard, it is easy to sell our souls for a bowl of chili with a baguette on the side. We want to leverage our #deliverance and control God.  Personal comfort above all. We tend to believe what we see and feel over the presence and promises of God. What it comes down to is the fact that we do not really believe God has our best interests in mind. Sure God loves Moses and Aaron and will provide for them; it’s easier for them, because God loves them… God just doesn’t care about us, the little people, like that. God will never leave us or forsake us, but we are willing to trade our eternal soul for a minute of relief. The name of God is Jehovah Jirah… Jehovah, the high exalted God who wants to be known as MY PROVIDER…  God cannot provide unless there is a need that you cannot meet. I AM more than #ENOUGH to provide for YOU.
STEP FIVE:  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 than 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?

How do you try to control when and where God leads? When was there a time when things were going great, you were following God, seeing God work, and then you got into the “middle” of it and felt God abandoned the calling and you so you gave up? Or did you not give up and continue to hold on in faith?  What causes us to bail out of where God is leading us personally?

  1. When have you cast blame on someone else because it was easier than going to God in humility and asking Him where He is in the middle of the mess?
  2. What is your price?  You have left or are willing to walk away forever from God if __________________________? You are willing to walk away from God unless he does _____________________________?

Do you want the “what” that Egypt has to offer or the “Who” that God is?  Let’s be honest with God here… we ALL know the “right” answer, but between you and God ,what is YOUR answer?  Do your words match with your life?

Do you really believe the God whose name is Jehovah Jirah will provide for you personally?

STEP SIX:  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.

God has led us to the middle…. and God will lead us out. We live on God’s promises and the fact of His name, not explanations. 

            Know the promises of God.

                        Hold to those promises.

                                    Even in the middle when we want to quit,

                                                throw in the towel,

                                                            give it all up for a  minute of comfort…

                                                                        HOLD one more day.

 HOMEWORK:

Do the Three Questions on:

Exodus 17:1-5— any verses

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com


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 Bible Study: Week Two Handout

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. Below is the handout for the second week of the Bible study with a few homework questions at the end. 

AM
#ENOUGH
to LEAD you…

STEP ONE: Pray

STEP TWO:  Read the Text. 

Exodus 13:17-22

(17) Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near, for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.”

(18) Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.

(19) Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God shall surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you.”

(20) Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of
the wilderness.

(21) The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way and a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and night.

(22) He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

STEP THREE    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. 

17:    God did not lead them by land of Philistines, even though near; God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt”

18:    God led by way of wilderness to Red Sea; Israel in martial array

19:    Moses took bones of Joseph; he made Israel promise, “God shall surely take care of you.”

20:    They set out on edge of wilderness

21:    The LORD was going before them in pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that they may travel day/night

22:    He did not take away pillar of cloud/fire from before the people

STEP FOUR:  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? Meditate on these. Ask God what lesson it is that He wants you to hear or learn.

 17:    God leads us by His way for His reasons. God knows us, and He knows how easy it is for us to bail when things get tough. 

18:    God’s ways are not our ways; that is probably why we struggle to follow Him. When it comes down to it, we want to control God and His direction, not let God control us and our direction.  Following the Good Shepherd will always take faith on our part.  KNOW that I AM is #ENOUGH to personally lead me.  *martial array– often we think we can handle “battles” because we look the part… but God knew the people were broken and He ALONE, the GOOD SHEPHERD, would have to do all the fighting this time on their behalf.  It is important to know we do nothing in the battle for our souls, we just receive the salvation offered.

19:    Joseph died BELIEVING that GOD would LEAD them out.  Sometimes we need to borrow the faith of others to make it though the desert.  Seeing Joseph’s bones would also be a reminder that Egypt was not their home and the Egyptian gods were not their gods, I AM knows the way out and will fulfill HIS promises even if we forget them or don’t believe them.  God’s faithfulness to HIS WORD does not depend on us and/or our belief or lack thereof.

20:    God brings us to the edge… so that we can make our own personal choice… we can follow Him to the wilderness, or we can follow Egypt.  God will not force us to follow, but bids us to come to Him and trust Him—even to this hard place between the Sea and the wilderness.

21:    The LORD, “I AM that I AM,” was leading them. His presence was visible
and present, yet they did not know Him. Faith will be needed to follow every time.

22:    God refused to take His visible presence away from His people, even though the people would constantly question that presence and whether or not it was trustworthy.  I AM knew He is #ENOUGH to lead His people and would daily show and teach His people that very thing.  God promises to never leave nor forsake us.  His presence today is found in His Word, His promises are #ENOUGH to follow and trust.

 

STEP FIVE:  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?

 

17:    When have you followed God when it made no sense at all? How did God show up?  Has there been a time when you sensed you should have followed God but did not like the direction or destination, so you refused?

18:    When have you put conditions on where God is allowed to lead you? When and how has following God taken faith on your part?  How have you tried to help God with all your “expertise”?  When have you humbly accepted salvation from God, knowing you had done nothing to deserve it or make it happen?

19:    When have you had to borrow the faith of someone else to make it through a certain situation?  Have you known anyone who died believing the promises of God even though they did not see those promises fulfilled in their lifetime?

20:    When have you made a physical choice to follow God, only to end up pinned in between the sea and the wilderness?  When did it seem easier and more sensible to bail out from where God was leading than to continue?  What did you do? Bail or continue?

21:    When has it taken faith for you to follow where God was leading? Has following God taken faith just one time, or does it seem to take more faith every time?

22:    When have you had to claim the promises of who God IS in His Word?  When have you felt as though God has left you, even though His Word says He won’t?  How and when has God’s presence led you, although you battled with doubt along the way?  When you looked back, were you able to see where God had been?  When has God been true to HIS Word, even when you were not true to Him?

STEP SIX:  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.

  Be in the Word of God; know who God IS, not who I demand Him to be.

            Know Jehovah Raah as MY SHEPHERD as I decide to follow Him

 

HOMEWORK:

Do the Three Questions on: Exodus 16 – any verses

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com

I AM #ENOUGH
To LEAD as SHEPHERD

1.  #ENOUGH in Places of DESPERATION

Exodus 13:17-22

2. #ENOUGH in Places of DECISION

Exodus 14:18-31

3. #ENOUGH in places of DESTITUTION

 Exodus 15:22-27


Thank you again for joining us for this Bible study. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Praying that you have a very blessed week ahead!


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 ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

Exodus 3:7-8 (NASB)

(7) The LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.

(8) So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

WHAT DOES IT SAY?

  1. The LORD said I have SURELY seen the affliction of MY people

I Have given heed to their cry because of taskmasters

I AM AWARE of their sufferings

  1. SO I HAVE COME to deliver from the Egyptians

to bring them to a spacious land flowing with milk and honey

to the place of Canaanite, Hittite, Amorite, Perizzite, Hivite

What Does it Mean?

Suffering and affliction: these are two words we do not jump up and down about, but they’re words we can all relate to.  Here in Exodus chapter 3, God has heard the cries of His people in Egypt, and so He has come to Moses to inform him of what is going on in Egypt.

Moses’ face is in the dirt; he is not speaking, God is speaking.  I think that’s something, don’t you?  Moses obviously has an opinion about what’s been happening to the Hebrews in Egypt, don’t you think?  I mean, the reason Moses finds himself there in the desert at all is because he has seen an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave to death and he has subsequently murdered the Egyptian in a heated outburst of anger.  The treatment of the slaves bothers Moses so much, it has led him to commit murder.

Don’t you wonder if Moses had heard about this “God of the Hebrews” and questioned whether He had any real power at all?  Why hadn’t God intervened?  Why hadn’t He stopped all these atrocities from happening?  I think Moses legitimately thought he knew the depth of it all. Being a prince of Egypt, he’d had a “behind the scenes” view and had actually come to a place where he had  refused to be called the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter (see Hebrews 11:24).  Yet even at this point Moses still doesn’t know the depth of the brokenness of the Hebrews in Egypt, so God informs him.

The word for affliction is “oiny” which means much more than just physical abuse.  God is informing Moses that His people have suffered tremendous physical, emotional and mental abuse at the hands of the Egyptians and are crying out from the depths of their souls to be #delivered from Egypt. The word aware is, “Ra’ah,” which means God more than knows what the affliction is; it is as if it had been done to Him.

God sees the injustices.  God sees the pain; He walks with us in it, because He understands what it takes to have victory in it. I don’t like that.  I want God to protect me from it, not walk with me in it.

I love how in Exodus 3:8 God tells Moses, “SO I HAVE COME to deliver” (emphasis added).  God is not asking Moses to use his contacts in Egyptian politics or to use his power as a son of the Pharaoh’s daughter.  God is telling Moses, I AM is going to deliver them.  Moses, with his face in the dirt, probably feels more useless than ever: his relevance in Egyptian culture has long passed, he is wanted on a murder charge for which he is guilty, and he has no idea how to even begin to help a people that are that broken and hurting.  What could Moses say? What could he do?  Moses can do nothing.  All he brings to the table is his ability to bend his knee in the dirt to the I AM who will do the #delivering.

God came Himself.  God did not trust the Hebrews to anyone else.  Likewise, God did not trust you to anyone else.  He came Himself.  God Himself came in the form of a man: His name is Jesus.  Jesus lived a perfect life and then paid the debt that a holy God requires.  Jesus was stricken for us (see Isaiah 53).  Jesus died a horrible, horrific and painful death on the cross so that He could walk us through the pain and suffering of this world.  We pray to a God who understands all sides of the hurt.

God never acts on our time table or in the way we think is best, but when we cry out to Him, God hears, He answers, and He comes Himself.

What Does it Mean to Me?

When have you felt abandoned by God? What injustices has God          seemed to have missed or not cared about in your life? In what              area of your life is it time to claim that God is “the God Who                    Sees”? (Jehovah Roi)

When have you cried out to God with true intensity?  When have you seen God act on your behalf.

What causes you to doubt that the depth of your pain matters to an Almighty God?  When has anyone really understood your pain?

Who are you looking to, to deliver you?  How many people have let you down or left you disappointed?

LIVE IT OUT

Today, instead of just crying out to a friend,  or my mom,  or a boss, I will cry out to GOD, whose name is Jehovah Roi, the God who sees.  Lord, give me ears today to hear Your Word, a heart to believe Your Word and eyes to see You walk with me in this world.


Join Kendra Graham  for a free Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, Tuesday evenings through February 26. The study will also be live-streamed through social media. To view a snippet of the study entitled #I Am Enough, click here. 

To register for this study, please visit this link.

To watch the first session, visit this link. 


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

 

KENDRA GRAHAM: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

“For unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”  (Luke 2:11-12, KJV)

What Does it Say?

TO YOU is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. This a sign to YOU; YOU shall find the babe in swaddling clothes, in a manger.

What Does it Mean?

Last week I received an invitation to the White House Christmas party. It was super exciting, the chance of a lifetime! I had never been in the White House! I had been by it, I had taken pictures of it, and I had even gone to the “White House Gift Shop” across the street from it…. but never inside!

How does one get a chance to attend the White House Christmas Party?  First of all, I needed to be invited (odds are this is the only and last time I will be invited)…  Second, I needed to accept the invitation and go through the list with the social secretary in the White House of what to bring, how to dress, and what not to bring.  I needed to know my arrival and departure time as well as parking information and what entrance I should walk through.

Once I arrived at the White House, I had to produce two forms of ID.  I went through three checkpoints. I went through a metal detector.  My bag was x-rayed twice.  If I exited, I would not be allowed back inside.  WOW.  What a process!  When GOD came to earth, should He not at the very least have done what the president does to stay safe? Shouldn’t God have had a screening process?

This is why I LOVE these verses so much!

First of all… Christ’s birth issued an invitation:

For unto YOU…

The gift is for you, and the gift is also offered for me. It’s personal.  God has always been personal, from the first day, when He walked with Adam in the cool of the evening (see Genesis 3), to when God’s presence was in the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night (see Exodus 13:21), to when Jesus was born in Bethlehem and walked the shores of Galilee and taught, to today as He lives in the hearts and souls of men and women. His Word is just as alive and active (see Hebrews 4:12) today as always.

The name of God, Jehovah, means the All-Existent One (the One who has always been) but more intimately it connotes the meaning, the One Who Wants to be Known.  God wants to be known by us, personally, so He came and lived among us, with skin on, and His name is Jesus.

Why would God come to live among us?  God created man and woman with His hands, and gave each of us a soul designed to walk with God, know God and need God.  We don’t like to need God, but it is just a fact of creation.  We are created with a God-shaped soul. The problem occurs when we see that the character of God is holy and perfect and we are not (Romans 3:23).  God cannot refuse His own character; He cannot make any exceptions for unholy men and women to come into His presence, yet we were created to walk with, to know and to need God.

GOD so loved the world that He GAVE HIS only SON.
(John 3:16)

God was the only One who could fix the problem, so He came Himself, refusing to trust you and me to any other person, place or thing.  God would come with skin on and live that holy and perfect life, then pay the debt that unholiness demands—which is a blood debt—on the cross.  God Himself would pour out His wrath on His own Son, in order to spare you and me.  God Himself made it possible to invite us to walk with Him and know Him, because we are desperate and need Him (see Romans 5:9-10).

God came down to you and to me and was born in Bethlehem—in a barn, with no amenities, no cleanliness, no state of the art fetal monitoring system, no NICU doctor on standby, no nursing staff to make sure His Apgar score was reasonable, no one to clear His lungs and dry Him off according to hospital policy. Jesus came not to be flashy or to to wield His power over Caesar Augustus.  Jesus came to be found by everyone.

I love how the words that were spoken that night were to shepherds.  Shepherds who would not have had business or formal attire to wear to the celebration.

I love how God was so very clear with the shepherds… they were invited personally, and God was going to be clear about where to go to find Him.

God with us, Emmanuel, did not want to remain a mystery for eternity. His birth was not meant to confuse us or send us on some hypothetical goose chase.  God came to be found. He came to be found by each shepherd that night and by you and me today. The angels did not exclude any of the shepherds in that field; all were invited corporately, but the decision to come would be personal.  Tim could not go for James, and Nicholas could not go for Sam, each of them would have to decide whether or not to make that journey to the place where He could be found.

I love how the barn is not an intimidating place. The place that God with skin on could be found was accessible to each shepherd—no shower or change of clothes needed… and bring the sheep, too! Don’t delay! Come now, just as you are.

GOD refused to be out of reach of the very people He came to save.  The elite business man and owner of the barn could come to where Jesus was, as well as the outcast and the shepherd.  No one is forbidden to approach a manger. No one is out of place or under-dressed.  There is no secret service to escort you out if your two forms of ID are not acceptable.  You can stay as long as you like and come back as often as you can.

Jeremiah 23:13 is just as true today as it was before the birth of Jesus: “You will seek me and find Me when you seek with all your heart” (NIV)

An invitation to the White House is great, but an invitation to the very throne room and presence of the Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of peace… now that is really something!

Jesus is right here, within reach; we just need to come and accept His invitation. The invitation is for all, just as you are. No need to fix, clean or straighten up before you come, or you will never come.  The decision is personal. Will you accept this invitation, this Christmas, to know the One who gave up heaven so that you and I can begin to know Jehovah—the One who has always been, Who desires to be known by His handmade creation. The choice is yours.

What Does it Mean to Me?

What decision have you made about the invitation that is extended to you this day, a Savior which is Christ the Lord?

LIVE IT OUT

Today, I will take time to remember the true meaning of Christmas and reflect on that day that I accepted His invitation.

Today, if you have never accepted that personal invitation to come to Jesus, will you accept it now with a simple prayer?

Dear Lord Jesus,
You left heaven to come so that I can walk with You and know You, because I need You.  Your Word says “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him, will have eternal life” (John 3:16). I am accepting Your invitation today, now. Come and be my Savior, this day. Teach me to walk with You from this moment on. Amen.

 Merry Christmas!


Kendra Graham is  offering a free Women’s Bible Study at The Cove starting Jan. 8th. The study will also be live-streamed through social media. To view a snippet of the study entitled #I Am Enough, click here. 

To register for this study, please visit this link.


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: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

God led the people around by the way of the wilderness.
(Exodus 13:18, NASB)

What Does it Say?

God led the people by way of wilderness

What Does it Mean?

This may seem like a weird topic for a blog at Christmas time, but this blog has been in the desert since last March!  I believe that together we are going to stay in this desert as long as God keeps us here.  Christmas in the desert may not be such a bad thing.

Surviving the Fire Swamp

Have you ever seen the movie, The Princess Bride?  It is one of my favorites. In the movie, Princess Buttercup is promised to marry Prince Humperdink, but Prince Humperdink is not her true love.  Buttercup’s true love is a poor farm boy named Wesley. As the heroic Wesley arrives to save Buttercup from the clutches of Humperdink, the Prince’s soldiers are in hot pursuit. Wesley takes Buttercup and runs towards the Fire Swamp, laughing as he looks back.

“Ha! Your pig fiancée is too late!” he says.  “We will soon be safe in the Fire Swamp!”

Alarmed at that statement, Buttercup replies, We will never survive!

To which Wesley responds, “Nonsense! You’re only saying that, because no one ever has before!”

The Egyptians and the Israelites viewed the wilderness like Buttercup viewed the Fire Swamp.  The wilderness was a place of chaos—a place of death, banishment and punishment. The wilderness was not a place of ease and safety, and it made no sense why God would lead His people into a place of hardship like this. Did He not know that for the Israelites the last hundred years or so in Egypt had been absolutely unbearable?  Didn’t He realize that this mass of people coming out of Egypt were hurting and broken?  Was God going to finish the job in a place of desolation so that there would be no trace of His people left on the face of the earth?  Why?

Changing Our Focus

I sometimes think that it’s easy for me to focus on the wilderness.  I mean the hardship there is staring me straight in the face.  Let’s not live in denial about this; let’s call it what it is.  I am not going to jump for joy when God says, “Kendra, for you I have a howling wasteland, a wilderness that you get to go and live in!” I am not cheering and saying, “Yay! HURRAH!”  I am probably saying, “Well, that figures.  God hates me.”  Look, I’m being honest; it’s just the truth of the matter.  I might as well not lie about it.  Just the word, “wilderness” seems barren, harsh, and like it goes on literally FOREVER. Wilderness? “Yippee….” (Eye roll emoji).

What if instead of focusing on the destination, we focused on the journey?  What if we focused on the first part of that verse?  “God led the people.

Well, I don’t like it.  I don’t like that God is leading me to a place to die. That almost makes it worse,  doesn’t it?

The Presence of the Shepherd

Does it really make things worse?  Or does it change everything?  God’s name is Jehovah Raah, which means “shepherd.”  A shepherd leads from the front, he doesn’t prod from behind.  A shepherd does not leave the sheep to be slaughtered or killed, but protects the sheep from all harm. The shepherd does not starve the sheep to death but finds enough food to provide the needed nourishment to continue. The shepherd does not leave the sheep, the shepherd leads the sheep. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11, NKJV).

You are not alone, even in the wilderness.  The presence of God Himself changes everything.  If all you have is God in the wilderness, and His name is Shepherd, Provider, Faithful, Deliverer, Conqueror and King, then nothing else is needed.  God is #ENOUGH.  Perhaps we have been led into the wilderness to learn this very thing.

He Keeps His Promises

Spurgeon told the story of an old saint who lay on her deathbed and declared that Jesus would never forsake her, because He promised to be with her wherever He led her. Someone asked her, “But suppose that He did not keep His promise and you were to be lost forever?”

She answered, “Then He would be the greater loser than I.  It is true I would lose my soul, but God would lose all His honor and glory if it were not true.”

If God went to such extremes to #deliver each and every one of us from the grip of Egypt, only to allow us to die as He led us into the wilderness, then God would lose His name, His character, and His perseverance in completing every work that He undertakes.

For the Sake of His Name

God leads you and me to where He is. This season of Christmas is not the easiest season for many of us. Many of us feel we have been led to the wilderness to die a slow death alone and abandoned. That is not true. Claim the name of God in the wilderness, in the midst of the barren and empty place you find yourself, and just see if the fact of the presence of God does not change everything. For the sake of His name, He will lead you through.

Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name,
that He might make His power known.
(Psalm 106:8, NASB)

 For the sake of You name, O LORD, revive me.
In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble
.
(Psalm 143:11, NASB)

“For My own sake, for my own sake, I will act;
For how can My name be profaned?
And My glory I will not give to another.”
(Isaiah 48:11, NASB)

What Does it Mean to Me?

Why has God led you to where you are?

When were you in a wilderness and saw God’s presence provided in a very real and tangible way?

If you are in the wilderness now, how will you seek to see the name of God proven today?  Are you even willing to look for His presence?

God promises in Jeremiah 29:13 that if we seek Him with our whole hearts we will find Him. What have you given the power to hold you back from seeking God in your wilderness?  Anger? Bitterness? Frustration? Depression? Despair?

LIVE IT OUT

Today, Oh LORD, give me the strength and desire to seek You, and the perseverance to continue to seek until I find Your presence and Your glory, here in this place.

God’s presence changes everything!

KENDRA GRAHAM: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

“And you shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for 6 days. (4) Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the 7th day you shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow the trumpets. (5) And it shall be when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall will fall down flat, and the people will go straight ahead”  (Joshua 6:3-5, NASB)

What Does it Say?

  • You march around the city, all men of war circling the city once, for six days.
  • Priests carry seven trumpets before the ark.
  • On the 7th day, march around city seven times; and priests blow trumpets.
  • When they make a long blast on the trumpets, the people will shout with a great shout.
  • Walls will fall flat.  People go straight ahead.

What Does it Mean?

I shared earlier this summer about my visit to Seattle and the unforgettable experience of watching a glass blower as he placed glass pieces into the fire and went on to create absolute masterpieces.  A piece of that glass now sits on the desk where I study each morning.  It’s a jellyfish paperweight.  (I know that may seem like an odd choice, but my Aunt Tina and I signed up for a glassblowing class, and that was the craft of the day!)

I was hesitant to try my hand at this.  I had been watching the skilled artist do his thing, and I was blown away by his talent.  I do not have talent.  I should tell you that I stopped doing art projects when I was six and my snowflake in Miss Ruyle’s class turned out to be a total disaster. Yet Aunt Tina is such an encouraging person, and since she was going to take the class, I agreed to give it a shot. We signed our names on the waiver (the one that states the ovens are 2,000 degrees), and we picked a time slot to blow a piece of glass together.

The description of the class sounded innocent enough. The first qualification was that the participant had to be over the age of five—yes, a jellyfish glass paperweight is something a 5-year-old could make. I kept reminding myself of that all day. My heart raced as Aunt Tina and I returned to the glass shop at our appointed time. I was terrified the jellyfish would be similar to the snowflake downfall of 1980.

The glassmaster took me into the studio and had me pick out colors.  That was easy enough.

Then the work began. He put a piece of glass on a rod and patiently talked me through the process.  It was challenging.  I had to keep my rod spinning the entire time while simultaneously adding color and shape to my glass blob. The glassmaster never left my side, continuing to  instruct me and once in a while taking over the task of spinning the rod when I forgot and became distracted with a different task.

In the end, I did it!  My jellyfish looked like a jellyfish and everything!  I could not have done it if the glass master had left my side.  The individual tasks were none too hard or overwhelming, but I could not have completed the entire project without without the help and guidance of the skilled glassblower.

God Brings Down the Walls

This experience reminds me of the times when God asks us to step up and do something with Him.  Here in this passage in the book of Joshua, God was going to bring the walls of Jericho down.  God did not need Joshua or his army; yet He was teaching them what they could do if only they would live a life of obedience to Him.

Jericho was a formidable city—daunting with its huge outer walls. From the outset, the task seemed impossible; yet God was with Joshua as He had been with Moses.  As these verses record, God told Joshua exactly what He wanted him and the Israelite army to do:  Joshua and his army were to walk around the city once a day for six days; then on the seventh day, they were to walk around it seven times.

Simple Tasks, Unconventional Strategy

Was this beyond their capabilities?  No.  If the Israelites could do anything at this point, it was walking—they’d just finished doing that exact thing in the desert for 40 years!  Walking was in their gifted column.  GREAT!  Easy peasy.  Oh, and the priests would need to go out in front, carrying seven trumpets; and just behind them would come the Ark of the Covenant (a visual reminder of God’s promises and provisions).

Is any part of that task list difficult?  No.

Does it make sense? No, not so much. God was clearly telling Joshua what He wanted the Israelite army to do; now the question was, would they do it?

This is not how war is done, by the way. No general has ever re-used this tactical plan.  Priests do not normally go in front of the army.  Priests are not usually armed.  When the priests blew those trumpets, they probably already felt like sitting ducks; and now, drawing all that attention to themselves, well….

Did God hate them?  Did God want them killed for some reason?  Had God read the rules of war?  I’d have a lot of questions, especially if I’d been one of those priests:  “Joshua, did you hear God right?”

God calls us to tasks, and often those tasks are not beyond our capability; we can walk, we can blow a trumpet, we can shout…. but the task does not appear to promise success in the end. We might end up a laughing stock. We’ll be the butt of jokes.  That person will never speak to me again if I do that.  My friend will think I’m crazy.  We may think of a host of reasons not to obey God and take up the task, but what if we simply obeyed?  How might we see God work?

All for God’s Glory

Whatever task He is asking you to perform, the work is impossible without God.  He is doing the work, just as the glassmaster was really making the jellyfish that was in my hands.  The work can’t be done—and is impossible to complete—without the Master at our side.  It’s God who deserves the credit and the glory in the end.

Can’t you just hear Joshua’s response as the news reporter interviewed him after the walls fell?  “Yah, well, we really had been practicing walking with power, and well, these new Air Jordan sandals, well they did the trick!”  The idea of Joshua taking the credit is laughable.  There is no other explanation but God. The problem often lies with us wanting a tithe of God’s glory.

Closing the Faith Gap

When God calls me to things that are only possible with Him, the question really comes down to obedience.  There is always a gap between what I can do and what God must do.  That gap is faith.

Do we have ears to hear what God is asking of us and the faith to do it?  His command could be as simple as, “Text that friend of yours this verse that I showed you today.”

“But she’ll think I’m crazy!” So we don’t.

What if we did??  Obeying in the simple things is HARD, but in the end we just might see those walls of Jericho fall if we can get over our pride and desire for control and if we let God put those sandals on our feet to walk, place a trumpet in our hands to blow and give us a message for our voice to shout. The simplicity of faith is often HARD as we rely on God to do what He says He will do.

What Does it Mean to Me?

Do I have a testimony of a time when God nudged me to do something simple and I did it?  What were the results?  Was it for my harm or for His glory?

Has God ever called me to do something my pride just wouldn’t allow me to do?  Have I ever regretted that?

Live it Out:

Today I pray that You, Lord, will make me sensitive to Your Spirit.  Give me the faith to stop and talk to that person who passes my way, to encourage a clerk at the store with a gift or a word, or perhaps just text a friend with a verse.  Lord, may it be You Who leads me. I tend to think I know best, and I know there’s someone who needs to hear from me. Help me to obey as You lead.


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