Tag Archives: Kendra Graham Bible Study

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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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 4:38-40

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.

Mark 4:38-40

(38) He Himself was in the stern asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said, Rabbi, do You not care that we are perishing?” (39) And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea,HUSH, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.  (40) And He said to them, “Why are  you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?”

What Does it Say?

  1. He Himself was in the stern asleep; they awoke Him. “Rabbi! Do You not care we are perishing?”
  2. Being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “HUSH!” The wind died, became calm.
  3. Why are you so timid? How is it you have no faith?

What Does it Mean?

Last week at The Cove’s Bible study we learned extensively what it was to be a Rabbi and what it meant to be a talmid—a disciple who learns from the Rabbi. Talmidin do not want to know what the Rabbi knows, talmadin want to be what the Rabbi is.  When the talmid is done with his training, the Rabbi will then turn to him and say, “As much as it is possible, you are like me; so GO! And seek out other talmid to be like you; and as they follow you, they will follow me, because you are like me!”

Jesus chose  twelve disciples—twelve talmidin—who left everything to follow Him. They were to follow the Rabbi—to go where the Rabbi went, to eat what He ate, say what He said, and do what He did.  The talmadin were not at luxury to challenge the Rabbi or to change course from the Rabbi. The title of Rabbi meant so much more than just “teacher.”

Rabbi Jesus in verse 35 tells His talmidin “Let’s go to the other side!”  They had just sat through a day of extensive teaching and were probably ready to enjoy a late lunch and to bed down for the night. Jesus was not done.

That phrase “the other side” sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? Well, it was a bombshell to those talmadin. Most of them were experienced fishermen, so navigating across the 3-mile Sea of Galilee was not going to be the issue… the issue was that they despised everything about the “other side.” The other side was—well, “the other side”—the Roman side… the side that worshipped Caesar as god. They offered food to idols and incense to false gods. They ate… pigs! The other side and their customs were hated by God, so they were hated by the talmidin. Now, Rabbi Jesus is saying to go over there? Who was this Jesus?

These talmidin more than anything wanted to honor God and serve Him, YHWH—a name they would not even utter because it was so holy. Now they were to go over to the other side?  Into the filth?  Into the chaos?  Into the mess?  Were they not to “Be holy as I AM holy?”  Was Rabbi Jesus asking them to do something that went against God’s commands?  Yes, this was what they believed: Jesus was wrong. The problem was… Rabbi Jesus was just that: Rabbi; and if He was Rabbi, then they were to follow, to obey.  Do you feel the tension?

We so often read these stories and miss the conflict because we know their ending. But let’s pause in the middle of this account and feel this tension.  Feel the doubt.  Feel the enormity of the decision that lies before them.  Can you relate to this in the least?  Have you ever questioned God and where He was leading you? It made NO SENSE! It actually went against everything you said you would ever do?!  I can feel it. I question God all the time, unfortunately.

The disciples got into the boat and began the journey over to the other side. Immediately the wind and waves tried to kill them. The disciples did all they could do to save themselves; they bailed water, they worked hard and then harder.  They worked to the point of exhaustion; and where was Jesus?  He was asleep. Exhausted from the day of teaching. Jesus was sleeping in the stern, which is where the boat is steered from. Funny, isn’t it? If they wanted to change course, they would have had to physically move Jesus out of the way, because the steering column is in the stern.

The talmidin had exhausted all their sailing skills. They were at the point of death. SO THEN they woke up Jesus…. their last option. Honestly, I think they woke Jesus up to give Him a bucket so He could help with the bailing of water.

Don’t you care that we are going to die?” The Rabbi was supposed to care completely for the talmidin, so they were accusing Jesus of sleeping on the job. I don’t think they woke Jesus up with the expectation that He would hush the storm; I think they woke Him up to help them in their efforts. Why do I think that?  Because that is what I do.

I think the talmidin were thinking how wrong the Rabbi was in asking them to go to the other side, and they didn’t want to outright say that. “Look! Rabbi! We are following YOUR orders… look where we are! We are going to die!”  At that moment the disciples doubted everything Jesus had said.  They doubted who Jesus was. Jesus was in front of their face and they doubted?! Again, sounds exactly like me.

Jesus stood up and said, “HUSH!” and the wind which was the cause of the waves stopped.  The waves became perfectly still. The talmidin asked, “Who is This?”

The talmidin were men of the Book… they KNEW God’s Word—most of them knew it word for word. The word Jesus used, “HUSH,” was a big deal.  YHWH “hushes” the sea… and calms the storm…. and when His own cry out to Him, He answers. If God hushes the sea… is Jesus God with skin on?! Ahhhh, now that is the question each of us from the disciples on have to answer, isn’t it?

Rabbi Jesus was relentless for the other side, but He was also relentless for His own talmidin to believe Him. God has not changed. He is still doing the same thing today.

God will often call us to places beyond our logic, beyond our desire, and beyond our ability, so that He can show us that He is God—more than that, so that each of us will proclaim, “Oh God, you are my God” (Psalm 63:1).

What Does it Mean to Me?

When has God called us to a place beyond ourselves?  Beyond where we wanted to go?  Beyond where we could go on our own?

What adversity have you encountered in the process of being a talmid and following the Rabbi?

When have we doubted that God really cares about our well-being?  When has God provided a way for you when there was no way?

LIVE IT OUT.

Today, I will choose to be a disciple of the Book.  Today I will follow the Rabbi where He leads and go to those to whom He leads me.

 

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.  He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were HUSHEDThey were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.   (Psalm 107:28-30)

– Kendra


P.S. Ladies, you can still join us for our Winter Women’s Bible Study at The Cove!  We meet each Tuesday evening through February 20th.  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 Bible Online Bible Study – Acts 16:23-25

Kendra Blog Title

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

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

Kendra Graham notes from Acts 16:23-25

“When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;  (24) and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. (25) But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:23-25

Step 1

THE FACTS:
(Verse23) struck with many blows, threw into prison, (verse 24) fastened feet in stock, (verse 25) Paul and Silas were praying and singing to God, prisoners were listening.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:
Recently, some of the information about what happened behind closed doors to Saeed Abidini has come out in interviews in the media. I had the honor of spending a day with the Abidini family not so long ago. It overwhelms me when I hear the horrible atrocities that Saeed had to endure. Saeed was beaten so badly one day that he was unable to sleep for 20 hours, he was in so much pain. What did Saeed do? He prayed for his captures, his family, the other prisoners and praised God. This blows my mind. How is this humanly possible? Answer, it isn’t.

How often do we read these stories, especially the one of Paul and Silas in prison, and we tell it with such gusto each and every VBS season, how God shook the prison and set the captives free, and they sang in prison and it was great! It is great… but when you hear of a beating first hand, of someone you know, and you look in their eyes, and you see the scars, and you hear of the torture… it is almost something you don’t want your children to hear or ever know about.

It’s sobering. It’s frightening.

At least it is to me. Perhaps you have a greater faith than me and would step up with gusto to endure such cruelty. I tend to have an easier time bringing questions to God about the whole situation. I did not listen to Saeed’s story and break out with a hymn of praise as he was describing the beatings. Tears were welling up in my eyes and my heart was heavy. That was me, don’t get that confused with how Saeed was.

Saeed had the most peaceful look upon his face, as if he was remembering those moments in the dark with Jesus. Saeed is not bitter or angry, instead he is grateful that God entrusted him with such a story of grace. There were others in the prison who needed to hear Saeed’s prayer and praise. There were others, an American, who needed his encouragement. There were prison guards who needed to know that Jesus saves, and gives strength to the weak.

Saeed said that while in prison, the presence of God was so permeated that you could not miss it if you tried. God was so close to him, and His presence so real to him in this time that he could not help but praise His name. Saeed was pressured to turn his face away from Jesus, but he said he couldn’t… not even if he tried. Then he praised even more. God trusted Saeed with a difficult testimony.

It takes so much less for me to run from God and shake my little dust fist in the air and tell God that He got all this difficulty wrong in my life. God needed Paul and Silas to press in here, in this prison, because there was a jailer and captives that He loved more than anything. Paul and Silas had been in the streets for days preaching about the Gospel to the Philippians, but alas, it would not be the testimony preached from the rooftops that would reach these particular people… it would be the testimony lived out in prison that would finally capture the heart of the jailer.

God was trusting Paul and Silas with suffering, they had to be in the innermost cell… they had to have a jailer employed to keep them in… the lengths God will go to for one person, a jailer no less… but through it all, the presence of God would so drench that place, that even when the foundations of the prison would shake, the captives would refuse to leave.

This is what the presence of God does.

We were created to experience His presence, and in His presence, joy is inevitable even when your feet are in stocks. It wasn’t the fact that Saeed, Paul and Silas were delivered from the pit that gave them joy, the fact of joy was the presence of God in the pit.

“Freedom in Christ is not a matter of location, but a matter of the heart” -Casper Ten Boom (when he was captured and placed in a concentration camp in World War 2.)

Step 3

APPLY IT:

What about you? Perhaps today you find yourself in a pit, in a place of struggle and everywhere you look is darkness and frustration, and you are questioning where God is in this???

Today, will you ask Him to focus your eyes on Him, and even in this place of bondage, give you freedom? Where is it that you need to press in to, and grab a hold of that testimony God wants to forge in your life? “When God leads us down hard paths, He gives us strong shoes.”- Corrie Ten Boom from The Hiding Place.

3

LIVE IT OUT: Today Lord, open my eyes to see where You are working. Give me strength to walk where You lead.
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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

 

Kendra Graham’s Summer Bible Study — James 1:4

Kendra Graham(1)

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

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

Kendra Graham notes from James 1:4.

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.

FACTS:
Let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.

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

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

LESSONS:
As I conscientiously  took care of my critical patient, her mother was wrapped up in a blanket in the corner, trying to be strong.  Her daughter’s condition could go either way, and she knew I was fighting to get her a bed in the ICU as the results on her labs came back each hour.

The mother of the patient began to tell me story after story of how her daughter had lengthy stays in the hospital since she was a small girl, and how she prayed even now at her bedside that God would strengthen her sweet child, yet again in this moment, and save the life of this precious 25-week baby that was growing inside her each day.

The questions came rolling out of the mom’s heart, as her daughter lay in bed without the energy to interject.

I remembered my patient that encouraged me earlier in the summer and shared the Truth of who God is, and how His grace is enough for this day, even when we hate the circumstances.

“God has a purpose for both the baby and the mamma,” I heard the mother of the patient say through tears.  “Perhaps, the baby too, will have a fight ahead of him, being so small, and who better to care for him than a mamma who fought the odds and won time after time?  God has a plan.  God is in control, even though I want to be the one to control the outcome.  God sees the big picture and He is trustworthy.”  In spite of the mother’s fear, she claimed the character of God.

Patience to wait through adversity and trust God with our life and the lives of those we love is extremely difficult.  We have ideas, and dreams and visions of how things are supposed to be and if God doesn’t work them out in the here and now, and in the most logical way to us, then we lose our faith, we get angry, we raise our dust fists to God and wonder if He is sleeping on the job.

It’s hard.  Life is hard.  Adversity is a guarantee.  This is why we must stay in God’s Word daily.  We must literally claim His character, this day and the next, claiming verses such as James 1:4–trusting that God is working things out for His reason, His purpose–which is to solidify our faith in Him as we see Him do the impossible, bring strength to the weary, peace to the hurting, and grace to the falling.

This I know…. God is not in a hurry, but is patient and long suffering as He continues to mold me in His image, especially through adversity.  Press in to the mercies and promises of the God who loves you and gave His life for you.  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes on Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life John 3:16.  God went to extreme measures for us, may we trust Him with the paths He leads us to.

“ If God sends us on strong paths, He provides us strong shoes.” – Corrie Ten Boom.

*The baby lived, the patient remained critical for days, eventually being able to go home, yet some of the damage that happened during the pregnancy will most likely not be reversed. 

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?

What circumstances in your life have left you questioning God’s character more than claiming it?

When God doesn’t work quick and up front and in the way you most see fit, do you abandon God or are you willing to be patient and press in to what He is teaching?

What character of God will you claim today as you are in God’s Word?

LIVE IT OUT!

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

Today, as my heart is hurting, and one I love is fighting for life, I will claim Lamentations 3:21-23:  This I call to mind and therefore I have hope; because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions are new every morning …

Give me the grace to hold on to Your Word, the one thing from the beginning to end of time that will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

Homework: Isaiah 42:16

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

Kendra Graham’s Summer Bible Study – Hebrews 11:39-40

 

Kendra Graham(1)

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

Kendra Graham notes from Hebrews 11:39-40

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.

FACTS:
These gained approval through THEIR faith, did not receive what was promised, God provided better.

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

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

LESSONS:
I have been processing, struggling, praying, and thinking about a patient I recently had.  This sweet patient wanted more than anything to have a baby, yet she had lost two and here she was pregnant with the third, and she was going to lose her as well.  I sat with her, prayed with her, cried with her, begged God to preserve her life and the baby’s life…. but it was not to be.  My heart sank as we heard a heartbeat hours before, but now, one was not to be found anywhere.   I just knew God was going to perform a miracle right in front of my face!

God did perform a miracle…but not the miracle I was demanding out of Him, or thought He would do.  My patient through her tears, grabbed my hand and said, “I don’t understand why, but what I do know is that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.  I don’t know how God will give me strength to get through this, but this I know, He will.”

My heart broke all over again.  My patient was ministering to me! Was I not supposed to be the one to minister to her?  She continued to claim the character of who God is: faithful, loving, all knowing, the alpha, the omega, Jehovah Jirah…and the list went on.

My patient is an example of someone who is grabbing a hold of those promises of God by faith, even though she did not receive her heart’s cry.  By faith she was clinging to who God is, in spite of the outcome she had.  How quick are we to blame God and raise our dust fists to heaven, instead of clinging to the promise of who God is.  Now, my patient said in her honesty, it will be a battle not to blame God and get angry with Him, because that is where she wants to go, but she said that she will decidedly make that choice each day, each hour and each minute as long as God gives her the grace to do it, to cling to Him.

AS I reflect on this situation, my eyes went back to Hebrews 11:16, this verse is talking about those who live a life of faith in God…“God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has a prepared city for them.”  How great would it be, for God to not be ashamed to call me His own?!

It’s easy to have excuses to not follow God.  God didn’t do this or that in a certain time frame, obviously God doesn’t care …. God gave me a bad childhood, relationship, job, school….. so when God shows up in the way demanded, then following Him won’t be hard.

God is not a puppy on a leash to be tamed.  God is who He is, and perhaps it’s time we as God’s people start clinging to that instead of our own thoughts and ideas.

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?

Where is it that you need to cling to who God is, not what you expect or expected Him to do for me?  When have you clung to the character of God when you didn’t understand?  Who has God shown you He is in your heartbreak?

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

Today, this hour, this minute I will claim the character of who God is in my life.

Homework:  James 1:4

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

Kendra Graham’s Summer Bible Study – Romans 12: 1-2

 

Kendra Graham(1)

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

Kendra Graham notes from Romans 12:1-2

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

FACTS:
By the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your service of worship.  Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

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

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

LESSONS:
Service…. living sacrifice…. transformation…. now this is dramatic.  I’ll take the worst patient.  I’ll do the most work.  I won’t take a lunch break so everyone else can have lunch…. I’ll be the martyr…  When I read about “service and living sacrifice”I think of these things, and then I feel guilty because I don’t want to do them and I can’t do them everyday, and I don’t have enough energy to be that doormat hour after hour.  Is this what Paul means when he is talking about being a living sacrifice?  I can’t do it.  I am exhausted.  I am working as hard as I can, giving up as much as I can, yet I still fail.

What if it’s not about the “works” and all the “stuff” I do for Jesus at all?  What is it that God really wants out of you and me?  It’s not about what we “do” that peeks God’s interest in us…it’s about who we are.  Paul is urging me here in these verses to offer Christ what I am, and all of it, from my mind and my decision process to my literal actions.  God has created me with a purpose, His purpose, and I will never be satisfied or content with the world and all of its offerings, because I was not created to be content with the world.  I was created for a personal relationship with the God who created me.  Everything flows from that PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with God.  SACRIFICE…. EVERYTHING, to keep that personal relationship with God alive.  It is by the mercy of God that this relationship is available at all, so do all you can every day to keep that relationship in tact.  Don’t worry about my work, my theology, my image, my desires, or what everyone else will think about what I’m doing or not doing.  If I sacrifice time, and invest in my personal relationship with God, the work will naturally flow from that….

When we read the Gospels, we can’t miss all the times Jesus snuck away to pray.  It was that personal relationship with the Father that led Jesus to the Samaritan woman, the lepers, the tax collectors.  It was that personal relationship Jesus had with the Father that enabled Him to say in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will, but Yours be done”(Luke 22:42). Jesus trusted the Father, because He knew the Father.  The relationship Jesus had with the Father, led Jesus to act and “Proved that Perfect and good and acceptable will of God”.

If I love Jesus personally and passionately everyday, I will be able to meet the needs of those  that He brings my way today, my work will be a natural outflow from my worship.

It is like a grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, it will spring up a harvest! (John 12:24)

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?

Have you invested time and energy into your relationship with God today?  Will you?  What is keeping you from investing and growing your relationship with God?  Are you so busy for God that you have not had time to stop and ask God what He wants to show you and where He wants to place you because you have your own ideas of where, when and how you want to sacrifice for Him?

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

Spend time with God today and ask Him to open your eyes to what His good, and perfect and acceptable will for you is.

Homework:  Hebrews 11:39-40 

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