Saturday, December 10, 2011

IT'S A TERRIBLE DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

December 7th?  Nah!  December 9th, 2011 will forever be my day of infamy.  It is the turning point in my life and in that of my children.  Only with God's strength and support will we get through this. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

TRYING TO STAY IN BSF

I love studying the bible and enjoy researching the archeology of biblical times. I have enjoyed BSF studies and I think they are very knowledgeable and worthwhile studies.  Unfortunately, I am having difficulty keeping up with these studies and not allowing my other interests to slide.  I am still working on the themes and headings of the bible to post here on this blog, and have failed to enter the dozens of devotions I wrote over the summer.  I just finished a theology class (2 1/2 years left of study) and my weekly art class is done.  So, I do have more time, but my writing and personal bible study is being adversely affected.  I want to glorify God in the way he chooses to use me, so I am praying about whether or not to continue BSF.  I also need to focus on leading my group of 6th grade girls through our youth ministry at church and my small group study on Heaven.  I hope you check back soon for all the items I hope to be adding to this blog in the next few weeks.  Thank you for visiting.  I never knew this blog would take off like it did and I can't believe how many site visits are racking up.  If you are all visiting, I should be writng.  Have a glorious day, wherever you are, and take a moment to look up at the sky today and be thankful for your life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BSF LESSON / ACTS / LESSON 2 / ACTS 2:1-47

(These are my own opinions, and not to be considered "correct" answers to BSF questions.) 


DAY ONE  Read all lesson notes and Scripture references
1.  a.  Answer
b.  Answer

DAY TWO Acts 2:1-13 
2.  a.  A noise like a violent rushing wind
b.  And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one.
c.  They were all speaking in different languages
d.  The Holy Spirit filled the apostles
3.  a.  In Genesis, the purpose was to confuse everyone with different languages, in Acts, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to bridge the gap between languages in order to bring understanding to all people.
b.  God wants us to act as one community
4.  To bring understanding and help further the Word of God

DAY THREE Acts 2:14-21, Joel 2:28-32
5.  a.  The apostles physically stood beside Peter as a sign of unity
b.  Answer
6.  The pouring forth of the Holy Spirit on all people.
7.  The Lord shall return and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved
8.  Everyone who calls out on the name of the Lord
9.  The second coming of Christ

DAY FOUR Acts 2:22-32 
10.  a.  Of Nazerene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst
b.  Delivered by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men, and put to death
c.  God raised Him up again putting an end to the agony of death, since Jesus could not be held in its power
11.  John 3:16-17 For God loved the world so much that he have his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
12.  a.  By the hands of godless men
b.  We have free will.  Pilate tried to be innocent, by blaming men who chose to do evil. 
 
DAY FIVE Acts 2:33-47
13.  a.  Psalm 110:1
b.  Acts 2:33 Exalted to the right hand of God
c.  I feel humbled
14.  Repent and be baptized
15.  a.  Repent / be baptized / teaching, fellowship, community, prayer / help the needy
b.  I need to spend more time in prayer and community, but I have repented and been baptized, I am teaching and am in fellowship with others, and I help the needy.

DAY SIX Acts 2 
16.  Answer

Friday, September 16, 2011

BSF LESSON / ACTS / LESSON 1 / ACTS 1:1-26

(These are my own opinions, and not to be considered "correct" answers to BSF questions.)

DAY ONE Read all lesson notes and Scripture references.
1. Every known nation during this time was reached for God.  How more important is it now in these days nearer the end of the world?  I feel convicted to get off my rear end, away from my safety net and out from underneath my covers and start learning to reach those people lost because they are living far from Christ.
2.  * There is a difference between accepting knowledge of Jesus and the acceptance of his forgiveness and consequent indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
* The key to living a powerful, fruitful Christian life is to be filled continuously with the Holy Spirit.  It’s a privilege.

DAY TWO Acts 1:1-4, Luke 24:25-27, 36-53
3.  a.  Acts 1:2 – He gave his apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit.
1:3 – He proved to them that he was alive.
1:4 – He told them not to leave Jerusalem until ready
Luke 24:26-27 – He explained all the scriptures concerning himself and regarding his foretold suffering described in Moses and the prophets.
24:36 – He appeared to them in physical form and ate with them.
24.45 – He opened their minds to understand the scriptures
24:49 – He sent the Holy Spirit to fill them and told them not to leave until they had received this gift.
24:51 – He blessed them and returned to heaven.
b.  By his living word.  If I study and reflect upon it, he will speak to me.
c.  Just this lesson has me learning more of what was unclear to me and compels me to read and learn more, seeking what God has to say to me.
4.  Luke 24 – There were many proofs, but I’m thinking this answer requires physical signs.
24:3 – Tomb was empty
24:15 Jesus appeared to two followers walking down the road from Jerusalem
24:17 – He spoke to them as they walked.
24:27 – Jesus taught them the scriptures concerning himself and his crucifixion.
24:29 – He went home with them.
24:30 – He blessed the bread and ate with them.
24:31 – He disappeared instantly as it became near to them this man was Jesus.
24:36 – Jesus appeared and spoke “Peace be with you.”
24:39 – His hands and feet were real, he was not a ghost.
24:43 – He ate fish.
24:49 – Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and game them instructions to stay in the city until the Holy Spirit would come and fill them with power from heaven.
24:51 – He ascended into heaven.
John  21:6 – He filled the disciples fishing nets with fish.
21:13 – He made breakfast with them and broke bread and ate fish.
5.  To prepare their hearts to receive the miracle that he was really alive and to be ready to receive his instructions about spreading the living word.

DAY THREE Acts 1:4-8
6.  To receive the power of the Holy Spirit upon them so they could be witnesses.
7.  a.  Jesus was with them before, but now the Holy Spirit lived in them.
b.  Yes, because God is with everyone, even those who are non-believers.  Just because someone doesn’t acknowledge the presence of God, doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.
c.  I am trying to be “in you” but lately it seems I am “with you”.  I am a believer, but circumstances keep me (no excuse) from fully devoting myself to God.

DAY FOUR Acts 1:4-11
8.  Yes, Acts 1:5 states “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 
Romans 8:9-10 - states that the Holy Spirit controls us by virtue of living in us.
8:14-16 – God’s spirit joins our spirit when we are adopted into his family.
1 Corinthians 12:13 – Jesus and his church “us” are one body, one spirit when we are baptized in the spirit, by accepting Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit.  Every human is capable of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.  It is available to all, Jews, Gentiles, free men and slaves.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – God has placed the Holy Spirit in every human heart; that is how he identifies us.  Animals don’t have this gift.  We are guaranteed the ability to call upon the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 4:6-7 – By virtue of making us his children, God has placed the spirit in our hearts ready to be called upon when we call out to God, our Abba Father.  This is our inheritance.
9.  I believe the spirit is housed in us, from our birth.  When we call upon Jesus, and accept him as our Savior, we are “filled” with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit comes out to play, to be a part of our everyday lives.  We are essentially “baptized” when we are asked to have our sins forgiven and our souls cleansed.  One cannot happen without the other.
10.  a.  The disciples would be witness to the Holy Spirit coming upon them in order to help spread the word about Jesus, as our Savior, throughout the world.  When they received the Holy Spirit, they would receive the power to evangelize.
b.  I am called to help spread the word of Jesus and help others become followers of Christ.  I can lead by example and compassion, if not able to travel the world, or even my own city, in His name.
11.  a.  I can’t imagine what they were thinking.  I would be shocked, amazed and left speechless.  I would have been thrilled to see the prophecies spoken about in the Word of God were coming true and it would give me strength to move on to the command left by Jesus, to spread the Word. 
b.  Seeing the two white-robed men would have just added to the shock value of the ascension of God, but it would have been comforting to see that Jesus had really returned to Heaven and there was a promise he would return.

DAY FIVE Acts 1:12-26
12.  a.  Acts 1:13-14 – Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), and Judas (son of James).  Eleven in all.
b.  I think they were praying for strength to accomplish the command Jesus set forth for the, that of spreading the gospel.  They probably prayed for guidance, protection and wisdom for their journey.
13.  a.  I believe in a voting system, not casting lots.  Acts 2:23 states that God’s prearranged plan (Jesus being betrayed) was carried out.  I truly believe that God decides who our leaders will be, according to his prearranged plan.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t need us to vote or pray for guidance.  We are disciples in his plan being carried out.
b.  – No, because we cannot truly fulfill God’s plan of spreading the gospel if we don’t actually believe it and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in doing so.  Jesus chose the disciples from the beginning, after they accepted him as their Savior.  But further instruction states that they were to not leave on their missions until the gift of the Holy Spirit came upon them.  I do not think a non-believer can truly “work” for God.  They can help the church in a variety of ways, and they are still part of God’s plan, but if they are truly going to do the work of the Lord, they need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and constantly be seeking spiritual guidance along their journey. Non-believers do not see this as a way of life.  As an example, a non-believer accountant can certainly balance the church’s checkbook, but can they truly foresee the budget needs of a church without first seeking the God to guide his wisdom to work for the fulfillment of God’s plan?  I don’t think so. 

DAY SIX Acts 1
14.  Application:  I was called back into youth ministry this school year, though I thought that phase in my life had passed.  I will continue to seek guidance and ask for wisdom as I lead my group of 6th grade girls through their middle school years along with my two co-leaders.  I need to replenish my soul at the well, on a daily basis, if I am to accomplish what God has planned for my group.  I cannot be successful in this if I am not walking with God.

OUR MOOD DICTATES OUR ACTIONS

Mood dictates our actions.  We agree to go with a friend to a movie on the weekend, but by the time it’s Saturday, we really don’t want to go because we’ve had a bad week and just want to stay home and be miserable.  Or we make a “to do” list for the next day and wake up tired and lazy.  We fail to do what we had intended to do in a more enthusiastic moment.  Our emotions mislead us.  One morning we awake with promise and as we start our day we fall into the despair we’re plagued with and want to crawl back under the covers.  It’s like an emotional rollercoaster with all it’s up and downs.  It affects the things we do and the words we speak and the attitudes that define us.  The bible is very clear with instructions to live by faith, not by feelings.  Faith assures us that God will be by our side each moment of our lives, even in our darkest moments.  God will be there even when we fail to pray, our smiles fade and our moods surrender. 
Hebrews 10:38 states Those who are right with me will live by faith.  But if they turn back with fear, I will not be pleased with them."
God is on our side, ALWAYS.  Even when we make mistakes and fail miserably, he stands beside us and wants our days to be filled with beauty, love, and power through the Holy Spirit.  He does not want us to be in despair over our own failings, but to live faithfully each day with the knowledge that through God’s magnificent love we can accomplish anything we set our minds on.  He knows the plans he has for us, so we must forge ahead into the darkness continually seeking his purpose for our lives.  We must not turn our backs in fear of God.  Even if we do, he is not absent. 
Having a bad day?  Okay, spend a few extra minutes relaxing in bed or being a couch potato.  But remember to get back up and ask God to guide you through your days and nights and to pave the path ahead of you with golden stones that you might easily find to follow.  No gold stones show up?  Keep walking anyway.  Just one small action in the name of God will empower you to make a second action and a third and so on. 
The past 10 days have been difficult, to say the least.  My daughters, and a friend, were rear ended and one daughter is having significant, negative physical results from the accident.  I was also injured at the accident scene, thought I was not in the car.  Our days have been filled with pain, frustration and anger.  However, each day I devour the word of God and pray for the healing of my daughters and their friend.  I try to stay positive and help my daughter in any way I can, though it is difficult to walk at the moment.  We have spent our days resting and visiting doctors.  My daughter’s spiritual life is strong and I am glad to see her relying on her faith to get her through this time.  We have our bad days, but we don’t have a bad life.  We are faithful to our God, even in the midst of a car accident, that He will show us the way out from this ordeal.  Our God is with us ALWAYS!
Take the time to reflect on God before each action, just for a day.  Thank him for the food he has provided every time you open the refrigerator.  Thank Him for indoor plumbing, the invention of the automobile, electricity, government and democracy.  Thank him for the use of you limbs, sight and free will.  Are you sitting on your couch?  Thank him for providing the home you live in and the means to purchase a couch.  Thank him for the weather and the logical sequence of our calendar. 
Then take the time to thank him for your gifts.  My strongest gift happens to be hospitality.  I open the doors to my home constantly, for anyone who needs it.  I thank God for providing a home big enough to house my family and guests and for allowing my husband to earn the means to entertain all our guests.  I thank him for the love I am shown from people who are grateful I feed them.  I thank him for these same friends who have shown their concern for us over the past 10 days.  I thank him for the knowledge that I can call a friend to come help me and they will come.
Spend your day allowing your mood to dictate your actions.  Make your bed in the morning believing you are making the bed Jesus slept in.  Get dressed and ready to make your appearance before God.  Cook a meal that would please the disciples.  Clean your house as if God himself were going to visit.  Wash clothes as you would wash Jesus’ clothes, with care and compassion.  Open your house to those in need, as you would welcome Mary and Joseph, on their travels.  The more you do this, the more your positive mood will dictate your positive actions.
Heavenly Father, I desire for my faith, not my emotions to dictate my life.  I pray for balance in my “hide under the covers” days, so that I might surrender to you in everything.  I pray for all of humanity to feel your guiding presence in each moment of their days and nights.  I ask, Lord, that you light a spark in the hearts of those in deep despair and help guide them out from under their covers into your light full of love and forgiveness.  I ask this in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen

Saturday, September 10, 2011

HEAVEN by Randy Alcorn

My small group bible study will be working through this book starting on Sept. 29th.  I've wanted to study this book for a few years now, so I'm very excited to finally get started on it. 

http://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Randy-Alcorn/dp/0842379428/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315671124&sr=8-1

I'll be posting my readings, thoughts and notes here to share with you.  I can't post the actual questions, because they are copywrited, but I will post my answers to each question in the study guide.  I hope some of you will choose to follow us along on this journey.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

WHY DON'T PEOPLE STUDY THE BIBLE?

It occurred to me during a recent conversation with a friend, that people don't study their bibles much these days.  We have bible studies, go to church services and listen intently to sermons and take notes, but we don't seem to open our bibles during the other six days of the week.  I think people are scared at what they will find in it.  Will they find that they are living their lives in a manner unbecoming to God?  Will they realize that the only relationship that is truly important in their lives is lacking due to their own neglect?  I also think people don't know how to study the bible.  They think it's a read/answer questions type of book and they don't have the answers!  There is a difference between reading the bible and studying the bible.  I have read the bible through at least 3 times, some books as many as 7 times, but I don't get much out of it until I ponder the words and stories illuminated in the bible.  I search other verses that back up what I'm reading and I have a bible dictionary to understand obscure words and a concordance in order to find related verses easily.  I also have a commentary on the entire bible so if I really get stuck I can see what another person's thoughts are and go from there.  I learn the vocabulary in the bible and am still learning to understand the culture behind the stories to better understand what life was like during the time Jesus walked the earth. 

It's impossible to know God apart from knowing his word.  And knowing the bible is relevant to our lives today.  It's not just a history book, but a "how to" or "self-help" resource.  The bible does relate to our day to day lives.  God's advice is as good today as it was when it was first delivered.  Also, some people think there must be a technique to studying the bible.  Do #1 assignment, then #2, etc.  While I agree that some people do not have adequate study skills, anyone reading this can read, so therefore, they can study.  Somewhere on this blog is a list of study techniques for bible study, but ultimately, we have to choose our own manner and take a small passage at a time.  Other's think that they are not pastors so they don't really have to know the word, they can get what they need from church.  That's ignorant!  What if my children never learned to cook or do laundry because they get those things from mom?  Well, mom won't always be around and even when they move out I won't be standing next to them when a question about cooking or laundry arises.  They will have to make their own conclusions and act for themselves.  They can teach other people to cook and do laundry, so their friends won't go hungry or be naked, and be lost.  It is our responsibility to pass on what we know to future generations!  Another excuse is that we don't have time.  Well, we have time for television or exercising or just being lazy so yes, we have the time.  It’s essential that we make the time to study for bible.  Imagine that your grandparent left you an old diary when they died.  It was a history of your family’s experiences and full of advice.  Would you read it?  Of course you would!  Just imagine the bible is God’s dairy, and who among us wouldn’t read a diary if it found its way into our hands?  If you have doubts the bible is true, adequate or complete, just READ IT and you will come to the same conclusion the majority of humanity has, it’s true and adequate and complete.  It is reliable and authoritative!  The more we read it the more it turns out to be.  Is it interesting?  Of course it is, but I will admit I don’t like reading Numbers.  It’s boring to me and I have never gotten much out of it, however, I still read it when its time comes up because I know one day God will make my heart open to receiving its message.  I don’t give up, I keep reading and studying.  I have made my own discoveries on topics I can relate to and I have uncovered spiritual truths for myself, not by just relying on my pastor or friends.  It does not take special training to study the bible, just an open heart and dedication.  I think studying the bible is essential to my own growth and spiritual maturity.  I hope you find the time today and every day after to open your bible and start reading God’s story.  May God bless your efforts.

Friday, August 5, 2011

SCHOOL IS ALMOST HERE

There are seven more days before my youngest starts high school.  I remember the day she graduated from elementary school.  I thought, Well, that phase is over with sadness.  She was going to begin a new life phase in middle school.  Now, she's off to high school.  My son is moving out in a week or so to go to college, my other daughter will also be attending college classes along with her high school classes.  They are past their childhood.  As I think about them this morning I'm thinking about how I used to enjoy the new start of a school year.  It was always a do over and I had high hopes I'd do better than the year before and I always looked forward to making new friends and experiences.  I have always loved learning; I still attend classes here and there just to keep myself entertained.  I have always thought there is more to the life I am living, not that I'm dissatisfied with it, just that I shouldn’t be content with being stagnant. 

I watch my children move forward in their lives and I’m so proud of them for living their lives in a Godly manner.  They are devoted to their faith and do not sit idly by and just listen to church sermons.  They move forward toward Christian maturity.  They help at church; my son is a youth group leader, and my eldest daughter was asked to help out with a new bible study the teenagers put together on their own.  My youngest is devoted to her daily bible readings and becomes upset if her quiet time is interrupted.  They can quote scripture better than I can and they know foundational principles that I see other kids struggling with.  I pray they will always have such passion for staying close to God on a daily basis and learning more as they mature. 

I am reminded of Philippians 3:13-14 which states Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.


I don’t think any of us should be satisfied with our knowledge of the bible or church principles.  There is so much to learn, but the prize is well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21)  We must allow past hurts, failures and disillusionments fall to the wind and look forward to the life that the Giver of Life, Himself, has given us.  He is the Renewer of Hope, the Breath of Life and our Provider.  If we’ve had a rough time, emotionally, spiritually or physically, our Father is right alongside us waiting to fill us with new life and hope, to bring us out of whatever pit we’ve found ourselves in. 

So, as we all start our new school year, lets allow mistakes and heartache from the past not weigh us down and keep us from achieving what God has planned for us.  Let’s all have a bright attitude towards a new beginning and reach for the prize.  I pray for a safe and rewarding year for everyone going back to school and I look forward to more graduations each year for years to come.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

FAVORITE WEBSITES: TODAY'S BLOG - CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONS

FAVORITE WEBSITES: TODAY'S BLOG - CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONS: "http://encouragementjourney.blogspot.com/ ENCOURAGEMENT Encouragement for the Journey: Weekly Words and Devotions Life without encourage..."

Monday, July 25, 2011

MY FAILURE TO ACCEPT FORGIVENESS IS A CHOICE

But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. (Acts 8:3)

Saul was a man relentlessly bent on destroying Christians, thus the church.  He wasn't just asking them to stop believing in Christ, he was ravaging them, threatening murder, persecuting them.  He was imprisoning them for crimes not committed. 

Then one day as he walked towards Damascus to continue his bloody mission he heard a voice,

“Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”  (Acts 9:4). 

You have to understand, that he didn’t hear just any man speak.  It was the voice of God from heaven itself.

“suddenly, a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice” (Acts 9:3-4)

I’m thinking Saul must have been confused because as far as he was concerned he wasn't persecuting God but just defending Judaism.  He was just defending his faith.

So Jesus told him to get up and continue his walk into the city and that all would be told to him what he must do.  The men traveling with him had to lead him into the city because Saul has lost his sight.  He immediately began praying about what to do.  In a vision he saw a man named Ananias lay hands on him to restore his sight. 

In Damascus there was a man named Ananias whom the Lord came to in a vision.  He told Ananias to go seek Saul and lay hands on him to restore his sight.  Ananias struggles with this command.  Saul was the man he had heard such terrible stories.  But the Lord told him Saul was a chosen one.  I can’t imagine what Ananias thought.  Here he was working for the faith and he had to go help a man who was working against everything he had been defending.  I wonder if Ananias thought Saul wasn’t worthy of being a chosen one. 

So there he went, walking to Saul’s house, entering and laying hands on Saul, and restoring his sight and strength, for he hadn’t been able to eat for three days.  Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit and was baptized.  Do you thing he was trying to figure out what had happened, and how it happened so fast? 

Regardless, Saul began immediately preaching for Christ and proclaiming him as the Son of God. (Acts 9:20)  Everyone who heard him was amazed.  He had just spent years persecuting Christians, and now he was one of them?  But Saul was a steady and strong preacher and the Jews were confused.  They thought he was on their side.  But as the number of Jewish converts increased, Saul was slowly proving that Jesus is the Christ.

I imagine Paul (Acts 13:9) was shocked as he recognized his actions for what they were; misguided killings, the ripple effect on families, the devastation of communities, his affront to the God of the universe.  Imagine the struggle to receive God’s forgiveness and to forgive himself.  But he did receive God’s forgiveness in full.  Paul went on to preach powerful sermons, teachings we still read today, about the gift of forgiveness available to all because of Jesus’ death on the cross.  Forgiveness is a powerful weapon that overcomes the evil in this world and brings healing to our wounded souls, but we must reach out and accept it.  To say that we don’t deserve to be forgiven is to make our sin more powerful than the blood of Christ.  The blood he shed can overcome any obstacle we think may lay in our path to salvation.  When we refuse to accept his forgiveness, we have made our opinion more powerful than that of the Holy Spirit and God.  It must seriously wound the heart of our Father when we will not accept the gift he has given us, the gift of total forgiveness that cost him so dearly, that of the life on his one and only son.

When we do all that we can to help someone and they turn around and don’t accept the help, doesn’t that wound our heart, how more so the death of a child.  God’s child.  Don’t make his sacrifice insignificant.  Embrace the forgiveness offered.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

PRAYER JOURNAL

Often when I have a conversation with someone about prayer the subject matter at hand is that they don't know where to start.  They don't want to start by asking him for what they need.  My response to them is to speak to God as you would a BFF.  When I talk with my best friend I start by asking her how she is and we share what we are excited or happy about and we eventually get to the complaining or venting about the troubles in our lives.  We share our concerns or questions and we talk about the new things happening in our lives.  Yes, we speak on a daily basis and we always have new news to share.  Speak to God as you would a living person, HE IS A LIVING PERSON!  This is a list of questions I keep taped to the inside of my prayer journal to prompt me into prayer on days I feel stagnant or distant.  This list reminds me to share ALL my news with God, not just what I need or thanking him for what he has provided.  I also share good news about my own life.  Eventually, over years, I have come to the point of not needing this list and I just speak to God.  I also write down my prayer requests.  I write them down to remind me of my ongoing prayers for family and friends.  If you are not sure what to be praying about, grab a bible.  Pick a favorite verse and start thinking about how you can apply it to your own life and ask for help in doing this.  Even though God knows everything concerning me and my life he wants to hear from me.  I know my best friend's husband just got a new job, but I still enjoyed hearing all the details from her and the ongoing process of him settling into that new job.  God wants the details! 

Special event/holiday today:
Weather:
Location:
Things I want to accomplish today:
I am happy and excited about:
I am concerned or sad about:
Events with my family/friends:
Projects that need attention:
Devotional Passage/Bible Reading Selection:
God’s Message for me/another today:
God’s Promise(conditions):
God’s Command to Keep(area):
God’s Timeless Principle(behavior):
Insights from bible study:
How does/can this apply to my life:
Confessions:
Praises:
New Prayer Requests:
Ongoing Prayer Requests:
Answer to Prayer:
What I learned today:
New people I met:
People/Things that brightened my day:
What I did to brighten someone else’s day:
News about my family/friends:
Today’s events that I want to remember:
Fun Facts In The News! (Music, Movies, Parties, Newspaper Clippings, Photos):

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SUMMER LAZINESS

Just wanted you all to know that I'm not being lazy this summer.  I'm doing LOADS of reading and taking lots of notes and will be here to post as soon as I get a chance.  I was quite sick with a dislocated rib for a while and now my house seems to have a revolving front door this summer, no different than during the school year.  I'm reading Acts and Isaiah in the Bible and Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  I'm also doing some artwork and taking some online classes.  Schedules sure do change around here during the summer.  I promise to be back soon.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

BIBLE OUTLINE - JOSHUA

JOSHUA
Purpose:  To give the history of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land.
Author:  Joshua, except for the ending, which may have been written by the high priest Phinehas, an eyewitness to the events recounted there.
Setting:  Canaan, also called the Promised Land, which occupied the same general geographical territory of modern day Israel.
Key People:  Joshua, Rahab, Achan, Phenehas, Eleazar
Key Places:  Jericho and Caleb were the only two survivors out of the original group of adults who left Egypt to enter the Promised Land.
Key Points:
  *Success:  God gave success to the Israelites when they obeyed his master plan, not when they followed their own desires.  Likewise, we must adjust our mind to God’s way of thinking in order to see his standard for success.
  *God’s Faithfulness:  Remembering how God fulfilled his promises in the past assured the Israelites that he would be faithful in the future.  In the same way, God’s promises reassure us of his love, faithfulness, and guidance.
  *Leadership:  Joshua’s dependence on God made him a strong and effective leader.  To be a strong leader like Joshua, we must be ready to listen and act on God’s commands.
  *Conquest:  God commanded his people to conquer the Canaanites and take their land.  But Israel’s commitment to the task didn’t last long.  Commitment to God means more than being enthusiastic about him.  We must complete all of the work he gives us and apply his instructions to every part of our lives.

BIBLE OUTLINE - DEUTERONOMY

Deuteronomy
Purpose:  To remind the people of what God has done and encourage them to rededicate their lives to him.
Author:  Moses (except for the final summary which was probably written by Joshua after Moses’ death)
To Whom Written:  Israel (the new generation entering the Promised Land)
Date Written:  About 1407/6 BC
Setting:  The east side of the Jordan River, in view of the Promised Land
Key People:  Moses, Joshua
Key Place:  The valley of Arabah in Moab, east of the Jordan River
Key Points:
  *History:  Moses reviews God’s efforts to set Israel free from slavery in Egypt.  By reviewing God’s promises and might acts, we can learn about his character and grow in faith.
  *Laws:  The legal contract between God and his people had to be renewed for the new generation entering the Promised Land.  Commitment to God and his truth cannot be taken for granted.  Every person in each generation must respond anew to God’s call.
  *Love:  God’s faithful and patient love is portrayed more often than his punishment.  His love forms the foundation for our trust in him.  We can be confident that the one who loves us perfectly can be trusted with our lives.
  *Choices:  God reminded his people that in order to enjoy the blessings of his will for them, they would have to continue in obedience.  Our choices make a difference.  Choosing to follow God produces good results in our lives and in our relationships with others.  Choosing to abandon God’s ways brings harmful results to us and to others.
  *Teaching:  God commanded the Israelites to teach their children his ways.  God’s truth must be passed on to future generations.  It is not, however, just the traditions or commands that are to be passed on.  Rather, we are to teach each new generation to know and love God personally.

BIBLE OUTLINE - NUMBERS

NUMBERS
Purpose:  To tell the story of how Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, how they sinned and were punished, and how they prepared to try again.
Author:  Moses
To Whom Written:  The people of Israel
Date Written:  1450-1410 BC
Setting:  The vast wilderness of the Sinai region, as well as lands just south and east of Canaan.
Key People:  Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Eleazar, Korah, Balaam
Key Places:  Mount Sinai, Promised Land (Cannan), Kadesh, Mount Hor, the plains of Moab
Key Points:
  *Census:  Moses counted the Israelites twice for the defense of Israel as they entered the Promise Land.  People have to be organized, trained and led to be effective in making a difference in their world.  Before beginning great tasks, it is always wise to count the cost of what lies ahead.
  *Rebellion:  At Kadash, the people of Israel rebelled, having accepted the negative report of ten out of twelve spies.  Rebellion against God is always serious.  Usually, rebellion is not an abrupt, radical departure from God; instead, it is the result of long-term drifting, often characterized by complaining and criticizing.
  *Wandering:  Because they rebelled, the Israelites had a forty-year stay in the wilderness.  During this time, God rained a new generation to follow him while those who still had wrong attitudes died.  He judges sin not just because he dislikes it but because he is holy and cannot tolerate it.
  *Canaan:  Canaan was the Promised Land – the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Canaan was to be the dwelling place of God’s people, those set apart for true worship.  Today, the place for true worship can be found in the human heart - the home of the Holy Spirit.