Friday, March 30, 2012

Bible Study: The Acts of the Holy Spirit - A Study of the book of Acts - Chapter 25


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Acts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. Stay strong. Live in the Spirit. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 25 of the book of Acts. Read it with the thought in mind that this is the first display of the power of the Holy Spirit working through man – aside from Christ, that is. Imagine what the Spirit can do through you if you let Him! Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

25:9 – Claudius was Caesar.




• The book of Acts teaches us much about what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing through a mortal life. What have you learned about how He wants to work through you today? What will you do to give up a bit of control to Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

REVIEW: In Too Deep by Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy’s second novel in the Kincaid Brides series is absolutely charming! “In Too Deep” picks up where “Out of Control” left off: Rafe and Julia married – and loving it; the Kincaid brothers reunited; and Audra newly widowed and just having given birth to her second daughter. Now the excitement begins! Audra can’t stay in the shack her husband made her live in while he was alive and she can’t go to live with Rafe and Julia. That leaves heading back to the Kincaid ranch with Ethan and Seth. But that just wouldn’t be proper. So the only solution appears to be: marry Ethan and move into the ranch as the lady of the house. At least Ethan is better looking than Audra’s first husband, and seems kinder. Maybe they would grow to love each other, but she had hoped for love if she were to marry again.

Masterful storyteller, Mary Connealy, crafts another entertaining and engaging novel that drips with character and humor, drama and suspense. This book beautifully continues the story of the Kincaid Brides, but can be easily enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. I cannot wait for Seth’s story, “Over the Edge”, due out in August 2012.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fresh: Reviving Stale Faith - Week Three

The “Fresh” topic for the third week of study is the “Purpose and Power of Fasting”. When we fast, a spiritual hunger for God’s Word is awakened. Fasting feeds my spirit, cleanses my body, reveals my sin and awakens my compassion. One of the scripture verses referenced this week was Luke 9:23. Look it up. It’s a quote from Jesus that if we come after Him, we must take up our crosses daily, deny ourselves and follow Him. Denying oneself requires discipline. Sometimes we need to tell ourselves “no.” I don’t do this enough. Do you? When was the last time you denied yourself?

Pastor Kerry gave a good tip in this week’s video: make the rules of your fast before you begin. Knowing the boundaries is crucial. Also remember that fasting is between you and God.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bible Study: The Acts of the Holy Spirit - A Study of the book of Acts - Chapter 24


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Acts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. Stay strong. Live in the Spirit. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 24 of the book of Acts. Read it with the thought in mind that this is the first display of the power of the Holy Spirit working through man – aside from Christ, that is. Imagine what the Spirit can do through you if you let Him! Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

24:2 – Felix – brutal, incompetent, former slave, freed by Antonia (mother of emperor Claudius), married 3 times, removed from power by emperor Nero. Felix bought his Roman citizenship.

Parallel – us – former slaves, freed by royalty (Romans 6:11-23), entrusted with much power (2 Peter 2:18-19).

See 1 Peter 2:13, 15-16; Galatians 5:13; Proverbs 25:28; Ezekiel 26:9-12.

24:22-27 – Some people will wait to make a decision for Christ. KEEP TALKING TO THEM.

24:24 – Drusilla – prideful daughter of Herod Agrippa I. See Acts 12:19-23.

Some historical records say that Drusilla was the granddaughter of Cleopatra VII. She was the sister of King Agrippa and Bernice.

24:25 – Felix became afraid because Paul’s message convicted him. But he did not repent and accept Christ.




• The book of Acts teaches us much about what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing through a mortal life. What have you learned about how He wants to work through you today? What will you do to give up a bit of control to Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fresh: Reviving Stale Faith - Week Two

Pastor Kerry’s “Fresh” teaching this second week of study on the “Strategy for Meditation” was incredible. Building upon the foundation he began last week, he explained that there is no “formula” for meditation. Every person’s relationship with God is unique which will have an effect on their meditation. He does go on to explain his four Rs approach: Read, Recite, Remember, Reflect it. This sounds a bit like a formula to me. However, I can definitely see how you may begin using Kerry’s 4 Rs and it will evolve into your own thing. So, perhaps strategy is a better word.

After watching this video and engaging in class discussion, I was motivated to record the scripture verses found in the workbook onto index cards and begin memorizing. I am praying that the Lord will help me to memorize the verses and the accompanying addresses so that His Word will be hidden in my heart that I might not sin against Him. And a miraculous thing has been happening: He is helping me to memorize His Word!

Praise God! His manna is mmm-mmm-good! I suggest memorizing His Word. Start with the verses of scripture showcased in this study.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bible Study: The Acts of the Holy Spirit - A Study of the book of Acts - Chapter 23


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Acts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. Stay strong. Live in the Spirit. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 23 of the book of Acts. Read it with the thought in mind that this is the first display of the power of the Holy Spirit working through man – aside from Christ, that is. Imagine what the Spirit can do through you if you let Him! Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

23:1 – was Paul’s comment sarcasm? Or misunderstood vocal inflection?

23:2 – it was illegal to hit Paul because he was a Roman citizen.

23:5 – Paul knew who Ananias was, most likely. He was probably being sarcastic about Ananias’ behavior.

23:7 – Paul descended to their level, using an enemy tactic.

See 1 Peter 2:23.



• The book of Acts teaches us much about what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing through a mortal life. What have you learned about how He wants to work through you today? What will you do to give up a bit of control to Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

REVIEW: Love By The Book by Cara Lynn James

“Love by the Book” by Cara Lynn James, A Ladies of Summerhill Novel, is not only part of a lovely turn-of-the-century series. It is also a charming stand-alone read. Melinda has just lost her sister and has been granted custody of her niece, Nell. What she didn’t expect was that custody would be shared with Nell’s uncle, Nick. A summer spent together promises to give Melinda and Nick the time they need to sort out arrangements for Nell’s guardianship. But unexpected turns in Melinda’s personal life and Nick’s personal and professional ones lead them on a journey that neither one expected.

This is a beautifully written and engaging novel that showcases the value of family and devotion to God. The characters are malleable and the dialogue transports the reader back to the early 1900s. The settings are opulent. The mysterious twist adds a hint of spice to this entertaining Christian romance.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fresh: Reviving Stale Faith - Week One

This is probably the most unique Bible study I’ve ever done! Usually I attend or teach studies where you show up, go over some discussion questions that you answered during your week of homework, watch the video session and fill in planks on a prepared sheet, and go home to begin the next week’s homework. That’s not how “Fresh” works. The class is engaged on a deeper level because you do your workbook questions in class! Pastor Kerry gives a couple of questions to begin your discussion of that week’s topic. Then, there’s an introduction to read before watching the video – which was less than 12 minutes long! More questions to discuss the topic and a homework assignment to journal and put into practice what you’ve learned. Amazing!

Several things impacted me during the video and in my small group’s discussion of “The Benefits of Meditation”. Pastor Kerry very plainly stated that the individual is responsible for their spiritual growth. You’re not going to flourish if you’re only getting fed by your Pastor on Sunday. You need to be in the Word EVERY DAY on your own! God’s Word is the Living Water that nourishes the tree of Psalm 1:1-3. One of my classmates brought up something she learned in another study: that the word “meditates” in this verse paints the picture of a hungry lion. I looked up the lexicon information the following day. The results included: to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot, speak, roar, groan, imagine. I can understand where the lion reference came from.

This realization led me to a resolution: I am determined to moan and groan and growl over God’s Word like a ravenous lion set before the richest of foods!

So, tell me, Christian Sibling: Do you have a method for meditating on scripture?

Friday, March 09, 2012

Bible Study: The Acts of the Holy Spirit - A Study of the book of Acts - Chapter 22


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Acts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. Stay strong. Live in the Spirit. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 22 of the book of Acts. Read it with the thought in mind that this is the first display of the power of the Holy Spirit working through man – aside from Christ, that is. Imagine what the Spirit can do through you if you let Him! Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

22:2-21 – Paul’s testimony.




• The book of Acts teaches us much about what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing through a mortal life. What have you learned about how He wants to work through you today? What will you do to give up a bit of control to Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

LESSON NINE: “1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times – A Sue Edwards Inductive Bible Study”

Lesson 9 of “1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times – A Sue Edwards Inductive Bible Study” led me to examine the characteristics of the Good Shepherd that should be emulated by a good leader. As Christians, I believe each of us is called to leadership as a member of the body of Christ, using our unique gifts and talents to shine the light of Christ in a dark world.

The Good Shepherd is Jesus. He calls His sheep by name and His sheep know and obey His voice. He goes before them and leads them. He lays down His life for His sheep. Jesus cares for His sheep. He knows His sheep. He is known by His sheep. Believers are His sheep.

So, as a good leader, what characteristics should I be incorporating into my own behavior? John 10:1-18 brings up some substantial points:

- First of all, the true shepherd of the flock enters through the gate, and Jesus explains that He is the gate, so we should lead others in the name of the Lord.

- We should call those we lead by name. I believe this demonstrates a level of relationship beyond just seeing a face and possibly recognizing it. It is a mark of genuine caring, which is addressed later in the passage along with knowing the sheep.

- We should lead by example, going ahead of those for whom we are responsible.

- Here’s the tough one: lay down his life for his sheep. Yes, as leaders we should willingly follow Christ to the death. We cannot do what Christ did in this instance and bring salvation to others, but our obedience and immense sacrifice cannot help but point others to the true Savior!

- We should care for the sheep. What are the needs of those you lead? How can you meet those needs? Perhaps you need to delegate this task to someone else.

- We should be known by those we lead. There should be a level of transparency in us as leaders. Those we lead should be able to pray for us and help us in our leadership tasks.

Frankly, this final exercise is what I will take away from this study. I cannot believe that nine weeks has already passed. I’ve loved learning with my fellow bloggers. What a terrific way to do Bible study.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Bible Study: The Acts of the Holy Spirit - A Study of the book of Acts - Chapter 21


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Acts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. Stay strong. Live in the Spirit. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 21 of the book of Acts. Read it with the thought in mind that this is the first display of the power of the Holy Spirit working through man – aside from Christ, that is. Imagine what the Spirit can do through you if you let Him! Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

21:4 – The Spirit warned the disciples what would happen to Paul. Their humanity warned Paul away from traveling to Jerusalem. Paul felt compelled by the Spirit to go. See 20:22. This shows that we can be sensitive to the Spirit, but do wrong with what He gives us.

21:10-11 – Agabus the prophet predicts Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem. Remember when he predicted the famine in Acts 11:28?

21:18 – All the elders being present indicates the importance of this meeting.

21:21 – all the Jews who live among the Gentiles – the people Paul was accused of misleading.

see chapter 15 for what Paul was really doing.

21:22-26 – by engaging in a practice observed by Jewish law, Paul would show his critics that he did embrace the law, himself.

21:22 – this is a proactive response by the Jerusalem church.

21:23 – this would indicate a Nazirite vow. See Numbers 6:13-21.

21:24 – the leaders hoped Paul’s generosity would help to quell the rumors.

21:25 – this attempt to stop the rumors did not change the position established in the Jerusalem church’s letter to the Gentiles in 15:23-29.

21:28 – all men everywhere – notice how the accusation has expanded from 21:21.

Paul is charged with teaching against the Jews and the law and bringing a Greek into the temple. First charge is similar to what Stephen was charged with in 6:13. Paul knew what happened to Stephen. But remember, according to 21:13, he was ready to die in Jerusalem for Christ’s sake.

21:29 – Paul’s accusers wrongly assumed that Paul brought Trophimus into the part of the temple reserved for Jews just because they saw the two men together.

21:39 – Would you want to talk to these people after they beat you almost to death? This shows Christ’s great character and love in Paul.





• The book of Acts teaches us much about what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing through a mortal life. What have you learned about how He wants to work through you today? What will you do to give up a bit of control to Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?