Meditate on These Things

 

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Week Four Introduction
The purpose of this study is to move us closer to the love of our Heavenly Father.
Once we move closer, our goal is to remain there.
Spending quiet time reflecting and meditating on God’s goodness can help us to
achieve this goal.
Are you ready to relax and remain at the feel of Jesus?
If so, this lesson is for you!
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Focus Verses
Philippians 4:6-8
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.

Biblical History
The book of Philippians was written by Paul. He was one of the greatest Christian missionaries of all times. At this time in history it was very dangerous for a person to spread their beliefs regarding Jesus. During these early years of the church there were several groups of powerful people who wanted to end the spread of Christianity. Because these people desired to destroy the early church, it was not uncommon for early Christian leaders to be both tortured and even imprisoned for their faith. Paul was one of these targeted leaders. He had been both beaten and imprisoned more than once for his missionary work. Throughout all of this turbulence and hardship, Paul never lost faith in God. When chapter four of Philippians was written, Paul was actually being held in a prison cell.
What kept Paul strong throughout his many prison stays was reflecting and meditating on God’s great LOVE and protection for him in the past.
In this chapter, Paul was writing to a group of church members in Philippi. He was in prison, yet Paul was writing to encourage his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. He was encouraging them to not be anxious. This is incredible! Paul had every reason to be both anxious and worried, yet he chose to be the opposite. He chose to meditate on the positive and look to God’s prior love and provisions to uphold him! In doing this he was able to remain steadfast in both his joy and faith.
We can learn a powerful lesson from Paul!
Through Paul we will be reminded that our focus controls our outlook! 🙂

As we continue to discover the deep and loving nature of God, we will not only be growing in our faith, we will also be getting more and more comfortable sitting at His feet.
It is human nature that people usually feel a little bit uneasy sitting really close to people who are unfamiliar to them. Think about the last time you went to the movies or even sat on a church pew. Unless you knew the people you are about to sit by, you probably chose to sit away from them.
Before we sit at the feet of someone, we must first really KNOW them. We must not only KNOW them, but we must also have a sense that this person actually cares for us. Why else would we choose to sit within “kicking” distance of someone’s foot?
As we sit at the feet of Jesus, He wants us to know that He truly does care about us! He sincerely desires to be fully KNOWN by us! The Lord wants us to feel absolutely comfortable and totally willing to draw near to Him!
We learned through a previous devotion that in order to honestly know and trust who God is, we should both behold and reflect upon the Lord’s past provisions in each one of our lives.
For this reason, this week we will be writing lists of all of the ways that God has proven His love to us. We will write down all of the ways that God had shown us that He loves and cares for us. To help us learn how to meditate, let’s keep these lists near to us throughout this week and look at them often.
Before we go any farther, let’s grab a pencil and paper and begin our lists now.

Important Words
Monday
1. anxious- drawn in opposite directions; “divided into parts”
Original Word: μεριμνάω
Definition:  anxious, distracted
2. Nothing- no single thing
Original Word: μηδείς
Definition: not even one (man, woman, thing)
Usage: any (man, thing), no (man), none, not (at all, any man, a whit), nothing.
Connection to us
It is so easy to make exceptions to rules especially when those rules involve us and our emotions. This verse is literally telling us to not be anxious about ANYTHING! There are no exceptions to that. Be anxious for nothing means exactly that- NOTHING!
God is completely aware of every issue that we are dealing with at any given time. There are absolutely NO issues which would be an exception to this verse.

God wants us to hand over ALL of our worries to Him. He does not want our minds filled with anxiety over ANY problem or issue – no matter how big or small. This is sometimes difficult for us, but we can do it! Let’s ask our Heavenly Father to help us!
Connection to me:

Challenge activity for today
1. Write down every worry or concern that you can think of. 2. Color code each statement. 3. Choose one color to underline (code) what you consider to be the “big” worries and another color to underline (code) the “small” worries. 4. After you have “coded” each issue, choose a third color. 5. With the third color completely cross out each statement. 6. Finally, using this same third color- write “GOD WILL HANDLE THIS” beside each statement.
Pray again and THANK God for His continuous protection and provision in your life.

Tuesday
Thankfulness- (noun) conscious of benefit received- or for what we are about to receive.
Original word: εὐχαριστία
Definition: gratitude; actively, grateful language (to God, as an act of worship)
Connection to us:
Notice in the definition of thankfulness it mentions “a consciousness” of what
we are about to receive- this is HUGE! This means that as soon as we ask God to
resolve an issue- it is resolved! God immediately works out the perfect solution!
Because of this, we need to go ahead and THANK Him and move forward
actually knowing that God has once again provided!
It is vital for us to understand that He as soon as we ask, God creates the perfect
solution tailored specifically for us. Once this solution has been created by God,
we must be LED us to it! This is where faith and patience come in. It is at this
point that we must relax and allow our Heavenly Father to guide us! If we
remain steadfast and follow Him, God will LEAD us to the solution. We must not
get anxious and actually snatch our problem back. This is critical! If we want to
achieve the perfect ending that God has designed for us, we must remain on His
path!
Connection to me:

Wednesday
Peace- (noun)a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting
or oppressive thoughts or emotion, harmony in personal relations.
Original Word: εἰρήνη
Definition: peace (literally or figuratively); by implication, prosperity
Connection to us:
What is the most peaceful place you can think of? The ocean, a mountain trail, a
hammock on a spring day? For most of us there is at least one place which
represents peace. This is a place which allows us to temporarily leave both the
world and our issues behind. When we are there, our worries simply float away
in the beauty and tranquility of the surroundings.
The amazing thing is that as children of God, our Heavenly Father is wanting to
give us an even GREATER peace! The peace of God is an even more tranquil
feeling than even all of these favorite places combined.
It is up to us to search for God’s Heavenly peace, but sadly this “spiritual” feeling
is sometimes difficult for us to totally experience.

Because we are physical beings who are loved and cared for by a spiritual God,
we need God’s help to both connect with Him and feel His peace. When we
can’t feel Him, we often assume He isn’t there. Our minds begin behaving and
worrying as if the latter is true, when in reality God’s arms are reaching out to us
continuously. Our Heavenly Father desires for us to feel both his embrace and
His PEACE each and every day! Starting now let’s ask God to help us to FEEL him!
Our Heavenly Father is willing and able to help, but we must be sincere in our
asking. Are you ready to live life feeling light and free? Let’s Pray for God to
guide us.
Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,
You love me so much. You do not want to me to be worried or full of
stress. As my Father you are waiting with open arms to calm my mind and give
me peace. Please help me to stay in your protective arms and actually feel your
PEACE.
I know what peace feels like. I can feel it at certain times when I visit
special places. I love the stillness that my mind feels during these times. I deeply
desire to feel an even greater peace, your peace, on a daily basis. I know you
also desire for me to feel this. Please help me! I love you so very much. Thank
you for loving me with your all powerful love.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen
Connection to me:

Thursday
Mediate- (verb) To dwell on anything in thought; to contemplate; to study; to turn or revolve any subject in the mind.

Connection to us
Have you ever noticed how easy it is for our eyes and minds to wander towards our problems? This can be a very dangerous thing! What our minds wander toward often tempts us into action.
It is kind of like driving down the road and getting distracted by signs. For example, we see a sign, our mind begins wandering toward the image we see and then we are tempted to act upon it. One common example is when we see the famous “Hot Now” sign glowing at the local Krispy Kreme!
Although we did not feel hungry before we saw it, upon the letters our minds begin to taste that delicious treat. Before we know it, we are then tempted to ACT! We immediately feel like we MUST have a scrumptious doughnut.
Notice how quickly our gaze affected our action. We went from not feeling hungry to feeling starving all within a few seconds! We were tempted to pull through the Krispy Kreme drive thru and cheat on our diet all from a three second glance!
Moral of this story: What we gaze upon can alter our thoughts and actions in very powerful ways!

This can be dangerous with doughnuts but it can really be dangerous when our “gaze” turns towards our problems and off of God.
In these verses, God is not telling us to discount our problems, instead He is reminding us to not be distracted or pulled off course because of them. When we feel anxious over something, even something very small, it becomes very easy for us to make a rash and oftentimes bad decision as a reaction. Our ACTIONS can many times lead to even more anxiety! Our focus verses for this week were written to help us understand this.
When the scripture says to be anxious for nothing, it literally means NOTHING! In these verses, God is reminding us to not focus our gaze on ANYTHING but Him!
It is up to us to direct our gaze, thoughts, and actions! Let’s begin by turning our gaze away from worry and back toward peace. Let’s intentionally meditate upon God’s amazing LOVE!
Connection to me:

 

Meditate on Me ~
Meditate on Me ~ By Deborah Ann
Meditate on Me, put aside some time to spend alone and ponder Me.
Moan to Me, groan and whimper and express your heart to Me.
Mutter to Me, sigh and cry and whisper your love for Me.
Talk to Me, hum sweet words and murmur your praise to Me.
Pray to Me, beseech and plea

and implore your need for Me.
Meditate on Me, put aside some time and lose yourself . . . in Me!
~~~~~~~~~~~
Psalm 19:14 King James Version
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
Copyright 2013 Deborah Ann Belka

Discussion Questions
1. Would you describe yourself as an optimist or a pessimist? Why?
2. Do you find it easy or difficult to control your thoughts? Why?
3. If you let your mind run wild, what are you most likely to think about? Do these thoughts cause worry or peace?
4. How can mediating on the list of God’s provisions help you to have a more positive outlook?

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Come and Behold

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Moving closer to our Lord can sometimes be overwhelming.

Satan will often fill us with silly thoughts such as:

Does God even care about me?

Can I really trust Him to provide and protect me?

The answer to both is YES!

God loves and cares for us more than we can ever imagine!

God has always been been with His children.

He has both protected and loved them since the beginning of time.

He continues to do the same for each of us today.

In our focus verses for this week the author reminds God’s children about some the mighty things the Lord has done in the past to protect and care for His people.

The early Israelites had witnessed God’s amazing power first hand each time God stepped in to deliver them from enemy forces.

We can read about these first hand accounts in the book of Exodus. Moses documented these divine accounts.  Because of this, we are able know all about God’s incredible power and protection for His children from the very beginning of time.

Even though we no longer have the need to escape enemy chariots, we still need God’s power and protection on a daily basis. We live in a spiritual world.  We are in danger of experiencing Satan’s attacks on any given day.  The difference is, that unlike the Israelites’ past attacks from enemy armies and war chariots, many times we are unaware that powerful and dangerous attacks are still coming our way today!

But God is aware!  He is always ready and willing to provide us needed protection. It is so wonderful to realize that our God never changes!  He cared for His people in the past and He STILL cares for His people today!

He truly desires to take care of us!

And He deeply longs for us to draw NEAR to Him.

Throughout this week, we will spend time remembering and reflecting upon everything we know about our Heavenly Father’s provisions and protection.

We will do this both by reflecting upon Biblical examples and by recalling examples from our own lives.

 

Let’s get started.

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Focus Verse:

Psalm 46 (NKJV) 7-11

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

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Biblical History

We do not know for sure who wrote this psalm, but we do know that is was meant to be sang by God’s children as a song of rememberance.

Whoever wrote this song (psalm) wrote it with the intention of bringing the Israelites peace during times of uncertainty.

Likewise, this psalm along with examples below, can be used to continue to bring each of us peace today.

There are several examples in the Bible of God specifically protecting and providing for His people. The Israelites were often reminded of these times through the psalms they would sing.

Here are just a few examples: God protected the Israelites from the Egyptians (14:13-31), he provided manna for them (16:4-5) and he gave them victory over the Amalekites (17:8-16).

It is important to note that in verse 11 when the author states that the Lord of hosts is with us, the “us” is referring to literally us– all of God’s children

This includes you and me!

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Thoughts from Leslie

Our minds can sometimes play tricks on us.

Sadly, even when we know something is true, our thoughts can sometimes deceive us.

Because of this it is vital for each of us to use our eyes and minds to SEE the truth!

As most of us know, seeing the truth is sometimes easier said than done.

What makes seeing the truth most difficult is that we are often given a very limited view of a situation.

This is very true when it comes to seeing the truth about God.

Because our views are limited, Satan will continuously try to feed us lies.

Satan will try to make us believe that God is not there for us.  The devil will tell us that we are wasting our time by trying to draw nearer to our Heavenly Father.

These are both lies!

Taking the time to slow down and look for God in our lives each day will help us to see through these lies of Satan.

We not only need to slow down and look, but each time we see God’s protection,  we need to take the time to actually reflect upon His amazing LOVE for us!

Humans are known to have short term memories.  That is why it is imperative for us to actually recall and reflect upon His incredible goodness on a daily basis.

Because it is sometimes hard for us to remember all of the details regarding God’s Love for us, it is important for us to take some needed time to stimulate our brains.

Music can help with this!

After we finish this lesson, let’s listen to some inspiring songs and reflect upon all of the ways that God has cared for us in the past.

Why the need to add music to our times with Jesus?

Scientific studies have shown that that people respond very strongly to music.

Some studies have shown that music can stimulate more parts of the brain than any other human activity.

Music can  have a very positive effect on our thoughts (if we choose the right music)

Early humans understood this.

I think that is why the book of psalms is so very powerful!

Let’s learn from the author of this psalm.

Let’s first behold the works of God (by remembering and listing all the ways the Lord has cared for us in the past)

Next,  let’s be still and KNOW that He is God (by relaxing in His presence as we color and soak in His Love for us)

 

Are we ready?

 

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Important Words:

 

Monday:

Lord of hosts

hosts: (noun)

  1. 1:  army

  2. 2:  a great number :  multitude

 

original word:

צבאה צבא

1. that which goes forth, army, war, warfare, host
a. army, host
1. host (of organised army)
2. host (of angels)
3. of sun, moon, and stars
4. of whole creation
b. war, warfare, service, go out to war
c. service

 

Connection to us:

Most countries required their citizens to  pay taxes. In exchange for a percentage of these taxes,  military protection is provided for the citizens. The purpose of this military protection is to keep the counties and its individuals safe in case there is ever a physical attack made by an enemy.

This is a good thing because our physical protection is very important!

What is often overlooked by most people is our need for spiritual protection. We sometimes forget that we live in a spiritual world. Because we live in a spiritual word, we need spiritual protection just as much as physical protection. Satan and his crew are relentlessly plotting and scheming in the hopes of personally destroying us. Their goal is to attack us when we are unprotected and at our weakest

Luckily for us, we don’t have be unprotected! If we are a child of God, we have our Heavenly Father and His host of angels ready to fight for us! That is what this week’s scripture is reminding us of. God has been protecting His people since the beginning of time.He is willing and able to do the same for each of us today!

Let’s read this verse again and actually visualize a host (a great number) of angels surrounding us.

This is a POWERFUL image!

God loves us so incredibly much!

He deeply desires us to Draw in NEARER to Him.

He longs for us to rest under his powerful arms of protection!

 

Tuesday:

Refuge– (noun)

  1. shelter or protection from danger or distress,   a place that provides shelter or protection

 

Original Word:

משׂגּב
1. high place, refuge, secure height, retreat
a. stronghold

Connection to us:

How many of us remember being scared as a child?  The first place we would run is to the loving embrace of our parent. We would lift our arms to our mom or dad in the hopes that they would pick us up and carry us away from our”perceived” danger.

As Christians, we can still have that parental protection today!

Our Heavenly Father is offering His loving embrace to each one of us today!  We are HIS children!  He is calling to us to reach our arms to Him!  He longs to HOLD and CARRY us away from the “real” and ever present danger that our world today holds!  Satan is grabbing at us?  Real Danger is HERE! Are we ready to jump into the protective arms of our Almighty Father???

 

 

Wednesday:

Behold– (verb) to look at (something) : to see (something)

Original Word:

חזה
châzâh
khaw-zaw
to gaze at; mentally to perceive, contemplate (with pleasure); specifically to have a vision of

Connection to us:

Most of us have have had issues in our lives which have caused us to feel uneasy and even a little nervous. Those issues could have involved anything worrisome to us such as a health scare, a financial burden, a family crises, a romantic conflict, etc.

Our lists of issues could go on and on.

Whatever the issues were or are there is always one common question which needs to answered: which will we choose to behold , our problem or our God?

At what (or WHO) are we going to LOOK and focus?

If we choose to LOOK continuously at our problem, our problem will seem to GROW!

In the same way, if we intentionally LOOK at our Lord, our FAITH in our Heavenly Father will GROW!

It is up to us which we “feed”

We can choose to empower the issue we are having, or we can choose to empower our faith!

Are we ready to turn our eyes away from our issue for a moment and BEHOLD God’s amazing power to protect and provide?

Let’s spend some time today FEEDING our faith 🙂

To do this, let’s go back and reflect upon all of the ways that God protected and provided for His children in the past.  Our God NEVER changes! He has and will always take care of His flock!

Under the “Biblical History” section for this week’s devotion you will see this  short list of God’s protection shown in the past.

God protected the Israelites from the Egyptians ( Exodus 14:13-31), he provided manna for them (Exodus 16:4-5) and he gave them victory over the Amalekites ( Exodus 17:8-16).

I challenge you to research some other Biblical examples and add them to that list this week. The book of Exodus is a GREAT place to look 🙂

 

Thursday:

Works- (noun) things that results from the use or fashioning of a particular material

 

Original Word

מפעלה מפעל
miph‛âl miph‛âlâh
works, things made

 

Connection to us:

As humans we are limited to what “things” we can make or accomplish because our materials are limited.  Even talented artists are somewhat limited to the art they can create because of the limited resources available to them.

It is vital for us to understand that God does not have limited resources or materials!

Our Heavenly Father is WILLING and ABLE to create any WORK that we can ever hope for or imagine!

I think sometimes we limit God with our restricted view of Him.  I think very often we ask for assistance and even act upon a choice that is so much lower than the choice that God is wanting to WORK for us.  We do this just because we do not fully understand and trust in His abilities!

We must remember that Our Heavenly Father created EVERYTHING!  He is not limited by resources, materials, time,  or man power!  This fact is so much deeper than our earthly minds can even understand!

Let’s ask God today to help us grow in our understanding and faith in His abilities and potential WORKS!

Let’s pray that our desires and asks do not limit God to provide for us in any way.

Many times our minds do not even know WHAT to ask for, this is why it is imperative that we pray for God to do HIS will in our lives!

The biggest challenge after we pray this will be to not step in and try to HELP God when He has something BIGGER in the WORKS for us!

Let’s pray for FAITH and PATIENCE as we ask for and allow God to WORK in each one of our lives in HIS WAY this coming week  🙂

 

In God Alone ~

https://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/in-god-alone/

In God Alone ~ CHRISTian poetry by deborah ann

In God and Him alone,
my soul waits ever patiently
for my hope only comes
when I rest sound and quietly.

He is my sturdy Rock,
from which I can’t be shaken
He protects and defends me
from the attacks of Satan.

A Refuge to me He is,
a place to run and hide
His love encompasses me
from each and every side.

It is in Him I trust,
in Him my faith is hedged
for He is my soul’s salvation
in His strength I am dredged.

In God and Him alone,
my soul rests expectantly . . .
for my hope I know will come
while I wait on Him patiently!

~~~~~~~~~~

Psalm 62:1-2

“Truly my soul waiteth upon God:
from him cometh my salvation.”

He only is my rock and my salvation;
he is my defence;
I shall not be greatly moved.

King James Version
by Public Domain

Copyright 2015
Deborah Ann Belka

 

Discussion Questions

  1.  Have you ever been tricked into believing a lie?  How did it happen?
  2. Satan does not want us to trust God with our problems.  He wants each one of us to try to solve issues using our own power.  Why do you think this is?
  3. Has Satan tricked you recently into believing that there is a problem in your life that you should not release to God?  What exactly is this problem?
  4. Beginning today, what can you do differently to help yourself not believe Satan’s lies?
  5. Do you feel like you place limits on God?  If so, how can you work to break this habit?

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Sitting Strategy 

 

For the first few minutes, let’s simply listen to our favorite worship songs and direct our thoughts to God.

As our brains begin to remember examples of God’s LOVE in our lives, let’s actually write these examples down. This list will be important for us to keep nearby.  These examples can be a constant reminder to us of who God is!

After we finish our list, let’s sit quietly and color for the remainder of the time.

Let’s thank God for loving us and ask Him to reveal Himself in a new and powerful way to each one of us today!

 

 

Jesus Wants to Dine With You

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Does God truly want to be near someone like ME?

For many of us, this is a concern that stop us from drawing closer to our Father.

The remarkable fact is that He truly does desire for each one of us to come to Him. Through these lessons we will discover that Christ sincerely longs for us to draw closer to Him each and every day.

Let’s Look closely at both Jesus’ words and actions to help us to see this.

Focus Scripture:

Mark 2:13-17 (NKJV)

While on earth- Jesus welcomed everyone to draw closer to Him and to the LOVE of God (He especially welcomed sinners!)

13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.

15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Biblical History

Matthew (Levi) in the Bible came to be one of Jesus’ disciples. Before Matthew became a disciple of Christ, he was a tax collector. Matthew aka Levi (in the above verses) are the same person.

Tax collectors, like Levi, were hated by the Jews because they worked for the Roman government.  The Roman government at this time in history was an enemy of the Jewish people. Even though the Roman government was against both the Jewish faith and lifestyle, some Jewish men chose to work for them as tax collectors. These Jewish men did this as a way to get wealthy.  These Jewish tax collectors not only worked for the “enemy”, but they were oftentimes very dishonest individuals. These men would very often demand more “tax” money than what was owed in an attempt to cheat their neighbors. Because of these reasons, tax collectors were known to their Jewish neighbors as horrible people and terrible sinners.

Since Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector, he was looked upon this way by his community. Religious people stayed clear of people like Matthew.  A “good” Jewish person would have never been seen dining with a tax collector.

These negative opinions and dirty details did not concern Jesus. Our loving Savior was not worried about what the so-called religious people thought.  He loved Matthew (Levi) even in his sinful state.

The fact that Jesus invited Levi (a sinful tax collector) to draw nearer to Him is so amazingly. God loved Levi. He loves each one of us with that same mighty passion. Even though we sin and fall short on a daily basis, God truly does want each of us to come closer!

Thoughts from Leslie

Our sins do not keep God from longing to be near to us.

This is so beautiful to me! 🙂 Our human minds cannot comprehend the powerful emotion that God feels towards us. He deeply desires for each one of us to draw nearer to Him. He truly does long to be close to us each and every day! This is so incredible!

Think about the strongest feelings of Love that you have ever experienced.  The feelings we have felt are only a dim shadow to the amount of love that God feels for us on an ongoing basis.  Remember that God IS love!

 

Important Words 

Monday:

Follow- (verb) to walk or proceed along <follow a path or person> 

original word:

ἀκολουθέω

properly, to be in the same way with,

i.e. to accompany (specially, as a disciple)

 

Connection to us:

We need to be so careful who or what we are “following”. When we allow another person to lead us we are in essence accepting their desires as our own. It is human nature for a person to seek their own personal desires. Knowing this should help us to see just how dangerous the act of “following” can be. Before we decide to follow someone we need to have a clear understanding of just WHERE they are going!  I wonder if any of us truly take the time to consider the deep impact that following the wrong person can have on our lives! This can change our entire destiny! As children of God, we KNOW where Jesus is headed. He is always moving toward His Father!  We also know what He desires, He desires for each of us to follow Him as He leads us nearer to His Father, God. He is continuously traveling and continuously leading us in the direction where true LOVE is found! He is calling us to FOLLOW Him! This is so beautiful! Are we ready to truly say yes to our Savior?

Connection to me:

 

Tuesday:

Arose- (verb) to get up

Original Word: ἀνίστημι- to stand up (literal or figurative)

 

Connection to us:

Jesus wants us to be an active participant in our faith walk with Him.  Growing nearer to our Lord is something that we must actively pursue to achieve. It is by no means something that happens by chance. In order to pursue it, we must be willing to STAND UP, be an active participant, and actually MOVE.  Before we can follow our Lord and Savior where He desires to lead us, we must ARISE!

Connect this theory with the app, “Couch to 5K”. This running app helps non-runners train and exercise in a slow and steady way.  Notice it is titled COUCH to 5k. The first step to accomplishing the ultimate 5K goal is to first ARISE off of the couch! It is the same in ANY area of your like that you are wanting to GROW in.  You must first ARISE! Are we ready to ARISE?

Connection to me:

 

 

 

Wednesday:

Dining- (verb) to eat a meal.

Original Word: κατάκειμαιto – to recline at a meal

 

Connection to Us:

When we look at the definition for the word dine, it is easy to miss the significance of this simple act.  The fact that Jesus dined with sinners is extremely important! When people dined together in Biblical times it was a very meaningful event. It was a way of showing both love and acceptance. When Jesus chose to dine with this group of people in essence he was announcing to everyone in that town that He LOVED and accepted these people. He was not saying that He agreed with their lifestyles, but He is saying that He LOVED them in spite of their lifestyles!

Think back to when we were in high school.  Who we sat with at lunch was very important. Our “table mates” had a HUGE effect on how the rest of the school population viewed us. Who we sat with would immediately put us into a certain category:  we were immediately labeled as a jock, a nerd, a popular kid, etc.

This was kind of the same silly thinking back in Jesus’ day. Him choosing to dine with “sinners” put Him in a VERY QUESTIONABLE category. Because He was choosing to dine with sinners…  did this make HIM a sinner? This was the question that was running through some “religious” people’s minds.

Jesus did not worry Himself as to what people thought about Him.  He LOVED these “sinful” people and He DEEPLY desired to spend time with them. He feels the same towards each one of us today! This is true LOVE! This is so incredible!

Are we ready to invite Jesus to spend time with us today?

He is eagerly waiting to “dine” with us!

 

Connection to me:

 

 

 

Thursday-

Call: (verb) to command or request to come or be present

Original Word:  καλέω
Part of Speech: Verb
Definition: (a) I call, summon, invite, (b) I call, name.

Connection to Us

Jesus does not command any of us to come to Him, but He does CALL for us to come closer.  This is so incredible to me! Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the light.” He could simply stand at a distance watching us and thinking to Himself, “Those silly children. They should KNOW I will lead them to my Father. They should KNOW I will lead them on the path toward true love!  If they choose NOT to follow me, that is their own sad loss!  It is no ‘skin off my back.’ I am just going to stand here and watch them wander in darkness.” But Our Savior DOESN’T say that! Our Messiah actually DID give skin off of His back the day that He chose to die on the cross for our sins! And now He does not ideally sit by and look down on us whenever we roam around in darkness- He continues to CALLS TO US to follow Him.  He is lovingly leading us toward the LIGHT!!! It is up to us to FOLLOW!

This is so beautiful! Are we ready to answer His CALL today?

 

Connection to me:

 

Draw in Nearer

 

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The complete workbook is available on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Draw-Nearer-Mrs-Leslie-Eaton/dp/0692683631/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460364461&sr=8-1&keywords=draw+in+nearer+bible+stories

 

 

A little about Bible Stories from the Heart…

 

Bible Stories from the Heart incorporates reading, writing, and artwork to help you meditate and pray over God’s scripture in a deep and meaningful way

There is a reason we spend several days over the same scripture.  Our Bible study is written as a way to deepen your comprehension and enhance your daily quiet time with God. It is our goal for you to savor God’s word, not rush through it.  We want each of you to take the time to FEEL God’s love.

The study is designed to complete either with a small group or as an independent study.  As an independent study, you are free to work at your own pace.

You may complete the study in a few days, a few weeks, or maybe months.  ALL ARE GOOD.  The important thing is you go deeper with GOD to let HIM fill your heart.

Feel free to invite a few friends to join you, or complete this study alone.  Either way…Get prepared for some amazing God moments through this amazing Bible study!

 

We would love for you to join our online Bible study group anytime.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447039392265675/

 

The purpose of this study is to help each of us draw nearer to the loving arms of God.

Are you ready to move closer?

If you are reading this study, I am assuming your answer is YES!

Moving closer to our Heavenly Father can sometimes be overwhelming.

Satan will often fill us with silly thoughts and questions such as:

Does God truly want me to approach Him?

Won’t I need to work and continuously prove myself to remain in His presence?

For many of us, these are the concerns that stop us from moving closer to our Father.

The goal of this study is to help us to see past these lies of Satan.

Through biblical evidence we will see that our amazing Heavenly Father truly

does want to be close to us.

He is waiting with arms open wide for us to draw near.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary and Martha

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We would love for you to join us on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447039392265675/

 

 

Focus Scriptures

Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV)

Mary and Martha

38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.”

41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

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Biblical History

Jesus and his disciples often traveled. As they traveled, they would often stay at the homes of fellow believers. During each visit, Jesus would fellowship with the families He stayed with. Jesus had stayed with Mary and Martha on other travels before. He cared for their family very much.  Earlier in His ministry Jesus had actually raised their brother Lazarus from the dead.

Mary and Martha both loved Jesus very deeply.

 

Meaning behind their names:  Martha means ‘lady of the house’.
Mary means ‘wise woman’ or ‘lady’; it is a Greek form of the Hebrew Miriam or Mariam.

I think it is interesting that the sister with the “wise” name was the one who showed true wisdom in this situation.

Thoughts from Leslie

It is important to note that God deeply desires for each one of us to draw nearer to Him. We saw this as we read the story of Mary and Martha.  Our Heavenly Father truly does LOVE us. He sincerely wants to be close to us.  This may seem like a small detail at first, but it is not. This is a HUGE and VITAL realization! Think about it, why would any of us choose to move closer to someone that does care about us? I don’t know about you, but I never want to intentionally move closer to someone if they do not want me near to them.  I never want to feel like I am a burden or imposition on anyone.  Knowing that my Lord and Savior truly does want me near to Him helps me be both willing and eager to spiritually move closer to Him.

 

Let’s reflect upon the story of Mary and Martha 

Reflection Number One:

 God WANTS us near to Him.

Jesus has come to the home of Mary and Martha.

What is His purpose in being there? Let’s look closely to find the answer.

Jesus and His disciples are traveling.  They do not own houses in the different towns in which they travel, so they choose to stay with other believers.

It is important to note that Jesus does not NEED to stay with anyone as He travels.  He is the Son of God!  He actually created the entire world and everything in it simply by speaking it into existence. Reflecting on this fact helps us to realize that Jesus could have chosen to simply speak the words and He could have provided food and shelter for both Himself and His companions at any time without needing to stay with anyone.

Not long before arriving at the home of Mary and Martha, Jesus had fed 5,000 people with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  This should prove to us that He definitely had the ability to personally provide everything that He and His disciples would ever need during their travels in the same exact way.

It is imperative that we understand that Jesus chose to abide with others not because He NEEDED to, but because He WANTED to.  He invites us to abide with Him today for the same reason.

This fact should help us realize that Jesus truly does DESIRE to STAY CLOSE to us.

 

Reflection Number Two:

We do not need to “earn our spot” before we draw nearer to God.

Jesus wants for us to stay close to Him not because He needs our hands, but simply because He desires our heart.

It is important for us to realize that there is nothing that we can do to earn our spot near Jesus. This realization is sometimes difficult for us to believe. In this crazy world, we begin to believe that LOVE is something we must earn.  This warped thinking tricks us into believing that the one who works the hardest for Jesus is the one who will be chosen to abide in His presence.

It is this thinking that makes most of us relate to Martha in this story.  As we read these verses many of us find ourselves feeling sorry for hard working Martha and maybe even a little angry at her sister Mary.

Isn’t it sad that as women we tend to believe that acts earn love? Women, as a whole, grow up thinking that that the best way to make someone love them is by serving them more and more.

Serving others is definitely important.  The problem comes when we try to base and grow a relationship simply through works. Relationships are built through quality time spent with another. Doing things for people should never replace quality time spent with them. This is the big takeaway from the story of Mary and Martha. Serving will never move us closer to someone, it will only make us feel more needed.  God doesn’t need any of us.  He desires for each of us to abide with Him, because He loves us not because He needs us! Because of this, drawing closer to Jesus can only be accomplished by becoming less like Martha and more like Mary.

As we continue in this study let’s focus our attention on reflecting upon the beliefs and actions of Mary.  Like Mary, we must first believe that Jesus truly does desire to be near to us. She believed that Jesus wanted to spend time with her so she intentionally chose to move closer to Him.

Next, let’s take note that Mary did not try to earn her spot at the feet of Jesus. We must realize the same. To truly be near to Jesus, we must focus less on work and more on fellowship. It is important that each of us truly understands that it is God’s LOVE that calls and allows us to come to Him.  We do not earn our new spot by the work of our hands!

Our God longs to have a personal relationship with each one of us just as He did so many years ago with Mary and Martha. He is reaching out for us to come closer. Isn’t this AMAZING!

 

 

 

Important Words:

Monday:

Welcomed: (verb) to receive or accept with pleasure; regard as pleasant or good

Original Word: δέχομαι
Part of Speech: Verb
Short Definition: I take, receive, accept, welcome
Definition: I take, receive, accept, welcome.

 

Connection to us:

Martha “welcomed” Jesus into her home. She did this by physically inviting Jesus in. Many of us today also “welcome” Jesus into our home. We do this by purchasing Bibles, devotion books, prayer journals, and the like. Like Martha, we truly desire to spend time with Jesus. And like Martha, we easily become distracted. With every new day, our Savior is calling for us to move nearer to Him.

We can do this by spending time with Him reading His Holy Word and meditating on His love. Will we move nearer to our Savior today? Will we momentarily leave our distractions behind to accomplish this goal? Jesus is waiting with open arms. The next step is up to us!

 

Connection to me:

 

 

Tuesday:

Heard: verb, to learn by the ear or by being told; be informed of.

original word: ἀκοω: to hear (in various senses)

 

Connection to us:

Mary did not just listen to Jesus speak, she HEARD His words. This is vital for us to understand. Hearing involves learning! Mary learned from Jesus. This should be our goal today.

Let’s strive to intentionally be like Mary each and every day. Let’s open our ears and hearts and allow Jesus to teach us!

We can do this as we actively read God’s Word and reflect upon it.

By READING God’s truths and then REFLECTING and APPLYING them, we can be like Mary in our daily relationship with Christ!

Are we ready to LEARN from our Savior? Are we ready to be filled with the LOVE of Jesus?

Let’s spend some quiet time reading and meditating on God’s Word today!

 

Connection to me:

 

 

Wednesday:

Distracted: (adjective) to be drawn away or diverted, as the mind or attention.

Original word: περισπάω to drag all around, i.e. (figuratively) to distract (with care)

Connection to us:

As women, we consider ourselves to be “masters” of multi-tasking.  But the truth is, when we use this mindset in our relationships, we are actually “masters” of none.  When we focus our attention on more than one thing at a time nothing or no one is getting our FULL attention. In our busy lives this is often necessary, but can be harmful in our relationships. Relationships are about giving yourself completely to another person. We cannot give ourselves completely to another person if our minds are diverted during “quality” time spent with them. Mary knew the importance of devoting a few minutes out of her day completely focused on Jesus.  It is vital that each day we find time to do the same. Our Savior desires a DEEP relationship with us. He wants us to come to him each day (even for as little as a 15- minute time period.) He wants us 100% completely focused on Him.

Are we ready to schedule 15 minutes of time each day completely in the presence of LOVE? Let’s take a few minutes now to quietly meditate on the truths found in this week’s scripture.

Connection to me:

 

 

 

Thursday:

Serving: (verb) furnishing or supplying with something needed or desired

Original Word: διακονέω-to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon (menially as a host, or friend)

 

Connection to us:

As women we tend to show love by serving or “providing”.

We begin this habit from an early age.  As children we show love to our parents and friends by “making” them things: crafts, notes, desserts, and doing things for them. We continue these habits as adults.  The more we LOVE someone, the more we tend to want to DO for them. Sometimes we even judge how much someone else loves us by calculating how much they “do” for us. This is not how Jesus determines LOVE!

Jesus does not NEED us to provide for Him to prove our love for Him. What Jesus most desires is US! He simply wants us to spend time each day in HIS presence!!!

This is so AMAZING! Jesus simply desires us to be NEAR! Are we ready to draw nearer to Him today?

Connection to me:

 

 

 

Discussion Questions

 

  1. What is keeping you from moving closer to God?

 

 

  1. Do you feel like you need to “earn” your spot at the feet of Jesus?  If so, why do you think you feel this way?

 

 

  1. Can you connect more with Mary or with Martha in this week’s scripture? Why?

 

  1. What “falsehoods” do we learn about love that keeps us distanced from God?