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Women in His Presence

Relentless

My grandma has always had a special touch in making a backyard look special and relaxing.

This Thanksgiving morning, I sit in the backyard reflecting, resting, and enjoying the birds, fresh air, and just being alert to what God has to say today.

 

RELENTLESS.

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He reminds me that his love is relentless and so should mine.

I am a STANDER.

Many of you may not know what this is, but it means you are waiting for your marriage to be restored. You are standing in the gap for your spouse in prayer and petition. You do not date. You wait even in they are in a relationship. You wait even if they remarry. You wait for God’s perfect timing for your marriage to be restored. Even if it takes twenty years.

It’s not always easy and it’s flat out crazy, but it’s not as uncommon as you would think. In fact, there are many amazing testimonies and they all have common patterns that include what led to the divorce as well as what happens when restoration begins.

Like Jonah, a stander cannot run from their calling. God makes it clear over and over. He always answers to stay the course when logic and flesh want to take over.

It seems so impossible. There is nothing in the natural that I can see to even have hope for. But, my God is a God of faith, hope, and love.

I am thankful.

1. Thankful for a trial that is truly testing my faith.
2. Thankful for a trial that can only end by God’s strength and power.
3. Thankful for the awareness that I need to grow in prayer and faith.
4. Most of all though, I’m thankful that God has given me the ability to truly love RELENTLESSLY just like he loves us.

It’s the only way to love if you are a stander, because it can be very easy to quit when you are not seeing God’s promises formulating quickly.

RELENTLESS

It’s a strange word that almost sounds violent. Which then reminds me of the cross. Reminds me that Jesus Christ laid down his life for us in the most uncomfortable and painful way.

For us
A group of undeserving sinners
Definitely not logical

So….

Who am I to limit my love, my life, my time, my heart?

You see, what seemed illogical becomes the most logical thing to do when the perspective is through the lens of unconditional love.

Loving like Jesus.

I wear Biblical glasses with lenses set on a prescription of scripture giving me insight to the love of Jesus Christ.

I loved you at your darkest.
Romans 5:8

To God be the Glory

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Relentless

My grandma has always had a special touch in making a backyard look special and relaxing.

This Thanksgiving morning, I sit in the backyard reflecting, resting, and enjoying the birds, fresh air, and just being alert to what God has to say today.

RELENTLESS

120DFE1E-73D9-44ED-A5E8-B04D6AEB7C47.jpeg

He reminds me that his love is relentless and so should mine.

I am a STANDER.

Many of you may not know what this is, but it means you are waiting for your marriage to be restored. You are standing in the gap for your spouse in prayer and petition. You do not date. You wait even in they are in a relationship. You wait even if they remarry. You wait for God’s perfect timing for your marriage to be restored. Even if it takes twenty years.

It’s not always easy and it’s flat out crazy, but it’s not as uncommon as you would think. In fact, there are many amazing testimonies and they all have common patterns that include what led to the divorce as well as what happens when restoration begins.

Like Jonah, a stander cannot run from their calling. God makes it clear over and over. He always answers to stay the course when logic and flesh want to take over.

It seems so impossible. There is nothing in the natural that I can see to even have hope for. But, my God is a God of faith, hope, and love.

I am thankful.

1. Thankful for a trial that is truly testing my faith.
2. Thankful for a trial that can only end by God’s strength and power.
3. Thankful for the awareness that I need to grow in prayer and faith.
4. Most of all though, I’m thankful that God has given me the ability to truly love RELENTLESSLY just like he loves us.

It’s the only way to love if you are a stander, because it can be very easy to quit when you are not seeing God’s promises formulating quickly.

RELENTLESS

It’s a strange word that almost sounds violent. Which then reminds me of the cross. Reminds me that Jesus Christ laid down his life for us in the most uncomfortable and painful way.

For us
A group of undeserving sinners
Definitely not logical

So….

Who am I to limit my love, my life, my time, my heart?

You see, what seemed illogical becomes the most logical thing to do when the perspective is through the lens of unconditional love.

Loving like Jesus.

I wear Biblical glasses with lenses set on a prescription of scripture giving me insight to the love of Jesus Christ.

I loved you at your darkest.
Romans 5:8

To God be the Glory

It’s Mine….SNATCH!

My two labradors, Watson and Savannah, love to play fetch. However, Savannah is pretty ruthless at it. If Watson gets to the toy first, she will charge him and snatch it out of his mouth.

He has always relinquished it quite easily the moment she gets in his face. He knows the pecking order, and Savannah is his mom. However, this past year he has been gaining some confidence and attempting to keep it from her.

If he gets to it first, he begins to look like a basketball player. He backs himself into her and looks nervously left and right and then spins around her rushing to me. Of course, she follows which results in her snatching it the moment he stops and waits for me to grab it.

If I throw it in the water, Watson will run along the pond and jump in at a location that is closer. I think he does this because Savannah, although older, is a better swimmer. IF he gets there first, she proceeds to snatching it out of his mouth in the middle of the pond. For a moment, I hold my breath as she pins him momentarily in the water before snatching it.

Today was different though.

As Watson ran along the pond to jump in at a closer point, she stayed in the water swimming. BUT, she wasn’t swimming to the toy. She was swimming towards Watson’s return path back to land. She was allowing Watson to retrieve the toy, but she was timing an interception on his return.

It was brilliant! The first time she did it was as if she was saying, “It’s Mine! I’m going to bring it back.”

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In that moment, God impressed something special to me. It was as if he was showing me through that scenario that He is like Savannah.
1. He knows the devil has fetched something I held, but He has allowed it and is aware of it.
2. Like Savannah, he loves that item fiercely and is going to get it because it’s His and He wants it.
3. The devil thinks he has finally gotten an advantage, but really he is playing right into God’s hand.
4. The devil knows the moment God confronts Him that he must relinquish it immediately. The devil knows the pecking order.
5. God has timed the snatch perfectly.
6. Last, He WILL bring it back to me.

LORD, have mercy on me. See how my enemies torment me. Snatch me back from the jaws of death. Psalm 9:13

To God be the Glory

 

 

 

Uprooted

I had a really difficult time about thirteen years ago moving from Houston to a small south Texas town. Even though I had gone to college there, it was still a drastic change from the big city of Houston.

My second year living there was the first time I had heard the saying, “Bloom where you are planted.” From that moment on, I began to embrace the differences and adapt to my new home. It was slow progress, but eventually I loved it. Everywhere I went, I ran into somebody I knew. Wal-Mart was my go to place when I was bored. A drive down the backroads was always relaxing and the outdoors was always near. Friends were like family and across town (15 minutes) seemed far. Traffic was never an issue and summer always brought the best snow-cones and fire flies. No matter the season, the stars were always in view and home was where my heart was.

Uprooted.

Everything I grew to love began to slip through my fingers. It started small, but eventually led to me moving back home to Houston to be near family, find work, and start over with a divorce in the works.

Uprooted.

It hurt. Every root that grew down was tangled around a dream, a spouse, normal routines and friends. And then, it all got pulled out. Trying to cling to every grain of old soil, I fpund that the process rips. Roots don’t let go easy and they take a piece of that earth with them no matter what.

When I saw this tree in the middle of the road I found it to be very interesting. It’s so grown and not like a seed that’s expected to bloom where it’s been planted. No, this seed bloomed already. In fact, it even reproduced. It’s gone through years of growing, storms, branch breaking, and leaves falling and growing.

I wondered, how does it live and not die of shock in the replanting? How do the roots get ahold of something that they never held before? This is new soil. A new territory.

For me, it took support. Luckily I had family to lean on. But, the biggest support was God. Only through the Word of God, could I receive healing. Only through the Word of God, could I receive understanding. Only through the Word of God, could I receive the most delicate pruning. And only through the Word of God, could I have received comfort through this shocking process.

I’m not going to lie. Some of my roots feel a little lost as if nothing quite feels right. Part of my heart isn’t home. Some of my roots are growing deep excited about the new growth to come. But my core root knows to hold tight to only one thing. The root of Jesus Christ. It will always comfort, always provide, and always bring life to my soul.

“For there is hope for a tree, When it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And its shoots will not fail. “Though its roots grow old in the ground And its stump dies in the dry soil, At the scent of water it will flourish And put forth sprigs like a plant.

Job 14:7-9

To God be the Glory

 

Week 3: Threshing

The past two studies, focused on the action of planting, sowing, and harvesting. This study is a little different. It takes us to the Judges 6 where we find Gideon threshing wheat in the wine press.

Day 1: Consequences

Read Judges 6:1-2 and Judges 6:10

1. Because the Israelites had done evil in the eyes of the Lord, how long were the Israelites in the hands of Midian?
2. Reflect on anything you feel has you and think about whether or not it is an outcome/natural consequence to sin.
3. Where did the Israelites seek shelter and why do you think they chose that environment?
4. What would be some advantages and disadvantages of that location?
5. How have you tried to adjust to an uncomfortable or unwanted situation?

Day 2: Looking Down on the Impossible

Read Judges 6:3-5

During this seven year period, their harvest was being attacked.

1. Who was attacking them?
2. What were they attacking and doing?
3. Was this year round or for a season and how do we know that?
4. Based on the description, list what shows this to be an impossible hopeless situation.
5. If you notice, the Midians are attacking the Israelites food source. What might this force the Israelites to do?
6. Although the Midian’s goal was to “leave no sustenance” somehow each year the Israelites were able to sow and had livestock available to kill. How do you think this was possible?

Day 3: Breaking Point

Read Judges 6:6-10

1. The Midians were attacking the Israelites’ Harvest for seven years. Look back on verse 4-5 and list what the Midians would do. How did this affect the Israelites emotionally?
2. How did they react to this low point?
3. Reflect back on some of your low points where you cried out to the Lord.
Read verses 8-10
1. How did the Lord respond?
2. How would you describe the tone of the prophet?
3. What does the prophet remind them of?

Day 4: Gideon Threshing in the Wine Press

Read Judges 6:11-14

It’s interesting that the prophet is talking to the Israelites and scripture does not show or say their response. To me, it’s kind of like a mic drop: speechless. There is nothing to say to that.

However, It shows us that Gideon was not with them. He was separated from them because he was trying to save wheat by threshing it in the wine press.

Even though, the Midians were attacking the harvest, somehow Midian has salvaged some. And some how, the past seven years despite the fact that the Midians aim to leave no distance or sheep, is, or donkey, they have been able to eat because they are still surviving.

1. What did the angel of the Lord do under the tree? I find this interesting because Gideon is working hard while the angel sits.
2. In verse 12 the angel of the Lord then appears to Gideon and the first thing out of his mouth is that the Lord is with Gideon and calls him a valiant warrior. How would you respond if you are going about your business doing normal work and someone came up to you and called you a valiant warrior?
3. Notice in verse 13, Gideon responds but makes no mention of the label he has been given. In fact, describe in your own words his response?
4. It’s interesting, the first thing he mentions is what the prophet had told the Israelites. But rennet, Gideon wasn’t there. The prophet of the Lord had to remind them who their Lord is. Gideon on the other hand knew. It fact, it’s as if he had been dwelling on it as wondering where is there miracle. Gideon knew God’s character so he is wondering why has God abandoned them? Have you ever prayed for a miracle that falls inline with God’s character, but frustrated that you aren’t seeing it? Have you ever cried out to God, “Where are you in this?”
5. The angel of the Lord does not respond like the prophet did stating the reason why. From scripture that comes later, to me this shows that Gideon was obeying God.

Day 5: The Calling

Read Judges 6:14-19

1. In verse 14, what was God’s directive to Gideon?
2. Who looked at Gideon and how would you feel if that was you?
3. Describe the conversation between them in verses 15-18.
4. Why do you think Gideon wanted a sign that it was God he was speaking to?
5. Think back to the beginning of this chapter. How would you describe the availability of food and livestock.
6. Reflecting on that and Gideon’s immediate desire to give an offering, what can we learn from Gideon here?

 

In My Presence

My dogs Watson and Savannah love playing fetch, running off of the leash, and swimming. Today was one of those days they were able to do all three.

I took them to one of my favorite spots that has a pond that is nestled just enough away from the encroaching new subdivision.

When play time with me was over, I sat myself up against a tree, leaned back and closed my eyes. Now this transition into quite time wasn’t necessarily smooth. My dogs approached me expecting me to still play fetch. I had to repeatedly tell them no until they got the hint.

Today in particular, Watson scampered off to dip into the pond and run around while Savannah dropped her ball beside me and took a few steps back and waited.

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Savannah has always been obsessed with playing fetch. She will just stare at the ball intently while she waits. If I don’t get it, she picks it back up and tries again. She repeats this until she realizes that it “ain’t gonna happen.” At that point she takes her ball and leaves.

Today was different though. She didn’t leave me.

Instead, she let the ball stay and positioned herself at my feet and relaxed and stopped focusing on the ball.

I can’t explain the joy I felt to have her just want to be near me. It caused me to actually pay more attention to her.

I then realized this is how God feels.

We tend to want to be in His Presence when we have a prayer request. We drop the prayer and wait. When it’s not answered we pick it up and go about our business and then give it back the next day in prayer. How many times are we in His presence wanting something: a sign, answered prayer, encouraging word.

Those aren’t bad things to do or want, but do we ever just want Him?

Is HE really enough for you?
Or is he only enough because you know He can provide, bless, and answer prayers?

If he couldn’t do those things, would you still want a relationship with Him?

You see, God doesn’t need anything from us.
He doesn’t want a relationship with us so he can get something from us. And yet he still wants to be with us.

He doesn’t love us, based on our actions or displays of affections.

It’s about company and companionship. The feeling of joy, peace, and love that exists because we are near each other.

As I write this, he is speaking to me. The walk over to the pond, I was sharing with Him a bit of sadness. Last night I may have experienced some premenopausal symptoms: night sweats.

This saddened me, and I went into strategy mode. “Maybe I could get some of my eggs frozen,” I thought. Then I started thinking about God’s promises he gave me, and scriptures that confirmed I would have kids from me, and now it seems IMPOSSIBLE.

Forty, divorced, and being called by God to stand and wait for marriage restoration makes it all more disheartening.

But…..at the end of the day, God is enough for me so I just can’t focus on those things anymore. I just have to let go, relax, and sit at his feet.

One night crying I asked God, ” Why didn’t you save my marriage before divorce?”

He answered back, “Aren’t I enough?”

Luke 10:38-42 NASB

Martha and Mary
38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.40 But Martha was distracted with [q]all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

To God be the Glory

 

 

 

 

Week 2: Harvest

Three Harvest Times:

1. Barley Reaping (April/May)
2. Wheat Harvest (June/July)
3. In gathering of the Fruits -Tree/Vines (Sept/Oct)

Festivals occurring during each of those harvest times.
1. Passover
2. Pentecost
3. Tabernacles

Main Scripture

Galatians 6:7-10 NASB
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Monday: Get Your Ground Ready!

1. Read Proverbs 24:27
I’ve included three different translations.

New International Version
Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.

New Living Translation
Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.

English Standard Version
Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.

The first thing that needs to be done before you have a crop to harvest is to get a field ready. However, not just any field will work. Each plant grows best in a certain type of soil. Soils vary by region which have different climates and precipitation. Fields also need to be plowed and made ready. If a seed is not planted in the right type of soil or an unplowed field, then its growth is not fruitful or nonexistent.

It’s kind of like humans. We live in different places with different cultures. But, our heart and our minds are like fields. Everyday we see, hear, and experience things that are planted in our mind, vision, desires, and emotions.

Because of that, last week I asked, “Where do you plant your presence?” A blessed man plants himself in the Word God. However he chooses this. He is not being forced. Therefore it shows his heart/mind or field is ready for the seed of God to be planted. His field has been plowed and made ready

If he was being forced to be in the presence of the Lord or had minimal exposure, his heart/field isn’t plowed well enough for the seed to grow strong roots. Therefore the seed is received, but will fail to reach the maturity of being harvested.

We got to get our field ready so God’s seed grows and remains in us.

1 John 3:9 NIV
No one who is born of God will continue to sin,because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

So to start off today, I want to ask some questions that will have you reflect on the status of your field/heart before moving into the study.

1. How often to you plant yourself in Bible reading?
2. Answer only the question that pertains to you:

A. What keeps you from attempting to read the Bible? Explain any past attempts that did not succeed in becoming a Bible reader.

B. What keeps you from reading the Bible regularly? Think about how you can create some type of system that works around those challenges if they are not going to go away. Think about which challenges are actually distractions, therefore becoming a priority in your schedule over reading God’s Word.

C. If you are reading regularly, have you thought about deepening your understanding by incorporating Biblical resource books? What would you like to know more about?

Now read Galatians 6:7
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

A man reaps what he sows. The acting of sowing requires effort and energy.

A. The person has to physically take seed out and intentionally sow it somewhere.
B. The amount of harvest and the type of harvest depends on what the sower sowed.
C. The amount of seed sown depends on the size of the field.

Based on what has been written up to this point, reflect on Galatians 6:7.

1. Where do you sow your seed? Where do you invest your energy in besides work?
2. Reflect where do you sow into sin.

For me I sow into emotional eating. Eating is not bad, but when I eat to calm my emotions I’m sowing to the flesh. And trust me, my body will not be mocked. It shows!

3. How often are you sowing into your sin?

Tuesday: Sowing

Galatians 6:8 NASB
8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Galatians 5 16-13 (NASB)
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [d]factions,21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

1. Galatians 6:8 says if you sow to please the flesh then you will reap/harvest destruction. From Galatians 5, list the 15 things that are deeds of the flesh. List them straight down your paper leaving room to write on the side of them.
2. Next to each deed, give examples of ways that either you and/or others sow into that particular deed. (This is between you and God. Don’t be afraid to confront anything or even place a question mark on things you are not sure fall into that category but you think maybe do.)
3. Now, for each deed write whether or not the secular world thinks your examples will lead to destruction.
4. Now from Galatians 5, list the nine fruits of the Spirit in the same way you listed the deeds of the flesh.
5. Next to each fruit, express where you feel you are with that fruit. You can even give yourself a ranking using a 1-10 range. One meaning not there at all. Five is neutral, and 10 would represent as close to humanly possible at reflecting that fruit.
6. Can you think of any situations God has grown you in a specific fruit or is challenging you to grow in a specific fruit?

If you have time, reread Psalm 1:1-6 from last week. It reemphasizes these scriptures.

Wednesday: Sowing and Growing

Matthew 13:3-8 (NASB)
3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Others fell [a]among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

1. First notice there is one intentional action and three unintentional actions.
2. All the seeds are in the presence of the sower, but some have either slipped through or fallen out when others are intentionally being sown.

There are many things that can put us in the presence of God.
1. Going to church
2. Listening to Christian music
3. Listening to an online or radio sermon
4. Reading a devotional
5. Praying
6. Reading the Bible

However reading the Bible and prayer are the only two that require just you and God. It’s that 1:1 personal relationship and it is first hand information.

Remember in week one of this study, the Word says the blessed man meditates on the law of God day and night. Where is that first hand information? In the Bible!

In this parable, there are four types of ground.
1. Side of the road
2. Rocky places
3. Thorny ground
4. Good soil

Here is the danger. Every single person has a heart/ground. If it’s only being “plowed” with Christian music, online sermons, or just attending church, your heart will not be plowed to the point that your ground can get to the point of good soil. Good soil reaps a harvest    .

We usually start by going to church etc., but to never move to reading the word of God for ourselves, along with praying, leaves you missing out a great relationship. Plus, the Word transforms us from the inside out. It’s how God speaks to you directly to grow you to maturity. Maturity that can be harvested and multiplied. You don’t want to have stunted growth

This is why many people think that they will go to heaven because they attend church regularly, believe in Jesus, and try to be a good person. People think the activity is the relationship.

Let’s compare this to a real relationship.

If you spend time as a couple going to a movie, concerts, and believe the person is your spouse without talking or “listening” to what that person has to say to you first hand would that be a real relationship?

No.

You have to talk and share your thoughts, concerns, and beliefs. And these conversations need to happen with just you and your spouse. Not with a middle man or receiving second hand information.

So why do we think not having this intimacy with God is ok?

God shares his love, thoughts, character, beliefs through his Word. We have to read it for ourselves to get to know Him. We have to pray so we can share our thoughts with God. He wants to listen.

1. Out of the four ground types which one(s) do you most relate with?
2. Based on the parable, what is happening to God’s seed when it lands on your ground.

Notice that each ground type is receiving the seed just like many people hear about Jesus and are even believers of Jesus. But, do all the seeds reach the point of harvest?

3. The difference is the ground. Once you receive God’s seed, is your heart/ground able to provide an ENVIRONMENT for the seed to grow in you and transform you? Are you staying as a seedling or are you growing in Christ to point that your flesh is becoming dead?

A harvested plant is a dead plant.
1. Yet it’s in its death that it feeds others.
2. It’s nourishment that allows others to grow.
3. It also gets to a point where it is creating many seed. The plant must die for the new seeds to be planted.

All plants die, but not all make it to a mature enough state that reproduces, multiplies, and can be used for a service.

Thursday: Sowing and Growing Continued

Let’s flip the script. Yesterday we looked at the scripture as if you were the ground with the ground representing your heart and how it may or may not be getting plowed well enough for the seed to grow to the point of harvest.

Today let’s think about you being the seed. All people belong to God. Yet some choose by the depth of their relationship with HIM to stay in his presence. These are the ones that are in His hand the entire time and get sown in good soil. The other ones are falling out of his hand or coming out too soon.

1. If you are the seed falling onto the side of the road, what real world situation could this be? What could have caused this situation to occur?
2. If you are the seed falling onto rocky ground, what real world situation could this be? What could have caused this situation to occur?
3. If you are the seed falling onto thorny ground what real world situation could this be? What could have caused this situation to occur?
4. If you are the seed being placed in the good soil, what real world situations could this be? What could have caused this situation to occur?

Friday: Harvesting

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

1. For the barley and wheat harvest, “the corners of the fields were no to be reaped and the scatterings of the cut grain were not to be picked up.” (Zondervan Pictoral Bible Dictionary)
2. “With a new orchard or vineyard the fruit could not be gathered for three years, and the fourth year’s crop had the given entirely to the Lord. So the owner had to wait until the fifth year to get any fruit for himself. (Zondervan Pictoral Bible Dictionary)

For the grain fields, the instruction to leave the corners and not pick up what had fallen or scattered was to benefit the poor.

1. Putting on your business cap, why would this good deed be an inconvenience?

2. If you were the owner of a new vineyard or orchard, what would be difficult about your situation based on the information above?
3. How does that scripture impact you now knowing the harvesting customs of that time?
4. What situation/crop have you been investing yourself in through action and/or prayer that has not come into fruition yet?
5. Is there a blessing others are able to receive because you are working and tending to your situation/crop even though you don’t see your harvest?
6. What emotions does God acknowledge you are going to go through while you wait?

Let’s think back to the past two days. God knows we get weary. Maybe he does too?
However, he keeps sowing. He does not stop, because he wants everyone one of us to repent and grow in Him and into an image of Christ.

He wants a crop of Christians that can be harvested and sent out to “feed” the world and multiply.

Matthew 13:8
And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

Galatians 6:10
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

7. How do you feel about your situation now?
8. What action steps will you take to either incorporate Bible reading, become more consistent, or gain a deeper knowledge?

Have a blessed week!

 

 

 

Surviving on Higher Ground

Today I went with my youngest sister for our daily walk in the rain. It’s a time we count our blessings that this little area has been spared so far. However, we take pictures of the increasing water behind the house as we toss a toy with the dogs. They have been the few to not mind the rain since it has given them plenty of off leash time and easy access swimming.

On our way back today, my sister noticed a bunch of empty snail shells in the crevices between the sidewalk and the landscaping off to the side.

We began to gather the empty shells and it reminded me of what is happening now during Harvey. So many empty homes whose inhabitants have had to flee. There the shells lay on the ground submerged under a thin layer of water surrounded by debris.

IMG_5803

We tried to rescue a few that were still alive but underwater. Like the rescue helicopters, our hands reached down to pluck the ones that had life. We then began to stick them to the trees to try and give them a chance to survive. My sister then realized, that other snails had made their way up those trees on their own clinging to higher ground.

I love when God reveals himself in nature.

What I was getting from this little observation is, how do we survive the storm? It doesn’t have to be an actual weather storm, but any major disruption in life that is unexpected and can be catastrophic. It upsets and challenges our soul and spirit. Emotionally we can be swept away or in a rage. Or we can rise above to higher ground and be an overcomer.

Again, the question is HOW?

Jesus Christ!

By constantly being in His Presence through the reading of the word and prayer, the Holy Spirit equips us to supernaturally survive when by the world’s view we should be drowning.

It gives you the ability to love unconditionally who you are rejected by.

It gives you the ability to forgive those who don’t even ask for forgiveness.

It gives you the ability to go outside yourself to be helping hands.

It also gives you the knowledge that you are not a victim of your circumstances. Instead you are a victor in Christ.

Matthew 7:24-27New International Version (NIV)
The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

To God be the Glory

Planting: Where Do You Plant Your Presence?

Week 1: Planting

Worship: Endlessly-Bethel

Psalm 1:1-6
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+1%3A1-6&version=NASB

Day 1: Psalm 1:1
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

As we begin this study, I want you to notice that verse one starts with the word “How.” Normally, this is used to start a question, but here it is not. In fact it is using an exclamation point. Keep that in mind as we dig into this blessed man in verse one.

1. There three groups of people listed in verse one not including the blessed man. Who are they?
A. Wicked
B.
C.

2. What are the three things associated with each of these groups?
A. Counsel
B.
C.

3. What are the three things that the man, who is blessed, not do with them?
A. Walk in the counsel
B.
C.

Notice all three of these scenarios have to do with people and a close proximity. They have more to do with a form of companionship or a personal level of involvement.

The blessed man doesn’t WALK IN, STAND IN, or SIT IN their presence.

If he would plant himself in their presence, he would be greatly outnumbered. 1:many

4. What could happen in he planted his presence in an outnumbered situation?

Reflect:

1. Where do you plant your presence?
2. Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel outnumbered in your values?
3. If so, is this by choice or due to circumstances?
4. Is this a struggle? If so, how? If not, how?

Day 2: Psalm 1:2
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

1. In verse 1, where do the wicked, sinners, and scoffers find their delight?
A. In their own counsel
B.
C.

2. Where does the blessed man find his delight?

3. When does he find his delight?

I want to point out that this is a 1:1 ratio. I also want to point out that he is making a decision to meditate day and night on the law of the Lord. The outcome is that it is delightful which is a blessing.

I also want to point out that the scripture doesn’t say he is blessed because:
1. He walks in the counsel of Godly wisdom.
2. He stands in the path of righteous.
3. He sits in the seat of a pleasant person.

Although, those are all good things, the man is not blessed by keeping good company. He is not blessed because of humans.

He is blessed because he plants himself in the presence of God and delights in it.

4. In verse two it uses the verb meditate. What kind of conclusion can you come to when comparing meditate to the other verbs: walk, stand, sit?

Reflect:

1. Where do seek delight?
2. When you seek to delight in the word of God, do you notice a difference in your day?

Spending time with God in His Word allows you to be blessed by His Presence.

Day 3: Psalm 1:3
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Verse three is stating the blessed man is like a tree.

What do we notice about this tree.
A. It is firmly planted
B. It is near a fresh water source, which is needed to survive.
C. It bears fruit.
D. It bears fruit in the season that is appropriate for that tree.
E. It’s leaves do not wither, which is not natural. Therefore it is operating in the supernatural.
F. Since the leaves do not wither, photosynthesis is constantly occurring. That is a key process for plant survival.
G. Day and night has its sources for survival: moonlight/sunlight for photosynthesis and the stream.

As an elementary school teacher, when I read this verse I think of erosion. Streams, naturally erode the banks and if you have ever been to a river, you can see tree roots exposed along the banks.

Although erosion is exposing the roots, the firmly planted trees help prevent massive erosion. The plant roots help secure and hold down the soil along the bank along with any other kind of plant life.

So if the blessed man is like this tree by the stream:

1. He multiplies at the right or appointed time.
2. He is able to be nourished day and night because he is planted by a stream which is the law of God.
3. He is always able to grow because he is able to access light, the law of God, since his leaf does not wither.
4. He is able to be firmly planted, because he is rooted in the law of God.
5. Therefore, he prospers because he is always a tree that will bear fruit.

Reflect:

1. How deep are your roots?
2. What are you rooted to?
3. Are you bearing fruit?
4. What does this say about where you plant your presence?

Day 4: Psalm 1:4
The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Now the focus has shifted from the blessed man to the wicked. The wicked are compared to chaff which is the inedible part of the seed that is removed during the threshing process.

1. What are your thoughts about the chaff being removed from the seed compared to fruit bearing tree which therefore produces many seeds?

One of the ways the chaff was removed was by tossing the threshed wheat with a winnowing fork up in the air. The chaff would then be blown away by the wind since it is light while the rest would fall.

2. What are your thoughts about the chaff being so easily blown compared to the firmly planted tree?

3. It says that the wind DRIVES the wind away which means a force is separating it. What force separates the blessed man from the wicked, sinners, and scoffers?

Reflect:

1. Is there a process of separation or a driving out of the chaff in your life?
2. Whatever your answer is, how does it correlate to the time you spend meditating on the law of the Lord day and night.

Day 5: Psalm 1:5

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous  

The switch continues here. Verse one told us what the blessed man does not do. Now we are seeing what the wicked and sinners will not get to do.

*The wicked will not stand in the judgement
* Sinners will not stand in the assembly of the righteous.

If they won’t stand in judgement, then they cannot receive mercy. If they are not in the assembly if the righteous, then they are far from people who are blessed and could witness the delight of the Lord.

1. Go back to verse four. What is causing this separation?

2. Go back to verses 1-2. What keeps the blessed man separated from the wicked and the sinners?

Reflect:

1. What is the opposite of blessed? Cursed!
If the blessed man would keep company with the wicked, sinners, and scoffers what intentional and unintentional curses could he receive?

2. Notice the wicked cannot stand in their own circumstances. The will be blown away. The blessed man chooses not to stand in the presence of the wicked. Instead the blessed man is planted in God’s presence day and night. What is the difference between standing and being planted?

Day 6: Psalm 1:6
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.

The blessed man meditates on the law of the Lord day and night.

1. Therefore, what is the instruction manual for the blessed man whose way is righteous?

2. Who created those “ways?”

3. Reflecting on the two questions above, explain why the Lord knows the way of the righteous?

4. Describe the relationship that exists between the Lord and the blessed man based on verse 2 and 6.

The way of the wicked has no source of life. The wicked, sinners, and scoffers don’t necessarily find their way in the same source. There is only one source and one way that brings delight and life. It works for everyone when we are in relationship day and night with the Lord.

5. If your source of delight is nothing, what do you become and what happens to you according to verse 6?

Reflect:

Notice the blessed man is one and chooses not to plant himself in a situation of wickedness or sin. He chooses not to be in a group where he is outnumbered by them.

However, by the end, the blessed man is like a tree producing fruit in season. Those fruit were a part of him. He is a multiplier.

Sometimes, we seem alone in this world as a Christian, but if you are meditating day and night with the Lord you become a multiplier. You get to stand in the judgement. You get to be in the assembly of righteous.

The wicked only have death to look forward to. Perish is defined in several ways: sudden death, rot, decay, complete destruction.

This should concern you when we think of unsaved people, prodigals, or apostates in our lives.

Their own sin will eventually separate them from the assembly of the righteous. But, being in a righteous crowd does not make anyone blessed.

Only being in relationship with Jesus Christ brings true blessings. 

Pray that their heart turns to the Lord and they seek delight in the Word of God and pray that you continue growing roots by meditating on it day and night.

Note:
(This Study is not saying that we don’t reach out through ministry or mission based outreach. Sometimes going into enemy territory is necessary, but it is typically within a group setting, has been bathed with prayer, and has a purpose of speaking truth in love and not sharing/partaking in an experience of sin or wickedness.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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