Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WEEK ONE: Day 3..... The Blessing of Greater Peace

 The dove represents the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost in Christianity. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove when he was baptized in the Jordan River:
Luke 3:22
... and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (NIV)
The dove is also a symbol of peace. In Genesis 8 after the flood, a dove returned to Noah with an olive branch in its beak, revealing the end of God's judgment and the beginning of a new covenant with man.

Welcome everyone!  Let's start in prayer today asking God to teach us about the Blessing of Greater Peace
through His Word today and through the questions given that they will reach deep into our hearts and minds and help us to think critically and respond naturally.   Please pray for me to only lead as the Lord leads and only depend on His Word and Elizabeth George's books, Woman After God's Own Heart and the workbook to express her questions in my own words being guided by The Lord to do all this through His Name!  Amen!

 The main scripture passages for this study today are:

JOHN 14:26-27   New International Version (NIV)   26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

GALATIANS 5:22-26 
New International Version (NIV)
 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

1.  Praying faithfully brings greater peace to women.  Please read Philippians 4:6-9 (a passage that was given above this) and then please write what you have learned about prayer and peace.   
[You may want to write out the passage and even try to memorize it.   Memorizing scripture keeps His Word in our heart and whenever we feel troubled, we can just recall this passage to memory.  Start by writing it on an index card.  Then each day when you are feeling at your best, pull out the card and start memorizing it taking a verse at a time, and then when you have memorized the first verse and can call it to memory, then go on to the next verse and do the same.   One thing I like to do is use a highlighter to concentrate on words that stand out to me and I find when I say the verse out loud.  Another good way to memorize scripture I read the card and say the words that are highlighted with greater emphasis than the words that are not highlighted.  One more way to memorize is to read the verse on the card and then shut your eyes and concentrate and try to remember what was on the card... especially the words you had highlighted!   Then ask a friend or loved one or even your children to hold the card and let you repeat the verse (one at a time) to them.  They can give you a highlighted word to help you get back on track if you lose your spot in recalling the verse! ]

2.  John 14:26-27 is about Jesus's words about the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit goes to God on our behalf and presents our prayers to Him.   In this passage Jesus is also talking about the peace He came to bring to you.  Please read these verses and then try to think about the times that Jesus has brought peace into your life.
Then please write down an answer to this question, "How is the peace of Jesus Christ different from any other?"

3.  Galatians 5:22-26 is another great passage to write down on an index card.
[I have an index box (like a recipe box) or just anything that you can find... a zipping baggie large enough to hold your cards so that you can even carry them in your handbag and use to memorize when you are somewhere where you have some idle time to pull one out and work on memorizing it.    I use the 4x6 cards for all my passages to keep them the same size.  Maybe you want to write them in a little notebook that can fit into your handbag.  Whatever works for you is great.   One word about the index cards.  If you can fit the whole passage on the front of the card, then something you may want to do is write on the back of the card what the passage means to you!  You can use the answers that you are writing down to put on the back of the card!  These are ideas and you will find something that meets your needs.]

This passage lists the "fruit of the Holy Spirit."  The fruit of the Holy Spirit comes to those who live by or keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  The primary way of staying in step with the Holy Spirit is through prayer.  Would you please list the fruits of the Holy Spirit that come to women who keep in step with the Holy Spirit through prayer and submission to God.    Then using that highlighter, please highlight the fruit.

A wonderful Christian Dutch woman, Corrie ten Boom (see her biography here on Wikipedia) has these words to share with us, "As a camel kneels before his master to have him remove his burden at the end of the day, so kneel each night and let the Master take your burden."  Corrie ten Boom knew much about suffering.  When you read the Wikipedia article about her you will learn about her suffering.  And another truth she wrote about is forgiveness. Wikipedia lists the books she has written.  From the Wikipedia article about her has been written:

Her teaching focused on the Christian Gospel, with emphasis on forgiveness. In her book Tramp for the Lord(1974), she tells the story of an encounter while she was teaching in Germany in 1947. She was approached by a former Ravensbrück camp guard, who had been known as one of the most cruel. She was reluctant to forgive him, but prayed that she would be able to. She wrote,
"For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then."
She also wrote (in the same passage) that in her post-war experience with other victims of Nazi brutality, it was those who were able to forgive who were best able to rebuild their lives. She rejected the doctrine that some asserted, of Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and wrote that it was without Biblical foundation.
She believes that such a doctrine left the Christian Church ill-prepared in times of great persecution, such as in China under Mao Zedong. She appeared on many Christian television programs discussing her ordeal during the Holocaust, and the concepts of forgiveness and God's love.

The Wikipedia article about Corrie ten Boom lists the many books she wrote in her lifetime.  Here is that list:

  • A Prisoner And Yet (1945)
  • Amazing Love (1953)
  • Not Good If Detached (1957)
  • Common Sense Not Needed (1957)
  • Plenty For Everyone (1967)
  • Marching Orders For The End Battle (1969)
  • Defeated Enemies (1970)
  • The Hiding Place, with John & Elizabeth Sherrill (1971)
  • Tramp For The Lord, with Jamie Buckingham (1974
  • Prison Letters (1975)
  • In My Father's House, with C.C. Carlson (1976), reprint 2011
  • Corrie's Christmas Memories (1976)
  • Each New Day 1977
  • Prayers And Promises For Every Day 1977
  • He Cares He Comforts 1977
  • He Sets The Captives Free 1977
  • Father Ten Boom: God's Man 1978
  • A Tramp Finds A Home 1978
  • Don't Wrestle Just Nestle 1978
  • This Day Is The Lords 1979
  • Clippings From My Notebook 1982
  • Not I But Christ 1983
  • Reflections Of God's Glory 1999
  • Messages Of God's Abundance 2002
  • I Stand At The Door And Knock 2008
 You can find these books at the library, at your favorite bookstore such as an online bookstore, or or Barnes and  Or do a search for her books to see where you may purchase them at the best price for youNew or used.   

If any of you decide to read one or more of her books, I would love to have a book review from any of you to post on this blog!  Please think about this as there are many of you who may have already read one of her books and are able to do this, or someone who might want to read one of the books and write a review.  Maybe you are a blogger who would like to write a review on your own blog and you can submit to me a link of your review and I will post it on this entry for all to read!  Thank you!

[Something we talked about in yesterday's blog was STRETCHING!  Maybe now is a good time to go and get something to eat or drink and walk around a bit or take some good stretches and return to this when you feel energized and ready to do more!]

4.  Paul wrote to the believers in Colossae (see the above map) that they should "allow the peace of God to rule in their hearts" (Colossians 3:15)  Spending time in prayer can determine who or what controls your day.  When you read this verse, please write out how this can happen.  Thanks!

[For me, I wrote the following:  "Spending time in prayer means that God is in control of my thoughts and concerns."] 

See the following MAP of Thessalonica where Paul wrote to his friends, " Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now think about the day ahead of you.  Think especially about the parts of your day when you will especially need God's peace.  Please write down those times and then pause and ask God to give you peace during those times.  [Maybe you want to write them down on the back of the index card.]  

[Maybe in the comment part of this blog entry you will want to write down these times so that I can pray for them and others can pray for them.  This is totally up to you, no pressure to do so.   Thanks!]

6.  Elizabeth George says, "Sometimes when we are going through hardship or suffering, we are actually experiencing the loving discipline or our Heavenly Father.  Our first impulse is to pray for deliverance from our hardship or trial, but God may be using the trial to lead us into a greater peace.  Read  Hebrews 12:7-11.  Based on this scripture, how should we pray in times of trouble?"  

[Pray and ask God about this passage and to help you apply it to your every day circumstances.   Maybe you are going through a time of great hardship and the first thing you want to do is run from it.  I know I felt that way when God decided that I needed to stay in bed for 9 weeks with the fibromyalgia onset of severe pain.  But I used the time to go through this workbook, A Woman After God's Own Heart, and His Word searching for what God was trying to have me learn at this time.  As I went through the workbook I found out that God wanted me to be more like Him and to learn the principles He has for me in His Word to become that woman after God's own heart.  I am praying for you too, that if you are going through a rough time right now that the His words and Elizabeth George's book and workbook or the new devotional book that she has written and this Bible Study, will help you to find Him first through salvation and then through the application of God's words to be that woman.]

And now it's that time where we respond to God asking Him:  "Yes, but how?"  What life concerns are robbing you of peace at this moment?  [Maybe it's getting food on the table for the next meal, or you lost your job and you are searching for a new one and you need to ask God to open doors for you to another job, or maybe you're a stay at home mom and you need Him to help you get through the day with all of your tasks for the day and still give you the time you need to spend in His Word and prayer. Maybe you need a connection to a food bank to get food on the table.  Ask Him to help you find the proper places for you to allow to you to find food for your family.  God can and will help you in all of this if you just come to Him and ask Him. Ask Him to lead you to the right people who may be able to help you.]

8.  Elizabeth George writes: "Fear, stress, anxiety and depression are disabling emotions that keep many women on the sidelines of church involvement.  You have a fear of failing.  You may fear being unable to meet God's (high) expections,  You may fear commitment.  If you are not currently serving in your church, what is needed in your life to free you to serve the Lord?

[At this time I'm not able to attend my home church.  So I receive sermons on tape from my good college friend, Pastor Rudy Sheptock of The Lighthouse Church of the CMA, CMA means Christian Missionary Alliance.  His sermons are listed online at The Lighthouse Church of the CMA right HERE.  Pastor Rudy, or just Rudy as I call him, has this to say about his church:


The Lighthouse Church- It's All About Jesus! A vision for the world...A heart for next door... A commitment to one another...

The Lighthouse Church exists to build bridges to individuals in Cape May County through the vehicles of electric worship, clear and relevant biblical teaching, genuine Christian community and active opportunities to put faith in action.

Our uniqueness will be a strong family atmosphere of love, effective and caring shepherding leadership and many vibrant regular entry points to come and experience the living God.

I can say that I'm "hooked" by Rudy!  So if you want to start out listening to the Word of God online, then I say to try Pastor Rudy.  Or search the Internet for sermons online for your own faith. 

9.  Maybe you're already serving the Lord in a church, but you can't find God's peace because you are carrying too many commitments elsewhere.  Please take time now and pray.  Ask God to show you how you should manage your responsibilities without having to give up the peace you find through prayer.  Please write down any thoughts that come to you while you're praying.

[I was searching the Internet for prayers to pray (maybe you've never prayed before today and you want to be able to say a prayer but you need help getting started.  I found Prayers for All Ocassions.  These are found on About .com Christianity.  Please, when you have some browsing time, go to that page and see all the basics of Christianity, prayers and verses, Bible Study tools, Holidays, etc.  that they offer to you. This is all free of charge!]

 Elizabeth George shares this Life Scene in her workbook.  "Gwen lives a fast-paced life as an attorney.  She manages several cases, many of which will change people's lives for years.  The stress is intense, and the days are long.  Gwen recently became a Christian and started reading the Bible.  She read the scriptures about prayer and the peace of God mentioned in this lesson but is genuinely skeptical that she can find peace in her demanding occupation.  She asks her pastor whether she should give up practicing law and pursue another career that would allow her more time for prayer and spiritual growth."   What do you think Gwen should do?  Write down your thoughts.

[I wrote that Gwen should do as the Lord leads her.  She should be in prayer about this and probably ask the Lord to guide her in her decision making.  Read the Bible asking God to show you the answer to this heavy decision.  That may sound simple, but it isn't.  If you're in a similar situation or you're a stay at home mom who is considering a job (and in this economy it isn't that easy to secure a job) ask the Lord to guide you in this decision.  Ask your significant other, husband, children, and your parent(s) to help you as well.  They may have insight into your life right now and can  help you lists the pros and cons on a piece of paper. Use the verses and this lesson to guide you.  This can be applied to any difficult decision you may be facing right now, doesn't even need to be a career.  If you need prayer from me or others please write a comment  (if you wish to) asking us to pray for a specific need you have now.)   We can pray for you!]

Have the cares and problems of life burdened you with stress and anxiety, robbing you of peace? Take comfort from these verses and pray the prayer below asking the Lord to lift your burdens.
    "Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 (NLT) "I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe." Psalm 4:8 (NLT)
 You can pray this prayer or just say to God what you want to say....

"Dear Lord,
I need you now because I am full of stress and anxiety. Reading your Word brings comfort, as I ask you to come and take my heavy burdens. I take each burden, one by one, and lay them at your feet. Please carry them for me so that I don't have to. Replace them with your humble and gentle yoke so that I will find rest for my soul today. I receive your gift of peace of mind and heart. Thank you that I can lie down tonight in peace and sleep. I know that you, Lord, will keep me safe. I am not afraid because you are always with me. Please keep me daily, Lord, in your perfect peace.
Amen"  Stress and Anxiety Prayer

This came from a list of prayers for specific needsPlease read this page to help you find guidance in praying.

Thank you for spending time here today.  I hope you are able to relate to something in this blog entry for today.  I will pray for you and for me today that we are able to use the verses given today and make an application for your and my life.   Hope to meet with you tomorrow!  God willing!

"Baruch Bashan" is a statement that means "the
blessings already are" -- that blessings are present,
and all we have to do is to partake of them, enjoy
them, and appreciate them.

That is what a genuine relationship with God and
Spirit is really all about: The blessings of God are
present and available.

- John Morton
(From: The Blessings Already Are)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice. I love the quote you included from Corrie ten Boom: "As a camel kneels before his master to have him remove his burden at the end of the day, so kneel each night and let the Master take your burden." Diane

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