NEW SESSION BEGINNING...

A new session of STAND will begin on Monday, September 14. For more information, please visit www.the52project.com and click on the links for "Stand." Our last session together was WONDERFUL... you won't want to miss this study!

Ready to jump in? Why not take a picture of your rainy day shoes (or you know... boots, flip-flops, bare feet... whatever!) E-mail your photo to the52project@gmail.com And we'll post them with your first name along the side-bar.

Can't wait to study with you!!!
Love, Mary

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Friday, July 24

Good morning again my very wonderful friends :)

I've got to tell you, I really can't believe that it's been almost eight weeks since we started, and now it's time to wrap things up. I can say with total and complete assurance that this group is more than I could have hoped for as study partners and friends, and I'm thankful for the who the Lord brought into the picture as we explore this new format of Bible study. I'm really thankful for your participation, encouragement, and friendship. I'm already so excited to do this again! I hope we'll still be working alongside one another as we do!

Don't forget our get together coming soon, I'm looking forward to seeing you guys! Also please be praying about joining our next study, “Resolved” based on the Life of Peter. It's gonna be good. I'm just sayin. :)

Alright. That's right... you already know.

[Stop.] Spend some time on your knees before the One who sees you, loves you, and has equipped you to stand.

FOR DISCUSSION: How would YOU sum up how the Lord has equipped us to STAND?

We've talked about PRAISE and explored it in a new way. We've talked about perspective, perseverance, prayer, and so much more. Really I think it boils down to this: [Always.]

Know what you know.

Live what you know.

Share what you know.

Remember that you have a constant source of example, help, strength, and daily step-by-step guidance in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Please Read: Mark 2:1-12

This is a very well known story in which a few dear friends literally carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing. Jesus did not immediately heal the “circumstances.” He healed the heart.

It always starts there. Always.

Know it. Live it. Share it. Our reality must always start with God as King... and bringing our circumstances and hearts to surrender. Offer yourself. Then you'll see a miracle.

Then.. Jesus told the man to [STAND UP.] But He didn't stop there. Without wasting one breath or stopping His sentence Jesus said “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

Why not stand there for everyone to gaze upon the miracle? Why not let the man stay with the others to listen to all of the teachings of Jesus?

Because it was time to go forward.

It was time to go forward for all to see.

(v. 12) He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

It's knowing. It's living. It's sharing. And it's ALWAYS worship.

It's always a step forward. Revival is nothing more than a conscious effort to take one step forward with God each day. Start today. Revival is worship. WORSHIP IS... REVIVAL.

You've learned to stand, dear friend and greatly loved child of God.

Now it's time to get up, take your mat, and walk.

Share what you know.

*If you would like to be a part of starting small group Bible studies of Stand in your church, neighborhood or community please send me and e-mail at mary@the52project.org. We'll be able to discuss these possiblities when we meet in person as well.

We'd also LOVE to see your continued participation through the rest of the site even as this study ends! Please rejoice and share with us on the blog as often as you can. The Lord has used that ministry in a mighty way!

I'm so thankful for each of you! Have a wonderful weekend... discussions will remain open all weekend. You are each in my thoughts and prayer!

Love, Mary

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thank you to everyone involved in this study. I have been learning so much both from the study and from other sources over the past couple of months. I guess what it all boils down to is this -- God is big. Huge. We can either recognize that or ignore Him, and our society tries to get us to choose the latter. After all, acknowledging a mighty God means that certain things should come as our response -- obedience, submission, humility. All things that we don't particularly like to do. But, even though we deserve it, God's ways aren't about beating us down and making us miserable (although, again, this is what society tries to tell us)! His rules are simply for our well-being (something we don't seem to handle very well when left to our own devices) and for eternal purposes (rather than instant earthly gratification). Following the path that God lays before us (rather than our own road) isn't easy -- after all, it's called the NARROW gate :) But it's not about us and what WE are able to do. If that's all it was, there'd be no sense in even trying. It's about what GOD can do THROUGH us when we allow it. Allow it by praising Him for who He is and what He does, even when all the details of our lives aren't happy. Allow it by breaking the status quo and seeking HIS will rather than automatically just doing what we want, think, or feel like doing. Allow it by changing our perspective - on what we think is important, on how we define our circumstances, on how we view our time here on earth. Allow it by following God and His guidance no matter what everyone around us thinks about it. The surrender of our will and our ego. It's simultaneously that simple and that difficult. But when I start thinking about how hard it is, I come full circle and again start thinking about how big God is ... and how submission is the ONLY reasonable response [read Revelation 4:3-8]. Please pray for me as I continue to struggle with submitting ... hope you all have a great rest of the summer!!
- Amy

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday, July 23

Good morning :) I hope you're doing well this morning and that you've had some good time in prayer!

For today... (Drumroll please...) we'll be doing personal study on the word "share." :) Practical application, my friends! I'd suggest writing the verses you find on note cards... "meditate on them day and night" as they say :) You'll be so, so glad that you did!

SHARE.
You may want to try other words as well along this theme. Some suggestions are praise, act, speak, and tell.

In so doing, remember our key verse on this topic: (definitely note card and memorization worthy... just sayin!)

Philemon 6
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

Also remember: 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give reason for the hope that you have. But do it with gentleness and respect...

Happy studying to you! I KNOW that each and every day truly invested in your knowing, living, and sharing, will result in unspeakable joy!

TODAYS DISCUSSION BELOW IN PURPLE:
Here are a couple of verses that jumped out at me:
"Do not forget to do good to others, and share with them, because such sacrifices please God". - Heb. 13:16
God is the One who made all things, and all things are for his glory. He wanted to have many children share his glory, so he made the One who leads people to salvation perfect through suffering. - Heb. 2:10

I like these verses for a couple of reasons. First, how UNFATHOMABLE is it that God wants to share the most awesome thing in all of existence - HIS GLORY - with us?! Wow. And to think that I don't want to share simple lil' earthly things with people sometimes! Although I also like that Hebrews 13:16 acknowledges that sharing isn't always easy - referring to it as a "sacrifice." Nonetheless it is so much less than God shares with us, and I'm so glad that we have an infinitely generous God. I take this for granted sometimes, but God doesn't have to be so generous with us, so faithful, so loving, so merciful. Lord, please remind me of the big picture - YOU and your awesome gifts to us - when I get caught up in whining about some of life's small details!

- Amy

The verses that came to mind tonight when I was thinking about "sharing" are:

II Cor. 5:11 - Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.
II Cor. 5:11 -
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

What I notice about these particular verses is that it's more of a pleading, almost a begging. It's not "shoving the Gospel down people's throats", but rather lovingly showing them God's compassion for them and HIS desire for a personal relationship with them.

- Lori
I went back to Philippians to see what Paul had to say about sharing. What an awesome example of that! He wrote a book about rejoicing in the Lord while he was in prison!!!
~Philippians 1:14 -- "...and that most of the brethren, trusting the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear."
While the verse above talks about what we generally think of as sharing (speaking), the ones below focus on a different kind of sharing...
~Philippians 2:17-18 -- "But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me."
~Phil. 4:14 -- "Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction."
It struck me that seeking joy and sharing that with others is such a strong testimony. And it's just plain encouraging to other believers. What a blessing of being part of the body of Christ. =)

-MarySusan

Wednesday, July 22

Good morning and happy coffee to you!

Wow thank you for the research you did on KNOW. It's so awesome to just sit and read what God teaches each one of us and learn from it. What an awesome thing He does teaching us individually, and yet grouping us together to learn from one another!

Today... we'll do the same thing on LIVE.

Ready... set... GO!

Make sure you take time to read through all of the submissions yesterday. Again, feel free to send in several verses, or only one. That's fine too!!! Whatever time permits. Don't forget the Bible Concordance found all the way on the bottom of this page. However if you have one in the back of the Bible it might serve you better for today. For some reason this one is not showing results for live, but you can try another word that is similar. My Bible concordance had ALOT of references.

Have a wonderful day asking God to reveal to YOU what HE means when He teaches us how to LIVE. You'll be so, so glad you did.

I'm praying for you today my friend!

* Will you take a moment today to visit the blog, read what others know and share something you know? And while you're at it... :) Have you checked out the prayer wall? Please feel free to send requests, and please pray for others. I had the incredible honor of meeting a precious friend last night who has requested prayer, and needs it so desperately. Please lift one another up as a family serving the Lord. Thank you for your friendship and your partnership! :)

TODAY'S DISCUSSION BELOW IN GREEN:
Here's one of my favorites about what's LIVING:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

SO... no matter what I face as I LIVE... HE is my LIVING HOPE. :) Love it!!!

love, mary

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My LIFE hasn't exactly turned out how I expected . . .and I'm at a crucial point right now where I'm asking God to show me my purpose and to lead me into the specific areas where He's working and how He would have me serve. It's so easy to get bogged down and discouraged in the Czech Republic (where I live) and to lose focus. I truly want to live a "purpose-driven life" - that phrase just strikes a chord with me. As did the following verses:

Ps. 119:175 - "Let me LIVE that I may praise you . . ."
Mt. 22:32 - "He is not the God of the dead, but of the LIVING."
Rom. 12:1 - " . . .offer your bodies as LIVING sacrifices . . .this is your spiritual act of worship."
Deut. 30:19 - "This day . . .I have set before you LIFE and death, blessings and curses. Now choose LIFE so that you and your children may LIVE and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your LIFE."
Ps. 39:4-5 - " . . .let me know how fleeting is my LIFE . . .Each man's LIFE is but a breath . . ."Ps.104:33 - "I will sing to the Lord all my LIFE; I will sing praise to my God as long as I LIVE."
Jn. 10:10 - "I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it to the full."
Acts 20:24 - "However, I consider my LIFE worth nothing to me, if only I may complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."
I Thes. 4:12 - "so that your daily LIFE may win the respect of outsiders . . ."
II Pet. 1:3 - "His divine power has given us everything we need for LIFE and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness."

God, please give me THAT kind of LIFE!!! - Lori

Tuesday, July 21

Good Morning!

[Plant your feet.] Stop and pray. Let's make this a habit... always!

Where are you standing?

Throughout this study... I have learned so much from you, and I'm so thankful! In thinking through this study and the principles “Know what you know, Live what you know, Share what you know” it's been hitting me more and more that this theme seems very complete... and is a constant cycle that the Lord laid out. I hear it in almost every scripture now. I see it patterned for us in every passage. What is it about these principles that makes things so complete?

Then it hit me.

Father. Son. Holy Spirit.

Know. Live. Share.

Father: I AM. That's all you need to know. KNOW God. His character. His name. Know THAT. HE is truth.

Son: Jesus came to earth to show us... how to live... in direct correlation to the character of GOD!!! Wow. He didn't just “make bad people good. He made dead people live.” Jesus taught us a life that is set apart and different, focused and living in regards to the CHARACTER OF GOD and not looking at circumstances.

Holy Spirit: We were given the Holy Spirit to live IN children of God, ALWAYS. FOREVER. He helps us to share, and He reveals more to US of the truth that we speak, when we speak it out loud. He helps us to understand the word of God.

OH. MY. GOODNESS. Does anyone else understand how very amazing this is?!?! WHAT AN AWESOME GOD WE SERVE!

Nothing he gives, nothing he asks, is incomplete. Ever. In fact His plans are already more complete than we can imagine, even before we're aware of them.

I KNOW that God has more for us than we are aware of now. I KNOW that He slowly opens our eyes as we seek Him. And so...

Will you commit to this pursuit of our great God together beyond this study? Today's assignment is simple.

Scroll down to the box at the very bottom of this page or open your Bible's concordance. Look up or type in the word “know.” If you want to continue in Psalms, the Study box at the end of the page hits Psalms on page 24.

For today's discussion: Simply list one (or more) verse that tells us something we can KNOW... and add your live and share. Its a simple yet life-changing pursuit. Let's make it a habit together today!


TODAY'S DISCUSSION BELOW IN BLUE:

- Romans 5:3-4 - "We also have joy with our troubles, because we KNOW that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope."
I have been praying that God will change me - change my character. Change who I am, how I think, how I act. What this verse tells me is that God's ways are not always a walk in the park. He uses tough circumstances to change us, strengthen us - no pain, no gain. So what I KNOW is that I shouldn't expect any easy peasy answer to those prayers I've been praying. But when we make it to the other side of those difficult times in our lives, we are blessed with increased patience and character that God has grown in us through those experiences. I also like quick answers, so I'm having to learn patience and that, while the world is focused on instant gratification, God is focused on eternal gratification ...
- Amy

Oh and by the way, Mary, YES - i DO think the correlation between the know, live, share and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is super awesome. Leave it to God to be awesome like that :)
- Amy

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Good afternoon! I read 1 John. This book was written for new Christians, and people just checking things out and trying to figure out if Jesus is real. Here is what he told them that they could KNOW in Chapter 5.

1 John 5:2 - This is how we KNOW that we love the children of God, if we love Him and keep His commandments. [we need to live and share what we know.]

1 John 5:12-13 - And this is the record, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life, and he that has not the Son has not life. These things I have written to you that believe, so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God. [we can have eternal life, but only through Jesus.]

1 John 5:14-15 - And this is the confidence that we have in Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, and if we KNOW that He hears us, whatever we ask, we KNOW that we have the petitions we desired of Him. [He hears our prayers and answers them according to His will. Always.]

1 John 5:18 - We KNOW that whoever is born of God sins not, but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and the wicked one touches him not. And we KNOW that we are of God, and whole world lieth in wickedness. [If we choose to be a child of God, we are to be different. To be set apart.]

1 John 5:20 - And we KNOW that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may KNOW Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. [God sent Jesus because He wanted us to KNOW Him.]

Wow, John knew who His God was... and thats my God too! The one true God! I'm so glad I can know that today. I hope you know Him too!!! :) - Lauren
I looked at Philippians today for what we should know. I have been reading through it again recently because it is one of my favorite NT books. It is so rich in putting our mind on what is above, not the things around us.
A few verses stuck out to me...
3:8-- Paul states that KNOWING Christ Jesus was of surpassing value. I know...Nothing I can pursue in life or spend time doing is of greater worth than knowing my Savior. So...I need to always make my time with the Lord first. I cannot skip out on my daily communion with Him.
3:10-- Paul reminds us that we know Christ through our faith, not works. He wanted to not only know the Person of Christ, but also the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. I looked in The Bible Knowledge Commentary and found that the word "know" in verse 10 implies a knowledge by experience. Paul wanted to experience Christ's power as well as to suffer for Christ's sake. I know that I first of all need this kind of desire for the Lord's power in my life, and I need to tap into the power that is there (the Holy Spirit). So...I stopped and prayed that the Lord will help me understand His Word deeper and have the same kind of commitment that Paul did.
3:12-- Paul knew how to live contentedly whether he had little or much. I know there are times when I am not content, but need to be...so I thanked the Lord today for the many blessings he had given me (my husband, time with family, house, my dog =)...)
~MarySusan
Good morning!
I decided to look at passages in Deut., one of my favorite books.

Deut.4:35 - God does things in our lives so we can better KNOW HIM. We know Him, we experience His work in our lives, then we share it with others. In response to that I will humble myself and share with you the things I pray about and how God answers! Yesterday God showed me He cares about the little details. This may seem like a silly example, but I was trying not to eat any sweets yesterday.I knew there were freshly baked brownies at home (yum!) but I also knew that I hadn't eaten enough fruits/vegetables during the day, so I prayed God would provide a way for me to make a healthy choice. I got home and what do you know - there on the counter were delicious, fresh peaches my uncle dropped by on his way back from South Carolina. I ate that big ole peach and "tasted and saw that the Lord is good".:)

Other "know" verses from Deut.: - 7:9 - God is faithful and keeps His covenant to 1000 generations who love and obey Him. They know Him. They live it. They share with the next generation.

8:5 - I KNOW God will discipline me when I go astray. This has always been a comforting thought to me. If I'm going in a direction that will prove harmful in the end, I WANT God to stop me. Frequently I pray God's rod AND staff (one prods the sheep along and the other hooks them around the neck when they go astray) will guide me.

31:13 - Children have to be TAUGHT the law; they must LEARN to fear the Lord. It does not come naturally to them. It is our responsibility to KNOW it, LIVE it, and SHARE it. I think one of the most effective ways to do this is through parenthood; as your children see your faith lived out on a daily basis, it will make an impact.

- Lori

Monday, July 20

Happy Monday to you again, my friends! I hope you've had a wonderful weekend! I'm looking forward to digging into our last week of Stand with YOU! Last week for input and questions... if there is anything on your heart, please let us know!

I enjoyed our discussion on sharing. It is clear (and so awesome!!!) That sharing is:
1. For OUR benefit as well (Philemon 1:6) You should be active in sharing your faith, so that YOU will have a full understanding of the hope that you profess.
2. For the benefit of others. Check this one from Psalms out:

I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old - we will tell them to our children, we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands. The would not be like our forefathers - a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to Him. Psalm 78:2,4,7-8

Today I want you to really hone in on something. We've talked at great detail about how the Lord has equipped you (history, His word, access to Him, etc.) trained you (your history, His word, example of others, perspective, praise, etc.) and gone before you, always seeing you as you STAND for Him. Now let's turn our gaze a bit and focus on this angle of it:

He has equipped you,
He has trained you,
He has gone before you,
He is the One who sees you.

The ability to KNOW God is for YOU. The ability to teach others is for YOU. The ability to see miracles is for YOU. The ability to share the Lord with others is for YOU. I Think very often we seperate ourselves from really, really KNOWING these things. We are raised to think a certain way, and to place different people into certain roles. I heard this story this weekend:

"A little boy wanted a bike very badly. He decided to pray about this, so he turned on the television to watch a pastor pray. After turning off the t.v. he ran upstairs to his room and prayed, 'Great Heavenly Father if it is in your Sovereign will and your great ways, and in your perfect time, would you please give me a bike? Amen.' After 2 days passed the boy thought that maybe he didn't do it quite right so he viewed another television evangelist and retreated a second time to his room with a better plan. This time he prayed: "Oh God today I lay claim to a bike. I know you will do it and it will be blue and I'd like it to be here within 24 hours. I lay claim to it today. Thank you God, Amen.' After two more days had passed his mother entered the little boys room to put away his laundry. She noticed that a small statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus which had belonged to the boys grandmother was missing. In it's place lay a note written in the boys handwriting saying, "Dear Jesus. If you ever want to see your mother again...."

:)

Cute way to say that we may sometimes, as we learn from and observe others miss the voice of God in our OWN PERSONAL LIVES. Let's obey the Lord in seeking, hearing, and learning from the counsel of others, but let's never TRADE it for what is best: Hearing His voice ourselves. That's one reason why it's so important to remember what He has done in your own life and to share it with others!

This is so important: Please check out these verses:
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have for I meditate on your statutes. I have more insight than all my teachers,more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word, I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Psalm 119:97-104

Please also read these: Especially notice the phrase "He enables me to STAND" :) Psalm 18:25-48, Psalm 16:7-8

The well-known apologist Ravi Zaccharias (WOW talk about a man who knows, loves and is instructed by the Lord!!!!) made me think through this... and it's an awesome change of perspective:

Jesus did not come to the earth to make bad people good. He is not in the business of focusing on behaviors, clothing, or appearance. Jesus came to this world to make dead people live. He came to give them a NEW LIFE. He came to open the eyes of the blind, open the ears of the deaf, and to set captives free!!! HALLELUJAH WHAT A SAVIOR!!!!

For today:
Are you living as if for a God who makes bad people good, or dead people live? Just how hard are you really seeking and applying the truth?

For discussion:
Let's give some bullet point outlines as to what our responsibilites are as children of God.

TODAY'S DISCUSSION BELOW IN PURPLE:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our responsibilities include:
- Obeying His commands & His guidance
- Studying the Bible & spending time in prayer in order to know His commands & receive His guidance
- Sharing what we know about Him with others
- Having faith in Him & trusting Him, even when things don't make sense or seem "fair" to us. He's God, we're not. Sometimes that has to be enough, even if we really want to know WHY things happen how they do.
- Caring for others around us (as He has commanded)
- Making Him the first priority in our lives -- before ourselves, our family, our jobs, our "hopes and dreams," everything. Easier said than done, but true nonetheless.
- Respect - although He is our father and friend, He is also a mighty God that created everything and is infinitely powerful. We should act accordingly.
- REAL commitment, not just lip service (I'm better at the latter, I must admit!). Yesterday my pastor said that, when he called the disciples, He didn't say "come, believe me." He said, "come, FOLLOW me." He wants every part of us (Rev. 3:16), even though we often tell ourselves that we're doing well if we carve out PART of our life for Him.
~ Amy
- To actively pursue Him in every area of life. Reading His word, praying, and applying these things.
Our responsibilities before God are to:
- be honest.
- apply what we believe to our lives.
- worship.
- be teachable.
- share with others.
- praise the Lord.

Friday, July 17

His love endures forever.

We can ALWAYS sing a NEW SONG to the SAME GOD.

It never ceases to amaze me. [Praise The Lord!]

Please read Philemon 6, Psalm 34:1-8, Psalm 147.

For discussion:
Why is it necessary as some of you mentioned yesterday, to share and to praise [out loud]? Do you think it's a part of our own journey of standing... to share the Lord and help others up as well? Why or why not?

Lori mentioned that she planned to write her own Psalm this weekend. WHAT AN AWESOME IDEA. What a great opportunity to know it yourself, to do something about it that's out of your comfort zone, and to share! Will you join in? You do not have to share it if it's to personal, if you would like to we'd love to praise the Lord together with you .This would be a great stretching exercise for each of us and I'm guessing... it would make our Savior so happy. :) Pattern your Psalm after Psalm 136.[ It can be one line or many.] A line of testimony about your life or the character of God... followed by "His love endures forever." Then always keep it near you. Post it somewhere in your bedroom... or consider e-mailing it to a friend! Know. Live. Share. Have a wonderful weekend!!!

THIS WEEKEND'S DISCUSSION BELOW IN RED:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wow, thanks for the thoughts on praise, Lori & MarySusan. Before this study I don't think I ever thought of praise as more than the simple act of recognizing something God had done. There's SO much more to it, though, huh? Philemon 6 makes that clear. I think it's so cool how the things God commands us to do are only for our own benefit in the end. How sad, then, that we sometimes act like He's just trying to "spoil all the fun" that we would have if we did things our own way. HA!
I LOVE how Psalm 147 juxtaposes the statements about God's enormity & power with statements about His love & care for the brokenhearted, the humble, & the little bird. It seems to really capture the essence of WHY God is so amazing, so worthy of our praise -- the same GOD that is supreme over EVERYTHING - "He gives a command to the earth and it quickly obeys him (v.15)" - is the same God that cares about us. Now that truly is an AMAZING kind of love. It's sad that we get so used to the idea of God's love for us that we don't often marvel at the concept of it.
I also really love the first part of Psalm 34:8 - "EXAMINE and see how good the Lord is." In other words, TAKE A LOOK. I dare ya! You'll find out how good He is!

- Amy
I think it's good for us when we share because 1.)When we explain things to others, it makes it more real to us 2.) When we share and the people we're sharing with have questions, it forces us to dig deeper and pursue answers 3.)I believe that when we share, God blesses with a special sense of His presence 4.)When we share, we're being obedient. Going to go work on my Lori version of Psalm 136! :) - Lori
I think it is important to praise the Lord where others will hear (or see) it because it creates a memorial for the Lord. We still read about God's provision for the Israelites in so many ways. It gives us an example to follow, solidifies our knowledge that the Lord does keep His promises, helps us know how to pray, and encourages us when we face trials.When we verbalize what the Lord has done for us, it gives others the same encouragement to know that we serve a faithful God!

Praising God is something I am learning more to do, though it does take courage (it is not always a natural thing for me to speak up.) Sometimes I remind myself, "How can I expect God to continue to answer prayer and bless me if I don't praise Him when He does?". Furthermore, I am commanded to do it. =)

I love the idea of the personal psalm. It is a way to document the faithfulness of my God! My dad keeps a daily written list of things he is praying for in one column, and when God answers them, he moves them to another column. He always has written down answers to prayer and has a continuous list from which he can go back and praise God for. I am making it a goal (so now I am accountable -- YIKES!) to do more of this type of thing in order to more effectively praise God. ~MarySusan

Thursday, July 16

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

[Stop] and thank God that He is the Prince of Peace! He is the author and perfector of our Faith! That He provides a way for us to stand, regardless of our circumstances, and that He is even Lord of creation!

I love the order in this verse. First... we have the incredible gift of the opportunity to go out... walk toward... ANYTHING with joy and peace. It will lead us. Then, when we fix our minds on Jesus and allow that to happen, our circumstances and our surroundings react to that, rather than the other way around! Many times we base our mindset on what we see, our surroundings and our circumstances. I don't know about you, but I have an awfully hard time finding peace when I "go forth" that way. Knowing who God is brings peace.

Instead of the thornbush will grow a pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed. Isaiah 55:13

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, ALREADY being equipped and prepared with the joy and peace of the Lord before hard times come... pulling up those boots and finding it in the midst of suffering... these are undeniable realities that will bring glory to our Lord. And as usual, the blessing falls on us as well.

Do you really want to make a difference in the world for Christ? It seems to me that although we all have different callings, different places, etc. the common foundation is the pursuit of God in such a way, that we allow HIM to be KING, we allow His presence and His hand to be so large and undeniable in our lives that others have no choice, but to see God.

We can... and should... bring others into the presence of God by never leaving it ourselves.

We all have something to share.

For today: Please read Psalm 40 and Psalm 136.

His love endures forever. YOU are the apple of His eye.

For Discussion: How can we STAND in the love of God? We hear this phrase alot, let's bring it down to personal application. Does that seem to simple? Good. :) I'm so glad... and if not, that's ok. Just remember that sometimes the basic phrases and things we learn as a child are the ones we need to re-enter, understand and apply. I KNOW God loves us. EACH one of us. He made us. And so.....

*This study will finish in just a little over 1 week. We'll begin wrapping things up and bringing them to application and close... please jump in and let's finish this out well! It has been an honor studying with you!

TODAY'S DISCUSSION BELOW IN BLUE: