Tag: bible study

One Month to Love: Letting Go

“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.” – Johann Wolfgang Goethe

In the final segment of our study on loving our circle, we explore the art of letting go. Of what you ask? Simply the need to control our lives and the lives of others. Now I know what you’re thinking: I’m not some control freak, I just have better ways of doing things; I have a type A personality. Trust me, I know you mean well, but the truth is we may not even realize we’re treating people this way. Often times we employ these controling behaviors and strategies so invisibly that we’re unaware of our actions.

All of us push people’s buttons to create the experiences and relationships that serve our purpose. Some seek to control by being perfectionists and others by being intimidators. Then there are the worrywarts who control using anxiety while others are constant planners, and some who are micromanagers. In any case, our need to control often stems from core issues in our lives.

The six most common core issues are: hurt, insecurity, pride, guilty, selfishness, and unrealistic expectations. These issues tend to be the underlying reason for our desire to control. Wordly thinking says that taking matters into our own hands will eliminate the fear of the unknown. However, this keeps us from trusting God and others. Godly thinking says that the unknown is a place of trusting God and that perfect love casts out all fear. 

Lasting love isn’t just about what you can add but also what you can let go of in relationships. Simon Peter’s relationship with Jesus is a perfect example of someone who fought for control. The fishing story in Luke 5 describes how Peter had toiled all night with his fishing mates only to repeatedly come up empty. After some resistance and questioning Jesus’ instructions, he finally receives his largest catch ever by giving up control and obeying the master’s instructions. 

This miracle illustrates for us the benefit of giving God control of every area of our lives… not just the spiritual things. He wants to be included in your education, career, friendships, and romantic relationships. There is peace in submission and power in letting go! 

One Month to Love: Risking Awkwardness

Are your close relationships in the danger zone of “Just Okay” ? 

In each of our close relationships there is a serious need for awkwardness. The kind brought about by diving benaeath the surface and getting real. There is a tendency in long term friendships or romantic relationships to reach a place where we feel we know all there is to know about the other person. Think about it, you’ve been besties for 15 years for crying out loud, what’s there to learn? Or perhaps you feel there’s nothing more to your little brother, after all – you changed his diapers. Maybe you even overlook your parents’ evolution into changing adults?

Instead of intentionally seeking to learn more from these individuals we settle for the following: “How was your day?” “It was okay, yours?” “Eh..it was fine.” Voila! Nothing was said, nothing was learned, just vague generalities. We become strangers to each other and before long, have no idea who our loved ones have become. However, all of this can change, the moment we risk being awkward. When we ask the uncomfortable questions.

News Flash: People are not Mind Readers! 

Yes, I’m sure you know this, but it needs to be said. For example I like to shop (duh, what’s the name of this blog… hello) and that is no secret. My friends also like shopping. What most of them don’t know is that I prefer to shop alone, early in the day, without a crowd. I’d much rather eat with a group than shop with one. Unfortunately, my friends aren’t mind readers, so when I’m squimish about going to a big mall on Black Friday it only appears as if I’m avoiding the squad.

While my scenario wasn’t a serious one, this same principle applies to your familial relationships and the romantic ones. We all recieve love differently. Some of us respond to gift giving, while others need verbal affirmation, still some require acts of service to truly feel loved. The point is, none of these needs will be met without us verbally expressing our needs to those who love us. Let’s resolve today that we’ll risk the awkwardness by asking neccessary questions. Let’s have the willingness to be uncomfortable and go deeper!

Love as a Way of Life

In this last chapter Sally Clarkson shared with us how her son Nathan left home for film school in New York, a city full of temptation and was confronted with his own commitment to the Lord. How would Nathan live his life? How would he use his time on campus to make an impact in the lives of  his classmates? It was simple…Nathan chose to loveGod is love and He uses us to express His love to others! 

  1. Love is patient. Are there people in your life who need to see your patience so they’ll have time to grow? As the eldest child of three, I can often taken on the role of sister/parent. This can sometimes result in being demanding and critical. I’m the oldest, I’ve been there done that, just do what I say… This is not how you show your siblings godly patience. Moving forward, I want to create a place of safety for them where they have space to learn, grow, and become their own unique selves.
  2. Love is kind. What do you need to do to give kindness to others? Being kind means that I take the time to consider someone else’s feelings, perspective, and their situation. It is to be selfless and Christlike. To really spread kindness, I can not be self-centered.

To truly love as a way of life means to totally yeild our lives to the leadership of Jesus Christ. To learn and accept his love for us, and to then spread that love abroad. We must invest our time into caring for those around us, as well as ourselves!

We’ve come to the end of our devotional series “You Are Loved: Embracing God’s love for You” and I have to say that I’ve enjoyed these last eight weeks. A healthy relationship with the Lord is one that stands on the foundation of his love for us. His unwavering, unchanging, unconditional love. What an amazing gift!

Loving is Our Kingdom Work

Love is God’s universal language. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves and in doing such, we become more like Christ. Many times people can’t understand God’s love and forgiveness for them because they haven’t felt such love from the humans around them. Here are some facts about real love:

  • Love is an obedient choice
  • Love heals relationships
  • Love is the beginning of friendships
  • Love initiates
  • Love inspires others
  • Love comforts

As I reflect on these truths, I realize that I can surely grow in this area. To show the love of Christ everyday means I need to see every interaction as an opportunity to sow. People should know that I’m a believer after being in my presence or observing how I carry myself and serve others. This will require me to abandon my assumptions, prejudgments, and past grudgrs so that I can effectively be used by God to bring healing and compassion. What a privilege to love and be loved!

You’re Invited

Ask any farmer and they’ll tell you that one small seed is capable of producing a very big harvest. In this same way each of us have the power to plant seeds of faith, hope, and love to the people God has placed in our lives. Our job is to plant, the Lord will send the water.

Last week we finished “You’re Invited”chapter 6 of our You Are Loved devotional. In this lesson Angela shared the beautiful story of her mother Diana’s salvation. Raised by parents who hadn’t experienced Christ’s redemptive power, Diana received her invitation to discipleship from her childhood friend Peggy. Peggy’s mother was a godly woman who lived a righteous life before her daughter, thus teaching her to extend the gospel of Christ to others. In the seemingly small everyday tasks of being a wife and mother Peggy’s mom changed Diana’s life!

  1. In what ways can you be obedient to God right now in the mundane tasks of your life? Working evening shift means that I have more time before work to devote to spiritual, physical, and professional development. I’ve totally been slacking when it comes to prioritizing my time and maximizing my day. Making these changes will also help me be more present at work and operate in a spirit of excellence on the job.
  2. What are some ways God is calling you to be a light for Him in your community? Most of my day is spent at work, thus making this the primary field in which I can sow. I work in a call center with a fast paced, high stress environment. As a result many of my coworkers are consumed by worry and anxiety. More than ever I often feel the Holy Spirit reminding me to be a voice of encouragement and peace. To wisely insert the Jehovah Shalom wherever he is needed. To live a consistent life before others so that God gets all the glory.
  3. Who can you be a “Peggy’s Mom” to in your life? In what ways can you intentionally introduce them to God? As I prepare to marry my fiancé I am also preparing to become a mother to his daughter. My desire is to live a life that shows her how to be a virtuous, loving, spirit led woman who is determined to live for Christ. Loving her as my own daughter and allowing her to see God’s love in action is a wonderful way to introduce her to Christ.

As you can see, all it takes is a seed. You and I have been put on this earth to be living witnesses who can attest to the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. Let’s always strive to plant seeds wherever we go and allow them to take root that God would produce a harvest for the kingdom. Today we begin week 7 entitled “Loving is our Kingdom Work” below are this week’s meditation scriptures along with the memory verse. God bless everyone, happy Monday!

 

 

You Can Trust Him

What is trust? Webster’s dictionary defines trust (n) as: “assured reliance on the character, strength, truth of someone or something.” Trust is said to be hard to earn but easily lost. However, when it comes to our relationship with the Lord, we must remember that He is not like man. He is faithful and merciful, even when His methods are mysterious. With this in mind, let’s review a few reflection questions from last week.

  1. How has God been faithful to you in the past? God’s fingerprints are all over my life. Looking back, I can plainly see how He has protected me from unseen danger and heartache. One of the most crucial seasons of my life was during college when my faith and my intelligence was constantly in question. Somehow, God kept his hand on me and I was able to graduate without losing my moral compass.
  2. How does realizing nothing can touch you that doesn’t first come through God help you trust Him? It reassures me that no matter what I am facing the outcome is victorious as long as my faith is in Him. Even things I don’t understand have to work in my favor.
  3. Who has God placed in your life to help you through the hard paths you’ve had to walk? All covenant relationships must be tested. As a result my closest friends are vetted and have been a source of strength and love. Also, my parents ate the most pivotal people in my life. Their flaws and strengths are both vital to my development. Godly parents aren’t perfect, just perfect for their child.

Friend, if you’re facing a season of loss, disappointment, or betrayal please know that with God, your story is always being rewritten to bring Him glory. You are not alone and you are not defeated!

As usual, Monday we began a new chapter, lesson six “You’re Invited”. The focus of this week is sharing God’s love with family and friends. I hope you are finding the lesson helpful; feel free to update me on your progress. Here are this week’s meditation scriptures…

God Loves You

Can you believe we’re now half way through our devotional series for this quarter? It feels like just yesterday we were screaming “Happy New Year!” I pray this series has been a blessing thus far. In last week’s lesson “God Loves You” , author Angela Perritt used the development of her relationship with her husband Dirk as an example of God’s healing love in action. Plagued by the embarrassment and isolation of having a learning disorder Angela hid behind a facade of perfection while building a wall around her heart. Her biggest fear was that Dirk would discover her secret and leave her alone and ashamed. To her surprise, after her tearful confession, Dirk only loved her through the fear and the two became even closer. Their story reminds us that we do not have to be perfect to be perfectly loved. We are made perfect in Christ and His love transforms! Here are my personal reflections on this lesson:

  1. How has God used “thorns” in your life to help cave you into His image? Angela’s disorder was surely a thorn for her–something she’d often prayed God would take away for good so she could finally be used for His glory. However, her greatest “flaw” was the very thing God used to showcase His ability to make all things beautiful. The thorns in my own life have kept me humble…teachable. They remind me of my need for a Savior, my need for help, & my need for total dependence on God.
  2. To what lies concerning God’s love for you are you currently listening? The lies that I am not good enough, righteous enough, holy enough, pure enough, bold enough, smart enough, etc… are just some of the lies that make me feel unqualified for God’s use. As a human shaped in iniquity, I will never be “perfect” in terms of being completely void of mistake and error. However, perfection has never been a prerequisite for God to use anyone. Neither David, Peter, Mary Magdalene, or Martha were perfect (and that’s just a handful) but their hearts were sincere and they lived a life of prayer, faith, repentance, and commitment to the Lord.
  3. Looking at Matthew 11:28-29, what are some burdens you’ve been carrying that Christ never intended for you to carry? This is a big one for me, and I suspect for all of us as women. I am certainly guilty of allowing the problems of others to affect me personally. It’s one thing to be filled with compassion & have a healing/counseling ministry, but it’s another to be consumed by the issues of others to the point you take on their sorrow and depression. I often feel responsible for the burdens of others. I also get burdened by the belief that I must control all the details of my life–I must have it all figured out. I also carry the weight of others’ opinions about me.

As you can see, these burdens are exactly what we should be releasing to God. Hebrews 4:15-16 shows us that our high priest Jesus knows exactly how it feels to live this human experience. He knows how it feels to be afraid, lonely, uncertain, angry, hurt, etc… and he empathizes with us because He’s been there! This means we can go to Him in prayer with confidence and in honesty. Believing He will extend grace and mercy to us, God’s beloved. Take courage today knowing you are not alone; and while you may not be perfect, He is! Here are this week’s meditation scriptures to get you through this week. Talk to you soon, XO!

The Rival

Happy Tuesday loves!

Forgive me for this late post, Monday was cray cray and I’m overdue on my reflections from last week’s lesson. Week three we read about Sally Clarkson’s introduction to her eternal enemy, Satan, and his desire to devour all of us who are Christians. A newly converted young woman in college, Sally’s excitement about Jesus begins to fade as thoughts of judgment and criticism soon played on repeat in her mind. As a result, the reflection questions asked us to dig deep and examine the lies we’ve believed from the enemy about ourselves. Here are my two favorite:

  1. What voices are in your heart and head accusing you? For me, it’s the voices that constantly tell me I’m not good enough. That I’m not smart enough to be a medical professional, let alone fulfill my dream of being a doctor. Then there is the voice of fear always looking for the worst to happen.
  2. Do you understand loving yourself is a part of your spiritual worship to God? What do you need to address to do so? By addressing my negative feelings and silencing the devil’s suggestions immediately, I can keep my focus on God’s word and His promises. He loves me totally. I don’t have to dress a certain way, hang with the cool crowd, or have a specific personality type to have His approval. By abandoning the superficial standards of this world, I can be free of comparison, anxiety, and fear.

Week three was a much needed reminder for us as women to find our validation in Jesus Christ, not man. I pray that it inspires you to realize your true worth and reign as the Princess of the King. Below is this week’s memory verse and the meditation scriptures for the week. Until next time, XOXO!

Knowing God

Happy Monday loves!

We’ve finished “Knowing God”, week two of our You Are Loved eight week devotional series as of Friday. In this chapter Angela Perritt used the development of her relationship with Dirk, her husband, as an example of building a relationship with God. Angela does a beautiful job of reminding us that getting to know Jesus is intentional. Developing a strong relationship, whether romantic or friendly, takes time. One must be purposeful and deliberate while doing so. Angela and Dirk gradually deepened their friendship and eventually became exclusive, meaning they were only involved with one another…no side pieces. This type of intimate relationship requires vulnerability and honesty. God desires such intimacy with us, the objects of His affection. I was challenged by this week’s devotion to pursue God even more and designate quality time with the one who loves me most. Although we had seven reflection questions this week, I’ve decided to share my thoughts on these three:

  1. Knowing the truth of 2Tim 3:16, why should we read God’s word on a daily basis for ourselves? It’s one thing to hear a sermon or read a devotional, but nothing compares to first hand knowledge of God’s word for myself. The Bible is the written expression of God’s will and His character. It’s His blueprint for humanity and one of the believers’ greatest resources. We can always find comfort & guidance in His word.
  2. How does it change your outlook on God when you realize that He extends His mercy and grace to us when we approach Him? Jesus, having become human, can sympathize with our weaknesses and relate to our temptations. He is now our advocate with the Father, and our savior, and elder brother.  As a result, I am less afraid to approach God the Father. I’m less likely to stay away from Him or His presence out of shame and condemnation. When I remember His mercies are new each day and that I am His beloved, I come to Him as a child. I come as His daughter, not His peasant slave.
  3. What are some ways you can choose to slow down your life so that you can “be still” before our Lord? In the hustle and bustle of our crazy lives it’s easy to get swept up in emails, projects, duties, and entertainment. I am personally still trying to balance blogging with work and yet maintain healthy relationships with God & others. I believe that by yielding the start of my day to the Lord, routinely unplugging from technology, and not becoming consumed with social media I can slow down & be still in God’s presence.

Knowing God may seem like an impossible feat but it’s certainly easier than we think. By moving him out of the friend zone and making Him bae, we can all build the strong, loving, lasting relationship He desires!

He calls Us Beloved

Last week those of you who have subscribed to the blog and become Kira’s Krew joined me for week one of #Love16 , our year long exploration of love. For this first quarter we’re spending eight weeks (February & March) learning about God’s love for Us. Our devotional of choice, You Are Loved: Embracing God’s love for You by Sally Clarkson and Angela Perritt is off to a great start. In chapter one Sally describes for us how having her daughter Joy, after several miscarriages, gave her a glimpse at the unconditional love God the father has for his children. She then begins to explain for us how this love is unchanging. At the end of each chapter there are reflection questions, I’ve decided I will share my thoughts with you all here:

  1. Do you realize nothing you do will ever separate you from the love of God? How can you live in this truth? Romans 8 assures us that not even death can separate me from God’s love. Although I will never truly understand just how much He loves me, or why he continues to seek relationship with such an inconsistent human like myself, knowing this truth gives me security and peace.
  2. What does it mean to you that God is a warrior big enough to fight your battles? Zephaniah 3:17 tells me that God is the mighty warrior who saves, and that he takes great delight in me. This means that I don’t have to consume myself with worry and have paralyzing anxiety about the course of my life. It means that during the hardest times of my life I am not alone and helpless, but I have supernatural assistance from my heavenly Father.
  3. There is only one one-word definition in scripture about God–God is love. Can you think of anyone in your life who needs to know this kind of love from you and God? The essence of God is love. I wholeheartedly believe an understanding of this love and putting it into practice is what will impact the lives of those around me for the better. My family, friends, and coworkers need to see consistency in my character and my conduct. As a representative of the Kingdom of God here on earth it is my duty to love my neighbor as myself and to share the good news of Christ.
  4. What about when you blow it again? How can you quickly restore fellowship with God and others? Psalm 86 tells me that God is full of compassion and slow to anger. He is a loving father. Like any father there will be times when he must correct me when I’m wrong but he is always merciful and kind. He wants what’s best for me and knows the best path for me to take. I in turn must learn to repent of my sins and yet be just as gracious with myself. Not repeating conversations of self pity and defeat but rather meditating on God’s promises and resting in his love.

Listen, life is beautiful but it can also be extremely rough. There is no escaping the ups and downs but you can go through them victoriously with faith, hope, and love. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was accepting Jesus Christ as my savior. He makes life worth living!

We’re already into week two Knowing God. Our memory verse is Jeremiah 24:7 “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” Here the meditation scriptures:


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