Month: June 2021

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

Week Three – Covenant of God by Jen Wilkin

A Study of Genesis 21-25

This week we see God fulfill his promise to Abraham and Sarah. Sarah finally gives Abraham a son, Isaac. God also tests Abraham’s faith in a major way. Abraham loves Isaac very much and faces a test of obedience that many of us would not like to take.

The Covenant of God was honored when Isaac was circumcised when he was eight days old. There was a lot to tension between Rebekah and Hagar over the boys, Ishmael and Isaac. When Rebekah thought Ishmael was mocking Isaac she made Abraham make her leave their home. They wondered in the wilderness as they has no other home. Hagar cried tot to God in desperation. God heard and send his messenger to assure her Ishmael would grow up and be a successful archer. Abraham makes a covenant with Abimelech, a covenant where they would treat each other well so they could live in harmony.

Test of Loyalty

God and Abraham had a special relationship and it was tested when God asked for a big sacrifice from Abraham. He wanted Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Being loyal, Abraham set out to do that, believing God would somehow return Isaac to him. Right when Abraham was going to it, an angel of the Lord stopped him. 

We also mourn the loss of Sarah. Abraham loved her very much and purchased land to bury her in. Sarah was 127 years old. 

Abraham wants to get a wife for Isaac. He did not want a Canaanite to marry Isaac. Abraham got a trusted servant to pledge this to him. The servant promised to go to Abraham’s homeland to find a wife for Isaac. This is where we meet Rebekah. 

Abraham marries another wife. They have six children, Abraham’s family is multiplying. Just like God promised it would. Abraham passes at a very old age, satisfied with his life.

Isaac and Rebekah

After praying to the Lord on Rebekah’s behalf she became pregnant with twins and had Esau and Jacob. The babies struggled together within her, so she went to the Lord. He told her there were 2 nations in her womb, that they will be divided, as well as one being stronger and the older serving the younger. In case you missed any of the previous weeks, click here.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

Week Four-Covenant of God by Jen Wilkin

A study of Genesis 25:19-28:22

We continue from week three. Now that Abraham has passed, the story centers on Isaac and Rebekah. Rebekah is unable to conceive. Isaac prays to God on her behalf. The Lord answers his prayers, and Rebekah becomes pregnant and had twins, Esau and Jacob.

The Lord had appeared to Isaac and gave him directions as well as, once again, make several promises to him. We always hope to learn from our parents and the things they did and things they should not have done; we see that is not always the case. God directed Isaac not to go to Egypt. God told him to stay in the land that He told him to stay in, Gerar. 

Promises from God

Promises God made to Isaac

‘Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants, I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees, and my instructions.” ‘ Genesis 26:3-5

So Isaac stayed there in Gerar as the Lord directed. This is where we see Isaac follow in his father’s footsteps in not trusting in his God. Isaac deceives the men of the city and tells them that Rebekah is his sister. (See Genesis 12:10-20 to read Abrahams deception) 

Eventually, the truth was discovered. Isaac claimed it was fear for his safety because Rebekah was so beautiful. The king immediately told all his people that Isaac and Rebekah were under his protection. Therefore no one was allowed to harm them in any way. The Lord blessed Isaac there and grew his possessions until Isaac was a very wealthy man. 

Favoritism drives the brothers apart

As Esau and Jacob grow, there is blatant favoritism from their parents. Rebekah favored Jacob and Isaac favored Esau. Rebekah coached Jacob into stealing his brother’s birthright. She helped him deceive Isaac so that Jacob received the blessing of the firstborn. In addition, Jacob also stole Esau’s inheritance which would have made Esau head of the family. Jacob listened to his mother instead of listening to God. Esau was so angry he threatened to kill Jacob. Rebekah sent Jacob away as she was afraid Esau would kill him.

A wedge drove this family apart because of the favoritism. With this blessing, his father told Jacob that he was not to marry a Canaanite woman and was to go to Paddan-Aram to find a wife. Jacob obeyed his father and mother and went. Esau knew marrying a Canaanite woman displeased his father. To get revenge, Esau married a Canaanite woman. Abraham was very displeased by this act.

Jacob encounters God

As Jacob traveled, he had a dream from the Lord. Jacob saw a ladder that went from the earth to heaven, and angels went up and down, from the earth to heaven and again. In the dream, the Lord was standing above it and said,

”I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and The God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to your one dot your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you ad will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have somewhat I have promised to you.”  Genesis 28:13-15

As much as the Lord promised to be with him and his family until all God’s promises are delivered, Jacob still, at this point, did not give his whole heart and trust to God. 

In verses 20-21, Jacob says, “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God.”

Jacob leaves a stone as a pillar and promises to give a tenth back to God of whatever he receives from God.  I believe this is when Jacob’s heart starts to really trust in the Lord. We will pick up next week with Isaac meeting Rachel.

Encouragement when breaking free

Encouragement when Breaking Free

After writing the joy of being 50 and free, I wanted to share some scripture I often read. Whether I admitted it to myself on not, I felt that I needed the approval of people! People I liked, people I thought liked me and people I tried breaking free from. Even more, I often wondered about what I did or did not do not be accepted by certain people.

I really was driving up the highway (if you haven’t read The joy of being 50 and free, click here) when I realized God had blessed me with a life I loved. There was no need for anyone’s approval. Only Jesus!!

Here are some scripture I researched regarding breaking free from people-pleasing and finding freedom in Jesus. In His truth, in His love, and in His complete acceptance of me. I pray for you, that you accept Jesus and ALL that he wants to give you. That you find peace knowing you can trust in Him. I pray these Living words to bring you strength to let go of what doesn’t matter and latch on to the only One that does.

Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of m heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer

Psalm 51:12

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 57:7

My heart is fixed, Oh God, my heart is steadfast and confident! I will sing and make melody.

Psalm 91:14-15

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name (has a personal knowledge of My love and mercy and kindness- trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never). He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalm 112:7

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firmly fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Isaiah 26:3

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You and homes confidently in You.

Isaiah 58:6

(Rather) is not this the fast I which I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bonds of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke.

John 8:32

And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.

Romans 6:22

But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life.

Galatians 5:1

In freedom Christ has made us free, stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery (which you have once put off).

Philippians 3:8

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I am gain Christ.

1 Peter 2:16

(Live) as free people, without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness, but (live at all times) as servants of God.

Encouragement while facing divorce

Encouragement while facing divorce:

In my blog, walking in God’s grace through a divorce you’ll know I leaned hard on God. Through scripture, I find God’s grace, guidance, direction, and strength. The scriptures below helped me tremendously and were read over many many times. I pray they give you the peace, and comfort that only our Heavenly Father can bless us with. To read my full story on how I walked in God’s grace through a divorce, click here.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weaknesses.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 13:5c

For He himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

1 Peter 4:10

As each of us has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as a good stewards of the manifold grace of God

Jeremiah 29: 11

‘For I know the plans that I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for peace and not for calamity to give you future and a hope.’

Philippians 4:13

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

Week Two-Covenant of God by Jen Wilkin

A Study of Genesis 17-20

We pick up in chapter 17 this week, God appears to Abraham and tells him that God is going to multiply his house and bless his descendants. We also see circumcision introduced.  Circumcision is a way for Gods people to uphold Gods covenant. God also gives Abram and Sarai new names, Abram is now Abraham and Sarai. Sarah gets some astonishing news, she is told she will give Abraham a son, even though she is well advanced in age. He will be named Isaac.

Abraham has three guest and excitedly puts everyone to work preparing food for them to enjoy. He learns they are discussing the towns where his nephew, Lot and his family, live, Sodom and Gomorrah. These are two very corrupt towns, God judged and sentenced them to be destroyed.

This is what I love, Abraham goes to God and pleads to save any righteous people found there. He started by asking if God would spare the town if just 50 righteous people found there. God promised he would. That is how much our God loves us! He will always give us the opportunity to repent. Abraham eventually was able to get the town spared if only 10 people were found righteous.  As we know from the story, Lot left with only his wife and two daughters. 

The Lesson

As they were fleeing, they were told not to look back, unfortunately, Lots wife did just that and was turned into a pillar of salt. I used to believe that it was a matter of her being disobedient. What I have learned through my studies is that it was because she did not want to let go of what she was leaving behind. A lifestyle in Sodom that was steeped in wickedness.

We finish this week with Abraham and Sarah settled in Gerar. Once again he takes matters into his own hands. He lets people think that Sarah is is sister. She was a beautiful woman and was taken by the king. God promised Abraham He would be with him, protect and bless him, but still Abraham took matters into his own hands. He still struggles with trusting God completely. 

Though we may be tempted to take over for God because of course, we think we know what’s best for us! 🙂 We must realize that no one knows us better than God and his plan for us is beyond perfect. We have to give up control and trust in HIM! The more we look over our shoulder at the past we will never be able to receive what God has in store for our future. 

Prayer and Encouragement

I pray this week brings you peace and comfort in that God does have control. That you do not have to fix what seems to be broken. I pray you step back and accept what He wants you to have. HIM! If you missed last week’s lesson, click here.

Until next week my friends. 

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

Week One – Covenant of God by Jen Wilkin

A study of Genesis 12-16

It wasn’t until I started this particular study that I understood what a covenant is. A covenant is a PROMISE. In a biblical context, it is a promise from God to His people. Because we know our God is everything He says He is and does everything he says He will do; we can let ourselves absorb the meaning of that word. The covenant of God is His perfect promise to us. This study picks up in Chapter 12 of the book of Genesis. Our first week’s homework was based on chapters 12-16.

In these chapters we see a lack of trust in God, lying, favoritism, manipulation, and selfishness. Unfortunately, this is in reference to God’s chosen people; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and subsequently, their wives, Sarai, Rebekah, and Rachel.

These men, time and time again, didn’t trust our God enough to let Him do what He promised. Instead, they took matters into their own hands. And when it wasn’t them, it was their wives, giving maids to their husbands so children could be born or rearranging things for favorite sons to take what rightfully belonged to others.

The Lesson

When I was reading about these people I was amazed at how God responded; with love, and forgiveness. He offered compassion, and redemption, still giving promises of what He was going to do for them. In Genesis 12:1-3 God promised to make Abram a great nation, that He would bless him, He would make his name great, that Abram would be a blessing, and those that bless him will be blessed.

God didn’t stop there, He promised to bless all the families on earth. God made these promises in and through this week’s study as we shall learn. I learned that when God makes a covenant He will keep His word. He never changes, He never breaks His word. This week, I wondered A LOT why God used such dysfunctional people. Now I firmly believe it has to be to show us that God can use broken people in mighty ways. 

Prayer and Encouragement

My prayer this week is for you to know, deep inside, that God is always true to what the scripture says about him. That you can trust Him to always be the same, and never to break his word, just waiting for the opportunity to show you how dependable he is.

If you are in the midst of trial and just don’t know what to do, I pray that you take the step that could be life-changing. As we see in chapters 12-16, we as people can’t handle some of the things sent our way but God can! I pray that God keeps his hand on you this coming week, that you feel his presence and you find rest in it. Until next week my friends. 

Encouragement when facing foreclosure

Encouragement when facing foreclosure

  1. Psalm 37:21 – The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives
  2. Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
  3. James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
  4. Malachi 3:10 – Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
  5. Proverbs 11:25 – Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered
TruthFilled bible study by Ruth Chou Simons

TruthFilled- Ruth Chou Simons

Many of us want God’s Word to dwell richly in us, but life can get in the way. We’d never intentionally write chapters of confusion, failure, loss, pain, conflict, or suffering into our stories. No one plans to wrestle with her identity in Christ, to struggle to love her husband, to feel lonely in ministry, or to feel helpless in motherhood. Yet we often find ourselves in these seasons, struggling to embrace the gospel hope we need to fill our discouraged souls.

Join Ruth Chou Simons in this 7-session, a video-based study of the Book of Colossians as she leads us through a practice of preaching gospel truth to ourselves by studying Paul’s example. In every changing season of life, we can rest in God’s character, rehearse our identity in Christ, respond in faith, and remember God’s provision for us. In today’s culture, there’s no shortage of self-help, easy fixes, and worldly advice, but only the truth of God’s Word was meant to fill you up and satisfy you fully.

TruthFilled- Ruth Chou Simons

TruthFilled by Ruth Chou Simons is a bible study that will help you practice preaching gospel truth to yourself by studying Paul’s example. In every changing season of life, you can rest in God’s character, rehearse our identity in Christ, respond in faith, and remember God’s provision for us.

My Notes

Study to begin August 10th.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

Covenant of God- Jen Wilkin

Covenant of God by Jen Wilkin is a bible study that will help you discover how God orchestrates everything for His glory. There are no minor characters in the story of God.

Beginning with Genesis 12, walk alongside the fathers of our faith—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph—to discern Jesus in the stories of His people. Over 10 sessions, discover how God orchestrates everything for His glory and the good of His people, and see how the God of creation and covenant is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Covenant of God- Jen Wilkin

Covenant of God by Jen Wilkin is a bible study that will help you discover how God orchestrates everything for His glory.

 

The Studies

A study of Genesis 42-47 As interpreted, the famine was severe. Joseph is in charge of all the land, and Egypt had …

Chapter 37 is about one of the most popular stories in the Bible. Jacob had 11 sons but greatly favored the two born from Rachel, Joseph, and Benjamin.

In Chapter 34, we see how Jacob hugely failed his daughter Dinah.We see how she is taken by Schechem, son of Hamor, Prince of the country.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

This week kicks off with intense love and deception. Jacob travels to Padden-Aram, where his uncle lives. He sees his daughter, Rachel, and falls in love.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

In week three, we see God fulfill his promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah. God also tests Abraham's faith in a major way.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

In week 4, the study centers on Isaac and Rebekah, who is unable to conceive. Isaac prays to God on her behalf and his prayer is answered.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

Abraham struggles to trust God completely, yet God's covenant stands. Although like him we may be tempted to take over for God, His love for us is eternal.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

The covenant of God is His perfect promise to us. Because we know our God is everything He says He is and does everything He says He will do we.

mygracewalk.com

Walking in God’s grace through Divorce

There were times in my life when I used the phrase, ‘only by God’s Grace’ did I survive something. It is so true in so many different ways that I knew it would be one of the topics I would share my feelings on.

Years ago I went through a divorce that strangely shattered me at the same time liberated me. (Huh, that new to me. I have never thought my divorce to be liberating until this very moment as I am writing this, I’ll have to think about that later.)  Divorce is rarely a good thing, no one wins and all parties involved are hurt, obviously in different ways.

I was completely surprised by the news I received, not because I didn’t think it wouldn’t happen to me, but because never in my wildest dreams did I think the person I trusted most in the world would do what he did. As we would learn of couples we knew splitting up because of infidelity, he would comment that an affair is something he would never do, in fact, he spoke so strongly against it, that I would joke with my friends that if either of us were to have an affair, it would be me because he hated the idea of it so much.

(Fidelity- faithfulness to a person, cause or belief,
demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support)

I know as I write this many of you have been in that exact place. I pray at this moment that you are healed by leaning on our faithful God. As I look back, I know the only reason I handled the entire situation as I did was that God walked with me, many days walking for me.

Let me share a little bit of my story with you. When I finally learned what was happening, (yes, I was that wife, the one that was the last to know) I knew I didn’t want my marriage to end, unfortunately though, for all the wrong reasons. First, there was no way I wanted to be another American statistic or have my children ( 5 and 2 and a 1/2 at the time) be a product of divorce. Secondly, over the course of those 5 years of being a stay-at-home wife and mom (which I LOVED), I lost my identity as the person I used to be.

No longer was I that fiercely independent woman that never asked if I should do something but how or when I would do it! You see, I had no college degree or career to fall back on, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to support myself or my kids. I was terrified to say the very least. Another one of those wrong reasons to save my marriage was remembering things that were said to me that encouraged the ugly feelings of inadequacy, feeling like I never quite measured up to some invisible line.

I remembered the tears I would try to hide as I realized my marriage was over, knowing I would never have left it because my family was worth it. But alas, he didn’t share those sentiments, you see, in his eyes, he wasn’t leaving his family, he was just leaving his wife. Some of the emotions I went through; like shock, humiliation, hopelessness, despair, fear and eventually, anger was like a roller coaster ride that had no end.

Never in my life had I prayed so hard to understand this new world of mine. I would pray to God to show me how to handle this ‘new normal’ I had to live. How was I going to be the role model for my kids, I begged God to show me how. I was determined to protect my kids from the shock of having their lives changed forever.

It took a while but once I had time to catch my breath, honesty came knocking. I could look and see the times when the shell that was my marriage was a place I was stuck in and couldn’t escape. More and more it was a place I felt less like a wife and more like a bother. I realized there was no respect in that relationship and often to keep the peace would not speak up to defend me.

I know this is one way I started to lose my identity and by the time I was on my own, I was a mere skeleton of who I used to be. Of course, I knew that girl was long gone; when I was her, I wasn’t a wife, or a mom and sadly, not a Christian. I wanted to find a ‘me’ that I would love, one where my children could see how leaning on my God (leaning so hard at times I know if He would have moved too fast I would have toppled over) was how I wanted to live my life and how He became my strength.

This is where liberation came in. As much pain and shock as I was in, the one thing I clung to was Jesus and my desperate need that He shows me I could rely on his promises. That He was there and I could lean on Him, He would not leave me during this nightmare, that He would be faithful to me as He promises in His Word.

Hebrews 13:5c- “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

I spoke to Him all the time, determined to stay focused on Him and how He wanted me to walk with Him as I grew into my new family; Him, me, and my kids. During this growth, I had to acknowledge some hard truth, the end of my marriage wasn’t all one-sided; my feelings had also changed, there was no love, barely any like, and certainly no respect. That was hard to swallow as I would never have left that marriage, I didn’t believe in it, I was just resigned to it. I gave my absolute trust to Jesus and with time, and lots of studies knew my trust was well placed and well protected.

Our God works in ways our little human minds just aren’t equipped to work, I mean if it did, wouldn’t that mean we were kind of on His level?? Which we all know we are NOT, Praise God! I knew the Holy Spirit was in me because I had a driving need to live in a way that would show my children that God was in control of my life and that He alone would guide me through this trail. I was desperate to show them that walking with Jesus would ultimately set me free. His Grace was an example of how I chose to live.

1 Peter 4:10- As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

So over the years I found myself saying ‘with God’s Grace” many times, until one day the question, What is God’s grace, popped into my head, so I did a little digging.

Christianity.com defines grace as:

an adjective that can be used to describe an attribute of God. Gracious, the Hebrew word channun, in its verb form, means to be considerate, to show favor. That God is gracious would mean that he is favorably inclined toward us. That he wants to show favor to us. To do what is best for us.

On the other hand Wikipedia defines grace in christianity as:

the free and unmerited favor of God manifested in the salvation of sinners
and the bestowing of blessings.

I have found God’s grace can mean different things at different times in our lives. When I think back to when I was broken and in need of His strength it’s 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 I turned to.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I’m well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

As I have grown in Jesus His grace has also evolved in me, I often use it as a source of comfort.

Hebrews 4:12- Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I also rely on it as I move on into a new arena of ministry, something so exciting it’s terrifying, that’s right, this blog. I have always loved to write and I am praying this blog will help you, encourage you and yes, hopefully along the way make you laugh a little. I have come to a point where I feel God is telling me that I am worthy, that I do have value and I have something to say. I want to actively participate in God’s mission He designed just for me.

I want to share Him and how He was there when my life was tipped upside down. How overtime He took me apart, and slowly (sometimes very painfully) put me back together, piece by piece. How I am now stronger and happier than I have ever been. I know it’s all because what started with a little bit of grace has erupted into a world of blessings. I can’t wait to share more with you.