Search Results for: grace

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How to find Encouragement from the Spirit Astounding Power

Strengthening the Spirit in You!

John 14

Putting time into developing your relationship with the Holy Spirit will bless you every day. He is the might comforter that goes every place with you. As you know, if you read my blog, Who is the Holy Spirit-How to Empower His Astounding Glory? You know the awesome power that lives in you.

Every day can be a test on us—a test of patience, happiness, thankfulness, and, more importantly, our Christ-like walk. God says to love each other as he loved us. This world we live in is riddled with hate, anger, dishonesty, and many other things that can lead us astray from how we honor God.

As it says in Ephesians 6:10-23, we must put on the full armor of God (I can’t wait to share my ‘Armor of God Blog with you later this fall) so we can stand firm in His convictions. We must stay upbeat and focused on our Lord. The best way for me to do that is to go back to scripture. Below are some of the verses I studied while writing my blog.

I pray you will experience wisdom, strength, and comfort from them.

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." John 14:26
"Do you not believe that I am in the Fatehr, and the Father is in Me?  The words that I say to you I do notspeak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.'John 14:10-11
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him becauuse He abides with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17
"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you."  John 16:7
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits: to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: 
but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will.  

1 Corintians 12:4-11
Until now you have not asked [the Father] for anything in My name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete. John 16:24
And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22
“Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

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Who is the Holy Spirit-How to Empower His Astounding Glory?

10 Scriptures to help seize the Holy Spirit in Life

Encouragement from scripture.

Have you ever felt like you were the only kid in class that didn’t know the answer to a question? How about being with friends, listening to a conversation where everyone is excitedly sharing their thoughts on the topic, but a vital piece of information is missing for you.

Oh yeah, I have certainly been in that place. A place where you desperately want to know what everyone else gets but gone right over your head. The frustration that’s felt at being the one that doesn’t get it but is so uncertain you can’t bring yourself to ask any more questions is mind-blowing.

That is exactly how I felt whenever the subject of the Holy Spirit was up for discussion. I struggled with who was the Holy Spirit, what was the Holy Spirit? How can I have it, and how can I use it in my life. I agonized over not understanding what the Holy Spirit was and why I didn’t feel like I had it in my life. Honestly, I felt like the child in the classroom who had all the parts to the equation but couldn’t solve the problem. Does anyone else feel that way?

I wish I could tell you the moment my clarity came to me. I don’t remember the time or the place, but I do remember the moment. It was exhilarating! The moment I realized WHO (not what) lived in me, filled me with a joy that made my stomach flutter and goosebumps race up my arms. It was so overpowering I couldn’t sit on it; I immediately contacted my bible study bestie and shared that, finally, I GOT IT!!!! I wanted to stand on a mountain top and shout with joy.

Let me share my jumping to the head of the class!

Who is the Holy Spirit?
"Do you not believe that I am in the Fatehr, and the Father is in Me?  The words that I say to you I do notspeak on My own initiative, but the Fatherabiding in Me does His works. Believe me that I am in the Fatherand the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.'John 14:10-11
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him becauuse He abides with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17
"In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you" John 14:20


"But the Helper, the Holy Sprirt, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." John 14:26

Where to begin?

Let’s start with the Father. God is one God but three persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, many of us know of this as the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is a person, a part of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, AND the Holy Spirit. The Father resides in the Son, as shown in scripture.

These are just a few of the versed that speak of the Holy Spirit. I would highly recommend reading all of John 14; there are so many wonderful tidbits of knowledge in there you will be amazed.

Have you ever heard the saying, filled with the Holy Spirit? I never understood ( until I did) that it was a literal statement. I finally realized that the Holy Spirit was a piece of Jesus, and He lived in me. I have a piece of Jesus living in me, guiding me to Him, fighting for me, helping me, comforting me as only He can.

I remember walking around for days, astounded at the feelings that now raced through my body. I felt like I had won that golden ticket; Jesus was in me. When Jesus ascended to heaven, he did not leave us alone, not for one minute. Check out the below verse.

"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you."  John 16:7

I see it as Jesus had to be in heaven with the Father to share a part of himself with us. Once he was at the right hand of the Father, He was able to share the part of himself that would forever live in us. If he had stayed on earth with us, we would have missed out on carrying the spirit of God within us.

The simplicity of that statement, it’s mind-blowing. Because we are a temple to house the spirit of God, we walk this world sharing the Good News because Jesus resides in us. He guides us in this because that is who He is and what He does.

  • There are several names for the Holy Spirit;
  • the Helper,
  • the Advocate,
  • the Counselor,
  • and the Spirit of Truth.

There are many times we need advice, counsel, or help from our Father, and having the Spirit within allows us to tap into Him at any time. He is always available to guide our way.

Images that represent the Holy Spirit.
There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • Wisdom
  • Understanding
  • Counsel
  • Fortitude
  • Knowledge
  • Piety (devoutness)
  • Fear of the Lord

Along with the Holy Spirit, we can activate these gifts from our God. They allow us to show how Jesus and our belief in Him have changed us. They help guide us in a world where many things can pull us away from our Christ-like walk.

As a believer in Jesus, my main ‘job’ is to represent how Jesus lived. Without the Holy Spirit in me, I would never be an example of Christ to people that didn’t know Him.

Having the Holy Spirit as our counselor guides us, He speaks to our conscience when we pray. As we seek the Father in earnest, the Spirit is our intercessor. He goes to God on our behalf.

How do we Empower the Spirit in Us?

Do you wonder how you, too, can be empowered by the Holy Spirit? Let’s first start with what it looks like to be empowered by Him. Anyone that is saved (someone that believes Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins, believing He rose from the dead and is the Son of God. Someone that has asked God to forgive them their sins) has the Spirit of God in them, but is He an active part of our daily lives?

I have spent many years studying Jesus, desperately wanting to know Him and be obedient to him. I didn’t realize that the gifts I have from the Holy Spirit allow me to be closer to Him and know his character better.

Once I realized who the Spirit was and that I already had instant access to Him, I turned my full attention to activating Him in my life. That is how I empowered His spirit. I prayed that He would use the gifts in me to show Himself to the world. How, do you ask?

By knowing what the gifts of the Spirit are and living by them every day.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits: to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: 
but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will.  

1 Corintians 12:4-11

We all have our own unique gifts from God; we are all special in that way. God did not make us all the same. He is much more creative than that. We must know what our gifts are so we can walk the path God just for us. I struggled for years, thinking I didn’t have any special gifts. Watching friends with great respect when they could talk about the gift that God blessed them with. Wanting to do the same, needing at the same time, to be obedient to God and His calling to me.

How do you know what your gifts are?

It is different for everyone. What I did may or may not work for you, but it was what made the most sense for me. The first thing I determined was what I wanted my gifts to be. I figured if there was something on my heart I wanted to do for Christ, He most likely would want me to do it as well. Knowing how I wanted to serve God, I prayed to Jesus and asked for His will to be done.

Until now you have not asked [the Father] for anything in My name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete. John 16:24
And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22
“ Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
Uplifting our desires in Prayer.

Scripture says that we need to trust God, to go to Him first in prayer. What we ask for and believe in His name will be given. One of my wonderful bible study partners has said numerous times is; whatever we do in and for Christ takes practice.” We must continually go to him in prayer and repeatedly ask His will to be done, not ours. We must trust in who he is, knowing he will do what he says he will do.

Seek Him out, the more we will want His will. As we do more in His name, the greater our spiritual gifts will shine.

Week Seven-God of Covenant-Jen Wilkin

Take a peek at Week Six

A study of Genesis 37-41

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. The other sons were so jealous of Joseph that they hated him and mistreated him. Of course, Joseph didn’t help matters when he was placed in charge of his older brother. He certainly did not make friends of them when he told them one day they would bow down to him, that he knew this because of a dream from God he interpreted.

The brothers first wanted to kill him but did not want to tell Jacob to sell him into slavery. This is how Joseph made his way to Egypt. 

Eventually, Joseph arrives in Egypt, and because God uses him in his captivity, he quickly rises to assist Pharaoh. You see, God blessed everything Joseph did. Crops and livestock multiplied under Joseph’s care. The more it grew into great wealth, the more responsibility Pharaoh gave to him. 

Pharaoh had a wife that was in lust with Joseph and wanted to sleep with him. Joseph was adamant about not sleeping with her because he knew Pharaoh would kill him. Unfortunately, that did not stop the wife. When Joseph continued to deny her, she became angry and lied, saying Joseph attacked her, he was thrown in jail. 

Joseph was in jail for a long time, over 2 years, when the Pharaoh had a dream that no one could explain. Joseph explained the dreams of two men he was in prison with, the cupbearer and the baker. When no one could interrupt Pharaoh’s dream, the cupbearer remembered Joseph in prison and told Pharaoh. 

Joseph was released from prison and taken to Pharaoh; Joseph explained the dream, telling Pharaoh that a famine was coming. They would first have 7 years of great fortune in the crops, followed by 7 years of great hardship because of the drought. He explained the famine would be so bad that it would destroy many countries. But, if they prepared well, they would survive and help other countries survive it as well. 

During this time of preparing for the great draught, Joseph married and had two sons. He named the oldest son Manasseh because God made him forget his hardship, and the younger one was Ephraim, which meant that God had made him fruitful.  God took the worst of times, sold into slavery, and blessed Joseph with prosperity and a family.

Eventually, as Joseph had interrupted, the famine came to Egypt, but they had bread for everyone because of his planning. In fact, people start traveling to Egypt from other countries, seeking to buy grain.

Week Six-God of Covenant- by Jen Wilkin

A Study of Genesis 34-36

Take a look back at Week Five

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. Although Schechem went to his father, the Prince asking him to get Dinah as his wife. Unfortunately, Schechem’s action had caused irrefutable damage.

Sadly, after hearing what had happened to Dinah, Jacob did nothing, choosing to wait until her brothers came back n from the fields. The brothers of Dinah were furious and wanted revenge. The Prince went to Jacob, trying to make things better by suggesting they intermarry, allowing Dinah to become Schechems’s wife. This was absolutely against all rules of the Israelites, but the brothers and Jacob agreed if all the men of Hamor were circumcised. Because Schechem was in love with Dinah, both men agreed.

Three days after all the men in the city were circumcised and not feeling at their best, two of Dinah’s brothers, Levi and Simeon, entered the city and killed all the men. They then took Dinah, ravaged the city, taking anything of value, including their women and livestock destroyed the city. When Jacob heard what they had done, he was grieved as all he could think of what the trouble their actions would bring to him.

Moving into Chapter 35, we see Jacob taking counsel from God. God instructed Jacob to go to Bethel. God blessed Jacob with all the land he had given to Jacob’s ancestors, Bethel, where God spoke to Jacob.

We learn that Rachel dies giving birth to their son, Benjamin. Jacob buried her in Ephrath, Bethlehem. Jacob traveled and settled in Edar.

Genesis 36 goes through Esau’s lineage, a people known as the Edomites. Esau’s descendants lived on Mount Seir. Their livestock and wealth were so great they could not live near Jacob and his descendants.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

Week Five-God of Covenant by Jen Wilkin

A Study of Genesis 29-33

After week four, we start this week off with intense love and deception. Jacob travels to Padden-Aram, where Jacob’s uncle, Laban, lives. After arriving sees Laban’s daughter, Rachel, and falls instantly in love. He seeks out Laban and asks if he can marry her. Laban strikes a deal with Jacob, ‘work for me for seven years, and you can marry my daughter.’ Jacob readily agrees. 

After working the seven years, Jacob is eager to take Rachel for this wife. Now Laban, having a daughter older than Rachel, wanted to marry her off first, deceived Jacob into marrying Leah. 

When this is discovered, Jacob was furious but agreed to keep Leah as a wife; Lavan agreed to give Rachel to him if he worked another seven years. Now, that’s one way to get an employee!

We see a lot of conflict between Rachel and Leah. They both wanted Jacob’s love and to give him the most children. There was great strife between them all because Jacob loved only Rachel. Rachel was unable to conceive and envied Leah, who had already given birth to four sons. Rachel came up with a plan of her own; instead of going to God in prayer, she gave her maid, Bilhah, to have children with Jacob. Rachel knew if Bilhah conceived, she would take the child as her own. Buy this time, Leah had stopped bearing children, so she also gave Jacob her maid, Zilpah, to have more children.

Although she had given her maid to Jacob, Rachel had continued to pray to God, asking that she conceive and give Jacob a child. God heard her prayers and answered them. Rachel conceived and had a son, Joseph.

Because Jacob tended Laban’s animals and had the blessing of the Lord, God also blessed Laban’s belongings through Jacob. They both became very wealthy.

After Rachel gives birth to Joseph, Jacob felt a rift growing between his people and Laban’s people and decided it was time to split from Laban and go this own way. He went to Laban asking for his wages so he could take his family and go.

They divided the animals, but again Laban tries to deceive Jacob keeping the strong and healthy animals, giving Jacob the weaker, more sickly ones. God saw Laban’s deception and favored Jacob with healthy, strong animals.

As soon as Laban saw that Jacob had God’s blessing, he agreed to a covenant to stop any hostility between them. Both promising not to hurt the other, Laban blessed his daughters and sons and returned to his home. 

 Jacob knew, in his travels, he would have to travel through his brother’s land. Wanting to make amends, he sent Esau a message asking for his mercy. When his servants returned telling him his brother was riding out to meet him, bringing 400 of his soldiers, Jacob was very afraid.

Jacob divided his camp into groups, sending some to meet Esau first. Rachel and Joseph were in the last group, sent across the river. Alone that night, he prayed to God and wrestled with a man; they struggled all night long, Jacob not letting go, wanting God’s blessing. The man (God) asked what his name was and when Jacob told him, God said his name would no longer be Jacob but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed. Genesis 32:2-8

We finally see Jacob and Esau meet after many years. Esau did not want any gifts, but Jacob beefed him to accept, and Esau relented and took his brother’s gifts.

The next morning, they separated and went their own ways; Esau to Seir and Jacob toward Succoth. Jacob and his family arrived in the city of Shechem in Canaan, bought land, and settled there. 

Wow, that was a lot of information, and I encourage you to read the entire story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah Genesis 29-30. It is an amazing story, and the amount of children they have is staggering. I would love to hear any of your thoughts on this story, as it completely fascinated me. 

my unusual walk in obedience to God's word

My Unusual Walk in Obedience to God’s Word

Obedience is defined as the willingness to comply with orders or requests; being submissive to another’s will. On the other hand, biblical Obedience (obedience to God) means to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word.

I have been involved with bible studies for the last 20 plus years, trying to learn God’s Word and know Jesus. It has only been in the last 4 years (or so) that I started to feel a tug in my heart each time we studied obedience or I read about it in scripture. Obedience to God is now my top priority, but it can be a struggle for many people, myself included. I wanted to share a little about my walk to being obedient. I pray you will find some words of comfort and maybe a little guidance on how you too can be obedient to the Lord.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it – Luke 11:28 NIV

Notice how long I had been studying the Word, growing in my faith, developing a loving, committed relationship with Jesus before He started knocking on my hearts’ door about obedience. That’s correct; I feel God waited until we had the relationship we needed before asking me (well, he wasn’t really asking;)) to obey. He knew if our relationship weren’t in the right place, obedience wouldn’t work. When you consider that obedience is to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word, one must have the right relationship with Him. 

Love the Lord our God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength – Mark 12:30 NIV

Obedience is hard! Think about the last time you wanted to lose a few pounds, but you really wanted a piece of cake. If your mind and heart are not in the right place, that diet will not last long. The concept for obedience to God is the same, you have to be committed to him, you have to really want that strong of a relationship with him, or obedience can be as allusive as those last few pounds. 

I know for me, if he would have come knocking before I was completely committed to him, it would have been easier to hedge around or ignore the calling. Over the years, as I have studied the Word and my walk with Christ has become a calling, I have just fallen more in love with Him and all that he has blessed me with and all He has walked me through. 

Even though it has become my heart’s desire to be obedient to Him and his calling for me, there are still days I stumble and doubt. The fear of believing in me is so second nature that I find myself inventing ways to get myself out of what I know God patiently waits for me to step into. 

To busy to walk in obedience

Show of hands (figuratively speaking) who is busy? I am 99.9% sure there was not one person who didn’t say, ME! Have you noticed how busy we can get when something needs to be done, but we are just unsure if we want to do it? 

You have a feeling- a thought maybe- that keeps coming to mind, ideas popping in your head, entire conversations you have with yourself (in the privacy of your head, of course)! You know God is trying to tell you the next step of your journey is ready for you, or maybe a completely new journey…and what do we do? We get busy.

Suddenly many jobs need to get done first, like cleaning the house, taking on a new project at work, or my personal favorite, a new committee at my kid’s school. I find it humorous that we think we can out busy God, I mean, really?! Like showing him we have so much on our plate we can’t possibly take on what he wants us to do too, maybe at a later time, just not right now, is that okay with you God? I have to laugh because I so did that! Well, let me share what happened; God laughed too, right in my face! 

Busy does not scare God; he just took some of my busy away and kept nudging me about being obedient to Him. You see when God is in your life, and his eye is on you, there is no avoiding it, no putting it off, and certainly no getting out of it. Trying to avoid God and His calling for you can become like a game you can play, but it’s a game that has no end. 

Our doubt feeds our fear

“Hi Jesus, it’s me, Christine; I really want to thank you for all that you have blessed me with. I know this path I walk on was designed just for me by you…and it’s great! I love where I’m at; everything is good. I was thinking, you know, about this calling…that I may need to study some more, pray more for discernment, make sure I know what I am doing before I do anything new. I want to make sure it’s what you want me to do, and I want to be obedient, but are you sure it’s the right time?”

Wow, that’s a conversation I have had with myself about a hundred times. I can tell you, my friend, it’s not God’s message I needed clarity on; no, He has always known what he was doing. It was me, letting my doubt of myself turn into fear of doing something I have never done. That next step where I felt God was taking me, where I desperately wanted to go but still dragged my feet, doubting I could fulfill my calling. 

What I can share for certain, my friend, if you have a special desire in your heart, you think it may be your calling; and if you have prayed on it, wondered about it, and prayed some more, chances are God put that desire on your heart. Believe me, if it is not what he wants you to be doing, He will close that door. Then bring you right back to where he wants you to be. Just trust in Him and take it to him in prayer. You do not have to worry about doubting yourself if you trust in Jesus.  

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask, we receive from him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.—1 John 3:21-22 ESV

I am not a big believer in things just popping into my head (unless it’s what to make for dinner). I am a firm believer in the Holy Spirit of God giving me that desire. We have a choice to make; we can believe God is who He says he is, (Jeremiah 10:12– He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.) or we can fall into the trap of our mind and let doubt pull us away from Gods next blessing.  

The Cost of Disobedience

Some people may want you to believe that there are no real consequences if you are not obedient, but they are wrong. The bible clearly says your obedience affects those around you. 

For as by the one man’s disobedience, the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience, the many will be made righteous.— Romans 5:19 ESV

Do you think you can do your own thing and have no influence on your family, your peers, even people you don’t know very well? If you profess to be a Christian, people will expect you to act a certain way, whether they are believers or not. But what people think really does not matter, nor should we fall into letting it matter. 

It all goes back to the relationship you have with God. The closer you get to him through his Word,  the desire to be more like him in every way will lay heavy on your heart. Your obedience to God will shine through you like the sun breaking through the clouds on a rainy day. You will be an example of how to walk in obedience because the love you have for Christ will transform you. You will want to be like Him, you will want your walk to be like his walk, and you will want to portray him to the world through the way you live. And you will be blessed by God. 

The Blessings of Obedience

When some people think about God blessing us, they may think more monetarily that they will be blessed with a great job, a big bonus, a large home, or another tangible way. To me, blessings from my Father are much more from the heart. 

I am blessed with his love, with his presence in my life; he is my own personal guide through this world we live in. I feel his peace in my heart and his joy in my soul. He is my daily compass, my constant companion that will talk with me anywhere I go. Of course, we can’t forget about the blessings of our family, our friends, our health, the jobs we have. All of the wonderful things He gives us because he loves us and wants to bless us. 

 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:  You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock-the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.  Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.- Deuteronomy 28:1-5 NIV

And God can bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.- 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

It’s easy to be disobedient if your walk with Christ is not strong. If you’re struggling with obedience to God, I highly recommend you look at your relationship with Jesus. Can it be strengthened? Can you spend more time in the Word to draw closer to Him? If you are having a difficult time, turn to him, pray to him about your struggle, He will hear you and guide you closer to him. The closer you walk with Jesus, the more you want to be like him. The closer you are with him, the easier it is to be obedient because it becomes your heart’s desire. I’ll be praying for you.

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.