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Update

Hey everyone! I am really sorry I haven’t posted in a while. The truth is 2020 was extremely hard on us. God is good and provided for us and took care of us through it all. In January last year, my husband’s uncle passed away, and then covid hit(ya’ll all know that stress). In March, our dog passed away(if you have a loving pet for a while you’ll understand). When June rolled around My husband, Daniel’s dad passed away and while we were still dealing with all that Daniel’s mom was put in a nursing home and she passed away right after thanksgiving. Then a few weeks ago my aunt also passed away.

We also had some wonderful things happen in 2020. We put together an amazing church camp for the youth at church. I wrote and directed two ful- length 2 act Biblical plays for a local dinner theater, The Vault Dinner Theater. We did Esther in Sept and The Nativity in December. I also started working for Intuit Turbo Tax(which is keeping me quite busy lately.)

I said all that to say sorry for not posting much we have been very busy. I promise to try to do better. And if anyone else had a 2020 like ours hold on to this verse like we did.

1 Peter 5:10

English Standard Version
10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
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Acts: Jews From Many Nations Hear the Gospel

Acts 2:5-13 New International Version (NIV)

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

‘Every nation in the world’ means every nation where there were Jews. These Jews had traveled to Jerusalem because a Jewish holiday.

A large crowd came together because of the noise. The believers came out into the street. Perhaps they were going to the Temple.

Just as today, people from different areas speak different languages or have different accents or slang that others may not understand. People from other places could not always understand the disciples. But now, these disciples from Galilee were speaking in different languages. Everyone could understand what the disciples were saying.

More Jews lived in other countries than in Judea. Their enemies had taken them there more than 500 years earlier. This list shows that many Jews from many different nations were in Jerusalem. They all heard about the wonderful things that God had done on this special Pentecost day. They would go back to their countries and they would tell other people. The other people in the world were beginning to hear the good news about Jesus.

Luke says that they could not explain what was happening. He says it several times. Unbelievers said that the disciples had drunk too much wine. It is the same nowadays, too. When the Holy Spirit comes with power, people do not always understand this event. They do not always understand what is happening.

Unbelievers, often, try to explain away the way a christian acts or reacts to the Holy Spirit. This is because they simply can’t understand what we experience as Christians.

Has there ever been a time when others could not understand your actions or morals, because you were a Christian?

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New Website

Sorry I have not been posting much lately. We have been switching over to a new website (missyarmstrong.com) With the switchover, the holidays and a fight with sinus infections and other set backs, I have been unable to post as much as I would like. Now that the website is almost done and the holidays almost over I will be back to posting Bible Studies two to three times a week. Thank you for your understanding.

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Bible Study Broken faith Knowing God Uncategorized

1 Timothy: It’s Never Too Late to Turn Around and Try Again

Many times I have had a sit down talk with Jackson; made him look into my eyes and said, “God still loves you, buddy. He will never, ever stop loving you.”

This boy of mine has a hard time remembering this. His sin is ever before him – that thorn in his side that has the potential to be his greatest gift when it’s channeled God’s way. But man, that fine line. Sometimes it only takes a split second for his passions to get derailed and take him down a road that he wishes he didn’t travel.

Me too, boy. Me too.

But oh, how he loves Jesus. He’s the same one I found crying in the middle of the night – not sick or scared – but weeping because he couldn’t get over the cross and what Jesus had done for him. Jesus gave for him, the one who loves so much and lives so passionately, but feels like he gets it wrong so often.

You need to know that I get it, Jack. It’s not just you…

He needs to hear that God isn’t looking for perfection. He’s looking for a heart fully surrendered. Jesus came not just for the murderers and thieves. He came for the proud, the gossip, the money lover, and for every last hidden thought and motive that makes us cringe at the thought of exposure. He came for the ones who thought they only needed Him from afar; for the ones who thought that with enough striving they could get by on their own.

You can stop striving, son. 

Instead… abide.Remember that it’s not about the perfect cover up. It’s about exposing our need to His perfect solution. We can search and try and look in a million other places, but nothing else will ever satisfy like Jesus. He loves like no other, He forgives like no other, He provides peace and hope and joy and freedom like no other. No more exhaustion on your own strength, boy. Lean in close and rest in the embrace of the One who has already done it all.

Listen, you’re not too far gone.

Don’t you dare listen to those lies. Jesus’s mercy transforms what the world calls too broken. His grace overflows, smoothing the rough edges and channeling our thorns into great purpose and humble service for Him… if we’ll only let Him. His power equips the weak and strengthens the weary for the task. God uses the most unlikely because our stories reveal His glory.

So son, turn your pride into praise.

It’ll never be about performance. Instead, let your life be marked by worship for the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Worthy is that  Lamb – Friend to sinners; the One who rescued you and refines you; the One who never, ever changes. Embrace His amazing grace, and then make Him the hero of your story.

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 1:12-14

Girl, now it’s your turn.

You’re not too far gone. Oh, no. In fact, you’re just getting started…

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Bible Study Broken Uncategorized

I am Broken: I am Free

For His unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.” – Psalm 103:11-13 

A broken life that had truly been redeemed is free. I have often talked about how my shame is planted by guilt, nourished by memories, and watered by secrecy.  My heart has many times needed full healing, plain and simple. As you deal with the brokenness of your life you often find the roots of your pain are much deeper than you thought. The Master Gardener was the only One who could truly tend to the roots you dig up.  Although I have experienced a lot of victory and breakthrough, certain triggers still occur, and shame seems to always try to rear its ugly head in my life.

I came to know Christ at an early age, but life…well, life happened.  I rebelled in my 20’s that while I loved God and wanted to serve God, I didn’t. I was tired, my heart felt heavy…I was exhausted. When I had returned to God’s will around age 28 or so; the Lord’s mercy had once again went before me and as a good Father does, He wanted to deal with an area of my life that was full of guilt and shame. I was carrying a heavy suitcase and didn’t feel I was fully cultivating a good relationship with God, like He had intended.  The bag was weighing me down because it contained past regrets, old memories, and fears about my future.

Carrying this around had almost become a habit to me, and I couldn’t even remember the exact time or spot I chose to pick it up.  I was moving, but just creeping forward. All this baggage kept me from running the race. To every fruit in our lives, good or bad, there is always a root and I knew this was a deep root God needed to tend to.  It was time to drop the bag and run.  I sat with God and wept. I told Him I wanted to hand over the shame, every part of it and walk in the life-giving freedom Jesus had died for me to have. I knew God sent His son, a gift, and He was enough.  What He did was big enough for me, and brokenness and shame were no longer calling the shots.

This battle I was facing in my mind could only be fought and overcome through applying His Word to every single moment as they came. 

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.  

John 8:10-11 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you? 11 “No, Lord,” she said,…And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

John 8 is one of my favorite New Testament stories.  When I read I visualize what I am reading.  If we’re honest, we all in a sense can relate to the woman in John 8.  While we don’t deal with physical accusers necessarily, many people deal with mental accusations.  In this passage, she is caught and exposed in the act of sin by many accusers and brought to center stage for the punishment the law states she deserves. She must have felt so hopeless, embarrassed, so alone.

This exposure was actually her gateway to Grace as she was thrown at the very feet of the One who could not only save her life but save her soul. As the people gathered to stone her, Jesus takes the way of compassion by coming down to her level and writing in the dirt.  Here, he quiets her accusers and tells her she is fully forgiven and to go and sin no more.  As thoughts of condemnation from your accusers come into your mind come to taunt you, follow the model of Jesus.  Answer them with the Word, know you’re forgiven and move forward to live your life with Christ.

The antidote to shame is TRUTH.   A formula for shame breaking is found in Psalm 103.  David sets the stage and opens up the Psalm acknowledging truth and proclaiming it.  He says “Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul, and all the deepest parts of me, BLESS HIS NAME!” And forget not all His benefits. He, who FORGIVES all of your sins and who heals ALL of your diseases. He, who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”

Psalm 103:11 “For His unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

This scripture proclaims the LIMITLESS love of God toward us. I once heard a pastor say, “How do you describe a rose to a blind person? How do you describe Handle’s Hallelujah Chorus to a deaf person? How do you describe the thrill of down hill skiing to one who has never walked? How do you describe the impeccable, infinite love of God to impure, finite humans?”

Psalm 103 speaks of this Love. David attempts to portray it with a visual, stating that its higher than the Heavens.  He says your sins have been completely removed as far as the East is from the West, meaning they’re untraceable, gone, forgiven. Life changes when instead of running for forgiveness, you run from a place of forgiveness. His Love is unfailing and will chase us all the days of our lives. I’m so grateful for this Love that doesn’t give up! May we accept and receive this free gift today and truly walk in it’s benefits.

Psalm 103:13 “The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Knowing the nature of God is so vital in our walk with Him. We live in the overflow of who we really believe God to be. 

This is why it is so important we walk in the Word and believe the Truth. In Matthew Henry’s commentary, he says, “The Scripture says a great deal of the mercy of God, and we all have experienced it. The father pities his children that are weak in knowledge, and teaches them; pities them when they are froward, and bears with them; pities them when they are sick, and comforts them; pities them when they are fallen, and helps them to rise; pities them when they have offended, and, upon their submission, forgives them; pities them when wronged, and rights them: thus the Lord pities those that fear him. See why he pities. He considers the frailty of our bodies, and the folly of our souls, how little we can do, how little we can bear; in all which his compassion appears.”

His mercy and compassion toward us is great, like a father to a child. I want to say, walking without the suitcase has been so much greater.  A beautiful exchange took place and I not only put the suitcase down but traded it for better things, like joy, hope, peace, and forgiveness.  I pray you receive this Love today, and walk in the fruit that comes from it…true identity, rest and acceptance in Christ.  He is for you, He loves you with a love that cannot be measured, and He says to you today, too, BE FREE + GO + RUN and sin no more.” He is for you! 

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Bible Study Matthew Uncategorized

Matthew: To Care and Forgive

Matthew 18:15–35

15 “If your brother or sister[a] sins,[b] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[c] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[f]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[g] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[h] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Jesus expects those who follow him to look after each other. They should do all that they can to help each other. They should always be ready to forgive.

How to deal with those who sin against us (verses 15–20)

These verses are about society. It is not just about the leaders. They have responsibilities. But everyone is responsible for the other members.

If someone sins, God’s children must correct that person. But note the process that Jesus gave. (Read verses 15–17.) It must not be for personal satisfaction. That is not a good reason to point out another person’s bad habits. It must not be because of personal pain either. There must be a desire to help that person. We must not be thinking about it all the time. This often leads to being bitter. Then it would be easy to hate that person. Jesus said, ‘You are both disciples. So, go to him or her. Try to make things right again.’

The person who has sinned might not listen. (We will call him person A.) But Jesus was very practical. So he gave some good advice in verse 16. Another Christian will say things in a different way. And this could help person A to understand his sin. (That advice is good for today too.)

But person A may still refuse to listen. Then the members of the church must know about it (verse 17). It is important to deal with sin. Person A may not listen to the group of believers. Then they must cause everyone to know about the sin. Person A is living like a non-Christian. People must know about this. But, even here, Jesus was being kind. Perhaps person A would repent. This is what Jesus always wants.

There is a danger that we should avoid. We might talk about the bad habits of other Christians. Then we might start to gossip about them. This happens because we are doing things for the wrong reasons. We might like to talk about the weaknesses of other people. We do not desire the best for them. But our words should help people. Our words should not hurt them.

Real disciples should always deal with sin in Jesus’ way. Then Jesus promises to be there with them. So they can speak and act with his authority. Jesus promises to give them his wisdom too. (Read verses 18–20.)

God forgives you. So you must forgive other people in the same way (verses 21–35).

Israel was the country where Jesus lived. A dinar was the daily wage of a workman there. There were 6000 dinars in every talent. The man in the parable owed 10 000 talents to the king. Galilee was a small part of Israel. A year’s taxes from Galilee were 300–500 talents. This showed that the servant’s debt was very large. Jesus wanted to emphasize the size of the debt. So he combined two things from the Greek part of the world. He used the largest number. And he used the largest measure of money.

In ancient times, a man who had a debt like this would die. The debt might be even a small part of this amount. But he would still die because of it. So the punishment that Jesus described was a reasonable one.

The servant promised to pay the debt. But he asked the king to give him more time. The king did much more than that. He cancelled the debt completely (verse 26). What wonderful mercy this was! Jesus told this parable for a reason. He wanted his disciples to learn about God’s great mercy to them. He forgives all their sin.

But that was not the end of Jesus’ story. The king had been very kind to his servant. But the same servant would not be kind himself. Another servant owed him 100 dinars. That was a very small amount.

This servant asked for mercy too. He used the same words that the other servant had used to the king. (Read verse 29. Compare verse 26.) The king had forgiven the first servant. He had cancelled his huge debt. But this same servant refused to forgive another servant for a small debt. All the other servants were very upset. They told the king everything. Of course, the king was very angry. He sent the first servant to prison. (Notice that, even then, he did not kill the man.)

Often, people say that they are real disciples. They know that God has been very patient with them. God has forgiven them. God’s mercy has been great. But they refuse to deal with other people in the same way. Behavior like this brings awful results. These people make it impossible for God to forgive them. They are refusing to forgive other people. So they cannot know that God has forgiven them. And there must be punishment for them. (Read 6:12, 14–15.)

Peter had understood Jesus’ words in verses 15–20. But he was still thinking like the Jewish teachers (rabbis) thought. The rabbis said that people should forgive 3 or 4 times. Peter thought that he would be generous. So he suggested 7 times. He probably expected Jesus to approve of him. But Jesus’ answer shows that mercy must have no limits.

Questions

1. Someone has hurt you. You have not forgiven him or her. What should you do about it? Perhaps that person does not think that he or she has done a wrong thing. What would you do then?

2. What does it mean to forgive? Is it a form of words? Is it a feeling? Is it a determination to forget the past? Or, is it a form of prayer?

3. Do you need to forgive somebody? Ask God to show you. Then, pray about this important matter.

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Matthew: Heals the Sick and Raise the Dead

Jesus has conquered death. ‘Death, your power to hurt has ended’ (Hosea 13:14 and 1 Corinthians 15:55) We now have freedom over death because of Jesus’ sacrifice.

Matthew 9:18–26

18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26 News of this spread through all that region.

Jesus healed someone who was nearly dead. He brought back to life someone who was dead. Jesus has defeated death.

Another series of miracles began here. First, Jesus healed two people. There was a woman who had been ill for many years. Second, there was a sick girl. (Read verses 18–26.) These were great miracles. They help us to understand about Jesus’ kingdom.

There was a reason why Matthew included these stories. Maybe, he was thinking about Isaiah 35:4–6. Their illness was a sign. Death was a sign too. These things showed the state of certain men and women. It was about all those who were outside of God’s kingdom. Salvation had a special meaning too. Those who had salvation were part of God’s kingdom.

A ‘ruler’ or ‘elder’ came to Jesus. His name was Jairus. A group of ‘elders’ ruled a synagogue. (This was the Jews’ special building in which they worshipped God.) They were responsible for its daily management. They must also keep order in the meetings. These rulers were usually enemies of Jesus. But Jairus was different. Maybe he was just desperate. His little girl was dying. But he was probably a secret disciple. He came and worshiped Jesus. (Read 2:11.) He believed that Jesus could bring his daughter back to life. This was the first record of a miracle like this.

Jesus said immediately that he would go with Jairus. (Read verse 19.) But something happened on his way to Jairus’ home. A woman had been losing blood for 12 years. In the Old Testament, blood was the source of life. The woman would be ‘dirty’. People must not touch her. If they did, they would be ‘dirty’ too. Then they would not be able to take part in religious ceremonies either. This was probably why she came to Jesus in secret.

The woman thought that Jesus’ power was a sort of magic. She must just touch him. Then she would be well. It was not necessary for Jesus even to know about it. But Jesus knew her need. He healed her. Then He told her that it was trust, not magic, that had healed her. (Read verse 22.)

This woman was like the man in verses 1–9. Her illness made her aware of her sin. Jesus told the woman that He had saved (or healed) her. He comforted her when He called her ‘daughter’. (Compare 9:2.) Now Jesus had healed her completely.

Jesus emphasized her faith. He did this for three reasons.

1. Give her a reward. She expected Him to heal her. She expected it to happen immediately. She expected Him to heal her completely.

2. Show that He was dealing with her personally. She had personal trust in Him. And that was what healed her.

3. Encourage her. He wanted her to take part in the religious life again. He wanted her to join with God’s people.

Jesus then went on to Jairus’ house. There was much noise. This was usual for a funeral in ancient Israel. (Read verse 23.) Jesus stopped the noise with some words. ‘The girl is not dead. She is asleep’, He said. [Note: He said this about Lazarus too. (Read John 11, especially verse 11.) Yet, Lazarus had been dead for 4 days!] Maybe Jesus was emphasizing that death would not ‘win’. The people laughed at Jesus (verse 24). But Jesus did bring the little girl (and Lazarus) back to life again. This was something that only God could do. And, of course, everyone would hear the news.

God would save men and women from sin’s results. They could then enjoy God’s new heaven and new earth. (Compare Revelation 21:1–4) We still wait for this to happen. But Jesus has the power. He showed that He could make it all happen.

Questions

1. Do we have confidence in what Jesus can do? Or do we have confidence in our prayer? We prayed for it. So something must happen. Discuss examples and experiences. (Read Hebrews 11 too.)

2. This passage records some wonderful events. Would the same things convince non-believers (non-Christians) today that God is real? Should we expect such things to happen? Think of some examples.

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Bible Study Self esteem Uncategorized

You Are Good Enough!

I grew up with an amazing older sister, Tonya, who is great at everything she does. She is talented, smart, beautiful and outgoing. Growing up and being “grown” with her I have always striven to be as good as her. Spoiler Alert! I never was. The only thing I seemed to be a little bit better than her in was memorizing Bible scripture. Living in the shadow of someone truly talented can make you feel inferior and unworthy. It’s not Tonya’s fault. I Love her to death and would fight to the end with her. Satan knew that this was a weakness of mine and played on that to keep my mind off the truth. God made us different for different purposes. We are not competitors, we are teammates playing different positions.

The feeling that you are not as good as other people is awful feeling. Felling like that you are ugly and unattractive and that nobody likes you only keeps you from being you. That is Satan pushing that feeling that you are dumb and that other people are smarter than you. Satan is telling you that you are a failure and a loser.

Why do we feel like we are not good enough?

These thoughts come from accepting the Satan influenced values of the world. Satan knows that wrong thinking leads to wrong actions and wrong feelings. In this case, the wrong feelings are feelings of inferiority.

What does the world value most? The world puts its highest value on three things:

(1) Physical attractiveness,

(2) Intelligence, and

(3) Money.

Most people think that they must have these things in order to feel good about themselves.

Physical attractiveness

So far as the world is concerned, a person’s looks is one of the most important things about him or her. The world says, “If you are a ‘beautiful person,’ you are worth a lot; if you are not beautiful, you are not worth much and you probably won’t be happy in life.”

This is one of Satan’s lies. Even though it is not true, many people believe it and it has a profound effect upon them. Some people dislike themselves and some even hate themselves because they are so dissatisfied with the way they look.

1 Samuel 16:7

“God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”

They think, “If only I could look like so-and-so, I’d be happy.”

The fact is that physical attractiveness does not make a person happy. God wants us to see that our worth as a person does not depend on our outward appearance.

Intelligence

The world says, “If you are smart, you are worthwhile; if you are not, then you are not worth much.”

This is another of Satan’s lies. Your value is not determined by how smart you are. I had a hard time in school. I do not learn as easily as others. When I would give a wrong answer in class, everyone laughed. That made me feel dumb and worthless.

The more a person fails at something, the more discouraged he gets. Gradually he comes to think that he is a complete failure. He may decide that he can’t do anything right and quit trying. This brings on more failure and fear of trying anything new.

God never values a person by his intelligence. When the Lord Jesus chose His disciples, He did not choose the smartest, most intelligent people of His day. He chose plain, ordinary people. The Bible says,

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 New International Version (NIV)

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Money

A third way that the world values a person is by his wealth. The world says, “If you want to be important and you want to be happy, you must have money.”

This too is one of Satan’s lies. Money does not make a person happy, nor does it determine his value. The Lord Jesus said,

“A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses.” Luke 12:15

Those who make wealth their goal in life fall into many sins. The Bible says,

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” 1 Timothy 6:9

God wants us to see that we do not need money to be happy. The Bible says,

“Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing let us with these be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Change Your Thinking!

Wisdom is seeing things as God sees them. God never values a person by his outward appearance, or by his intelligence, or by his wealth or social position. God deals with rich people exactly the same way he deals with poor people. The Bible says,

“For there is no respect of persons with God.” Romans 2:11

Physical attractiveness, intelligence and money are not evil in themselves. It is the wrong value that the world places on these things that is wrong. If we accept the wrong beliefs and values of the world, it will lead to feelings of inferiority.

To change the way we feel about ourselves, we must change our thinking. We must see that our worth as a person does not depend on our outward appearance, our intelligence, our wealth or our social position.

We must see ourselves as God sees us. What are we worth in God’s sight? We are worth what He paid for us. He gave His Son to redeem us. That’s how much we are worth in His sight.

We must see too that God loves us and accepts us as we are. His love does not depend on what we are or what we have or what we do. God says, “Regardless of whether you are a success or failure, regardless of what you may think about yourself, regardless of what other people may think about you, I LOVE YOU!”

Recognize that you are not alone

You are not alone in your feelings. As you go about school or work, you come in contact with many other people—some smiling, talking, and laughing. You might think that they do not have a care in the world. But underneath it all, you will probably find that they, too, have deep self – doubt and fear. Almost all people have these feelings.

When you realize that other people have the same problem that you have, it helps you to understand them.

Make genuine friends

You don’t have to be beautiful or highly intelligent or have a lot of money to make friends. The best way to have a good friend is to be a good friend. One of the best places to find good friends is in a local church. Never make fun of another person. Respect others and accept them as they are. Let them know that they are important to you. Be especially considerate of those who have difficulty making friends. They will love and appreciate you for this. Nothing helps your self confidence more than having genuine friends. When you realize that other people like and appreciate you, it is easier to accept yourself.

Learn to do something well

Everyone needs to have proper self-esteem. One way to build proper self-esteem is to learn to do something well. Everyone has at least on thing that they are really good at.

Find something that you like to do and then work at it! Say to yourself, “I’ll learn as much about the Bible a possible,” or “I’ll succeed in my part-time job,” or “I’ll learn how to play basketball as well as possible,” or “I’ll see how many friends I can make,” or “I’ll learn to be a good tennis player,” or “I’ll learn to be a good cook.”

Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Make the most out of what you have. Develop a skill that will make you feel good about yourself. One of the best ways to develop a skill is to use it for God. Cook for people, play basketball with younger kids that need friends, or be that joyful, positive christian at work. Do the best you can in that particular thing. As you do, you will begin to like yourself more.

Face your problems honestly

Get alone where you can be quiet and think. Then make a list of all the things which you most dislike about yourself. Be honest. No one need see this except you and God. Pray about these things.

Do people get the wrong impression of you from the way you dress? You can correct this and you should. Are you lazy and careless about your work? Do something about it! We should do all things to the glory of God. Careless, haphazard work does not bring glory to God.

Whatever your problems are, write them down so you can face them honestly. Check the ones that you can do something about. Perhaps you know an older person—someone you can trust—who could help you.

“Unsolvable Problems”

What about the problems you have left on your list—those “unsolvable problems”? Everyone has one or more of these.

The best thing to do with your “unsolvable problems” is to give them to the Lord Jesus. Tell the Lord that you cannot handle these problems and that you are giving them to Him. Your prayer should contain these thoughts, stated in your own words:

When you have prayed destroy your paper as a symbol that you have turned these problems over to the Lord forever. Whenever you start to fret about these problems again, remind yourself of your decision. Tell the Lord that you have turned these problems over to Him and that you are trusting Him to handle them.


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Bible Study Psalm Uncategorized

Psalm 91: A Safe Place

My son, Jackson, is about to turn 18. When he was a young boy, he used to be scared of many things. From the age of 4 or 5 until 9 or 10, he would pray every night when we sent him to bed then walk into his bedroom and say, “Be gone in the name of JESUS!” This made him feel safe at night. Once he began to read we he would get scared of things, I would always say, “Start reading in Psalms 91 and don’t stop till you feel better.” One day we where in the car and driving through a sketchy neighborhood at night. He began to get twitchy because he was scared. I happened to have a Bible in my front seat and I tossed it over my shoulder and said, “You know where to start.”

Psalms 91 has been the scriptures in our house that we have used to ground ourselves when fear is creeping in. I would dare to say that every human has scared moments. When we are uncertain of things and we don’t know what to do. This is where this Bible study series comes from, a scared little boy and a mother that only had God’s word for protection.

Psalm 91: 1-2

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

When life is scary, every task seems more exhaustive the last and you can’t t find a safe place or place to rest, these verses are reassuring, comforting and encouraging. When things appear to be their worst, I tend to get a bit negative, and most of us are like that. Our natural tendency is to get down in the mully grubs and miss out on what God may be doing in our situation.

When I find myself in these negative places, my goal becomes centering my mind to fend off the negative, and say of the Lord that He is my God in whom I trust, just as the writer of this Psalm did.

But there is also a deeper meaning in this passage, hidden in plain sight. In these verses there are four names for God: the Most High, the Almighty, the Lord, my God. Why does the writer use four different names in two verses, and why is it so important?

Whosoever dwells (lives) in the shelter of the Most High, Hebrew word, Elyon means the most high. It describes a Supreme monarch, one who is elevated above all things. The name signifies God’s majesty and sovereignty. Elyon describes a king that reigns above all other kings, and is first used in Scripture in Genesis 14:18, describing Abraham’s encounter with the priest/king Melchizedek, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High.” Melchizedek gives us a picture of Christ in several ways, and it is fitting that this story contains the first use of this name of God in Scripture. Verse 1 speaks to the protection of one who ‘dwells in the shelter of the Most High,’ and it causes us to ask where it is that we dwell. Do we dwell in our own self-doubt? Do we dwell in anger? Do we dwell in what could be or what could have been? Or do we dwell in the shelter of the Most High God, the Holy King of heaven who promises to protect and keep us?

The second phrase, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. The Almighty, is translated from the word Shaddai (If you are thinking of the Amy Grant song right now, I assure you you are not alone). Shaddai has many meanings, but it as you may imagine, it primarily suggests a mighty, powerful God who is strong beyond our imagination and is more than capable to supply our every need. He is the God who who rained fire from heaven, shut mouths of lions, and controls all of creation. In His name and in His power, there is no need that cannot be met, and no circumstance he cannot overcome. So, if we live with the most high God we can rest in the shadow of his power. HALLELUJAH!!

The third section is I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress.The LORD, is the personal name for God, revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 6:2). This personal name for God was considered so sacred in Judaism, that the original pronunciation is uncertain, only that it contained the letters YHWH.  It has been translated as Yahweh, Jehovah, and more often as the LORD (in all caps).  The significance of this name is that it represents a relationship God who wants us to know Him on a deep, personal level.  The God who knows every hair on our heads, every joy and fear in our hearts, and desires us to know Him as a friend. This God who created the universe and wants to be the place we go to feel safe.

The last section is my God, in whom I trust. My God, comes from the Hebrew Elohim. This name first appears at the very beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” When Elohim occurs in Scripture, it is typically translated as “God.” It means the one who is first, or the creator, and is technically a plural word. So it is fitting that this is how God is referenced in Genesis 1:1; as a creator who is one, yet plural (Father, Son, Spirit). The Psalmist is proclaiming that the God in whom he trusts is the same God who created all things, the first and the last, and the God who is forever faithful to His creation.

In the span of just two verses we see the beauty of God: His ways are higher than our ways, yet we can speak to Him as friend. God is at the same time unsearchable yet so very near to us. In His shadow and in His shelter, we find strength, comfort, and rest for our souls.

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Bible Study Uncategorized

Ruth: Get Bitter or Get Better

Many people find it almost impossible to have hope when you are filled with pain and loss. Naomi has lost her husband and both her sons and her dreams of having a large family had been shattered. In most of our lives we have felt pain and loss. It may not be on Naomi’s scale, but the struggle is still real for us. At one point in my life I was bitter and angry at how I thought God was treating. It turns out i was bringing this destruction on myself, but I was young and naive and very selfish. During this time, I spoke with a very god- centered preacher, Bobby Tucker. He said to me, “Missy, You have one choice. You can be bitter or get better.” Those words have often come back at me many times since that conversation. Although it is difficult to believe that God is near, His sovereignty never sleeps. When our pain is the deepest and our doubt the greatest, God remains with us.

Ruth 1:19-22 New International Version (NIV)

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”20 “Don’t call me Naomi,[a]” she told them. “Call me Mara,[ because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

In this passage, Naomi is facing a crisis of faith. Returning to her homeland, Bethlehem, the home of her God, her faith, and her people should bring feelings of hope. However, Naomi is left empty and in despair. Naomi, in Hebrew means pleasant. After all that has happened, now wishes to be called Mara, which means Bitter

Naomi believes that God is punishing her. When everything seems to be tossed upside, do you get like Naomi or do you choose to cry out to God and get better. My Mother and father -in- law have have a rough 5 years. My father- in-law has battled prostate and bone cancer. My mother-in-law has battled stomach, uterine and brain cancer. Yet, they refuse to be bitter. Going into her brain surgery my mother-in-law looked at me and said, “It’s okay. Either way I win. I beat this and get to spend more time here with you or I don’t and I get to spend eternity with Jesus. Either way I win.”

God does not just extend the fullness of His grace and overflowing love during the good times in our lives. That Grace and Love are present in the bad as well, you just have to stop wallowing in you grief long enough to see God. We get so focused on me, me, me that we forget this story your starring in is all about God. God will use our doubts, our fears, and our pain for His glory. Nothing is wasted or without purpose. We can be assured that all of our struggles and our pain are in the loving hands of a loving Father.

Naomi, in her pain, called herself Mara, because she failed to recognize God’s grace. However, God, in His grace, blessed Naomi with a loving husband for many years. In His grace, Naomi and her husband birthed two strong sons who were then able to support and care for her after her husband’s death. In His grace, her sons were married, her daughters-in-law, who honored and respected her despite their Moabite upbringing. In His grace, Naomi was able to return to her home and her faith, in Bethlehem, after God had delivered the land from a severe famine.

In God’s grace, Naomi was never alone. She possessed the love and devotion of her daughter-in-law Ruth who shared her same struggles with pain and loss. In His grace, Naomi would become grandmother to Ruth’s first-born, Obed, and share in the majestic ancestry of the lineage of her Messiah, Jesus Christ. God’s grace is exceedingly more abundant than our circumstances, our past, or our pain.

God’s grace pours out love, kindness, favor, and forgiveness all over the place, to those who trust in Him. His grace changes everything. Our plan for our life is often drastically different from God’s purpose for our life. The challenge for believers is to filter our every experience through the love of Jesus Christ and trust His perspective, not our own. Grounding our lives in God’s promises in His Word gives us the confidence to trust His will and His plan for our lives.

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:5-6 

Naomi thought she had lost everything. She thought God had afflicted her. Naomi was wrong. Everything she believed had been lost and perished was restored as a part of God’s plan because of His great love. There are no insignificant people or circumstances in God’s story. Even when we doubt it, God’s love for His people is eternally perfect, unconditional, and inexhaustible until the end of ends.

Have your circumstances derailed your faith in God? How might your emotions be limiting your ability to recognize God’s grace in your life? How might God be using your trials to strengthen your faith and reveal His glory?  How can we pray for you as you seek out God’s grace in your life?