1 John, 2 John, 3 John & Jude resources

Whenever #goodmorninggirls goes on break, my group still SOAKs. This time we are SOAKing books that GMG SOAKed before our group existed. So if anyone wants chapters to SOAK, this week we are SOAKing 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Jude. Here are the resources I compiled:


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Water into Wine Faith ~ Philippians & Colossians Week 1 resources

Whenever Good Morning Girls goes on a break, my online small group does our own mini-SOAK session over part of the Bible.  This summer, I have felt thrown into Philippians and Colossians over and over again.  During this next 3 week break, we are focusing on Philippians and Colossians.
In case you are not familiar with the SOAK Bible Study method.  Click here!

Let me be clear, I am not a Bible scholar, I have never been to seminary or anything.  I am just sharing the resources I compiled/created to help my small group.  I am sharing these so that anyone can use them if they are looking for something similar.  Enjoy and use the hashtag #WaterIntoWineFaith and #GoodMorning Girls if you decide to share your SOAKs on Instagram!

Week 1 Schedule:


Week 1 Daily posts for group to comment their SOAKs:


Week 1 Discussion Questions:

 

Here are the resources I used to come up with the discussion questions:

Philippians Study Guide by Lakeside Church

Colossians Study Questions by FCC Holden

Ecclesiastes 10:1-9 with #GoodMorningGirls


When you struggle with something, you have a lot more to say. I am extremely passionate which means I am also easily angered especially by wrongdoing. I want to fight fire with fire, but the Bible is clear that’s not the way to accomplish God’s will.
“Calmness can lay great errors to rest.” ~Ecclesiastes 10:4b 
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” ~Proverbs 15:1
Plus, if you know me at all, these verses are ones I take to heart and challenge myself daily to uphold. 

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” ~Matthew 22:37-39
I honestly fail more than I succeed, but that’s no reason to give up! Each day is a new chance to get it right again!

Esther resources to help with #GoodMorningGirls

My online small group wanted to do something during the hiatus between Deuteronomy and Ecclesiastes with Good Morning Girls of Women Living Well. We voted on ones already done by the organization, me thinking, “all the resources are on the site.” We chose Esther, and I came to discover there were limited resources, namely no discussion questions nor verses of the day. I had a mini panic attack, then set to work reading Esther. God gave me some direction and here are the resources I created to use with my group.

Week 1


Week 2


Mark 6-10 ~ SOAKing the Bible

Some thoughts and pictures from this week…

 Mark 6 
Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own home is a prophet without honor.” Mark 6:4

I am a know-it-all. My family is filled with know-it-alls. I am not a prophet, but Jesus’ comments still apply as I have often felt that my opinions and ideas are least appreciated by my family. & often I have returned that favor on my family. My own husband and I are guilty of this with each other. Why is that?!?!?! We should value our family’s ideas as much if not more that others. Knowledge is power, so I must remember this so that I do not make anyone close to me feel unvalued. Lots of thoughts and feelings here. & conviction.

 Mark 7 

Mark 8  
Mark 8

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” ~ Mark 8:36

I used to be so consumed with the world. Status meant a lot to me. People pleasing meant a lot–who doesn’t want to be liked? Thankfully, a lot has changed recently because of my time in the Word. My perspective has changed and has come completely into focus. Nothing in this world matters. In the end, Jesus is what matters so He also is what matters in the beginning. If our choices and plans do not align with God, we are off track. A year ago, I struggled with spending. I knew it was a problem, it was on my list of things I wanted to change. I increased my daily time in the Word (and decreased my time in the world), I prayed about it and it was EASY to stop. Why? Because my peace comes from God now. I recognize that I was seeking to feel better when I was sad or stressed by turning to shopping rather than God. And thanks to God, that has improved. I still see temptation everywhere, but I don’t feel the need anymore.
 Mark 9 
 Mark 10 

It’s always a good reminder that there is NOTHING we can do to earn salvation. We don’t deserve it, yet God provided Jesus knowing that each and every one of us would sin and that many would deny Him. While on Pinterest yesterday, I happened upon an amazing thought… While Jesus was on the cross, he thought of ME. He thought of YOU too. How powerful is that? To know that Jesus thought of every single one of us and chose to die for me and for you. What?! It’s unfathomable, yet true.

A year in the Bible without quitting?

  

Who else has tried reading through the Bible only to get bored 😱 or overwhelmed 🤔by the time you reached Leviticus? ✋🏻✋🏻✋🏻✋🏻

Thankfully a Bible study last year with group accountability got me to finally make it through Numbers and Deuteronomy 👏🏻! After that study (over Moses) ended, I was intrigued enough to read through Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Samuel on my own, at my own pace, but I hungered for a way to read the whole Bible in a way that would not cause burnout and would make me do it in a year or less. Being the genius 👀 that I am, it was still a few weeks before the light bulb went off 💡and I looked for a Bible reading plan in the Bible App 📱. I started back in Genesis in November–I’m a little OCD and needed to read it from the beginning in order. Fast forward to tonight (Day 136), 👣👣👣👣and I’m in 2 Kings and John.

So what’s different this time? Why am I actually sticking to it FINALLY?
✝ I regularly ask God to make me hunger for Him.

✝ I picked out a Bible to be the official Bible for this read through and I Mark it up like a text book. It also makes it fun to be able to see my progress.

✝ I have friends who keep me accountable simply because we always talk about what God is revealing in our lives.

✝ I feel different and have noticed a change in my view of the world the more I spend time in the Word.

✝ My plan lets you start from the beginning any day of the year (so I could start then, not wait until January 1st).

✝ Because God decided this was the year I would do it. That’s the real reason. The others are just ideas to motivate me to stay excited.

Have you read the whole Bible recently? If not, why not jump in now? There are many options, some take a few years, some read the whole Bible, others take you through the highlights.  There are so many options! I’m sure there’s one for everyone. Click here to open my plan in the Bible app.

Mark 5 ~ not all are called to leave everything behind

  

In Mark 5, Jesus commands a legion of demons out of a man (5:8-13) and afterwards, the man begs Jesus to let him go with Him. As verse 19 says, “Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.'”

 
The man’s story in scripture ends with the him spreading his testimony (verse 20). What an important moment this is. While those of us who are passionate about our faith may think we are supposed to drop everything and follow Jesus, that is not what we are called to do. We are called to follow Jesus and share Jesus in our everyday lives. That may mean God calls us to be in the classroom, or in an office job or somewhere else. If every Christian became a priest or minister, the world would fall apart. In a sense, Jesus needs His non-clergy ambassadors out in the world, loving and serving His people who don’t yet know Him or who haven’t yet chosen Him. We are called to live in faith and sharing our faith wherever God calls us. But we are not all called in the same way nor place.

  
After a decade of complacency, I am on fire for Jesus. I’ve even thought, “should I look at working in a Christian-based job?” But then I remembered a blog post I did in the past after the Newtown massacre. People were blaming the lack of God in schools. I clarified that God is still in schools because there are believers in schools trying to extend Christ’s love, grace and mercy to our students, parents and colleagues. I was clearly called to be a teacher. My mother even said I wanted to be a teacher before I could possibly know what one was. That’s a true calling. There are times where I want to walk away, but for now, I can see that there is a place for God to use me in my school. While it may seem easier to spend all my time with other followers of Jesus, I have to engage my world and help create more disciples (Matthew 28:19).

 
But if you are struggling at work, my church recently did a series of sermons called “Made for Monday.” It was extremely impactful to me as it emphasized that when we view our jobs as our calling, we can get more satisfaction from them and more easily accomplish God’s will. If you are unhappy in your job or just need some inspiration in it, I highly recommend you watch the series here.

The greatest injustice in the world is how we treat God

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The beginning of the BSF lecture on Monday night was a list of the greatest injustices in the world. I just googled it myself and here is one list of the top 10:

1. Poverty
2. Starvation
3. Gender inequality
4. Elderly
5. Widows
6. Orphans
7. Racism
8. Abuse
9. Sex-trafficking
10. War & Grief.

The most compelling part of the lecture was the end, when she suggested that, “The greatest injustice in this world is the way we treat God.” Talk about convicting! He created the world, He created us. We must honor Him, thank Him, ask for forgiveness for our sins. So much of the world chooses to ignore Him.

I want to take this even further, though, and say that when we don’t take care of others, we are also disrespecting God. This is what hit closest to home for me personally. When we live selfishly, we are showing injustice to Him. The Bible is clear that we are to care for those who cannot take care of them. How much more could I do? A lot.

See:
Deuteronomy 15:11
Matthew 5:42
Matthew 25:35-40
Luke 12:33-34
John 15:12
James 1:17
Acts 20:35-38
Romans 15:1
The list could go on and on…

We are selfish, we must change. I want to do more for others. I’m saving money right now, dialing down debt, and when that’s done, I cannot wait to use God’s money to help others. If we all did a little–I’m not just taking financially–if EVERYONE did a little, we could take care of everyone on the list above and at the very least stop the injustice we show to God. So for now, I’m praying for God’s wisdoms to show me where He wants my service and my money.

When we add conditions to God’s grace, we undermine God’s glory

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God’s grace is so simple, yet completely unfathomable. Yes, you can make the worst choices in life and Jesus will still welcome you with open arms if you choose Him. You can live an entire life in sin and realize your mistake on your deathbed and still have time to choose Jesus. Is it fair? No! Is it fair that Jesus who was sinless had to die on the cross to reconcile us all to God? No! Jesus died for each and everyone of us knowing that we aren’t perfect and that many of us would not choose Him in the end. He loves us whether we choose Him or not.

I have been asked many times, “do you think Hitler could be in heaven.” I used to say, “There’s no way!”  But I’ve changed my mind. He might be…
Matthew 12:31 says, “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”
Matthew 20 contains the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Some workers were hired for a fee early in the day, others hired later were offered the same fee. When they all received their payment, the workers hired first grumbled because they felt they should be paid more for working more. Here’s was the owner’s response in Jesus’ parable:
“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’”  Matthew‬ ‭20:13-15‬ ‭
And so it is the same with God. God’s grace is generous beyond anything we can imagine.
As Romans 8:38 says:
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
So, yes, there is a chance Hitler is in heaven despite all the evil he unleashed in this world because if he did repent and choose Jesus in the end, God’s grace would apply to him too. That is perhaps the toughest pill to swallow as a Christian. But that’s how God’s grace works. Nothing about being a Christian is fair except this: God loves us all the same whether we love Him back or not and He offers us all the gift of grace through Jesus Christ no matter our sin.
Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
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Could it be any simpler?
Romans 11:6 says, “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
So then why do we bother trying to be “good.” Because once we choose Jesus, we are convicted to be better. We are still far from perfect, but we want to emulate Jesus through our actions. We recognize what an amazing, undeserved gift grace is and we want to honor God by being better. BUT, this does not mean we are “better people” than anyone. We are still sinners who recognize how badly we need God’s undeserved grace. #GloryToGod
I do want to add something in anticipation of comments. I do not believe you will find a true believer who blatantly sins for fun and says, “I can do whatever I want because Jesus is my savior. It’s my get out of jail free card.” Perhaps a few exist, but that’s between them and God.

Confession Time

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I have thought a lot about posting this.  I don’t really want to, but I feel that maybe it will help someone.

Last fall, there was a shooting in Oregon where Christians were asked to stand up and were killed for their faith.  It was hard to process, and it brought up some hard questions.  What would I want my children to do?  What would I do?

And here’s the truth: I would have wanted my children to stay seated to save their lives, and I would have done the same with 100% certainty.

But here’s what the Bible says about denying Jesus:

If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.  If we deny him, he will deny us. 2 Timothy 2:12

But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:33

But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. Luke 12:9

And who is a liar?  Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ.  Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. 1 John 2:22

My response was a clear red flag.  These were the wrong answers for someone who truly believed in Jesus and trusted in salvation.  I knew with this realization that I was no where near where I wanted to be with God.   Rather than become despaired, I chose instead to continue to focus on my relationship with Jesus by spending more time with Him.  I was in an in person Bible Study, an online Bible study and my own personal study already though, I only occasionally went to church.

So… What more could I do?  I took opportunities that came my way!  I attended a women’s conference, I tried (and fell in love with) a new church, listened to countless podcasts on faith, participated in an Explore God discussion group, read the Case for Faith, joined another in person Bible study, began listening to worship music outside of church (Air1 anyone?) and faced a phobia that was limiting my world.  Through it all, my mom began to point out some changes in me.  I became a patient person–what?!  I stopped having severe road rage–what?!  I put feet to my faith by flying to Florida despite a flying phobia and relied on God every step of the way–what?!

Let me be clear, I cannot take credit for any of this.  This is all GOD!  This is all about how Jesus can transform if we come to Him willingly and we stay with Him.  I am far from perfect, but I know first hand that Jesus changes us.  The only way to become like Jesus is to study Him and spend time with Him.  I am still a hot mess, my house is a wreck, I sometimes say bad words, I drink wine fairly regularly, I gossip (working on that!!!!) and I somewhat compartmentalize my faith because it is hard to find that balance in public education, but nevertheless, Jesus is making me want different things.  He’s convicting me in ways He didn’t before.  He is changing me.

I realized the other day that my answers to those original questions have changed.  Today, I would want my children to stand up for Jesus.  Today, I would stand up for Him too.  I pray that we are never in that situation, but if ever we are, I pray that we will bravely stand up for Jesus as He stood up for us and died on the cross.

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