Tag Archives: Bible Study

How to Truly Live the Christian Life

The Christian life is often very busy, isn’t it? Activity after activity fills the calendars of churches and the agendas of our lives. It can sometimes seem to gravitate to more and more doing, serving and doing some more.

Even our times of prayer–whether together or alone–can veer off from proper focus. For example, instead of first asking the Lord what He might want us to pray, we launch straight away into prayer based on what comes to our minds or is gnawing at our hearts.

Our activities are not necessarily bad in and of themselves. They can, however, help or hinder our Christian life.

The key to knowing whether they are helping or hindering is what or who are we connected to as we do these activities. Are we engaging in activities that truly build our relationship with Jesus and living for His glory?

Everything in our lives as Christians should flow from the intimate place of partnership and communion with Jesus, not the other way around. He is not only our Savior but our Lord and we want to seek His heart and thoughts rather than doing our own thing. We can’t come to know Him or His will if we do not make time to know and hear His voice, being in His Word and allowing His Spirit to lead all of our lives.

Relationship with God and loving Him must be first place in our lives, even when it comes to all else that relates to our sanctification and furthering His Kingdom.

We want to make our first aim to build friendship with Jesus above all. God alone is the source from which everything else in our life as a Christian flows. Without Him, we cannot truly bear good fruit or choose to live out godliness to the full. In John 15:4-5, Jesus says:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (NASB)

Imagine this: You’re married. You love your spouse and do lots and lots of stuff for them; however, you never stop and ask them what they actually would like or you don’t actually do life together in partnership as one. You would both be living your lives, but not in a very connected way like a branch would be connected to its vine. How would that work for years of marriage? You probably get the picture now.

Friendship with God is far more than simply checking things off our “good Christian” list. He is our Creator who is Father, Savior and the Lover of our souls. We are called children of God, the Bride of Christ, not workers but lovers. In this, we are invited to learn from Him. He invites us to walk out our lives in partnership with Him as our Head or Leader, teaching us in His ways of life and love.

“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:38-42 NASB, emphasis added)

As those who have taken His name–Christian–when we made Him our personal Savior and Lord, we should desire to know Him more and do life His way. We need this time to learn how to live in step with His Spirit in our day-to-day lives. This is the “good part” that Jesus speaks of to Mary.

Without attempting to cause you confusion: Mary actually was doing an activity. However, this activity was one of relationship-building and discipleship. She was investing in her relationship with Jesus, to know Him and His ways as she took time away from other activities to listen to His Word.

Like Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet, there are certain activities we can engage in to help build our relationship with Jesus. Just as a husband and wife would talk together to grow closer and know what is on each others’ hearts, we are called to know our King. We are called to be disciples of Christ, positioned just as Mary was to partake of His instructions in the context of relationship with Him. (Is this new to you? For more on what it means to be a disciple of Christ, read this excellent article by Phylicia Masonheimer.)

Several of these relationship-building activities include spiritual disciplines such as:

Solitude: We draw near to Him by drawing away from other people and activities for a time to be alone with Him and engage in one of the other spiritual disciplines outlined below.

Silence, Listening and Prayer: We quiet our hearts in a time of silence to seek what He would say. We put our own requests aside to first start by asking Him what is on His heart for us or others, whether for us to rest in His love, to pray for ourselves or others as He leads, or repent for something His Spirit convicts us of.

Worship: We speak or sing to Him our “thank You’s” for giving His life for us, for caring for us, providing for us, healing us, etc. We sing praises and sing His Word to Him, as prayers or over ourselves to help our minds be renewed to think like He thinks.

Bible Study: We read our Bibles and ask the Holy Spirit to grow our relationship with God as we read His words to us. We ask Him questions about His Word and journal the impressions we receive from Him. We ask Him to use the Scriptures to renew our minds and show us the heart and character of Jesus so we can be transformed into His image.

Fasting: We fast a meal and instead use the extra time to spend with Him. Or we take a break from entertainment, social media or our phones and dedicate that time to Him.

Obedience and Service: We respond to the things He has spoken to us through His Word and by His Spirit–not because we have to but because of His love for us and ours for Him, obeying as He leads and serving others in partnership with Him.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much of a priority do I give knowing Jesus in my daily life?
  • When was the last time I pulled away from all the “stuff” and simply loved on Him with no other agenda?
  • When was the last time I set aside my own requests, quieted my thoughts (even moving my phone to another room on silent) to see what He wanted to speak?
  • When was the last time I read my Bible and studied Jesus’ words with the help of His Holy Spirit?

Make it your aim to grow your relationship with Jesus as your first goal in this life, growing in intimacy with Him and learning to walk in His ways. From that place alone, let all other activity flow.

The Bride of Christ: Growing in Intimacy with God

On Fridays at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mike Bickle recently began a series on the Bridegroom/Bride message throughout the Bible concerning us and Jesus. I have been tuning in to their online stream during this series as I seek to stay faithful to the assignments God has given me as an intercessory prayer missionary and messenger through worship, song and teaching.

This is such an important message, and in this post I wanted to share some of the points that stood out to me. If we neglect the pursuit of intimacy with God, we are missing the primary purpose of our faith and our lives. In connection with Him alone do we fully come alive!

What Is the Bridegroom Message?

In one sentence, the Bridegroom message is the call to intimacy with God by encountering His heart and love toward us, and to walk in partnership with Him. Continue reading

Powerful Prayer

I was reading a post on the International House of Prayer (IHOP) site today, titled Praying the Word for Others, and one of the comments cited this passage:

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARS US. And we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
(1 John 5:14-15)

Most have read this passage many times, but the depth of all that John is expressing here penetrated my heart much more deeply this time.

  • If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Even if you don’t feel close to God today. Even if you missed your quiet time today or all week… if you pray according to His will, He will hear you (and as I’ll reiterate below, He will answer you!)

  • whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Not only does He hear us as we pray according to His will, He answers! It seems overly simple, but when we think about this as we pray for the salvation of family members, for revival, or for growth in our relationship with Him, if it’s His will, we can expect His answers!

  • we know that He hears us…we know that we have the petitions we have asked of Him.

We know. We know. Sensing assurance through this repetition? And previously: this is the confidence that we have in Him. It is the confidence. We know we have it. It’s a done deal.

  • this is the confidence that we have in Him

Now that gives me greater hope and trust in my Saviour. Expectation for answers to prayer. Trust for salvation of souls. Hope for breakthroughs, restoration, and revival. Confidence that He hears our prayers as we ask according to His will, knowing that He isn’t just going to answer them, He is answering them!

“Our prayer becomes effectual, POWERFUL, fervent, DIRECT and humble when we present ourselves and others before the Throne Of Grace; when we pray according to His desires, rather than our own.”
(Comment from Praying the Word for Others post)

I AM – A Set Up for a Show Up

On to chapter three of Lisa’s I AM Bible Study: I AM – Your Fame. This is lesson nine, “A Set Up for a Show Up.” Excerpt:

When an oppression is set up, whether it originated in heart of God or the hate of Satan, expect God to show up. He will. Every.single.time. Our responsibility is to make sure people know what He did for you when He got there.

“I AM your fame, and thou art mine.”

Blessed be Yahweh!

I AM Online Bible Study

Discussion Questions

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself on how often your conversation is seasoned with the works of the Lord on your behalf? If you speak very little of Him, is there a reason you know of? If you speak often, how do people respond?

Maybe a 7… Usually, if I am sharing with a fellow Christian, they are happy with me; if with a non-believer, sometimes they come back with “well, you prepared or handled that well,” etc., to which I usually again remind them that no, I couldn’t have done it without God!

2. Have you experienced a Set Up for a Show Up when you were uncertain whether the situation was the chastisement of the Lord or a temptation of Satan?

When I was struggling with God having revealed His calling for me according to His will, but yet struggling through the fact that it wasn’t surely yet coming to pass. But it was only months later that He moved me to the next leg in the journey, which is always encouraging even through struggles! :)

3. Have you ever or are you now experiencing any Job trials where you can still not identify any wrong-doing on your part?

Not that I considered trials, but just parts of the progress toward the next leg in the journey.

4. Apply this principle: How can my response make my God famous? Will obedience result in my sanctification and God’s Glory?

By persevering despite feelings, down days & hardships — by keeping faith & trust despite circumstances & living this! & through this, God can continue to transform my mind & heart, so that I can truly live by faith & not by sight, feeling or circumstance.

5. Does the origin of our affliction matter in view of the fame God can gain from it?

No. All in all, as Romans 8:28 states, God uses all things for our good for those who love Him!

I AM – Instrument of Wonders

Wow, I sure did forget about this Bible study. Finally decided to do the final lesson in part two (God’s timing is right though, isn’t it?) There is more yet though! See Lisa‘s I AM So You Don’t Have To Be Bible Study

An excerpt:

Too often our identity is found in a material possession or social status. When asking ourselves, ‘Who am I?’, be certain the answer is bound in the heart of Christ. He is everything we cannot be and sufficient to fill every needy place. He is beautiful, all-knowing, strong, self-assured, and so much more so we do not have to be! When our lives are intertwined with His Spirit, we will never have to long to be more than we are, for HE IS. Praise Him!

…God stopped him and said, ‘Take that snake by the tail, Moses.’ Girls, there is only so much time we need to spend dwelling on our past failures, shames, and heartaches. The God who allows despair has also ordained a deliverance.

I AM Online Bible Study

Discussion Questions

1. Have you ever been in a situation where you had to ‘go back’ to a place of shame or ridicule? How did that make you feel?

Nothing “big” that I can think of, though there have been little things before. The usual feeling in such things is that of being humbled & having to let go of caring about how I appear to others (or maybe just to myself!)

2. Is there any circumstance in your life that still has you running for cover? Share if you feel comfortable.

Yes, somewhat. Definitely past that I’m not comfortable even thinking about, much less sharing.

3. When is the last time you felt like an overcomer?

Fully? I take the fullness away from myself because of lack of letting go, that is, of being too hard on myself about getting in the Word for enough time, etc. (that’s such rubbish, too! It’s about relationship & getting in the Word will help but being hard on myself when I miss a day just hurts that!) So, I am ashamed to say that I STILL struggle with being overly legalistic toward myself, but this has gone from 95% down to probably 1-2%! I feel I’ve come a long way, but the enemy still tries to get me down & I need God’s continual help to ignore the enemy’s lies in trying to make me feel unworthy of God’s affections. I seriously want to take the enemy’s tail & throw him into the fiery abyss!!

4. If you have not yet taken the serpent by the tail, are you willing to stop running, take hold and trust God to transform it into a tool for wonders?

In regard to #3, yes yes yes! As for #2, I’m still fight (the enemy or is it trusting God?) I know who I am in Christ & yet worry God will ask me to do things I’m fearful of. It’s about just not worrying about a thing & trusting Him with all things of course. & so this probably isn’t something I should worry about at all, along with all else we humans deal with day-to-day. Maybe that’s the problem — there’s no reason to have worry at all because, YES — I know who I am in Christ! I want God to use me as a vessel through which to show His love to them!

5. I would like for you to write down this statement based on 1 John 2:14 somewhere you will see it often this week: “I am strong, the Word of God abides in me, and I have overcome the evil one.” Memorize it. Say it over and over until you believe it. Will you do this?? Most of the time, there are no right or wrong answers, but on this one, I’m expecting a ‘yes’!

Done. That’s definitely something I’ve got to do!!