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Jul 31, 2011

Iron Girls Bible Study ~ John 18 Notes

                                                    "Tried & Found Faithful"
 (John 18 Notes)
The trials (6) of Jesus, 3 before the Jewish religious authorities and 3 before the civil authorities were a mockery. There was no truth seeking in them. And they were all illegal according to the Jewish document called the Mishnah. These laws were governed by the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin.

It was illegal to:
  • hold a trial at night
  • have no witnesses (needed 2)
  • abuse the accused during the trial
  • bring no charges
  • have an improper vote
  • to keep someone in custody after having been found "not guilty"
  • to be questioned in order to testify against oneself
  • to be declared "not guilty" and yet condemned

Yet we know that God uses the decisions of man to carry out His sovereign plans.
When Jesus responds to the soldiers come to arrest Him, his reply, "I am He," holds his unleashed power. And in that moment when Divine Power meets Divinely Ordained Destiny, that small army lead by Judas, can do nothing but fall to the ground.
And one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. He is the I Am.

These words of Jesus encourage my own heart as I seek to do God's will:
"Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"  (v. 11)

Regardless of the illegal circumstances of the arrest and trial of Jesus, His life is not taken, He willingly lays it down. For you. For me. Bless His Holy Name.

Follow His plan and carry on!

Jul 27, 2011

Iron Girls Bible Study ~ John 17 Notes

Chapter 17 is such a beautiful portrayal of the character and passion of Christ for the Father and for us!

Verse 3
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

According to Jesus Christ, knowing God through Himself, is eternal life.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings...” (3:10)

In John 17:1-5, Jesus prays for three things:
  • That He might be glorified
  • That the apostles may be sanctified
  • That the church may be unified
 The footnotes in my Bible suggest that verses 1- 5 might be better named The Lord’s Prayer, rather than the passage in Matthew 6:9-13.

Jesus went on to pray this way, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word: that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You: that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (20-21).

I am challenged in this passage to be a seeker of unity within the body of Christ. Personal differences in style, approach and practice of non-essentials, should not affect my support of my spiritual brothers and sisters. If my aim and your aim is to know Christ and make him known in the world, I must not give into the temptation for separation and division based on the petty stuff.

My failure comes when I cease to pursue peace and unity. But I don’t plan to stop the pursuit and therefore fail. I choose to participate in the fulfillment of Christ’s prayer for me:
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (22-23).

My desire remains to “know Jesus more and better,” and the results of that are:
  • Jesus is glorified.
  • We, as individuals, are sanctified.
  • And the church is unified.
Walk in unity and carry on!

Jul 26, 2011

She Speaks (the meme)

 I am participating in Chatty Kelly's She Speaks meme. Click on the picture to read more from other She Speakers, or to participate yourself.

1. What was the best advice you got at She Speaks?
2. What was the best lesson you learned in a session?
3. What are you going to do with what you learned/what is your next goal?
4. Anything else you want to share? (Good, bad or ugly?)

1. The best advice I got was not directly related to the conference. It came from my friend, Alisa. She and I have been the best of friends for several years and she and her family now live in the Charlotte area. She drove over to pick me up Friday morning so we could have breakfast together. Alisa loves me and knows me and will not allow me to give up or give in. Our conversation is personal but I received the best advice and encouragement from her before I even stepped foot into the conference.

2. In the Marketing for More Bookings session led by Rob Eagar:

  • Sending out media kits is a waste of time.

I was glad to have this reinforced because I do not send out promotional material through the mail. The irony of this is that some of my friends and family who are not in a speaking ministry usually suggest I do this.

  • Invest in colorful print newsletters to be mailed every 90 days to leaders.

This sounds like opposite advice from the point on mailing media kits. However, the newsletter is much less about you and much more about adding value to the leader who receives it. 75% of the contents of a newsletter should be audience-focused and only 25% sales/booking focused. The bottom line for your readers or audience is always, “What’s in it for me?” When you provide value to your audience, you answer that question.

  • Check the schedule of other speakers (on their “My Schedule” page), to get contact information. Send the print newsletter to the contact person.

I had a “duh” moment on this one. While I often check other speakers’ schedules, I have never thought to use the information to form a contact list for myself.

3. My next goal is to tighten up my focus so that my main message comes across in everything I speak and write. It’s the “expert factor” I plan to work on. Also, I would like to create a print newsletter, however, the cost is definitely a consideration.

4. My ugly is the same old issue that’s reared its head all summer.  Suffice it to say, I need to cultivate more and better fruit – the Fruit of the Spirit. When an unkind, not good or non-gentle attitude seeks words on my tongue for expression, I want to put that attitude down. That is the worm that rots my fruit. 

I must add that meeting Kelly in person was a highlight for me! She is one of the women who supported, encouraged and prayed for Andrew, for me and for our family. I love Kelly.

Jul 21, 2011

Iron Girls Bible Study ~ John 16

                                      "Grapes, Olives & Peace"

Verse 33

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Tribulation, thlipsis; Strong’s #2347: Pressure, oppression, stress, anguish, tribulation, adversity, affliction, crushing, squashing, squeezing, distress.
The word is used of crushing grapes or olives in a press.

There is nothing worse than spiritual darkness. Its result is spiritual death.
Without relationship to and in Christ, we are hopeless. As Jesus prepares the disciples for his physical absence from them, He senses their impending anguish and despair. After all He knows what it’s like to feel forsaken, alone. It was on the cross, he cried out to the Father, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?”

And so Jesus provides the answer for the disciples' approaching distress when His hour is about to come.
“Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy” (v. 20).
“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (v.22).

Have your hopes ever been crushed? Been squeezed lately?
Have your tears run out like oil pressed from the olive?

Jesus tells us that we will have tribulation. That is a fact. But then He leaves us with Truth. “…In Me you may have peace.”

Though pressure, anguish and affliction are a reality in this life, the Truth speaks of peace in the person of Jesus Christ and that is cause for some good cheer.

Cheer Up and Carry On!

Jul 19, 2011

Iron Girls Bible Study ~ John 15 Notes

        "The Purpose of Pruning"

John 15 Notes

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away (lifts up); and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Pruning is to cut or lop off superfluous (unnecessary or excessive) or undesired twigs, branches, or roots.

While a tree may not experience pain during the pruning process, a person certainly does.
At is lowest level, pruning is uncomfortable and at the opposite end of the spectrum, the pain is at a “10.”

  • shapes the growth of a tree
  • allows for more fruit to be produced
  • takes care of the rogue branches that threaten the health, purpose and beauty of the tree
God created us in His image and it remains His intent that we be formed into the image of His Son (Genesis 1:26, Romans 8:29).
When He created us, He formed and He built us. And then He breathed life into us (Genesis 2:7)
As He continues to mold and form us into the image of His Son, we feel the pressure from without and within, yet still the breath of the Spirit revives and restores life.

Breathe in; Breath out and carry on!

Jul 17, 2011

Iron Girls Bible Study ~ John 14 Notes

                       "HE IS Peace"

Verse 1
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

Let not, “Do not yield.”
“let” Strong’s #863 carries the idea of “not yielding”

Heart, kardia, Strong’s #2588: The physical organ for the body, but also the center of one’s personality and contains both rational and emotional elements. It is the seat of feelings, desires, joy, pain, and love. It is also the center for thought, understanding, and will. The human heart is the dwelling place of the Lord and the Holy Spirit.
The Lord sees into the innermost being where all decisions concerning Him are made.

Troubled, tarasso (tar-as-so); Strong’s #5015: To unsettle, stir up, agitate, disturb, trouble. The word is used in a physical sense (John 5:7), but its primary use in the NT is metaphorical. It denotes mental agitation from fear or perplexity (Matt. 2:3; 14:26); an upheaval in the spirit (John 11:33; 13:21); stirring up a crowd (Acts 17:8, 13); confusion, resulting from false doctrine (Acts 15:24; Gal. 1:7; 5:10).

Do not yield your thinking and feeling to upheaval. Believe in Jesus.

In the midst of turmoil, testing or tragedy, "Let not your heart be troubled" is easy to say. Harder to practice. I believe it takes discipline. I am living out this disciplining of the mind and the emotions and also the body.

Verse 27
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The Peace Christ Jesus gives to us is Himself – every aspect of Who He Is.
That is why we can have peace in the midst of turmoil. We have Christ. He is not just a feeling. He is Almighty God – the One who keeps His promises and He promised us His Peace. “…My peace I give to you…” (v 27).

Peace and carry on!

Jul 14, 2011

Iron Girls Bible Study ~ John 13

Peter’s immaturity is highlighted in this chapter.

  • Impulsive “You shall never wash my feet!” (v. 8)
  • Dramatic “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” (v. 9)
  • Impatient  “Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.” (v. 24)
  • Self-focused “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.” (v. 37)

While I would not consider myself as having a “Peter Personality,” I can relate to each of these descriptive adjectives.

What I am learning about being:

  • Impulsive – When in an emotionally charged state of mind, beware the “nevers.”
  • Dramatic –  Resist allowing the drama of a moment to overshadow the truth.
  • Impatient – God is never in a hurry. However we are often hurried, if not in the outward physical sense, then in an interior way.
  • Self-focused   God often hints at what is possible and if we are not careful, we charge full speed ahead to take it in our own strength.
 Oswald Chambers writes, “We always have visions, before a thing is made real. God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision...”

We know from the passage in Luke 22, that Satan asks to sift Peter. Jesus prays that Peter’s faith should not fail. And although Peter gives into temptation and three times denies the Lord, we also know that unlike Judas, Peter repents and is restored. Peter’s faith matures and he grows:

·        Determined
·        Disciplined
·        Dedicated
·        God-focused

Jul 8, 2011

Iron Girls Bible Study ~ John 12

                                    "Heart Light”
John 12 Notes

Verses 1 – 2
Lazarus “who had been dead…was one of those who sat at the table with Him.”
At the beginning of chapter 12, I love the picture of Lazarus, who once was dead in the tomb, now dining at the table with Jesus.

Verses 4 – 8
At face value it would appear that Judas is truly concerned for the poor. At the time of the occurrence, no one but Jesus knew that Judas had been steeling from the money box. But John has written the Gospel of John around 70 A.D.
Judas’ indictment against Mary using the expensive oil on Jesus’ feet was not out of concern for the poor. He spoke out of the abundance of his heart of greed.
Jesus sees beyond appearances to the heart of a man and woman. What a stark contrast between Mary’s service and Judas’ subterfuge.

“For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7

Verses 10 – 11
“But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.”
I have never noticed that verse.
Not only do the chief priests want to get Jesus out of the way, they also want to dispose of the evidence of His power over death. 

Verse 35
“…he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.”
I think of the multitude of people who believe that all roads lead to God. They are lost without the light of the Truth. They are deceived and, in turn, deceive others. Either the light of the Truth of Christ has not yet penetrated their darkened minds or they have rejected the Light. One thing is true: All roads do lead to God and judgment. But only one road leads to God and Eternal Life in His presence. What each of us believes about Jesus Christ, determines where we spend Eternity.

If we look back to verses 28 – 30, we see Jesus speaking directly to the Father, “ ‘Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have glorified it and will glorify it again.’ Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to Him.’ Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.’”

Jesus always keeps to His purpose. He testifies of the Father and the plan of salvation. Believe Him who sent Christ and believe in Christ, the Light “that you may become sons of light” (v.36).
I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness" (v. 46).

Walk in the Light and carry on!

Jul 5, 2011

Iron Girls Bible Study ~ John 11

                      “A Cloud & A Bridge to Freedom”

Verses 41 – 42

“Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’”

Jesus lifted up His eyes when He spoke to the Father.
Such a human thing to do! Often when I pray outside I look up to the sky. When I run and talk to God, I often gaze at the cloud formations. Think of how often in the Bible a “cloud” is associated with God.
  • God set His “rainbow in a cloud” as a sign of the covenant.
  • God was present as the Israelites wandered in the desert, manifesting His presence in a “cloud by day.”
  • God called to Moses out of the “midst of a cloud” and spoke to Moses for 40 days and nights.
  • The Lord descended in a cloud and stood at the door of the tabernacle and talked with Moses.
  • On the Mountain of Transfiguration, a “bright cloud overshadowed them” and God’s voice spoke from the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
  • When Jesus returns, He will come “in a cloud with power and great glory.”
  • When Jesus ascended to Heaven, “He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”

Jesus’ opening of His prayer is for our benefit. He is teaching us.
  • Jesus knows God hears his every prayer; He wanted those observing in that day and us in our day to know that God hears when Jesus prays.
Now you might have thought that I was going to conclude that therefore God hears our every prayer. But what I primarily see in this is the role of Jesus as our Mediator.
  • Jesus was sent as a type of “middle man” between God, the Father, and us. He was the “go between,” our “bridge” to Eternal Life.  “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” 1 Tim. 2:5.
  • He is seated at the right hand of the Father, always interceding for us!

Verses 43 – 43
“Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’”

John is the only Gospel writer who records this miracle. Let me share this information from one of my resources (Every Miracle in the Bible by Larry Richards).

“Jesus had already restored the life of a widow’s son (Luke 7) and Jairus’s daughter (Luke 8; Mark 5). Each of these restorations occurred immediately after the person had died.  The custom in first-century Judaism was to bury an individual on the day of his death. But the Jews were aware of the possibility of a coma, so they would check a tomb for three days after the burial to see if the victim had revived. After three days, all hope of awakening from a coma was gone, and the body would have begun to decay.

The raising of Lazarus was significant because it took place the full three days after he had died, plus one extra day (John 11:39)! There could be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Christ had restored a person who was truly dead.”

“He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’
Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.”

  • Jesus came that we may have life: “Come forth!”
  • And that we may have it more abundantly: “Loose him and let him go.”

Go forth in freedom and carry on!