Step 3, Bible Studies

The Truth Shall Set You Free, part 8Premium Content

See: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

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Ascending the Heights of GrandeurPremium Content

Only in Papa can we ascend the heights of grandeur, while at the same time plumbing the depths of commonness. That sums up my journey in Christ. The expectations of greatness have far exceeded my wildest dreams or imaginations and the simplicity has astounded me -- a simpleton (not meaning that in a self-deprecating way).

At times I've literally pinched myself to see if I was only imagining where I was being allowed to sojourn. And at other times I've slapped myself to make sure I wasn't asleep at the wheel of life. I know you can track with me. You can, can't you? Or am I the craziest of the King of Kings, Kingdom Kids?

The royal helpmate he gave me to share the journey with... the offspring (natural and spirit born) that have so far exceeded any dream I could have held for their life in Christ...the people he's allowed me to walk with and know... the lifelong friends who have loved me through the 'best and worst' of times (you know who you are)... the exotic and also awful places on this planet I have followed him to... the absolutely insane investment he continues to make in my life... on and on it goes!

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It's Time for Joel's Perspective: Promises FulfilledPremium Content

Our cities (and our personal lives) may seem like those in Canaan, surrounded by walls that reach up to heaven -- walled in by unbelief. But -- let's not forget -- the walls of Jericho fell. The walls of unbelief are beginning to crumble. What is long overdue is the shout of the people of God.

I grew up near the mouth of the river Elbe in North Germany where I used to see huge flat-bottom river barges set fast in the mud banks. No tug or marine engine could shift them. But the tide quietly rippled in, hardly perceptible, creeping higher and higher up the sides of those immovable hulks. Soon those hundreds of tons were floating. From the quay I could move them with the slightest kick.

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Our Perceptions Govern Our LivesPremium Content

"It is all about how you look at things." Ever hear that expression? We're often advised to think positively, to believe in ourselves and to have faith in God. All of these things speak to our perspective on any life issue. All of these pieces of advice can feel like they're easier to say than be lived, right?

When I was a little girl, living on the farm, come late summer and early autumn, our farmstead was besieged with grasshoppers. I tell you, it was a tiny snapshot of what any locust plague must have looked like. It was hard to walk anywhere without there being a grasshopper right there, almost crunched by my foot.

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Taking it to the Briar PatchPremium Content

For those who don't know the Disney's story "Song of The South" a character named Brer Rabbit, who after being captured by old Brer Fox and bear, began to plead with them "...you can do anything to me, but please don't throw me in the Briar Patch!"

When these two old fools heard his pleads for mercy they threw him into the briar patch, it was then that old Brer Rabbit begin to chant, "BORN AND BRED IN THE BRIAR PATCH!"

The point was he used strategy to out think them. They thought they were hurting him, when in actuality they were hurling him into a safe and profitable place.

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When Our Beliefs are Called into QuestionPremium Content

The Physical, Mental and Spiritual Disciplines

Speaking from experience, Philip Yancey writes, "For nearly everyone, doubt follows pain quickly and surely, like a reflex action. Suffering calls our most basic beliefs about God into question." Suffering often causes us to doubt, to question our beliefs, to wrestle with everything we ever thought we knew about God: about who He is, about what He is up to, about the very nature of His heart. All these doubts and questions can be fertile ground for spiritual growth. Go ahead and out, question, wrestle – just be sure to use this time and out to seek to know him desperately. He will keep your heart open to God so that you can hear the answers to those questions.

How do we keep our hearts open? How do we grow closer to God in our trials, instead of crashing down into bitterness and despair? That is where the physical, mental and spiritual disciplines come in.

The Physical Disciplines

Taking care of our bodies

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

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What Do You Think Jesus Wants You to Do?Premium Content

"My Yoke Is Easy."

What do you think Jesus wants you to do?

I'm not thinking of specific choices like whether to have pizza or turkey for lunch (I don't think He cares). But in terms of overall life choices and directions, what do you think He wants? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but I'm thinking of one right now that I'll bet nobody else mentioned.

I think He wants me to quit. (It's okay if you're surprised.)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The scripture above is one of the most well-known passages in the bible. It's a source of comfort to folks who are buried under the weight of illness, despair, and impossible expectations. But it's even more comforting when we understand the historical context.

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UncondemnedPremium Content

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1


My immediate reaction when I read this verse is, Hallelujah!!! If there's any reason for the children of God to praise the Lord - and there are many reasons piled on top of each other - this must be it. If we were to list our blessings, as the old hymn exhorts us to do, surely the first in line would be the fact that if we're in Christ Jesus, we are uncondemned.

Only those who understand our state outside of Christ can truly grasp what that simple phrase - no condemnation - means. Anyone who lacks a clear vision of human depravity simply doesn't have the background to understand the fundamental importance of this verse. We must first understand, in the words of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, that:

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God Fights for His PeoplePremium Content

There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10:14


We don't have to attack and subdue physical cities - which in any care aren't walled today, military technology having changed since Joshua's day. Paul said that "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" 2 Cor. 10:4, and that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Eph. 6:12 We fight, we struggle, but not against physical enemies. Even when the church faces persecution from human beings, with very real guns, very real prisons, very real torturers, and very real executioners, the very real struggle isn't against those tools of Satan, but against the spiritual wickedness which impels men to act so barbarically.

And we're not in the fight alone. There may be no armed and armored armies beside us, and there may be no massive forces to back us up, but we're not alone. On the contrary, the Lord fights for us.

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Simple and Pure Devotion = NurturePremium Content

Were you nurtured? Are you presently embracing nurture? Are you a nurturer? Let's define nurture...

    ...to support by way of encouragement, (as one does for another during a period of training or development) ensuring its success

    ...to coach what is the fore seen in another (as with destiny, potential and promising giftedness), calling it forth to completion

    ...to feed or protect one's offspring (as a parent does for a child) until empowered to care for oneself and another


Who among us doesn't need nurture? Who among us doesn't fit somewhere; at any given time, in one of these definitions? Who among us has made it to maturity (in any given area of life) apart from the "nurture" of spiritual parents, mentors and/or friends? Wow! I am blessed with all three!

As the scripture says; The end of all things is near; therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8, NIV emphasis mine. These difficult "end" times call for the Body of Christ to cover each other-not expose or exploit one another's weaknesses.

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