Bible Study Tools, Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Devotional- Adam’s Guilt and Shame

Genesis 3

God gave Adam very specific instructions when he had his undivided attention in the Garden of Eden. Before God created woman– God was giving Adam the chance to live in full freedom through his obedience.

God saw that it was not good for man to be alone; He decided to create woman from one of man’s ribs to give man a partner or helper. Eve was what they called her. God blessed them for their perfect life together.

It was Adam’s responsibility to help Eve to understand God’s very specific direction’s regarding the Garden of Eden. (Do NOT eat from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.) However, Eve was left susceptible and an easy target for the serpent to deceive– this is why ultimately Adam was held responsible for the sin that infected the human race.

Before Adam was confronted by God he already felt the inner feeling of awareness of wrongdoing. Adam was feeling guilty for having sinned and had a fear of his sin being exposed which made him feel shame.

These two key internal awareness’s were given to us by God as an internal corrective.

Some call this the still small voice inside telling you to do something or not to do something.

Instead of repenting and confessing his sin immediately Adam tried to cope with the feelings of guilt and shame on his own through denial (blaming Eve, who blamed the serpent) and avoidance (he tried to hide from God).

When we refuse to admit to our own wrong doing’s and confess our sins to God; we become bound by our sin–leading to excessive feelings of guilt and shame. The refusal to confess cuts us off from God’s redemptive healing and freedom.

Reflection

What do you feel God is speaking to you through the example of Adam’s guilt and shame?

Do you have a tendency to refuse to admit your wrong doing and take accountability for your actions?

What, if any, changes do you feel God is calling you to make?

Call to Action

Today is the day we stop avoiding and stop passing blame. Confess and own your sine to God and He is faithful and just to forgive! (1 John 1:9)

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord that you are a just and forgiving God. One who does not wish any of His children be bound by sin and stuck in their guilt and shame. Lord I confess that it is hard to confess and own up to the things we have done wrong, especially those things that have hurt others, but Lord through You I know I am forgiven. I pray that You would send Your Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and give us the courage to move forward towards healing, redemption, and true freedom. I pray Your guiding hand over each of us and ask that you expose any harbored feelings of guilt or shame, help us to lay each down at Your feet and move forward in victory.

I pray each person would seek to know Your truth, love, and forgiveness. I pray that each would rise above their sin and own their actions so that You may release the chains that bind them. I pray that each person who reads this will have open hearts, ears, and eyes for Your truth in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Bible Study Tools, Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Devotional- Be Angry…Don’t Stay Angry

Cain had a problem with anger. Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel was a keeper of sheep. Over time the process came to make an offering as part of a worship service to God.

Cain offered fruit of the ground and Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat (something of special value). Abel could have brought any one of the animals from his flock but choose the one he felt had special value.

Cain did his duty but Abel offered his best.

Cain grew angry because God respected and favored Abel’s offering but not his and his favor, good will, and kindness fell.

Cain should have been angry at himself for giving with the wrong heart, for giving out of duty instead of good will. But instead, Cain mistargeted his anger and was furious with Abel.

Cain’s original anger could be seen as a positive response– He was angry that he did not find favor/respect from God. However, his anger was not dealt with properly and it became a deadly weapon searching for a new target, in this particular case it was Abel.

God warned Cain about staying angry and offered him another opportunity saying, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)

Cain talked with Abel in a field. While talking Cain allowed his anger to control him and he killed his brother. His anger turned into murderous jealousy, and Cain did not benefit one bit from Abel’s death. It did not stop there; Cain denied what he had done to Abel when confronted by God; he was not remorseful nor did he show repentance.

Cain became stuck in his anger, guilt, and shame.

Cain’s lack of control over his anger demonstrates how it can lead to more destructive behavior.

The key here is that it is okay to be angry, but it is not okay to stay angry.

We need to exercise self-control over our anger. If we do not rule over it, it will rule over all areas of our life. Uncontrolled anger and avoidance of dealing with its cause is a recipe for further destructive behavior.

These emotional responses are part of our human nature, but we need to be sure we are not bottling up emotions like anger or avoiding dealing with their root causes. When we invite God to help us identify the causes of our anger and what corrective measures we need to take regarding it; anger can become a great tool rather than something that rules our life.

God’s Word gives us a lot of great advice on anger. We need to be careful what we say and what do when we are angry. One of the scriptures that stick out most to me with the message of Cain’s anger in killing Abel is “Be angry, and do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)

Reflection

Do you struggle with staying angry? If so, what do you feel God is saying to you through the example of Cain’s anger problem?

Have you asked God to show you what is causing you to feel angry and stay angry? If so, what is it, if not, do you feel God is leading you to ask Him now?

What is one thing that stood out most to you about the account of Cain killing his brother Abel?

Call to Action

Make the choice today to take your anger, guilt, shame, and all sin to God.

Lay every one down at His feet. Ask Him to show you the roots of any anger you may be holding on to. Ask God how to make steps to correct it.

Ask Him to show you how to express your anger in a healthy way– ‘be angry and not sin.”

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for Your guidance and example of uncontrolled anger in the Bible. Lord I confess we are all guilty of harboring anger and allowing it to get the best of us, myself included. I pray that you would use the story of Cain and Abel to speak to those who read this message. Show them what You are warning us about through this scripture.

Lord, I pray that each person would be guided by Your hand; that You would touch each person’s heart and help them to heal from whatever circumstances are causing them to hold on to anger. Lord, expose to each person what You want us to learn from this account regarding our anger and being in control over it.

God, You are mighty and just, You deliver us out of the hand of the wicked one and set us upon Your rock. Help each one of us understand that being angry is okay but the danger comes in staying angry. I declare today that You are in control of our feelings and You will protect us from the schemes of satan. I declare every chain of harbored anger would be broken, I declare healing from any hurt that is causing us to hold on to anger, I declare that Jesus is in control of our lives and no scheme or plot from satan will harm us.

Thank you Father for being a good Father. A Father who never fails us and is always near ready to help His children out of any trouble they may face. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

Bible Study Tools, Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Devotional- Make Your Choice

In the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. He laid out clear boundaries and commanded Adam, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17

Then the Lord said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18

God took a rib from the man and created woman, and He brought her to Adam. They were both naked and not ashamed. Genesis 2:22

The story goes on and reveals that Eve was deceived by the serpent and ate the fruit from the forbidden tree; then she gave it to Adam to eat as well. Now man and woman were like God and had the knowledge of good and evil. They then knew they were naked and were ashamed– they hid from God and covered their nakedness with fig leaves. Genesis 3

Reflection

God provided an entire garden for Adam and Eve to eat from and placed ONE– yes, only ONE– tree in the midst and set a clear boundary to Adam. God gave Adam a clear choice when commanding him to not eat from the one forbidden tree.

In order for there to be a loving obedience to God there must be a choice for disobedience.

God gave Adam a clear boundary and a clear choice and told him the clear consequences for disobedience.

We are faced with these same choices on a daily basis. When we choose to obey God and trust in His plan, respecting His clear set boundaries, we show our love for Him.

Call to Action

Are you making choices that are clearly outside the boundaries of God? If so, what are they?

What do you feel God is telling you through the story of Adam and Eve’s disobedience?

What changes if any, do you feel God is telling you to make?

My Prayer for You

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for giving us Your Word to inform us of the boundaries you have set for us, for our own protection. Thank you for Your promises to redeem us and transform us according to Your will.

Lord I pray for each person who reads this devotional. I lift each one up to You in the name of Jesus. I pray You would give them discernment over their life choices, expose to them the areas in their lives in which they are being disobedient. Open their hearts and minds to Your truth; give them wisdom through Your Word and courage and strength to commit to the changes You are showing them to make. Use the example of Adam and Eve to show each of us that there are clear choices, clear boundaries, and clear consequences. Guide us, redeem us, and transform us from the inside out.

We thank you for Your many blessings and claim Your will be done in each of our lives; it is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Bible Study Tools, Blog, Home

Discovering God in Israel’s Crossing of the Jordan River

First read the story of Israel’s crossing of the Jordan River and take notes of how you see God in the story and how you see yourself in the story.

The account is documented in Joshua 3-4 and took place during the settlement period (1440-1050 BC)

Seeing God in Israel’s crossing of the Jordan River.

  • God keeps His promises!
  • He guides and directs His people.
  • Promises and proves He will be with those who move forward in faith in Him.
  • If God appoints you to do something-such as lead- He will see you through.
  • God is powerful and can turn obstacles into a safe path.
  • God makes His presence known and undeniable.
  • God has the power to control nature.
  • God wants His mighty works and miracles taught to our children.
  • God wants every person and every nation to know His might.
  • God calls us to ‘take a step’- we must be obedient to His direction.

Did you note something during your reading that isn’t on the list?

Share your list in the comments below.

Reading Reflection

Is there an obstacle in your life that God is leading you to overcome?

Do you think He is calling you to step out in faith and allow Him to lead you into ‘unknown territory’? If so, take note of what you feel God is telling you to do.

Why have you been reluctant to listen to Him? What is stopping you from following His lead?

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being a God of promises kept! Thank you for always guiding our steps and leading us to Your will. God forgive us for hesitating to step out and follow you in faith. Lord we know you are almighty and powerful and can make a way when there seems to be none. Lord, fill us up with Your Holy Spirit- give us discernment in Your word and help us to remember if You call us to it- You will see us through it. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Bible Study Tools, Blog, Home

Beginnings- Settlement (?-1440 BC) Part 2

In the first part of beginnings through settlement we discussed how we could get to know God’s character by reading stories through-out the Bible. We read and broke down what we could learn about God from the story of Noah’s Ark in Genesis.

Today we are looking at how we can see ourselves in the first 5 books of the Old Testament and Job. Grab your Bible if you don’t already have it and lets dig in.

Open your Bible and read each scripture to discover how we can see ourselves in the following scripture.

Genesis 4:1-5

Cain was jealous of Abel and the offering he was offered up to the Lord.

In Cain’s jealousy we can see our own sense of competition and desire to be “better” than someone else.

Genesis 6:7-8

God was sorry he created man and beast as the world was full of wickedness. God said He would destroy the Earth with the flood. Noah found grace from God and was instructed by God to build an ark to be saved from the flood.

In Noah’s need for the ark for salvation- we can see our own need to be rescued from God’s judgement. It also demonstrates if we obey God and follow His lead, He will save us from complete destruction.

Genesis 12

Abraham had great faith in God. He was obedient when God told him to do something.

In Abrahams faith in following God- we can see our own potential for belief.

Genesis 25 & 27

In both of these scriptures Jacob is lying and scheming- following his own desires and relying on himself to get what he wants. Manipulating situations to take what was for his brother Esau. (In Genesis 25 his birthright, in Genesis 27 his blessing.)

In these two examples we can see our own inclination to trust in ourselves to provide our needs and wants.

Genesis 42-45

In Josephs kindness and forgiveness for his brothers who sold him into Egypt- we see our own responsibility to forgive and overcome evil with good.

Exodus 14

Israel struggles to keep faith when the Egyptians began to march after them. Israel feels they are trapped in the wilderness to die. God instructs Moses to lift his rod and stretch out his hand and part the sea so that Israel may cross on dry land.

In Israel’s struggle to keep faith- we see our own struggles and weakness of faith.

Job 3

In this scripture it’s expressing Job’s feelings in response to him suffering. In Job’s response we can see our own feelings and disappointment when things work against us.

These are only a few examples of how we can see ourselves throughout the Old Testament of the Bible. I encourage you to read deeper into each of the beginning books in the Old Testament and make notes on how you relate to the scripture you are reading.

This will help you to develop a deeper and more intimate relationship with Jesus as you discover the powerful truths packed within the books of the Bible.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for providing us with the tools we need to discover who You really are and who we are created to be in You. Lord, I thank you for each person who reads this post. I pray that you would give us all understanding and discernment as we study Your word. I pray each person would desire a deeper, stronger, and more intimate relationship with You. I pray You open the hearts of each person that they would see Your hand at work in their life. I pray that you will guide each of us and cover us with Your peace, love, and protection in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Bible Study Tools, Blog

Beginnings- Settlement (?-1440BC) Part 1

The last two lessons we discussed the Old Testament overview. Discovering new levels of knowledge and understanding of God and His word. We further broke down 4 major phases of the Old Testament: Beginnings- Settlement- Kings- Exile.

In this lesson we are going to specifically look at the time period from beginnings through the settlement period a little more in depth.

First let us take a look at Genesis 6-8- the story of Noah.

Look up the scripture and read Genesis chapter 6 through chapter 8. Take note of what can be learned about God throughout this story.

  • God is able to create and destroy
  • God is to be feared (in a healthy, loving way)
  • God has complete control over His creation
  • God is patient with sinners, but patience has a limit
  • God is concerned about what is happening in His world/our lives.
  • He is loving, kind God of righteousness, justice, and anger.
  • God has the power to interrupt history
  • He is a God of new beginnings
  • He is a promise maker and keeper
  • God rescues those who trust in Him

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for this message that teaches us more about who You are. Lord, we are thankful for Your word- the Bible. For the opportunity to discover who you are on a deeper level and learn about your love, mercy, and forgiveness. Lord I pray that You draw near to each of us. Let us feel Your presence surrounding us. Lord I pray that those who choose to read and complete this study will be given understanding and clarity. I pray You would lead the way for each person who reads this. I pray for safety, good health, and that Your protection would surround us- no attack of the enemy will prosper against us in Jesus mighty name.

Amen

Bible Study Tools, Blog

Old Testament: Biblical Beginnings Part 2

In part one of Old Testament: Biblical Beginnings we discussed fairly broadly about the Old Testament and its role in the Bible. We discovered there are three types of knowledge- factual, personal, and practical. All of which are important and take us to a new level of understanding.

In the second part of the study we are going to further breakdown the Old Testament into more specific time periods and develop a new understanding on what is happening over time through-out the Old Testament. Giving us a deeper experience and new level of knowledge as we read the books contained in the Old Testament part of the Bible.

The Old Testament begins at creation and ends at approximately 400 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The events take place at a variety of different places, but the primary setting is Palestine.

There are many small, yet very important stories through-out the Bible. Some tell of migration- military campaigns and political intrigue- while others are romance. The stories have hero’s, villain’s, queen’s, king’s, prophet’s, poets, judges and more. These stories are in some ways like any other story you may read containing characters, plots, main ideas, and so on. Yet they are very different in huge ways.

Bible stories are true stories- from real people- like you and I from many many years ago. They are historic accounts of what happened on earth decades before we entered the world. They are powerful, educational, and life changing.

The Bible is our sword and we are to know it- so in pressing times we are equipped to defeat our enemy.

The Old Testament was written over a period of 1000 years (1400-400bc) and has over 30 different authors. Covering creation to the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon. It’s made up of 39 books- which could further be broken down into 3 major categories- history, prophecy, and poetry.

When reading the Old Testament it’s important to understand the culture as it was then and what was happening around them when a particular scripture was written. This will ensure you understand the scripture as it was written and aren’t misunderstanding and/or misleading yourself.

When taking a walk through the Old Testament history there are four major phases:

  1. Beginnings (? – 1440 BC)
  2. Settlement (1440 BC – 1050 BC)
  3. Kings (1050 BC – 586 BC)
  4. Exile (586 BC – 400 BC)

Discover how God is made known in each of the phases above by looking at specific incidents in each phase. Make note of how you can see yourself in each phase of the Old Testament.

Contrary to what some may think or say- the Old Testament and Bible in general are NOT outdated or old fashioned.

It’s a powerful book packed with truth, love, and knowledge. A book of promises that has a lot to say about God and still applies in today’s world of contemporary people.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

I thank you for Your message and truth- for being a God of promises and love. Lord, I pray for those who are reading this message. That they would see what You are trying to show them about the Bible and the power it holds. I pray that you open up each of their hearts to truth and love. Give them clarity, discernment, and understanding as they study Your word. Guide them in their study and show yourself to them. I pray that each would have a life changing experience with You and would desire to seek to know You more. I want to thank You Lord for using me as a vessel to share Your word and spread the truth of Your love. I pray Your blessings and safety over each of us in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Bible Study Tools, Blog

Old Testament: Biblical Beginnings- Part 1

Don’t fall trap to the misleading statements that the Bible or it’s contents are outdated or old fashioned. This is a common smoke screen the enemy uses today to detour non-believers from coming to know truth and freedom in Him.

The ultimate lie to keep you disconnected, broken, feeling empty, and not seeking a relationship with Jesus. The Bible stands true today- just as it did the day it was written. God and His Word are never changing and can ALWAYS be counted on.

Let’s take a look at some of the Bible Basics of the New Testament books. Jot down some key points- interesting facts- and questions you may have- as you read through this short study. (Feel free to email or post questions below in the comment section- I do my very best to answer/write back to everyone who writes)

The New Testament books are a collection of God’s story and begins before time began.

Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

The key here is to break down this first sentence- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Take note that in the beginning it was God. The Bible shows us this by making it clear that the Old Testament started before time- before man-before animals- before flowers, trees, plants- before water, air, sound- before light and dark.

In the beginning it was literally God. Nothing more. Nothing less. God is the beginning of life- the beginning of everything.

The Old Testament is a collection of books with great spiritual and personal value. It teaches us about who God is and how life began. It explains how evil was introduced into the world. It inspires us for holy living and fills our hearts with gratitude and praise.

The Old Testament prophesies about the coming of the Messiah, our redeemer. Provides us with a fundamental understanding of God and sets the foundation for the rest of the Bible.

It also sets a standard of truth and lays out the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ.

There are 3 different types of knowledge we can obtain from getting to know God through the Old Testament.

  1. Factual Knowledge– To know God in this manner we must first know about Him. Learning His character and record of miracles and promises kept.
  2. Personal Knowledge-Knowing God in this manner takes us past the information stage and to a stage of relationship. Getting to know God through our own experiences and relationships with those who already have an established relationship with Him.
  3. Practical Knowledge- To know God in this form of knowledge we study His Word and He spells out His will for our life. Shows us how we need to change on the inside to live the life He created us for. Gaining practical knowledge of God through Bible studies such as this will help us to learn how to live in the complex world around us .

Bible Study Tools

Who is God? What does the Bible say about Him?

 

Before you get started with this study of scripture and dig into what the word says about God and his character, take the time to answer a few questions first.

  1. Who do you think God is?
  2. Who is Jesus?
  3. How powerful do you think God is?
  4. List 5 words that you think describe God and his character.
  5. What role, if any, did God and The Bible have in your home when you were growing up?

Now let us take the time to dig into His word and see what it has to say. I encourage you to look up each verse in your Bible and read the full scripture.

Genesis 1:1 God created all.
Psalm 139:1-6 God knows you
Mark 1:9-11 Jesus is Gods son
Romans 1:20 
God has eternal power (just like a cellphone signal works, you can’t see it but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The phone still works just like prayer works with God)
Romans 8:38-39 Gods love is unconditional nothing can separate you from His love.
1 John 1:5 God is light in Him there is no darkness.
2 Peter 3:18 God is patient
Isaiah 40:28  God is everlasting, God is the Creator, He is understanding
James 1:17 God of blessings
Galatians 5:22 Gods ‘fruit’ is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.
Psalm 18:30 God is perfect, Proven and Protector
John 14:26 God is a teacher
John 14:6 Jesus is the “lifeline” between God and man. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
Isaiah 41:10 God is your Helper and your strength
Psalm 103:1-22 God is your healer and redeemer. He is merciful, gracious, and slow to anger.
1 Peter 1:15 God is Holy
Exodus 34:6-7 God is merciful, gracious, long suffering, abounding in goodness and truth. He is forgiving.
Philippians 4:7 God is peace
1 Corinthians 10:13 God is faithful
1 John 4:14 Jesus (God’s son) is the savior for the world
Numbers 14:18-19 God is slow to anger and abundant in steadfast love
Proverbs 30:5-6 God is your shield.

 

Time To Reflect

  1. Which verse stands out most to you?
  2. What did you learn that you did now know before this study?
  3. How will you apply these verses to your own life?
  4. What role would you like God/The Bible to have in your life/family?
  5. What are you willing to do to make it happen?

 

Bible Study Tools

Helpful Tips: Reading the Bible

* There are 66 books in the Bible

* The front of your Bible has a table of contents to locate each book of the bible by page number

* Bible verses are broke down into the format of:   Book Chapter:Verse for example
Genesis 1:1

* Most Bibles have a Index-Concordance in the back where you can look up scripture that is about a specific topic or do a word study.

* When you read the Bible and come across a word you may not fully understand, look it up in a Webster dictionary to get the literal meaning. Sometimes using our own understanding of a word can be misleading in the scripture.