Wednesday, January 25, 2012
FOCUS Ministry for Women
Spring 2012 Bible Study
Becoming a Woman of Character
1. He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known. Proverbs 10:9. What does this scripture mean to you?
2. What does being a woman of integrity mean regarding relationships?
3. Think of a situation where to keep your word (your commitment) would put you at a disadvantage. How did you handle it?
4. Proverbs 2:7-8 tells us that our integrity will protect us. What do you think that means, and what does it look like in everyday life?
Ask the Lord to help you in your pursuit of integrity. Pray for God to reveal areas of your life you may need to change. As He reveals these areas, begin to take action to make those changes.
Read the scriptures from the scripture list and think of examples in your own life for each one. What lessons have you learned from these experiences?
1. Leviticus 19:35-36
2. Exodus 8:28-32
3. Psalm 25:21
4. Proverbs 2:7-8
5. Proverbs 28:6
6. Chronicles 29:17
7. Zechariah 8:16-17
8. Job 2:3, 2:9
9. 1 Corinthians 15:33
10. Psalm 41:11-12
11. Titus 2:7
FOCUS Ministry for Women
Spring 2012 Bible Study
Becoming a Woman of Character
1. What does character mean to you?
2. What is the difference between character and reputation? How can the two be confused?
3. Think of a person that you believe has character. Why do you believe this?
4. What are some temptations that could get in the way of becoming a woman of character?
Pray and ask God to help you choose to become a woman of character. Humble yourself before the Lord and ask Him to reveal any areas of character He wants you to work on.
Conduct a bible word study on character or specific character traits. Use any bible dictionary and check several translations for references to character in the bible. There are many online resources. Here are a few to check out: www.biblegateway.com, www.biblestudytools.com, or www.biblelearn.com.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Lesson 10- Don't Leave God Out!
Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 11/30/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show. Just click HERE to listen!
Review Lesson 9
Read James 5:7-20
7 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
We can’t make Christ return any sooner than planned, but we are not to just sit back and wait. A farmer doesn’t take the summer off after planting and before the harvest. There are many tasks/chores to be done while waiting. As Christians, we are to work faithfully to build His Kingdom until His return.
9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!
When things go wrong, we tend to grumble and blame others for our miseries. Blaming others is easier than owning up to our responsibility in the situation.
10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.
Many of the prophets were persecuted and suffered greatly, such as Moses, Elijah and Jeremiah. James is instructing us to look to them as examples.
12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.
“Take an oath”, as used here, means swearing. This was an attempt to involve the authority of God to support a claim or a promise. As often is the case, the Lord’s name was debased by overuse and using it to support trivial or even untrue statements.
13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
The initiative for prayer lies with the sick person. In the Bible, oil is both a medicine and a symbol of the
Spirit of God. (Luke 10 and1 Samuel 16). Here it is used to bring healing in response to obedience and faith of the elders.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
Jesus made it possible for us to go directly to God and confess, but confessing to each other still has importance. 1) If our sin is against an individual and we must ask forgiveness 2) If our sin has affected the church 3) If we need support or wise counsel 4) If we find ourselves doubting God’s forgiveness.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
James is talking about a believer who has fallen away and into sin. He is urging us to help those who have. God’s word isn’t just something we read or listen to but it must be something we do.
· What are some things we can accomplish for the Kingdom as we wait for Christ’s return?
· What are some practical ways we can avoid grumbling about others and shifting blame?
· Whose faith is James talking about in verse 15 when he says “a prayer offered in faith”?
· What has been/is your understanding of anointing with oil? What have you been taught?
· Why do some see prayer for healing as a last resort?
Review the book of James
Meditate/Memorize James 5:14
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Lesson 9- HUMBLE OR PRIDEFUL?
Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 11/16/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show. Just click HERE to listen!
Review Lesson 8
Read James 4:1-10
1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
· Quarrels among believers are always harmful. They stem from evil desires to want more--more attention, more possessions, more position, etc. Often, when we don’t get what we want, we fight for it. Instead of fighting and quarreling, we should ask the Lord to help us get rid of our selfish desires. We must trust Him to give us what we need.
· Problems in prayer: not asking, asking for the wrong things, asking for the wrong reasons.
4 You adulterers![a] Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?[b] 6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”[c]
· James quotes from Proverbs 3:34: “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” The humble know they need God, are dependent on Him for everything. God opposes the proud for just one reason: because they oppose Him.
· Are you proud or humble? This is an important question because it makes all the difference between living a life in opposition to God, and living a life basking in God’s grace. Humility’s one of those illusive traits where it’s hard to know if you have it or not.
· As soon as we think we’re humble, we get proud of how humble we are, which brings us right back to where we started, and we have to get humble again.
· Humbling ourselves is not a one-time thing. It’s a way of life. Every day we need to be on guard, watching for the warning signs that PRIDE is raising its haughty head in our lives.
· What are the signs of pride?
o Constant Conflict –How are your relationships going?(spouse, friends, church family)
o Unanswered Prayer—Is your pride in the way?
o Slandering Others—Are you constantly critiquing and judging others? Slander?
o Boasting—Bragging, assuming that our lives are under our control
o Deliberate Sin—Choosing our own course, assuming it will all work out, when we know what the Holy Spirit wants us do.
7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
So if the root problem is pride-and the outcome is sin and humiliation- (the humbling process God puts us through when we refuse to humble ourselves) then the answer to the problem is willing submission. This will put us back in the place where God can work in our lives.
· If conflict in our world is a given, is there a way to “fight fairly” within a church body or other Christian relationships?
· How can we learn to fight fairly?
· How do we humble ourselves before God?
· What does James teach in these verses that would help us have a more effective prayer life?
· Why does James call his audience adulterers in verse 4? Are believers today still this way?
· How does humbling ourselves square with celebrating what Christ has done for us? What will happen if we do not humble ourselves?
Is there a current situation in your life in which you need to humble yourself? Pray and ask the Lord to guide you in who, what, where, how and when!
Meditate/Memorize James 4:7
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Lesson 8- CHOOSE WISDOM
Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 11/09/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show. Just click HERE to listen!
Read James 3:13-18
James tells us that there are two different wisdoms trying to control our lives, one originates from Heaven above and the other is an earthly unspiritual wisdom.
13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.[d]
Most of us are in pursuit of wisdom for our lives—we want wisdom to make right decisions that will affect our lives in a positive manner. True wisdom can be measured by a person’s character!
Just like we can identify an apple tree because it produces apples, we can evaluate our wisdom by the way we act.
There is a choice as to which wisdom we listen to and follow. There is the wisdom from God, and there is the wisdom generated by this world and influenced by the forces of evil.
The wisdom of the world leads to chaos, disorder, and to the pit of Hell. God’s wisdom leads to peace and goodness.
Bitter jealousy and selfish ambition are inspired by the devil. Seeking God’s wisdom delivers us from the need to compare ourselves to others and to want what they have.
1) Daily decisions we make have consequences 2) Wisdom is the ability to consistently make good choices 3) God is the source of all wisdom 4) We Must Seek God’s Wisdom. 5) The ultimate goal of wisdom is to know God better.
• What are some characteristics of earthly wisdom? (advice, instruction)What results come from following the world’s wisdom?
• What are some characteristics of God’s wisdom? What results come from following God’s wisdom?
• Name some practical ways we can be sure that we are seeking God’s wisdom.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 11/02/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show. Just click HERE to listen!
Review Lesson 6
Read James 3:1-11
1 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.
Teaching was a highly valued and respected profession in the Jewish culture. Here James is warning us that the responsibility as teacher is great because they affect those they lead.
2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. What we say, and don’t say, are both important. Saying the right things at the right time is equally important to not saying things we shouldn’t. An uncontrolled tongue includes gossip, bragging, manipulating, tearing others down, lying, complaining, grumbling, etc. All of these are damaging
6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. James compares the damage from the tongue to a fire. Satan uses the tongue to divide people, destroy relationships, and spread destruction within a group. We cannot take back words spoken even with an apology. Before we speak we should remember that words are like fire—we can neither control them nor reverse the damage. Only God can heal the wounds from words spoken.
7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. As human beings we cannot control our tongue on our own. We must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.
9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. Our speech can either be right and pleasing to God, or destructive and bitter. We must make a choice to bless and not curse with our mouth. We always need the Holy Spirit’s help!
· What kind of damage can an uncontrolled tongue do to a marriage? Family? Children? Church?
· What kind of rationalization have you used for having said hurtful words?
· What are some specific problems that Christians can have with what they say? What is the most offensive?
· What would you say to someone who professed faith in Christ but can’t control their tongue?
· What are some practical ways that believers can bring their speech under God’s control?
· Read Does God Care if We Gossip?( attached)
Read James 3
Meditate/Memorize James 3:10