We Need To Have Discernment

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For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

May I share my heart with you?

I am concerned that so much of what I read and see is the honoring and elevating celebrity teachers and writers over God and His word.  Just scroll through Facebook and Twitter and see quotes like “amazing, powerful women together”, “you are a rock star”, ” God gave me this special revelation”,” I want to be like “…

Scripture is usually taken out of context and devotionals are read like it’s the Bible with emotional messages to make us feel good about ourselves, elevate us- not God.

Teachers who are vastly different in their theology getting together to reach others- that concerns me. What is being taught? Is it to exalt God and speak truth of His Word? Is it to unite and be powerful men and women that have many followers?

It’s scary to think that what appears to be helpful is actually dangerous. How can those with vastly different views of who Jesus is, grace and the gospel teach together?

Where and when is God and His word honored, glorified and lifted up? So much is the praising and honoring of men and women.

I have seen this trend grow over the years as I come into to contact with women’s ministry leaders and Bible study teachers who are frustrated because their women will only follow a certain teacher and  have no desire to get into the Word for themselves.  They want to read what God taught the teachers and then think they are truly learning. When trouble or discouragement comes, they wonder why there is no change or victory in their lives.

We have to be aware of what is happening.

But understand this that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7

I need to not be afraid to stand up and speak truth. This is a very touchy subject and many will become angry. But we need to ask why- is it because your favorite teacher is questioned or because God and His word are not exalted?

I am truly thankful for the many teachers that teach His Word, taking us through the scripture, showing us God’s story. I’m thankful for what I have learned over the years from some of these other teachers that used to be more about staying to Scripture.

I do not want to start a debate, slam anyone or cause division. I first of all want to be discerning and encourage you to do the same.

Oh Lord please help us to stand up for truth. In all we do that your Name and Word is exalted!

Women Of The Word And A Book Giveaway

know God's and His Word I have a passion for God’s Word, to study and help other women do the same.

Our study should always be about getting to know God and what He says. Too many times we make it about knowing ourselves more, changing our circumstances or to make us feel better. I keep thinking about Paul’s words- “that I may know Him…”!

We only get to know Him by studying His Word!  When our Bible study focuses on God it will transform our heart by training our mind because it places Him at the center of the story- not us.

I just read a great book by Jen Wilkin- Women of the Word- How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.

In her book she lists 6 reasons why so many women feel that their Bible study or time with the Lord is unproductive. She says they approach their study and time with the Lord in the following ways:

1. The Xanax Approach

This approach treats the Bible as if it exists to make us feel better. The danger in this is it makes the Bible a book about me. I ask how the Bible can serve me, rather than how I can serve the God it proclaims.

2. The Pinball Approach

This approach just flips to a passage and read whatever I turn to, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to me. The problem is the Bible was not meant to be read that way. It gives no thought to cultural, historical, or textual context, authorship or original intent of the passage in question.

3. The Magic 8 Ball Approach

I have a question- should I marry this person, go here, apply for that job, etc…I open the Bible, put my finger to a passage and see if the signs point to yes. The problem is the Bible is not a magical book and it does not serve our whims, or is its primary function to answer our questions. This misconstrues the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Word, demanding that the Bible tells us what to do rather than who to be.

4. The Personal Shopper Approach

If I want to be godly women or how to deal with self-esteem issues but I don’t know where to find the verses about that so I let ____________ (a famous Bible teacher) do the legwork for me.  The problem in this approach is that it doesn’t help us build ownership of Scripture. Much like the pinball approach we ricochet from passage to passage getting only the fragments. Topical studies do help us to grow but it should not be all we do. They are a great supplement to Bible study, not a substitute. If that is all we do we will miss out on the richness of learning a book of the Bible from start to finish.

5. The Telephone Game Approach

This is when all we read are books about the Bible and not the Bible itself.  The problem is we can quote the writer and not the Scripture. It should not substitute our own study. Just as topical studies, we need to use these books as supplements to our study.

6. The Jack Sprat Approach

This is picky-eating. Only reading and studying the New Testament and maybe Psalms and Proverbs. Avoiding the Old Testament or only reading about the characters I like or can identify with such as Esther or Ruth.

The problem is All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable- all of it. We need a balanced diet of the word. A well rounded approach to Bible study challenges us to learn the full counsel of God’s Word.

Do you see anything familiar in these approaches?

I know I have been guilty of all of them in the past. My study, growth and knowledge have grown and continues to grow since I started inductive Bible study many years ago through Precepts. There is so much to learn and study- the more you learn the more you want to know.

Jen shows you how to study inductively taking you through 5 P’s of sound study:

Purpose, Perspective, Patience, Process and Prayer.

Reading this book and applying what she shares about studying scripture will help you to dig into the rich truths of who God is from all of Scripture , to follow and serve Him.

I am giving away a free copy of this book in the link below.

women of the word book

I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter or through email with the links on the side

Enter the giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Desiring God’s Word

Originally posted on Inside Out:

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“Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. “ 1 Peter 2:2-3

It is vital to my growth and walk with the Lord to spend time in His word and I notice a difference when I do not.
I was reminded of this last week when our son and daughter-in law brought home their new baby girl. While feeding her I realized I want to be like her with that same desire. All she wanted was her milk and nothing else would satisfy until she had it. Another thing I noticed was while she was eating; her beautiful brown eyes never left mine. I was the source of her satisfaction and food for her growth and life, just as the Father and His word is ours. We…

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Know What You Belive, Live It Out And Make A Difference

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Knowing what we believe- our doctrine and living it out will makes a difference.

I have recently been in the book of Titus. I love this short book that is so rich with sound doctrine and how we are to live if we are in Christ.

Paul gives 3 doctrinal statements, one in each chapter. These statements show when God saves and brings us into relationship with Him we are no longer the same and how we live our lives reflect that change.
It is vital we know doctrine- what we believe about God, salvation and His word.

Paul starts off with the first statement in 1:1-3 that God, who cannot lie, chose and gave salvation and eternal life before time began. He is letting us know that it was God’s plan from the beginning to save and always had a plan to send Jesus at the right time.

Paul then goes on to tell Titus why he left him in Crete. He was to set the churches in order and appoint elders so they will know sound doctrine and live it out and to silence the false teachers. Crete was a godless place, calling wrong, right, and right, wrong, excessive lifestyles, only caring about themselves, and one of their own said “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons” (1:12). Not only that but there were many false teachers, rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers who professed to know God but did not. They were upsetting whole families with their false doctrine and lifestyle (1: 10-11, 16) There is no difference from then to today. We live in a society much like Crete and there are many false teachers in the church leading people astray.

The second doctrinal statement is found in 2:11-14- “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds”.
This is sandwiched between the first statement and the description of the kind of men that are to be elders and the qualities of men and women in the church. These characteristics are only possible because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. When we are saved, we are changed. It results in living a life of following Christ and doing good to others- in our homes, churches and community.

I know that it can be discouraging and frustrating to see how our society is going with all the changes in morality, lifestyles, the laws and lack of truth taught in the “churches”. I love how Paul reminds them and us in the third doctrinal statement in 3:3-8 to remember who we were once and where we came from with a BUT GOD- It is only by the grace of God we are different- “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.”

To reflect on:
We are saved by God’s grace, His choice and plan from before time began through Jesus.

God’s grace brought salvation to us and instructs (disciplines, trains) us in how we are to live.

This salvation and instruction will result in a life change as we are dwelt by the Holy Spirit.

We are not saved by good deeds but will have good deeds after salvation- making a difference.

We are to know doctrine- know God and His word. Knowing right doctrine results in right living.

As we become frustrated with society and come into contact with people outside of Christ, we can’t expect them to act as followers of Christ if they are not. We have to remember who we once were and only by the grace of God we are no longer the same. How we live our lives and love the person is to reflect Christ. We are to be obedient and faithful to share the truth of the gospel in the confidence that it is not up to us to do the saving- it is God’s work.

All praise and glory to God!

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I Have A Secret To Share…..

i have a secret
Let me tell you a secret…..

Do you have a worried, restless and troubled mind that lacks peace?
Are you filled with anxiety and discontent about your circumstances?

We all struggle and go through hard times. Paul, like us had to learn that no matter the circumstance, good or bad, rich or poor, hungry or full, how to be content.

He tells us in Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

What is this secret? It is found in verse 13- “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”

What does it mean when he says “I can do all things”? Does it mean I can accomplish this task, jump over a building or do the impossible because God will enable me to do it?

This verse is one of the most quoted, but many times out of context. We must always look at scripture in context- the verses before and after, and what the whole book is about to determine what it says. In the verses before Paul is telling us he learned the secret to living in all circumstances- good and bad which is “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”. Literally, “I have the strength to withstand all things because God put His power in me”

The secret is a learned mindset to rely on and be totally dependent on God’s power in us. As we depend and rest in the Lord daily we can be content, free from fear, anxiety and restlessness; to live the life He has called us to.

Paul tells us the same thing in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

And Ephesians 3:16-21 “ that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen”

This is a secret meant to be told…. encourage each other when fearful, anxious, discouraged and discontent or feel like you can’t take one more thing or life is going great, we still need the power of Christ living and working in us.

We can be confident along with Paul that the good work God began in us He will accomplish and perfect for His will and good pleasure. (Philippians 1:6, 2:13)

Living inside out is living in and walking in the power of Christ!
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Worthy Conduct

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Continuing my study through Philippians 1:27-2:13, I am reminded that Paul said to “conduct yourselves in a manner” (NASB) or “let your manner of life be” (ESV) worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27)

In other words he is saying that as believers we should live with integrity. Our lives are to be consistent with what we believe, teach and preach because we have been changed by the gospel. God brought us into relationship with Him through Jesus Christ and our daily lives are to reflect that change.

How should this look in our lives? In verses 1:27-2:11 Paul give us a pretty good description.
As believers we are to stand firm in our faith, living in unity and striving together to spread the gospel. We are stronger together and with this unity we are not to be alarmed or fearful by those who are against us.

Paul tells us that not only has God granted us the ability to believe, but to also suffer for him. He stresses the importance of unity and living out the purpose God called us to-sharing the gospel.

We are to do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, to bring honor and glory to ourselves. We are to be humble in our thinking and actions. This will result in having more regard for others than ourselves, looking after them, putting ourselves last.

As always, Jesus is our example and we are to have his attitude- humility, selflessness and serving others.

Can we live this way by our own strength and will? I know in and of myself I can’t. Oh I may try for a while but I always will fail. I can only live a worthy life because I have been changed by Christ and the Holy Spirit lives inside of me guiding and directing but I still have the flesh and the selfish desires it creates.

In my own strength, in my flesh I get alarmed when someone is against me and those old insecurities creep in. My one purpose is not to share the gospel or allow fear to get in the way. Suffer for Christ-No Thank You! I want everything to go smooth. I don’t always put others needs ahead of mine. I can feel hurt or excluded from people or situations when I think others don’t care to be with me or everyone is getting together and not asking us, etc… It doesn’t take too long before sinful thoughts invade and flesh start to take over my actions.

That’s why I love Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” and Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure”

God brought me into relationship with Him, forgives my sin, and enables me to “conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel”. God, my Father does the work in me and is renewing me into the women He wants to use.

He changes my heart to know I am His daughter so there is no need to be fearful. I can count it a joy and be willing to suffer for Him because He has my best interest. When those lies and thoughts enter and I have doubts and feelings of loneliness, I can reach out to others, thinking of them instead of myself. Because I have been forgiven much, I want to freely share the gospel with others.

He enables me to live a life that will display His glory and show Jesus is Lord!

On this journey of Living Inside Out I would love to connect with you by email, Facebook or Twitter. The links are on the side bar.

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Bible Study Books Giveaway

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Bible study is vital to our walk with Christ and growing in relationship with Him. There are some wonderful Bible teachers today that help guide us on our journey through the Bible and help us study for ourselves.

I am excited to give away 4 Bible studies this weekend by 2 of my favorite teachers- Kay Arthur and Nancy Guthrie.

Forgiveness: Breaking The Power Of The Past by Kay Arthur

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This is a 40 minute study to give you the basics of inductive Bible study. This eye opening study deals with the difficult questions of forgiveness. You will discover what the Bible says on this vital topic and see the great mercy of God. You will see how choosing to forgive will free you from a painful past and enable you to live out God’s purpose for you.

God’s Answers For Relationships and Passions- a study on 1 & 2 Corinthians by Kay Arthur

Gods answers

This is from the New Inductive Study Series and will help you dig into the Scriptures for answers. God’s precepts, promises and purposes are made clear in each brief lesson. You will learn to resolve conflict with other people and see how our passions affect our relationships. Learn how to live in a way that builds harmony and glorifies God.

God, Are You There? By Kay Arthur

God are you there

This study through the Gospel of John challenges you to take God at His Word and see that you can truly rely on Him. “This study is an easy to use “quick” start if you are new to God’s truth in the Bible.” You will discover that God is there and He knows you, He has accomplished what was necessary to save you and never leave you.

The Promised One by Nancy Guthrie

the promised one book

This is from her series, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. Through this study you will see how Genesis points us to Jesus Christ. You will see Jesus in the shadows of the Old Testament, apply the gospel to issues such as shame, fear and the desire for significance and develop your longing for what is ahead when one day the world will be made new.

To enter, comment below and also mention what book you would like to win. If you have not done so, “like” my Facebook page and tweet about the giveaway.

4 winners will be randomly drawn midnight Saturday.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Attitude Check

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As I continue through Philippians 1:12-26 I am convicted and encouraged by Paul’s example, attitude and view of his circumstances. Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, some were preaching to cause him envy and strife while he was in prison and he also longed to be with Christ.

Paul’s only attitude and thought about his circumstances was for God’s glory and that the gospel is preached. He rejoiced because his imprisonment furthered the gospel and had become well known. He rejoiced because Christ was being proclaimed, no matter what the motives of others were.
His joy was not tied to his circumstances or his critics.
His joy and desire was for Christ, to be with Him, but also knowing that God had him where He wanted him. Paul was God’s witness to those outside of Christ and for those in the church.

The way Paul followed Christ and lived his life helped others to be bold and not fearful to speak the word of God. They saw what was happening to Paul and they knew it could happen to them but they were not fearful-their goal was that Christ was preached!

I have to ask myself:
Do I rejoice in circumstances I don’t like?

Is my goal and desire that Christ is exalted in everything or do I complain, become apathetic and want to give up at the slightest discomfort?

Is the gospel forefront in my thoughts and actions and do I share it without fear?

I want to check my attitude, to be aware if it is not exalting Christ.
I want to be like Paul and rejoice in everything with the goal that Christ is exalted.
This is not something I can drum up in myself. It comes from my relationship with Christ-to know Him and the Word.
I am so thankful that God is at work to make me into the woman He wants me to be.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6)

As I follow Him, He leads the way, guiding me to change my attitude, enabling me to be joyful, courageous, stronger and not fearful to live for Christ.

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Encouraged By Paul’s Prayer

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Today we will look at Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-11. His prayer comes after he told them how much he loves, is encouraged by and thankful for them and their participation with him in spreading the gospel. He reminds them (and us) that the salvation God began in their (our) lives, He will finish and perfect. God is the one that will bring it to completion and keeps them (us) eternally secure. (Philippians 1:3-8)

As we look at this prayer we see such rich truth and encouragement in what he is praying for them. I want this to be my heart’s desire and prayer, not only for myself but for the believers around us. As he delighted to pray for them, I too want to delight in praying for the church.

Paul longs for them with the affection of Jesus Christ (v. 8). This is the strongest Greek word to express compassionate love. It means bowels-, inward parts, our entire being. This is the part of the body that acts with intense emotion. This is the affection Jesus has for us, that Paul had for his followers and we too can have for our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is love that involves all of our being.

Paul then prays that their love- will abound more and more in real knowledge and discernment. This agape love- a love feast will grow by leaps and bounds and will result in people really caring about and taking care of each other. This love is not sentimental, but genuine and biblical knowledge of God and His word. This love will cause us to know Christ and others more. (v9)

The result of this knowledge and love will enable us to approve the excellent things, to be sincere and blameless (v.10). We will have the ability to distinguish what is right and wrong, what is really important and have right priorities.

To be sincere is “without wax”, literally tested by sunlight and judged genuine, pure. It is the picture of inferior pottery with the cracks filled with wax then glazed and painted over. It would only prove to be a fake when held up to the light. Have you ever seen the wax figures? It is hard to tell them from the real thing. The only way to see what is real or fake is through Jesus, the Light of the world, He brings us into relationship with him and makes us sincere. Oh, to be a genuine follower of Christ, not a waxy fake.

Our lives will be blameless and lived with integrity and we will not lead others or ourselves to stumble or sin.
Paul continues since we have been filled with the fruit of righteousness that only comes through Jesus, we will be transformed (v.11).

-We have the ability to love as Jesus loves in real knowledge and discernment with our whole being.
-We will have a biblical love that will grow by leaps and bounds.
-We will know and love Jesus and really know, love and take care of each other.
-We will be able to know right from wrong, what is really important and have the right priorities.
-We will live in a way to not cause others or ourselves to stumble or sin.
-We will be sincere, genuine, not a waxy fake.
-We will live our lives to the glory and praise of God.

Heavenly Father, as we are aware of and filled with your love, may our lives truly love, being filled with knowledge and all discernment. I pray our priorities will reflect you and what you say is excellent. I pray we will be sincere, genuine, the real thing-not “waxy”. Help us as we grow in relationship with you and those around us to be blameless and not stumble or sin or lead others to do the same. Thank you that we are made righteousness by Jesus. Thank you that you fill us up with yourself and enable us to live our lives for your glory and praise. Amen

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Grace and Peace

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This year in my quiet time I am reading through and studying Paul’s letters. I am starting with Philippians and from time to time I will share with you and offer some encouragement from God’s word as we follow Christ.

One thing I have noticed from reading his letters over the years is that Paul greets his readers with “grace and peace”. Sometimes it so easy to quickly read over what we think are simple words to get to the “meat” of the text. As I began to slowly read and observe (thanking God for my Precept training) I kept coming back to grace and peace. These are not simple words and just a way to greet someone in a letter. I did a word study, (I love my Key Word Study Bible and http://www.blueletterbible.org) and am amazed at the depth of Paul’s greeting and meaning of these 2 little words.

I want to encourage you with this greeting from Paul and may we encourage each other.

May God’s holy influence upon your souls that first turned you to Christ, keep, strengthen and increase your faith. May you grow in your knowledge, faith and love to enable you to live your Christian life.
May His peace which is the safety, security and tranquil state of your soul through Jesus Christ assure you of your salvation.
(Philippians 1:2-based upon definitions of grace and peace)

As we are on this journey of living Inside Out, we need to rest in the grace and peace of God and extend it to others.
I would love for you to join me as I go through Philippians this year and share your insights.

Grace and Peace!

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