Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy 2017

Happy 2017

May God’s blessings be upon you, keep you safe and free from harm. May His light continue to shine upon you. May He give you the Spirit of Wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better, the same Power to those who BELIEVE. (

I pray that God will continue to expand your sphere of influence and open amazing doors of opportunity. Happy New Year!!!

Read Ephesians 1:15-23 and 1 Chronicles 4:10 

Be blessed and continue to be a blessing!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Open My Eyes"

Carry on…in Wisdom and Revelation

The Ability to See

As believers, our hope is in Christ, not our circumstances. - #Word Writers

In Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, he prays for the eyes of their hearts to be opened.

Read Ephesians 1:18-23
Paul prays specifically for the believers to see three things: the hope, riches, and power they have in Christ Jesus. First, he prays they would know the hope to which they, the Ephesians, have been called. The circumstances that currently surround them would in the dim light of the eternal hope they possess in Christ. Second, he prays they would know the riches of God’s glorious inheritance. These riches are far greater than mere earthly riches; the riches of His mercy and grace are eternal. Third, Paul prays they would know the power that lives inside them. The same power that raise Jesus from the dead now lives in those who believe.

The same is true for us. As believers our hope is in Christ, not our current circumstances. We’ve also inherited riches: The forgiveness we’ve received and the new life we’ve been given will never be taken back. The gift of His mercy and grace is ours in Christ. Paul describes the power of the Holy Spirit as immeasurable greatness. Because of the Spirit’s immeasurable greatness, we’ve become new creations, filled with hope.

Diving Deeper
What does Paul mean in verse 18 when he says “the eyes of your heart” in the NIV, or in the HCSB, “the perception of your mind”?

How does Paul describe the power that raised Christ from the dead?
When have you struggled to see or acknowledge a gift inside you? Has someone in your life been an encouragement to you in the area of your gifting? Who can you be an encouragement to today?

How is Pauls’ prayer, from verses 15-23, similar to or different from your own prayers?

Write it out – Write out Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23. And, make these words your own prayer by praying them out loud.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord for the gifts You’ve given me. Help me to walk in the hope to which You have called me. Help me to grasp the amazing riches of Your mercy and grace. Help me to know Your power that lives inside me. Open the eyes of my heart that I may see You more clearly. Amen.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Warren Wiersbe, “Be Rich: Gaining the Things That Money Can’t Buy”- New Testament Commentary: Ephesians.

Denise J. Hughes, “Word Writes: Ephesians”

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and Peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.  ~Luke 2:14 (NLT)

May you have a joyful Christmas!
Make new memories with family and friends to last forever in your heart.

Celebrate God's greatest gift He has ever given - the birth of Jesus.

Nothing else matters more than having those gifts that only God can provide.

Enjoy this Holiday Season and have a Healthy, Prosperous and Happy New Year!

The Story of Christmas (a post I wrote a few years ago). Read it here

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
— Isaiah 9:6-7

I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
— Luke 2:10–11

Be blessed,

Love and many blessings!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christ is our Hope

The Father’s Plan

Christ our Hope

Read Ephesian 1:3-6

God does not play favorites (see Romans 2:11). He does not wish for anyone to perish, but for all to come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus (see 2 Peter 3:9).

The Theology of Chosen vs. Predestined
 * The doctrine of election (God chooses His people)
 * The doctrine of predestination (God decides the purpose for His people)
 * The doctrine of free will (where God gives all people the choice to follow Him)

God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are high than our thoughts. In Christ all things are possible, including both election and free will.

Diving Deeper
When did God choose us in Christ?

Why did God want to adopt us as His children?

In Paul’s day adopted children had the same legal rights as any other son or daughter, which included the rights to their father’s inheritance. Knowing you are a joint heir with Jesus, how might you live differently?

Have you ever wrestled with the notion of God’s “chosen ones”? how do you reconcile this paradoxical truth in your own words? (T read more about the scriptural truth of election see Romans 8:29-30 and John 6:44. To read more about the scriptural truth of free will, see John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:1-4, and 2 Peter 3:9).

Write it out – Write out Ephesians 1:3-6, the portion that speaks of our inheritance from God the Father.

Read Ephesians 1:7-12

Jesus said He gave His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28), that word ransom would have gotten everyone’s attention! Perhaps we don[t think of ourselves as slaves, but Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34 NLT).

In God’s economy, we owed, He paid. Jesus gave Ahis life as a ransom. For all slaves. For all sinners. For all of us. We are redeemed. We are forgiven we are freed from sin. And Christ’s righteousness is imparted to us. This is part of our inheritance through God the Son.

Diving Deeper
With what did Christ purchase our redemption?

Why is our hope in Christ?

In God’s economy, we owed, He paid.

Write it out – today when we out Ephesians 1:7-12, let’s pause and remember the sacrifice Jesus made to pay our ransom and set us free.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for choosing me to live with You forever. Help me to remember that You chose me before the creation of the world, and Your desire is for every person to know You.
Thank You, Jesus, for paying my ransom with Your blood. I could never pay my debt of sin, but You paid my debt on my behalf. Words alone cannot fully express my gratitude, but I give You my life, and I devote the rest of my days to praising You, for You are worthy of all praise and glory. Amen.

Click here for related post.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!

From Word Writers Ephesians by  Denise J. Hughes

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Father’s Plan

The Father’s Plan

Carry on…with an inheritance

In our last post “A Call to Carry On,” we began reading Ephesians 1:1-2. It reads like this in the New Living Translation,
Greetings from Paul
This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.
I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Also, in theses verses, we find the answers to the two questions posed: first, Paul was chosen by God Himself, and second, Paul was writing this letter to people like you and I – Christ Followers.

Well, Paul opens his letter almost like a person reading a will – a will that lists the saints’ inheritance from God. And since you and I are saints, this inheritance is ours in Christ too!

The entire passage in Ephesians 1:3-14 is a reminder of the spiritual inheritance we have already received from each Person of the Trinity.

     * Verses 3-6 declare our inheritance from God the Father.

     * Verses 7-12 proclaim our inheritance from God the Son.

     * Verses 13-14 decree our inheritance from God the Spirit.

We’ll spend time in the next post reading through this “will,” if you will.

We pursue God because He first pursued us.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

From “Word Writers Ephesians” by Denise Hughes

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Call to Carry On

But God...

A Journey Through Ephesians – A Call to Carry On

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a call to carry on with the undying love for our Lord. Paul knew some strange ideas about God would soon perforate the faith of new believers. He knew the message of grace would be challenged. He knew the believers would be tempted to forget their First Love. With every dip of hi quill in ink, the metal links of his chains clanked and clattered. Affixed to a Roman guard, Paul understood the reality of his likely execution, so the letter we call Ephesians reads like a farewell address. These were his final, parting words, his last chance to impart what was most important to him, for it succinctly summarizes God’s plan for salvation and the practices believers in Christ should follow.

Are we focused more on church-as-a-way-of-life or Christ-as-a-way-of-life?

Paul, a man once filled with murderous hatred for believers was transformed by God’s grace (see Acts 9:1-25). And the same saving grace that changed Paul’s life continues to change lives today. This is true in every believer’s life. We were heading down a certain road, maybe not Damascus like Paul, but down a path that would eventually lead to our own destruction. But God had other plans.

So, now let’s begin our Journey Through Ephesians!

Read Ephesians 1:1-2

The journey of growing in spiritual maturity – becoming more like Christ in thought and deed – begins the moment we surrender our lives to God. Even Paul, knowing the Scriptures as well as he did, had some growing to do. This is the overarching theme in his letter to the Ephesians. We’ve been saved by grace. Yes. But we still have some growing to do. Paul’s letter is a call to carry on in our growth and understanding of who God is and how we are to live as His children.

Diving Deeper

Who determined Paul would be an apostle?

To whom did Paul explicitly write his letter?

Not everyone has a dramatic conversion like Paul’s. but every believer, as some point along life’s journey, has encountered the risen Christ. We were heading in a certain direction. But God had other plans. Take a few moments and write down you own “But God” story. Who can you share your “But God” story with today?

Write the Word…Okay, this is where the rubber meets the road – or where the pen meets the paper! On a piece of paper, journal or notebook; write out Ephesians 1:1-2

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the work You have begun in my life. As I begin this new journey through the book of Ephesians, I pray that You will open the eyes of my hear to the kingdom purpose for which You have called me. And with each word from Scripture I write, I pray the Holy Spirit will continue to teach me the truth of Your Word. Amen.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

From “Word Writers Ephesians” by Denise Hughes

Friday, December 16, 2016

More Bible Study Tools

Bible Study Tools

When we write it, we remember it!
In previous posts, we have look at different methods of studying the Bible: Inductive Bible Study – Part I and Part II, Studying the Bible in Context, and Memorizing Scripture. Today, I want to add to our Tool Box – Saturation – writing the Word. Because when we write it, we remember it.
Psalm 119:18 says, “Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wonderful things from Your instruction.” Prayerfully begin every day in the Word with this as our guide.
Our the next few weeks, I’d like to guide us through the pages of Ephesians with the Holy Spirit as our Teacher.
We will begin with a short passage in Ephesians. After reading the passage, I’ll pose a couple questions about the biblical text (the observation and interpretation portion of the study).
The next couple of questions will lead you to further contemplate how you can apply the truth of Scripture to your everyday life (the application portion of the study). Then you’re invited to write the Word (the saturation portion of the study). Now, depending on your Bible’s translation the verses you write for one day may end with a comma rather than a period. That’s okay. I’m using the New Living Translation, but you’re welcomed to use the translation you’re most comfortable with.
Begin and end each day with prayer, for we know when we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13)

A Journey Through Ephesians – A Call to Carry On
Paul wrote this letter while a prisoner in Rome, his purpose being to comfort and encourage the believers in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). In this letter, Paul presents and overview of history, beginning in eternity past, where God worked out his plans for the world; moving to the present, where God is saving those who believe in Christ; and then moving to the future where all evil will be overcome. He points out the “evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world” (Ephesians 6:12). But because we are members of Christ’s body, we have the power to stand firm. Paul deals then with practical matters relating to living the Christian life, marriage, behavior, parents and children, and servants/workers.
The basic idea in Ephesians is that God is working out His eternal plan through Christ and his body, the church. When people believe in Christ, they find salvation and safety. God has planned for this from all eternity and has given believers everything they need to live by faith. It is the believer’s responsibility to use the resources God has made available. Paul closes the book by describing the provision that God has made so that believers can withstand the worst of Satan’s attacks and be victorious when the battle is over.
I look forward to you joining me on this "Journey through Ephesians."
Experience the Bible by writing the Word.
Be blessed and be a blessing!

Word Writers Ephesians by Denise J. Hughes

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Faith & Love

Faith & Love = God

Where there is faith...
   There is love.

Where there is love...
   There is peace.

Where there is peace...
   There is God.

Where there is God...
   There is no need.

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Memorizing Scripture

Bible Study Skills – Memorizing Scripture

Top 7 Ways to Memorize God’s Word. There are many methods for memorizing scripture, and we all learn differently so some ways may work better for us than others.

Pray ~ Ask God where to start.  Is there an area you are feeling particularly weak? Maybe you’re weak in your faith and God led you here. I have been there. I have prayed for faith the size of a mustard seed. Seek God’s guidance to strengthen you through His Word.

Read ~ Read the verses in their context.  Having an understanding of what the verse actually means helps tremendously with our ability to retain and remember.

Write it out ~ Writing the verse in your journal, on note cards or wherever is an effective way to remember Scripture. {Cool & worth noting: There is scientific research showing how writing something down with actual pen and paper helps us retain what we are trying to remember, far better than typing it out.  It triggers our tactile senses, giving us more of a relational, personal experience.}

Say it aloud ~ Whether you are reading it, repeating it, praying, it, singing it or sharing it, speak the truth out loud. If faith comes from hearing the Word of God, let’s speak it out loud and let those words connect with our hearts. Lord, give us ears to hear.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NIV)

If you can only remember one verse, let it be this one, and trust God with the rest.

Meditate on it ~ Think on God’s Word. Let’s take time to let the verses soak into our minds and hearts. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible; it is also one of the most beautiful.  The Psalmist spent time reflecting on God’s Word and what it meant to him.

Visualize ~ Sometimes having a picture helps me wrap my mind around the Scripture I’m trying to memorize. 

Make It Interactive ~ There are fun, interactive ways to memorize God’s Word.  Like apps for your phone such as Scripture Typer; YouVersion’s app now allows you insert scripture into pictures and share on Social Media. So let’s get interactive!!! on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter — and share God’s Word! Discussing God’s Word with family and friends can also help us live out Deuteronomy 6:7 “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (NIV)

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Practicing Gratitude can be life altering.

Gratitude puts situations into perspective. When we can see the good as well as the bad, it becomes more difficult to complain and stay stuck.

Gratitude helps us realize what we have. The awareness of what we're grateful for can lessen our tendency to want more all the time.

Gratitude makes us happier. Gratitude strengthens relationships, improves health, reduces stress, and, in general, makes us happier.

Think a New Thought Today…

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Studying the Bible in Context

Studying the Bible in Context

Just reading one verse of the Bible can be like basing your thoughts and reactions on one sentence of a conversation. Take a look at this passage from Exodus:

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.'” Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV)

Did you notice Moses tell the people to stand still because the Lord will fight for them in verse 14? Doing nothing, however, was not the Lord’s plan!

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.'” Exodus 14:15 (NIV)

“Rather than telling the Israelites to stand still, He propels them to action.” God wanted the people to “move on.”

When we read the Bible in context, we are taking into consideration:

WHO wrote it? (Who authored the book of the Bible it’s in?)

WHEN was it written?

WHO was the audience? (Who were they writing/speaking to?)

WHY were they writing/speaking?

WHAT were they trying to say?

Moses told the people not to be afraid. What were they afraid of?

God sees the bigger picture! The people were more focused on the problem than the promises of God. 

What promise from the Bible do you need to remember today?

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing

See also Inductive Bible Study posts

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thankful Thursday

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 

In Colossians 3:12-17, Paul offers a strategy to help us, Christ-followers, live for God day by day: (1) imitate Christ's compassionate, forgiving attitude; (2) let love guide your life; (3) let the peace of Christ rule in your heart;  (4) always be thankful; (5) keep God's Word in you at all times; and (6) live as Jesus Christ's representative.

Christ is all that matters and He lives in all of us (Galatians 2:20, NLT).

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Inductive Bible Study - Part 2

Inductive Bible Study

God’s eternal, inerrant Word is your guidebook for all of life. Inductive study, a method that brings you directly to the Word of God apart from someone else’s understanding or interpretation of the text involves three skills: observation, interpretation and application.

Observation discover what it says

    1.   Begin with Prayer.  Prayer is often the missing element in Bible study. Apart from the work of the work of the Holy Spirit, that’s all it will be – a method.

    2.   Ask the “5 W’s and an H” – As you study any passage of Scripture, train yourself to constantly ask: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? These questions are the building blocks of precise observation, which is essential for accurate interpretation.

    3.   Mark key words and phrases. A key word is one that is essential to the text. Key words and phrases are repeated in order to convey the author’s point or purpose for writing. For example, notice that some form of the word suffering is used three times in 1 Peter 5.

    4.   Make Lists. Making lists can be one of the most enlightening things you can do as you study. Lists reveal truths and highlights important concepts. 1 Peter 5:2-3; for example, contains a simple list regarding the role of the elder. It is also helpful to make a list of what you learn about each key word or person you mark.

    5.    Watch for contrasts and comparisons. Contrasts and comparisons use highly descriptive language to make it easier to remember what you’ve learned. For example, Peter compares the devil to a roaring lion in verse 8. Peter also contrasts God’s attitude toward the proud and the humble.

    6.   Note expressions of time. The relationship of events in time often sheds light on the true meaning of the text. Marking or highlighting them will help you see the sequence or timing of events and lead to accurate interpretation of Scripture.

    7.   Geographic Locations. Often, it’s helpful to mark or highlight geographical locations, which tell you where an event takes place.

    8.   Mark terms of conclusion. Words such as “therefore,” “thus,” and “for this reason” indicate that a conclusion or summary is being made. You may want to underline them in the text.

    9.   Identify chapter themes. The theme of a chapter will center on the main person, event, teaching, or subject of that section of Scripture. Themes are often revealed by reviewing the key words and lists you developed. Try to express the theme as briefly as possible, using words found in the text.

Interpretation discover what it means

While observation leads to an accurate understanding of what the Word of God says, interpretation goes a step further and helps you understand what it means.

    1.   Remember that context rules. If you lay the solid foundation of observation, you will be prepared to consider each verse in the light of the surrounding verses, the book in which it is found, and the entire Word of God. As you study, ask yourself: is my interpretation of this passage of Scripture consistent with the theme, purpose, and structure of the book in which it is found? Is it consistent with other Scripture about the same subject? Am I considering the historic and cultural context? Never take Scripture out context to make it say what you want it to say. Discover what the author is saying; don’t add to his meaning.

    2.   Always see the full counsel of the Word of God. When you know God’s Word thoroughly, you will be able to discern whether a teaching is biblical or not. Saturate yourself in the Word of God; it is your safeguard against wrong doctrine.

    3.   Remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture. Remember, all Scripture is inspired by God. Therefore, Scripture will never contradict itself. Sometimes, however, you may find it difficult to reconcile two seemingly contradictory truths taught in Scripture, such as sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. Don’t take a teaching to an extreme that God doesn’t. Simply humble your heart in faith and believe what God says, even if you can’t fully understand or reconcile it at the moment. 

    4.   Don’t base your convictions on an obscure passage of Scripture. An obscure passage is one in which the meaning is unclear or not easily understood. Because these passages are difficult to understand even when proper principles of interpretation are used, they should not be used as a basis for establishing doctrine.

    5.   Interpret Scripture literally. God spoke to us that we might know the truth. Therefore, take the Word of God at face value – in its natural, normal sense. Look first for the clear teaching of Scripture, not a hidden meaning. Understand and recognize figures of speech and interpret them accordingly.

Consider what is being said in the light of its literary style. For example, you will find more similes and metaphors in poetical and prophetic literature than in historical or biographical books. Interpret portions of Scripture according to their literary style.

Some examples of literary styles in the Bible are: Historical – Acts, Exodus; Prophetic – Revelation, Isaiah; Biographical – Luke; Didactic (teaching) – Romans; Poetic – Psalms; Epistle (letter) – 2 Timothy; Proverbial – Proverbs.

    6.   Look for the single meaning of the passage. Always try to understand what the author had in mind when you interpret a portion of the Bible. Don’t twist verses to support a meaning that is not clearly taught. Unless the author of a particular book indicates that there is another meaning to what he says, let the passage speak for itself.

Application discover how it works

The first step in application is to find out what the Word of God says on any particular subject through accurate observation and correct interpretation of the text. Once you understand what the Word of God teaches, you are then obligate before God to accept that truth and to live by it.

Scripture will always teach what is right, show us where we are wrong, how to correct, and train us in right living; so that we are complete, fully equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

I’ve attached a worksheet to help you get started! Click Here

Related post click here.

Be blessed and be a blessing!!!

Adapted from Kay Arthur's "How to Study the Bible"

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