Reflecting on the Scriptures: Courage

Be strong and courageous. How does reading those words make you feel? Do you know where find the verse in the Bible that includes those words? Yes, that’s a trick question. 🙂 This phrase is actually found in numerous places in the Scriptures – both in the Old and New Testaments. After reading all of these verses, I decided that Psalm 27:14 would be our memory verse for this week: Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Courage MV

Let’s break this verse into four sections:

  1. Wait for the Lord
  2. Be strong
  3. Take heart
  4. Wait for the Lord.

How interesting that the verse begins and ends with the same four words: Wait for the Lord. Do you like to wait? Usually, waiting is not something that I want to do, but sometimes God wants and needs us to wait. Let’s look at three passages from the Scriptures to begin our look at courage.

In Deuteronomy 31:6, 7, Moses shared words from God with the Israelites. We read: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses spoke to Joshua in front of all of Israel and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.” What a challenge to give to Joshua! I wonder how Joshua felt.

Do you think the Israelites were afraid? Is that why Moses reminded them that God would never leave them or abandon them. Have you ever been afraid? Have you ever been terrified? What caused the fear you felt? These words from Deuteronomy should encourage us in times that we are afraid. If we have faith that God is always with us, doesn’t it make it easier to feel courageous in times of fear? Remember what Psalm 23:4 says? Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Shouldn’t we be able to say:

I will fear no evil.
I will have courage.
I will be strong.
I can do this because God is always with me.

In 2 Chronicles 32: 7-8, King Hezekiah told the Israelites to be strong and courageous even though they were in the midst of a war with Assyria. Assyria had a great army, but the Israelites were reminded that there was a greater power with them than with Assyria. Assyria only had a human army but Israel had God to help them and to fight their battles. We are told that the people gained confidence from these words. God is always with us as we fight our battles today. Do we always show the confidence we should knowing that God is with us?  How can we build that feeling of confidence? Studying God’s Word? Walking our daily walk with God? Surrounding ourselves with others that are walking in God’s Light?

Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight. (2 Samuel 10:12) David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men and sent some against the Ammonites and the others against the Arameans. Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans and put the rest of the men under the command of his brother, Abishai, to fight against the Ammonites. Joab told Abishai to be strong and to fight bravely, and most importantly, that God will do what is good in His sight. God has a plan and is in control. How often do we think that we know what is best for us and expect God to take care of it? God will take care of us – in His way and in His time. We must learn to wait. (Yes, there’s that “wait” word again!)

We may not want to wait or delay our expectations. Immediate gratification is not always in God’s plan. What we must always remember is that God is always with us. Knowing that, we can be strong and courageous in all challenges that we face – big and small. My challenge for you this week is to examine the challenges in your life. Hod did you show courage and strength? How did you lean on God? Then look around you and see the challenges that others are facing. How can you help them be strong and courageous and to have confidence in God’s power?

See you on Wednesday when we will discuss circumstances that require courage – in Bible times and today. Remember to work on our memory verse!

Don’t forget to sign up to follow the Garlands and Crowns blog via email. You can click the link on the right to add your email and receive notifications of new posts by email. Your email will NEVER be shared.

Kim

Wrapping Up: Scriptures

2 Tim 3_16I’m glad that we’re able to meet again to wrap up this study of God’s Scriptures.

God spoke through Scripture when it was first recorded and the Bible is how God speaks to us today. When we fail to take (or make) time to read and study God’s Scriptures, we allow a distance to come between us and God. The Bible is more than just a book full of words and phrases. It is a book of truth – God’s truth – and can be a source of strength if we immerse ourselves in it.

When we neglect to meet God in the words He preserved for us, we lose our bearing in life and He seems distant. The wonderful truth is that God hasn’t moved and He is still speaking to us through the Bible.

When we open the Scripture, know that God still speaks to us each and every time we read His words.

Pick it up, open it, read it, study it and listen as God speaks to you through His Word – today, tomorrow, and forever.

For those of you that enjoy word search puzzles, I have created one using the words from 2 Timothy 3:16. Just click on the link below to download and open the puzzle.

Friday Word Search_2 Tim 3_16

See you next week for our next Strength from the Scriptures study.
Our topic for next week – Courage.

Strength from the Scriptures: Scriptures

How is your week going? Have you been reading 2 Timothy 3:16 daily to help you commit it to memory? Have you been able to carve out time each day to read God’s Word? I have heard that it takes doing something for 21 days for it to become a habit. Does that sound like another challenge? 🙂 Did you have time to find some verses in the Bible that teach about the Scriptures?

First, let’s talk about strength? What does strength mean to you? How would define strength to someone else? Does it mean being strong? Courage? Force? Endurance? 2 Tim 3_16Power? The book of Second Timothy was written by Paul when he was a prisoner. The believers at that point had begun to be unfaithful to God. Paul was concerned that Timothy who was there to help Paul might be frightened by what was happening to the Church. Paul wrote to Timothy to encourage him and to strengthen him with this letter. During this difficult time, the strength of God and the grace of Jesus Christ was apparent. This book continues to be an encouragement today for us.

Here are the four verses that I found, my reflections, and some questions to discuss.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
What does it mean to ‘correctly handle’ the word of truth? Can God’s Word be handled incorrectly? How do you handle or manage your use of the Scriptures?

Psalm 1:2…but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law both day and night.
Do you delight in the words in your Bible? Do you read and meditate on God’s Word both day and night? Does that mean meditating 24-7? We all have activities to take care. So, how and when do we spend time in the Word? What have you found that works for you? Meditating means more than just reading, doesn’t it? To me, it means taking the time to read and THINK about what you’ve read. To think about how you can use those verses to guide you during your days and nights.

Ephesians 6:17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I grew up in a time where we “got dressed” when it was time to “go to town” – whether to shop, go out to eat, or go to the doctor. Dressed meant ‘nice’ clothes, brushed hair, and a touch of lipstick. As Christians, we are instructed to take the helmet of salvation and the Word of God. Why is the Word of God considered to be a sword? Can this sword protect you? Can it lead you safely into a battle?

Hebrews 4:2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.
How discouraging to know that there are some who will hear the Good News, but it will not have any value for them! How do we give value to the Good News? We share it! How do you share God’s Word with others? We can share in little ways or on a larger scale. Each time we share, we plant seeds and share God’s Word and love with those around us.

Keep working on your reflections and memorization. Come back on Friday to wrap up this first weekly Strength from the Scriptures study.

Reflecting on the Scriptures: Scriptures

How much time do you spend reading God’s Word during your day? How much time do you spend studying God’s Word? Is there a difference between reading and studying? For this first Strength from the Scriptures, I think it’s appropriate to start by looking at the Bible, God’s Word, His Scriptures.

When was the last time that you were assigned a Memory Verse? Let’s take time out of our busy week to focus on 2 Timothy 3:16. Can you commit 5 minutes a day to read, study, and memorize this verse? Take that as a challenge from me to you, or rather, for me AND you. The Bible states 2 Timothy 3:16 as “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (NIV)

2 Tim 3_16

Think About It

What does it mean that all Scripture is God-breathed?

The Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by men but each and every word was inspired by God.

What are the purposes of God’s Scripture listed in 2 Timothy 3:16?

The purposes are listed as teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

How would you define each of those words of phrases? What if we turn each of these into a question: How is the Scripture useful for teaching? How does the Scripture rebuke or correct us or others? How is the Scripture used to train in righteousness?

Let’s make this question more personal. What if we add an “I” or “me” to each question? How do I use the Scripture for training? How does the Scripture rebuke or correct me? How do I use the Scripture to rebuke others? How do I know when this should happen? How do I use the Scripture for training in righteousness?

Reflections

Find and read 3-5 verses that teach about Scriptures using your Bible or a Bible commentary. You might want to start a notebook for your reflections. A notebook would give you a place to write down the verses you find and your reflection – what they mean to you.

Challenge

As we begin these studies together, let’s take a different verse each week and read it daily and commit it to our hearts and mind. That’s our first challenge. Reflect on this verse this week as you look at your daily activities. Are you using God’s Word in your daily walk? Do you know the Scriptures well enough to do this? If not, consider joining us weekly as we look read and study different Scriptures.

Come back on Wednesday to Delve Deeper into the Scriptures that God has given us.

Welcome to Garlands and Crowns, Take 2

DSlide3o you ever stop and reflect on something that you’ve planned or perhaps that you’ve been doing for a while – and then decide you need to make changes? Well, that is exactly what I have done with this blog!

After much thought and prayer (and probably procrastination), I have decided to go with a different format. Rather than a multi-week study on one book of the Bible, each week will feature a study of the Bible focusing on one word or phrase. On Monday, a verse from the Bible will be presented, three (or so) questions to check our understanding of the verse, and a challenge for the week. On Wednesday, we will delve deeper into our study of the verse for reflection and application to our daily lives. Friday will bring a week-end check in and activity.

Studies of different books of the Bible will be available for you to study at your own pace. as they are written. (Philippians, the original study for the blog, will be available shortly.) These workbooks will be available to print, download, or (in the near future) order. I would like to start a private discussion group on Facebook for these studies of the books of the Bible, if there is enough interest from you.

So, hang on to your hats (or rather garlands and crowns). The new format will be published on Monday. Come back on Monday to see the first Strength From the Scriptures topic revealed.

Your sister in Christ,
Kim

Philippians 1:1-11

Prayers and Thanksgiving

The book of Philippians is a personal letter from Paul to his friends that he loves. The letter begins with a salutation and Paul immediately tells the readers how thankful he is for them. Paul is the author of Philippians. Timothy was his companion on his journey and noted as it was in other books. Why was Timothy interested in the congregation at Philippi? Read Acts 16:11-40 to find out.

In verse 6, Paul glorifies God as the one who started the work in the congregation in Philippi. He recognized God as the one who converted them and brought them to the knowledge of Christ who saved them. Paul was confident in God, not the Philippians. However, it was their behavior that encouraged Paul to have assurance of their eternal destiny. Would Paul be confident of our eternal destiny?

In verse 7, we read of Paul’s fondness for the Philippians. He says, “I have you in my heart.” They were a constant help to Paul in his preaching mission. They even supported him when he was imprisoned.  Paul genuinely loved the Philippians. Paul also realized their weakness – they needed more knowledge in the understanding of the mind of Christ. He wanted their knowledge to be as great as their abundant love. (Read verse 9)

In verse 10, Paul prays for them and challenges them to approve things that are excellent and reminds them that they must be sincere and free of offense in living the Christian life until Christ returns at the final judgment. Paul then tells them to do this by being filled with the fruits of righteousness from Christ and which are to glorify God. (Read verse 11)

 Do you think this motivated them? Does this prayer and challenge motivate you?  

Paul gives us an example of prayer. In verse 3, we read a list of things that Paul was thanking God for and not a list of things he needed to receive from God. Do we thank God more for all of the blessings we have received or do we simply pray to God with a to-do list of things we need or want?

Challenge for this week: Examine your prayers to God this week? Are you remembering to thank God for the blessings in your life? Are you sincere in the things you ask God for? Do your prayers follow Paul’s example?

Click on the links below for printable study guides.
Lesson 1_Philippians 1_1-11 Study Questions
Lesson 1_Thanksgiving and Prayer

Welcome to Garlands and Crowns

Welcome to Garlands and Crowns.

The purpose of this blog is to delve into the Bible to learn from God’s Word to guide us in our daily lives.

This blog is a result of my love of God’s Word, learning and teaching others. Not only do I want to learn but I want to take others along and challenge them to study and learn with me.

Join me and explore lessons from the books of the Bible as well as topical studies from the Scriptures that will enrich us as women of God.

Each week a new lesson will be posted along with study questions. You can sign up for the electronic mailing list to receive a printable study guide each week.

An illustrated Bible verse will be published weekly. These verses can be saved to your electronic device or printed to use as a daily reading of God’s Word. You can even use this Scripture as a weekly memory verse to write God’s Word on your heart.

Hospitality will also be a focus of this blog with lessons and challenges published regularly.

Last but not least, you will find short lessons for children featuring Scripture, key learning points, and questions.

Take a few minutes to bookmark this blog, sign up for the email list, and leave a comment.

See you next week.