Saturday, June 29, 2013

Philippians for Tweens Week 3

Great job keeping up with the study! It is so rewarding to stay grounded in God's word! Especially in our culture that is flowing in many ways against God. The only way to not get caught in the flow is to know God's ways. He will keep you on the right path that is very different from our culture. It is a narrow path. It is a cross bearing path.
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Read the following passage Philippians 1:20-26. We will be working through it for the next couple of days.

"20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.
25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. 26 And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me."

Regarding verse 20, Being in prison can bring shame on a person. Just the other day I saw a prison worker weed wacking some grass in our subdivision. Just because he was a prisoner I was feeling like I did not want him there or near our house. However, I do not know what he did. Have you ever thought the same? 

Paul's imprisonment could bring great shame on him and anyone he associates with. However, what is most important to Paul is preaching Christ. He in fact knows God's love for him and is so secure he has faith that he will continue to be bold for Christ in prison or out of prison. In fact he is confident that in life or death he will make an effort to bring honor to Christ. That is his supreme and highest goal. We should pray that God will make that ours as well.

Think About It
Have you ever been in a situation that brought deep hurt or embarrassment because you were living for Christ or speaking about Christ? I know you are young but some situations may have appeared already in your life. Think about this.

Here is an example. I was serving in ministry at a place filled with other Christians. Some of those who claimed they were Christians got very uncomfortable with my teaching Christ. So they complained about me. The leader spoke to me and asked me to not do that so much. I appeared to love God too much. I was very hurt. Unlike Paul being bold I felt shame and hurt. I stopped doing what God called me to do for a time. Can you relate to this? How?

The good thing about these experiences of carrying the cross of Christ is we can learn from them and we can grow to be more like Him. I am thankful for this experience now because I know I will be more bold the next time it happens to me. I did not practice the "whatever" principle we spoke of last week.

How did you practice the "whatever" example last week? Did it help?

TuesdayNow read verses 21-22 again we will discuss those today.
Paul does say that living means living for Christ. While you are breathing air on this planet God has things for you to do! What kinds of things do you think God has for you to do right now?

Paul says that dying is better. We can look ahead and see why he says this from looking at verse 23. Why is dying better for Paul?
Wouldn't being with Christ be the best!? But while he leaves us on this planet we have work to do to bring Christ glory. 

In verse 22 why does Paul say living is better?

Think About itWhat are some practical ways you can give glory to Christ in your home? List them.
I can think of a few. Ask your mom or dad how you can help them. Doing your chores without complaining brings glory to God. Getting along with your brothers or sisters brings glory to God. Honoring your parents brings glory to God. Taking care of your body and house brings glory to God. How can you practice today?

Do you ever have to fear dying if you are in Christ?
Remember if you believe by faith what Christ did for you by dying on the cross and being raised to life you are under His Lordship and you live for Him. Your life is no longer your own it is now hidden in Christ. So dying then unites us with Him.


Now read verses 23-26.
Paul desires to be with Jesus as we too should. However like I said earlier if we are breathing on this planet we are here for His purposes. He has work for you to do.

Paul knows he will probably live because it will benefit his friends. He can mentor and encourage and teach them more. God has so many purposes for us. It amazes me that the God who created the entire universe, that keeps our planet spinning and rotating and floating in the atmosphere perfectly, has work for little ones like us to do! He does though. He is God. He does not need us but chose to create us for His glory.

Think About It.

Paul said he would "help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith." How can you help others grow so they will experience the joy of their faith? Any ideas?

Again, remember Paul is not in great conditions here. Yet instead of thinking about himself he is thinking about how to help his friends. What are some ways you can think of yourself less and help your friends?

God made all things "good" but His final creation He made as "very good." The final creation He made by the way was human beings. He saved the best for last which was us. Think of some of His amazing creation, how beautiful, or vast like the universe or the deep deep ocean. Or crazy animals like the ostrich or majestic horse. Such wonderful creations but we are the apple of His eye. We are what He came to save and rescue. Do you look at yourself in this light? Do you look at other human beings in this light? Take time to worship God and thank Him for everything.


Read Philippians 1:27, "
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News."

According to this verse how must we live?
How do we live this way?

Paul wants us to live as if Heaven is our home not this present world. We do this by behaving in a manner that loves His good news. Knowing He lived a perfect life, died a perfect sacrifice for sin, then came back to life and is seated with God. We can behave in this way when we trust what He did for us. We know His love is so great toward us, and out of response to His love for us we should desire to live it out and speak about it.

Paul hopes they will all stand together united with this purpose in mind. How beautiful would that be? As we read later in this letter we will see there are some people arguing in this body of believers. Unity should be our goal always. Sometimes we have to be ok with agreeing to disagree as well.

Think About It.Do you live currently as if you are an alien on this planet? Why or why not? Where is your true home?
Have you seen any movies where an alien comes to another planet not their own? They are pretty funny huh? We should not get to settled here because it is not our final home.

If you ever wonder what our lives should look like while we are on this earth look to Christ in the gospels. He is the only one we should compare ourselves too. We are not to be Christ but will be made more and more into His image as we follow Him.

Unity is important because in this world we are fighting a battle for the faith. Why do you think arguments and fighting with each other hurts this? How can you work for unity in your relationships? or in your home?

FridayRead verses 28-30.

"Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself.
For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it."

How should we act around our enemies according to these verses?
What privilege have you been given?

Paul says we have been given the privilege of trusting in Christ which is a miracle. God grabs ahold of our hearts as He woos us to Himself. Salvation is a gift from Him not our doing so it is an amazing and mysterious miracle I am so thankful for! Ephesians 2:8-10 states it like this, "
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Isn't that amazing! God is so good to us!

Paul also says it is a privilege to suffer to Christ as well. Have you ever looked at a trial you experienced this way?

No one can do anything to us that God will not use for greater glory! We have no reason to be afraid.

We are all in this together! Let us stick together to fight the good fight of the faith.

Think About It.Who do you have to fight the faith with? Who is in your life who will help you stay focused on Christ? It is good to have friends and family who do this?

If you belong to Christ have you thanked Him for this gift? Take time thinking and praising Him for this.

Have you ever considered it a privilege to suffer for Christ? Why or why not.
Here is an example you may relate too. My daughter has been suffering from a very painful and annoying ear infection. She has been so irritated by it. However, how you can suffer in Christ-likeness is finding the things you can be thankful for in a bad situation and trust Him to get you through because He suffered and can relate to anything you go through. My daughter shared with me what she is learning is that God will get her through it. And she wants it fixed now but she is learning trust and patience in God's perfect timing.
She is bearing  a cross and dying to her self by walking through this trial trusting Him. It would be much easier to be mean and rude because she does not feel well but she is choosing the narrow path.

Great job this week! Keep growing in His work. Stay disciplined in His word and living it out. We must fight this fight of faith together! Praying you will grow in His truth and grace this week!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Idol Lies for Tweens - Week Three

We opened class by reviewing the S.P.A. method and times they may have practiced it this week.

We reviewed some key Scriptures from the adults reading assigned (chapter 2). I wrote these down on index cards this time because it made it more interactive for the girls to all take part in reading. We discussed each and spoke about how these things can be potential idols.

After we discussed these we took time to discuss Genesis 4. The Cain and Abel story and what went wrong. What potential idol was present? Was there an option to do what was right? How we can then relate that to our own lives. How we can learn from it because all Scripture was written to teach us (Romans 15:4) and point us to the Savior, Jesus.

After this we took time in Ephesians 4. We spoke of our old self and new self. Wrote the qualities of old self and then qualities of new self. I am putting the pictures below.

The tap is there because I had them literally throw the card with the old self qualities. We then taped on the new self with the new self qualities. Talked about how idols cannot be removed because one will always rise up and fill its spot. We must replace them with God and His promises. These particular verses in Ephesians were great practical replacing tools that I hope helped them to see how this works.

Homework was to continue to pay attention to cues in body and practice S.P.A. Help one another out in doing this.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: The Ascension by Tim Chester and Jonny Woodrow

I received a copy of this book free of charge from for the purpose of an honest review.

I requested this book for review because I realized I really did not know much about the ascension of Christ. I did not even think it was worth thinking too much about really. It is obvious Christ ascended and went to be with the Father. However, this book opened my eyes to the importance of the ascension of Christ. I appreciate this and understand more Scripturally why He had to ascend and what that means for humanity.

The book is an easy read and not incredibly long. It is divided up into three ways Christ is identified and what the ascension has to do with that. Chapter one is on what it means for Jesus to be the Ascended Priest. Chapter two covers Him as the Ascended King and Chapter three covers Christ as the Ascended Man. It is all great information that points you to Christ.

Personally my children have asked me the question, why can Jesus not come back now? Why can He not come to earth now? I thought this was a good question because I did not know beyond He is building a place for us. This book explains this well and how Jesus does have a role by staying in Heaven as priest, king, and man. Get the book to find out more.

You can get it from Amazon here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Philippians for Tweens - Week Two

My nine year old told me to use some smaller words this week! So I will try to do that. Please let me know what I can do to improve this for you. It has been a little while since I have been a tween. 

Did you memorize last weeks verses? Say it out loud to someone or write it down today.

Remember this book of the Bible is a letter Paul is writing to his friends, fellow believers, in Philippi. They are concerned about him because he is in prison. This week we move past the greeting of this letter and on to the main topics.

Read Philippians 1:12-14
"I want you to know, brothers,that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."

Take note of how Paul writes, "I want you to know." This is a typical greeting in letter writing in Paul's day. He is getting to the root of what he wants these friends to know. He is probably writing in response to a letter they have written to him inquiring of his well being. 

Paul first wants them to know he is well but most importantly to his heart that this imprisonment really has moved God's good news of the gospel into the prison guards lives. Paul is telling everyone why he is in chains. 

Next Paul is telling them he is seeing how what has happened to him is making others more bold to proclaim the good news of Christ. These are two very exciting things amidst hard circumstances. Paul takes time to see these things that matter, which are the eternal things, not just his present earthly circumstance that he is in prison as a innocent man who has done nothing wrong. 

Think About It.
1-Have you ever thought that without Paul being in prison, maybe the gospel would not had made it to prison guards? Every place your foot touches is an opportunity to spread the good news of Christ. You may be placed in various places that are not typical. Places where the gospel message needs to be shared.
What are some places you could do this?

I think of summer vacations or activities. These may not be typical places you go but for a time because of your circumstances you will be there. Take time to share the good news. You never know maybe God had you there for a time such as this. 

2-Have you ever heard stories of past missionaries who have died for the cause of Christ? Or who have gone through tough situations just to bring the good news of Christ to others? They inspire me to want to share Jesus more. They inspire me to want to do more for God. This is what was going on with Paul's time in prison. Some believers were actually encouraged to speak more boldly because of it. Do you have a friend or person in your life who seems to serve Christ with all they have in them? Do they encourage you to be more?

I have a friend who goes many days to the projects which are homes for people who are very poor financially. In this environment gangs frequent and unexpected shootings occur. Yet they continue to go there and serve out of love that comes from Christ. They continue to share the good news of Jesus with these people despite the circumstances and possibility of being shot. That encourages me to want to be more in Christ. 

Great work today! Keep it up!

Read Philippians 1:15-17 - Underline preach then note what words follow."It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me."

Compare and contrast these two groups of preachers:
1-Preach - Jealousy/rivalry - selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make Paul's chains more painful.
2-Preach - pure motives - love Paul - support because they know he was appointed to defend the gospel..

Sounds like children fighting or sibling rivalry huh? How could grown men preach to make things harder for Paul? I do not know. I do know that jealousy does do really bad things though.

Think About It.
Name a time you were jealous of someone and bad behavior that resulted? Did it make it worse for the person you were jealous of?

When we know who we are in Christ we never have to be jealous. We have God as our Father when we trust in Christ's sacrifice on our behalf. Because of this we are daughters of the King of the Universe. Our identity rests in Him. Every good thing we have comes from Him so we never have anything to be jealous of. God gives each of us exactly what He wants and we need. We serve a good God who does not withhold good things from us. Do you trust Him? If so when you start to feel jealous, confess it to Him. Let it go and trust what He has done for you. 

Name a time you were in a hard situation and someone stepped up to help you get through it. Can you think of a time? The Bible says that two are better than one. It is good to have a friend who can come alongside you and lift you up when you are struggling. Thank God for them!

Paul had these kind of people in his life. Those who were jealous making things hard for him and those who were making things easier for him. We will have those kinds of people in our lives as well. We can learn from Paul how to deal with these types of people. He will tell us in the next set of verses tomorrow. Great job! 

WednesdayRead this next section, verse 18, and look at how Paul thought about these two types of people we learned about yesterday.
"But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.

How did Paul respond to these people?
Do you see it?! He rejoices! Why? He only cares about Christ and the message of Christ being preached whether it hurts him or not. Is not that an incredible way to view things? Paul is completely focused on Christ. This is amazing to me! This is what I hope to be like one day. How about you?

Think About It.
Paul says about those people who are making things hard for him, "It does not matter." 
Wouldn't your life be much better and have less arguing and fighting if you just said this, "it does not matter."?

When you brother or sister or friend does something that is frustrating to you. You respond. It does not matter.

When your mom or dad blame you for something you did not do? You respond, it does not matter. Just go about your business. Make things right and make an effort to work it out.

It takes incredible confidence in who you are in Christ to do this. You have to know that God is your identity, your focus to stay rested in this thought pattern of "It does not matter." Because God will defend you when you are accused. He will work things out. And His love covers over a multitude of sins so when you are sinned against just say, "it does not matter" and go about your business knowing the ONE who truly loves completely already knows the truth and loves you more than anything else.

What are you thoughts about this line of thought? Try it today. Try thinking when you get frustrated or angry, "it does not matter." Walk along trusting God is in control of all things. He will work it out. Tomorrow we will see why Paul can say with confidence, "It does not matter."

ThursdayRead verse 19 today.
"For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance."

Paul knows that the prayers of his friends will help him. He knows God listens to prayers and answers. He is confident that the Holy Spirit that lives in him and every believer will help him. He is confident it will lead to his deliverance. We will see more of what this means tomorrow. Paul is in a situation that could actually lead to his death because the trial he is waiting for could end in the death penalty. He does not know how it will end but through it no matter what he has faith in Christ and will stay strong in HIM. 

Think About It.Prayer is such an important part of our life in Christ. God our Father delights to hear from us. We should practice talking to Him everyday. I know one thing I often hear is how do I talk to someone I cannot see? I understand this is hard. However our Christian faith is believing by faith and faith means, be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). We cannot see God as we cry out to Him or talk to Him but we must believe He hears us and delights to hear us. He is our Father who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die to restore us to Himself. That is incredible love and He desires a relationship with us. We must talk to have a relationship.

If you had a friend that had not talked to you in a long time how would your relationship be? It would have its challenges I am sure. That is why we must talk to God. Tell Him what we are thinking. Practice this today. Do you pray often? Paul believed the prayers of his friends would make a difference. Who can you pray for today?

 The Holy Spirit also helps us like Paul was confident of. When we trust in Christ for our salvation. The third part of the God-head comes to live inside of us. He is our Helper, Teacher, Comforter, Counselor. He helps us through life. He helps us connect to God in prayer because He is God. He helps us know God's word. He helps us to be strengthened when we are weak. He helps us stay on the right path. Did you realize this? What are your thoughts?

The God of Christianity is One God in three parts. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All in perfect fellowship and love, before the foundation of the world they had you in mind to be one of God's beloved. It is a big mystery how it all works out but it is such a beautiful thing the more and more you think about it. God needed no one. Yet He chose to make us His own with all our faults and blemishes. He loved us beyond that. It is amazing to think about isn't it?!

Ok good job. Take time praying to God today. Thanking Him for His goodness and love.

FridayRead Philippians 1:20"For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die."

What is another reason for Paul's confidence? Remember he is still talking about those who made things hard for him in his chains. Yesterday we looked at how his confidence was from the peoples prayers and help from the Holy Spirit. 

Despite being in prison we see his incredible hope and expectation in Christ. Because of this even in prison he will be bold for Christ just as he always has been. He is trusting that his life will bring honor to Christ in life or death. 

Paul is a great man of faith despite these hard circumstances. That is how we can walk in boldness, by walking in faith and trust in what Christ has done on our behalf. It is enough for any situation we may encounter in this life. Even facing death because this earth is not our final destination. Our home and citizenship is in Heaven with God if we belong to Him. If we trust that Christ lived the perfect, sinless life we could not live and died the perfect sacrifice for all our sins because of His love for us. If we truly believe this we can rest in this confidence because life or death, it does not matter. Christ is our life and all that matters.

Think About It.Name one way you can be bold for Christ this week?
How will you follow through with this?

How can others pray for you in this? Do you ever ask others to pray for you?
If Christ is with you in life or death is there ever any real reason to be afraid? 

Sweet girls, I am so proud of your perseverance. I am praying you will be bold in Christ. That you will share His good news with others in your life by example and in your speech as you speak about Him. Great job studying!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

We Have a Boy! Post-Adoption Thoughts

My pastor spoke on biblical authority last night in service. I think this is why this feels so different this morning than the other mornings with little man. He was technically my son because I was his guardian and I was raising him. I was a mother to him for all practical purposes however until the person with the real authority to say otherwise said it, it was not a true reality.

Yesterday was overwhelming and filled with an array of emotions. I have a son. I have a son. Maybe this is how Geppetto felt when Pinocchio became a real boy! I have no clue but I now know it is real and nothing can change that. We are now and forever a family of five.

I am so blessed to be a part of his biological family as well. They are truly a blessing indeed. Only God can work things in such a way. I stand back and watch and am amazed at what God has done with the hard and broken things. I see Him repairing and redeeming the stolen time.

God is the amazing One who works in astounding ways like this and "boom" I am adopted into His family when my heart turns to trust in Jesus sacrifice for an orphan like me! It is a full circle kind of thing and I am astonished at my Daddy day by day! He has worked miracles here.

Little man had a magnificent day! He loved the judge who listened to him and let him beat the gavel and express his desire to be a family with us! This boy we reached out to is now reaching back at us. It is beautiful! I just love this boy so! He is in the law's eyes the same as if I birthed him biologically. This thought amazes me too however when my Daddy reached down and grabbed a hold of my heart I too had a new birth into a new family. The picture is beautiful. I am breathless over it. I still need to wrap my brain around it. but for now we have a boy and we could not be more thrilled!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Idol Lies for Tweens - Week Two

Again we all stayed in a big group together and opened with prayer and the video for week two. Then we separated into groups. 

We opened this week by checking in to see if the homework assignment was completed. I asked them to pay attention to a time they were anxious or irritated this past week then remember the core idols we talked about. How those feelings were indication that a functional savior was trying to rise up in their circumstances.

We reviewed last weeks key deep rooted idols and how other behaviors are just symptoms of what is going on deeper in their hearts. Then we reviewed how we need to cry out to God as the one who meets those needs.

We reviewed two key Scriptures from last week.

We talked about some practical examples this week of things that are good in our lives. We discussed how God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17). That does not make them bad but there is a fine line between making  a good thing in our life our everything. The girls gave some examples.

I asked, "is there something in your life where you would think, I would just die if............."

This seemed to stir some thought processes in their minds and they could relate. We spoke more about a fine line you can cross when you have a good thing you can be thankful for and actually worshiping it.

We reviewed this Scripture from the past weeks adult homework.
Ezekiel 14:1-8
We discussed how God's people were caught in this trap of making idols in their hearts. Even leaders of God's people. We talked about how we all fall into this. Then I pointed out v. 6 and asked what God tells us to do? It was repent, turn away from sins and stop doing it.

It is here we discussed that Jesus died for all of our sins so when we discover we have run to an idol yet again we must immediately run to Him. He forgives us and will empower us to turn the other way. By His Spirit He will help us to stop and keep from doing it as we seek His help.

I pointed out to them that in any temptation to sin God provides a door out (1 Corinthians 10:13). Always look for the door.

Practically I introduced a way of doing this. I call it the S.P.A. Method.

When you start to feel that irritation, annoyance in your body you know those are warning signs. As soon as you recognize it. STOP! Then take a moment to PRAY to God asking Him to direct you according to His word. We discussed the importance of knowing His word so we know the right way to walk. Then when we are refocused on Him and His ways we ACT.

We discussed a few practical examples that we can do this through the week and looked at some from the past week and thought of how practicing this could have helped.

Homework for this week is to practice the S.P.A. method and report a situation from the week.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Week One - Joy in Christ! Philippians for Tweens. Summer Bible Study


First I am so glad you have chosen to join me and my girls in this study for tweens! I am praying it will bring forth much fruit. That we will grow in the gospel of grace together. That our children will desire God’s word above all things. That they learn to cling to Him continually knowing what He did for us brings great joy.
If you would like me to send this to you weekly in a document form so you can print it out easier send me your email address at angela @ otherwise I will post here each day’s home work on Sunday or Monday of each week. Leave comments as you feel led I would love to hear.
So let’s dig right in!

The book of Philippians is a letter written from Paul, (an amazing man of God who wrote most of the New Testament) to a group of believers that he dearly loves. These people have been amazing as well toward him. They had been supporters of Paul for a long time. Paul was the man who formed the church in the location of Philippi probably about 11 years earlier. This group of people formed the first church on the continent of Europe.
 Photo credit to

When Paul writes this letter we now him as an older man who is living in prison. His crime is preaching the gospel of Jesus. He has done nothing wrong. Prison cells at this time were not like they are today. They were carved in the ground or made with stone which gets really hot or really cold depending on the climate. Since he older now, his body probably hurts in these conditions. He has been beaten many times by enemies for preaching the gospel; he has had a really hard life. He has much to be sad about or even complain about yet we see he does not. I admire this about him. We will be exploring why he was like this as we read the letter. Here is a picture of an entrance to a prison cell in his time. Many Scholars have differing opinions about this particular imprisonment so this could have also been a time Paul was on house arrest. We cannot be completely sure but the principles still remain the same.
Photo credit to

The time frame of history features a horribly cruel leader of the romans who persecuted Christians greatly. His name was Nero. As Paul was in this prison he was most likely awaiting his trial in Rome which could end in the death penalty. He has all the reason to be anxious or worried about himself yet we see this man selflessly concerned about his friends instead. This is remarkable. We will see also how we too can be like Paul when we are tempted to worry.
Read this then answer the questions below.
Circle Holy Spirit and Spirit of Jesus
Underline each place mentioned

Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia,but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.
That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. Acts 16:6-10

1-Why could Paul not go to Asia?
2-Why did Paul go to Macedonia?

Macedonia is where Philippi is located. I think this is so important for you to take notice of. God moved Paul to Philippi to establish this church by sharing the good news of the gospel. This is how his relationship with these people started.

Think About It.
Do you have any friends you know that God placed in your life for a significant purpose or reason? If yes, do you value those friendships? If no, ask God to do that for you. Do you share the gospel with those friends?

Just so we are clear, the gospel, is the good news that because we are sinners by birth, Jesus came and lived the perfect life we could not live then died as the perfect sacrifice once and all for all of our sins then three days later rose from the dead defeating all death and sin. So if you believe what Jesus did for you, God sees you as if you lived that perfect life Jesus lived. Pretty amazing news right? Good enough to share! And news we need to remind ourselves of everyday especially when we mess up. God does not see the failure, He sees perfection in Christ. Now that is grace!

Great work today! It was a lot to take in for day one. Keep it up!

Today let’s look at the first two verses of this letter.

“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:1-2, NIV).

Paul is with his friend Timothy. Timothy is a younger friend who is helping Paul. Paul is a father like figure to Timothy.

How do you identify yourself when you introduce yourself to someone else?

Paul introduces them in this letter as servants of Jesus. In fact this word can actually be slave. Is this a prestigious title? Hi my name is Angela and I am a slave? But Paul takes pride in this title. It is of great joy he is a servant of Christ even after all the hardships he has faced. I love his faith, don’t you?
He is writing to all the believers in this city of Philippi. He is also including the leaders of the church. It is good that we give them special recognition for serving us while they do God’s work.

Do you ever think about this? Do you ever thank your pastor for his hard work of service?
Then they open this letter as a standard greeting of the times. It is going to them in grace and peace that comes from God. He is the only one who can give us ultimate grace and peace.

Think About It
Nero was an evil emperor who hated Christians. At the time he wrote down many things. So did the apostle Paul. Now looking ahead to our day what writings remain? Tons of Bibles are all around us that include Paul’s letters. Did you know none of Nero’s writings survived? God is in control despite the circumstances. His word is true and unending. It will remain.
This was a shorter day but good work! Keep up the good work of studying His word! It is what is useful for us in all things.

Read the following passage and take note of what Paul is thankful for.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:3-8).

1-Is there someone that you can give thanks to God for every time you think of them?
2-Are you the type of person that people can be thankful for when they think of you?
3-How have these people been partners with Paul? (in the 2nd sentence)
These friends in Philippi were faithful in sharing the gospel with others. Paul is encouraged to hear and see this. He is genuinely thankful for them. He is certain of something too. What is he certain of? Find that word certain and write down what he is certain of.

Paul was convinced that God who began a good work in them would bring it to full completion. Do you feel this way about others in your own life? When you look at them now they are not perfect but God has begun a work in their lives. In this view can you trust God to bring it fully to completion? There are some people it is easier for me to see this in than others.

However, in your home especially with your brothers and sisters, consider that God created them in His image. He will finish the good work in them He started. It is His promise. We must trust it. Or even if you are frustrated with yourself for not being as close to God as you like, trust God is working in you and will finish His work in your life. We can trust Him in this and His promises.
Paul has a special place in his heart for these friends. They are true friends who do not desert him while he is in prison. They continue to remain concerned and care for him even though this could be embarrassing. They are true friends.

Think About It
1-Do you have friends like Paul has here? If you did something embarrassing would they still remain faithful friends? Faithful friends who love you for you are the best kind. Maybe you could take time today to pray for one of your faithful friends. Maybe you could even take time to write them a card thanking them for their friendship.
2-When you are frustrated with someone but especially a fellow Christian; can you trust that God is working in their life? When you feel this particular frustration remember God is working in them until they are complete just as He is working in you. He is always using all things in our lives to mold and change us more and more into His image.
3-Paul is thinking of others in his time of trial in this prison. This is part of the secret of his ability to have joy in these hard circumstances. Think about how often you think of others vs. thinking of yourself today. Just take note of it. We will discuss it more later.

Read this next section of Paul’s letter. It is a prayer.
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.  May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God” (Philippians 1:9-11).

This is a great prayer to pray for anyone you know! Why don’t you take time to memorize it today? A tip to make this easier is to read it 7 times. Slowly read and let it sink in. Then try to say it line by line until you got it. Next try to write it without looking several times. This is hiding God’s word in your heart and is a good practice. This is all you need to do today.

Did you try to memorize yesterday? How did you do?
Reread the passage Philippians 1:9-11.
In the first sentence what does Paul pray about their love?
Then what does he pray about them growing?
Next what does he want them to understand?
Why does he want them to understand this?
What does he want them to be filled with always?
This is a beautiful prayer. Since you are working on memorizing it why not pray it for your friends? God hears our prayers. He is true to His promises so praying Scripture is a great way to pray. 

Think About It
1-Are people drawn to Jesus by others when they are loving or condemning? Why?
2-Have you seen an example of this?
3-Do you use a benefit to memorizing Scriptures? Why or why not?
Take time to pray this Scripture for your friends.
4-Do you make it your goal to bring glory to God or yourself? The prayer Paul is praying for these friends is a prayer for God’s glory.

Great job this week! Keep it up! His word is so important to hold in your heart.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Idol Lies for Tweens Study Chapter One

First I have to say to every woman who visits here, Idol Lies is a great book to study and work through. It is life changing and I highly recommend it! We are doing this study together in my church. We have chosen to split the tween girls and put them in their own group because of the sensitivity of some of this material. These may help you if you decide to do the same thing. Group time is about 30 minutes for us.

For you Concord moms here is what I will be using during discussion time with your daughters.
Chapter One:
1-In the video you saw that cliff and the dark waters below. What did you think about that?
Our hearts can be just like those dark waters. It is hard to know what is under the surface.
Questions can help us identify what is in our hearts.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
    and desperately wicked.
    Who really knows how bad it is?" Jeremiah 17:9

"Though good advice lies deep within the heart,
    a person with understanding will draw it out." Proverbs 20:5
Here are some ways to discover some of these idol or things we run to instead of running to God.

1-Have you ever been angry or upset and thought if I just eat some candy it will make me feel better?
Or if I have a scoop of ice cream it will make things alright?

If yes this is one of the ways you run to something other than God for comfort.
God is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). We were meant to run to Him for this comfort instead of anything else.

2-Have you ever said something mean to make yourself feel better? Or have you ever said something bad about someone else to make yourself look better than them? Have you ever thought I must be the best at this or that?

If yes this is one of the ways you are running to an idol other than God. God gives us our identity so beyond that it does not matter what anyone else thinks (1 Cor. 4:3-4). And in Him we are His children which makes us royalty. That then makes you princesses so you should walk confidently before Him not in arrogance but in confidence that you belong to the most high King. Your identity is in this if you are in Christ. (shared the gospel here. Christ came, died, and rose again for our sin. That is only way we can be identified with Him in this way.)

3-Have you ever wanted something that someone else had? If they would not give it to you have you ever made something else look better so they would leave the thing you wanted? I see this happen with brothers and sisters often and this is called manipulation. When we do this we are not being content with what we have (Philippians 4:11). We are not trusting God to give us all we need or want. 

God is the Ruler of the entire universe. He is the one who owns all things. Cry out to Him and he will help your heart be content. 

Now we have identified root idols, how do we run to God instead of running to these false idols? These false things we run too are not going to help us in the long run. God will help us with them.

We need to learn to know when one of these temptations are rising up and then cry out to God for His help or even ask your mom or dad to help you work through this. If you start to feel anxious, annoyed, or frustrated you are to stop and think about what is really going on. Think about where it is you are not trusting God and cry out to Him to help in this area. 

Homework assigned for the week was to pay attention to these frustrations, annoyances, anxiousness and report back to class what happened.

Summer Tween Bible Study: Joy in Christ! Philippians for Tweens.

I am so very excited to start this summer series for tweens! The study is broken down into Monday thru Friday sections giving your daughter the chance to practice daily quiet time. The first week's set of lessons will post this Sunday the 16th. Do come back and leave comments or questions if you like. It would be a fun way to connect. If you would rather have a copy sent to you via Word document so you can print it more easily let me know and I will send it to you! Looking forward to doing this together!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hi My Name is Angela and I Have a Child with Autism but GRACE

My friend who also has a child with special needs asked me if I was going to sign my child up for dream night which is a special event for families of kids with special needs. I knew about this event and saw it listed earlier but conveniently forgot about it. When it was brought back up to the surface again I was confronted with my heart.

Several times a year I see these events for special needs kids. I think they are great yet I try to forget I have a kid with special needs. There is a problem in my heart with pride. Because outwardly she looks "normal" it is easy to forget she does have special needs until a tantrum occurs or I see her try to spread peanut butter on bread or I see her in social situations or remember we can never again watch a family movie together until some anxieties clear up.  I quietly mourn these things by myself. Maybe I don't want to accept it? Maybe I am faced with my own weakness and I want to be strong here? Maybe I think people just don't care about my grief? I am not sure.

You see I am more than happy to serve special needs kids or support special needs kids but when the grace of service comes to me personally I find it difficult to receive. I find it difficult to accept this gift of service and love toward our family because of our special needs. Families like ours desperately need this gift of grace. We need to know we are loved and not alone. We need to know there are others out there who want to help and love on us. I just need to accept it. I need to receive it.

It is not unlike God's free gift of grace to us. It is too good to be true but it is TRUE! We must simply believe it is ours and receive it by faith. It is so simple yet so profound! God will never turn away one who believes this. And not only is this good news my answer for a secure eternity, it is my answer for here and now as well. When my pride gets in the way of receiving help I run to Him knowing He took my pride on the cross. I confess this to Him and then ask for Him to help me with my unbelief. I remember because of what He has done I am free to be weak. I am free to receive help. I am free to be a family with special needs. I am free to admit my weakness. I am free to admit the ugly thoughts of my heart. Christ took those on the cross on my behalf. He then gave me the identity of all He ever did. That is how I am viewed in God's eyes. It does not matter what anyone else sees not even how I view myself. I am wholly loved. I am wholly accepted. I am free. Period.

This free gift is available to all who believe it. What a Savior!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Son, You No Longer Need to Eat the Crumbs -- Believe Your New Reality

"It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God," Galatians 6:15-16.

My son often grabs a cookie or piece of candy from the floor among dust and dirt. It is like he has an eye for this treasure. I am thankful he asks me if he can eat it first because as his mom it is my job to tell him that this is not a treasure at all. In fact, it could make him sick since it has been on the ground where disgusting shoes travel that pick up all kinds of germs.

Upon his latest discovery, which makes him so excited, of a cookie on the floor destined for the garbage but I had not yet swept up he asks excitedly, "Can I eat this cookie?" I reply, "No son that one is dirty." He trusts me which is a miracle because in his early years he was deprived of food. I know he had to scavenge for food so floor food was probably indeed a treasure. But not anymore. I am not sure how long it takes one to get over this. It must be believing what his new reality now is instead of remaining in the past.

I took him to the cupboard and opened it up to retrieve a new box of cookies which I gave him a few. I told him these are the good ones and reminded him we don't eat the scraps.

It reminds me of how God our Father must view us. If we are in Him we fully belong to Him. We are part of the royal family with all the rights and privilege that are inherited there. All the promises are ours. We are a new creation yet we continue to settle for crumbs. We don't believe that God the good Father has better for us. We settle for what we knew. We frown at grace because we feel like we are not worth more than crumbs. But this is so far from the truth. He has the delicacies displayed for us to dig into. Can we trust Him for them? Can we believe in faith and not settle for second best?

Lord help me to do this as your blessed princess, fully redeemed and adopted in Christ Jesus.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Philippians for Tweens -- Joy in Christ. Period.

I have a desire to write these studies to help my daughters love the study of the word as well as help them with the discipline of it. Would you like to join me in piloting this with your tween? Let me know if you would like to join in and maybe our daughters can even find a way to discuss it. I don't know I just love the word and want to help as many as possible love it too. Since I am doing this for my tweens I want to help you too.

Leave a comment or message me if you want in. I will put the study up once a week on Sundays or Mondays. It will give your daughters assigned work to do on their own for their own quiet time. Then if you study it alongside them mom it will give you some things to talk about together. This would be best to aid them in their growth.

Philippians is very relevant to today. Paul is an amazing example of grace, love, and joy despite his difficult circumstances. I am encouraged so much by him and this inspired word of God that we are left with.

You can encourage your daughter to read the book of Philippians as a whole now. It is only four short chapters. Tell her to focus on what stands out to her. Encourage her to write it down. Also tell her to focus on repeated words.

Look forward to doing this together! I will have this ready to go next Sunday or Monday! Sign up to receive posts in your email if you do not want to miss it. Otherwise just come back during that time and check in.

Book Review: Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman & Giveaway

I received a copy of this book at no charge for the purpose a an honest review.

This book is an incredible read, in fact I would go as far to say it is the best book of encouragement I have ever read for moms. However, I do not believe it is only for moms. I think any woman (or honestly any reader) would benefit from this book. It encourages and points you continually to Christ which is the only thing that can help you when it boils down to it. Many want to give you lists of rules or instructions but this book points you to Christ for answers, because of what He has already done and will do for us. It is encouraging to your faith so you hold your gaze on Him as you faithfully work in the mundane.

The author has an unique way to hold the reader's attention. She opens herself up in a way that is completely beautiful with all honesty and makes you wish you were her friend. In fact you don't even have to wish for she welcomes you in such a way you feel as if you are listening to a good friend. It feels like she understands your very own struggles in the mundane of life then she cheers you on to remember what Christ did and the promises that are true. This is an unusual gift for writers and she has it. I hope to see many more titles come from her.

Logistically the book takes you through many passages of Scripture and helps you see how your calling as a worker among the mundane is indeed miraculous. It is a place that God uses you in huge ways. We must remember who we belong to and what we have in Him regardless of where we are placed. The author states the reason for this book is so we can know, "Theology is for homemakers who need to know who God is, who they are, and what this mundane life is all about." The rest of the book unpacks this for the reader. In fact the "biggest questions explored in this book are: What does the gospel have to do with our lives in the home? and How does this grace change the way we live?"

You see the gospel is not a one time event but it is an everyday grace we need to remember as we live in it day by day or even moment by moment. Furman takes you through how to do this as a homemaker. She addresses how the gospel applies in mothering, marriage, keeping the home, friendships, pain and more. Pick it up and read it. You will not be sorry!

I loved this so much I want to give away two to you. This is my own purchase not a promotion from the publisher. This is how much I love this book and think you should read it. Just leave a comment below about what the gospel means to you. I will draw the winner on Friday.

To get a copy of this book from go here.

Purchase a copy of Glimpses of Grace from your favorite local or online retailer from June 3-7 and receive a free copy of the ebook as well as one of Gloria's favorite resources—the ESV Study Bible Online ( Web App & Ebook)!

To redeem your free extras, simply scan and email your receipt to before 11:59am on Friday, June 7.*

*Any receipts that are not legible, not included, or believed to be fraudulent will be disqualified. Limited to one promotion per person.
Here is a wonderful interview done with the author as well. Found here.

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