Bible Study

  • Does Forgiveness Equal Restored Relationship?

    forgiveness restored relationship“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example…”
                                                                                 Ephesians 4:32-5:1 NIV

    Life is so generous to give us lots of opportunities to extend forgiveness to people who hurt us. What’s the proper response to offence? Do we always have to forgive?

    Does forgiveness =equal= restored relationship?

    If we are to follow God’s example, as this verse instructs us, then forgiveness is a must and restored relationships need to be our intent.

    Sadly, I don’t think forgiveness can always lead to restored relationships, and we see that in Jesus’ relationship with the Pharisees.

    Isaiah 59:2 explains that our sin is an offence to God, separating us in our relationship with Him. The more we sin and the longer we continue offending Him, the more distant our relationship with Him becomes. Forgiveness can take place in an instant when a prayer is whispered, but it takes time to rebuild a relationship with God.

    Restoration happens when we take ownership of our offense and change our ways. We have to go through a process to rebuild our closeness with the Father.

    The same principle needs to be applied to our earthly relationships.
    We must forgive others for their offenses towards us. If we don’t, it keeps us bound in bitterness. It’s healthy to learn that a restored relationship is separate from forgiveness and requires a healing process.
    When approaching relationship restoration, we need to consider the whole counsel of scripture.
    Proverbs 4:23 warns,

    “Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life” (NLT).

    Proverbs 22:24 cautions,

    “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
    do not associate with one easily angered...”
    Forgiveness + Ownership + Repentence = Restored Relationship

    Sometimes you’ll need to forgive and protect yourself from unhealthy or even toxic relationships. In the best of times, forgiveness leads to a better, stronger restored relationship.

    Prayer:

    Father, I thank You for Your forgiveness. I ask for the grace to forgive others in my life who have hurt and offended me. I take myself out of the judge’s seat and release them to Your judgement and justice. Please help me to guard my heart, without closing it in the area of relationship restoration. May I walk in Your wholeness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
    Drawing from the well
    1. Ephesians 4:32
    2. Isaiah 59:2
    3. Proverbs 22:24–25
    4. Proverbs 4:23

    Soul H2OThis post was first published on January 19, 2014 and then included in my first Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.
    Devotion #17 – Forgiveness and Restored Relationship.  The original devotion also inspired a #musicpic post called, The Forgiveness Song

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  • Crazy Provision FREE Download!

    On Monday I posted a devotion called #Provision.  I talked about the crazy story in Mathew 17:24-27 where Jesus provides tax money for Peter and Himself from a fish’s mouth! If you didn’t get to read it, you may want to now. [imic_button colour=”btn-primary” type=”enabled” link=”https://sherrystahl.com/provision/” target=”_blank” extraclass=”” size=”btn-sm”]Provision Devotion[/imic_button]

    The devotion got me thinking about some of the amazing stories in the Bible where God provided for His people. I started writing them down and could feel the faith in my heart building as I researched, read and wrote. It’s been a really encouraging exercise for me to look up the verses and record the crazy ways God provided for others.

    I’ve created a FREE download for you!

    It’s a Quick Bible Study on God our Provider called:

    12 Crazy Provisions From God

     

    Click the Title Above to open the FREE download

    I want to share these scriptures with you so you can be encouraged as much as I was! I hope you take the time to do what I did and

    Record The Crazy, Amazing Provisions God Gave!

    I believe that if you do, it will build up your faith! It’s not a fancy download; I’m not that techy yet, but it is easy to open and won’t use up your ink! It will bolster your faith!

    After you’ve done the Bible Study

    Come back and do what I’ve done. If this exercise reminded you of a past provision when God provided in a CRAZY way, I have a challenge for you!

    Dare to share a time when God provided for your needs in an unexpected way?…… Record it in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

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  • Don't Take The Bait

    “…We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.
                                 2 Corinthians 10:5 The Voice

    The strangest thing happened to me at work last week. I was listening to a Christian radio station online when all of a sudden I heard a voice on the radio that I hadn’t heard for about 3 years. Immediately I was angry. I could feel the resentment starting to churn inside of me, so I quickly changed stations hoping to free myself of the negative thoughts. For the rest of the day, memories kept popping into my head about how this person had hurt me. Events I hadn’t given thought to for so many years. Emotions were rising up that had been laid to rest years before. This time I was wise to the enemy’s tactic and fought the urge to pick up the offense again and trying to make me feel like I hadn’t forgiven. God’s spirit inside of me was setting off warning alarms saying…Don’t Take The Bait!bait
    The battle continued raging inside of my head for a few days. Thoughts would come out of nowhere. There was a conflict in my spirit to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5 NIV) My flesh wanted to give in to the emotions and thoughts of self-pity. I was wronged and had every right to be hurt—didn’t I?
    Recognizing it was a struggle to overcome, I shared what had happened to Todd and confessed my difficulties in letting it go. By exposing my weakness it helped me to live out 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says, “We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.” (The Voice)
    Keep your spiritual antenna up and be wise to the enemy’s tactics. Take those thoughts prisoner. Whatever you do…Don’t Take The Bait!
    Prayer
    Father, I thank-you for your wisdom to know when the enemy is on the prowl. Help me to come out victorious as you strengthen me to gain control over my thought life. May I bring you joy! In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Cause and Effect

    sing for joy“…you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD…The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
                                                               Isaiah 51:1,3 NIV
    Have you ever gone through a time in your life when you couldn’t imagine ever having joy or feeling glad?   It’s horrible! I remember going to church and not even being able to sing because I feared that if I sang it would bring on a tidal wave of emotions that I couldn’t control. I read this verse and struggled to believe it was possible. How could joy, gladness and singing come back into my life? These verses gave me hope to know that there were things I could do to place myself in line with God’s promises. A kind of “CAUSE AND EFFECT” principle that was offered to the people in Isaiah’s time worked for me and is applicable for your life today!
    If you want to see a big turnaround in your life from deserts to gardens, Isaiah says you need to “pursue righteousness” and “seek the LORD”. You don’t have to fix yourself, anyone or anything else up. It’s simply out of pursuing and seeking after God, who is our righteousness that we gain joy, gladness and start to sing again. When you begin to set your focus on building your relationship with Him and start over looking your desert wastelands that you will start to feel the joy and gladness surging through your heart.
    My experience has been that when I have decidedly spent time enjoying my relationship with God that the negative hard stuff doesn’t affect me as much. The more I spend time pursuing a relationship with God, the more refreshed I am and able to experience the joy He has for me. It’s been a process that was set into motion by following this “CAUSE AND EFFECT” principle; I seek, HE restores! How good to know that our God doesn’t change. His promises were just as effective yesterday as they are today! Why not take advantage of them?
    Prayer
    Father, I thank-you that Your promises are true, even when I don’t feel like they are. I ask you to help me to pursue You alone. I set my focus on building relationship with you so that You can apply this promise to my life and fill me with Your gladness to the place where I will sing for joy!  In Jesus name…Amen.
     

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  • Catch Me

    “Like an eagle that stirs up it’s nest and hovers over it’s young, that spreads it’s wings to catch them and carries them on it’s pinions”
    Deuteronomy 32:11
    As you can tell, I’m on a bit of an “eagle” theme these past few weeks. Life has thrown us some pretty big challenges these days and I find so much comfort in the promise this verse holds. Last week I talked about the beginning of this verse and how our heavenly father is a “hovering” parent who knows when to push us forward. Today I want to talk to you about the last part of this verse. It reminds me that no matter how far or how fast I’m falling that God will catch me!catch me
    The visual of an eagle spreading its wings to fly under and catch a young eaglet is an incredible picture. All to often we’re like the little eagle. Minding our own business when suddenly, the floor drops out from under us and we’re in a free fall. Just when we think we’re going to hit the ground and be obliterated, God swoops down and catches us bringing us to safety! Psalm 37:24-25 confirms, “When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” “I have never seen the godly abandoned.” (NASB & NLT)
    Despite strong winds, free falls, and times where you question why you are getting pushed out of your nest, understand that God is in fact hovering over you and He will swoop down when He knows you need a lift!

    PRAYER

    Father…I thank-you for how you catch me when I’m falling! Help me to trust you when the carpet gets pulled out and I’ve lost my way. May I rest on your wings as you fly me to safely back to the nest. In Jesus Name…Amen!

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  • Hovering

    eagle in nest with eaglets“Like an eagle that stirs up it’s nest and hovers over it’s young, that spreads it’s wings to catch them and carries them on it’s pinions”
                                                                                                                         Deuteronomy 32:11
    I am a mom. I have given birth to two amazing people (not really kids anymore), but there are many who call me “mom”. A bunch affectionately call me their “other mom” and some their “camp mom”. Wherever I am, I tend to mother those around me. No matter their age, there’s something in me that wants to make sure everyone is OK and to help people reach their God-given potential. I love how this Bible verse explains that God is a “hovering” parent too!
    As the perfect parent God can make perfect decisions knowing when to hover, when to stir up and when to catch His kids. As my children have gotten older it’s been a real learning process in knowing when to back off that “hovering” gifting! Eagles are a perfect example of how to parent people of all ages. When Eagles have young they provide for every need the eaglet has. eagle feeding babyWhen the eaglets get a little older, but before they’re ready to leave the nest, before they can fly, the mother, in love pushes them out of the nest! eaglet flying by mom
    Now what kind of parenting is that? Actually, it’s great parenting! Great leadership!  The eagle then spreads its wings to catch the learner and carries them on their pinions. Pinions are the wings that an eagle uses to fly. They are teaching the eaglet how to fly by example. Pushing people out of the nest when they’re not ready accomplishes so many things. It causes them to place their trust in the one who pushed them out to catch them before they crash. After a few pushes, confidence begins to grow till one day the eaglet starts to soar!young eagle flying by mom
    So, is God pushing you out of the nest or encouraging you to let someone else in your care learn to fly? Take that leap of faith and trust that Your father is a hovering parent that never lets anyone hit the bottom when you trust in Him!
    PRAYER
    Father…I thank-you for believing in me! Help me to not fear, but jump out of the nest and learn to soar. May I fly in your strength accomplishing all that you have for me to do. May I lead those you have paced in my care to even higher heights than I can go! In Jesus Name…Amen!

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  • Desensitized

    Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”
                                                                            Ephesians 4:17
    “Did you hear about Jen? Did you hear what John did? Can you believe them? And to think she used to sing in the choir and he used to teach Sunday School!”  It’s always shocking when strong Christians fall away from their faith and into sin so scandalous that even unbelievers are appalled. gossiping couple
    When you read Ephesians 4:17 on its own you think it must be about people who don’t know Christ, but it is a verse talking about Christians losing the spiritual sensitivity they used to have until they end up totally desensitized.
    It’s something you think could never happen to you, but I want to warn you that it can happen to anyone who leaves their spiritual thirst unquenched. I feel that God has allowed me to live out a life example of this. In the past week I’ve been to the hospital twice, for of all things—dehydration!
    A nasty virus left my body depleted, in need of rehydration through an IV. On the first trip to the hospital I knew I was dehydrated. The second time I was shocked to find out that not only was I dehydrated, but my potassium was also low. They had to run an EKG to check that it had not affected my heart. I was shocked! At one point I had almost left the hospital when it was taking so long, thinking I wasn’t as bad as the time before, when actually I was worse.
    When people are spiritually dehydrated they notice it at first. They can sense the Holy Spirit nudging them to go to church, read their Bible, pray, listen to Christian music, call a Christian friend or to stay away from something. But, after a while of being dehydrated you become desensitized to your spiritual thirst and that’s what leads to all sorts of ungodly living. The way to keep spiritually sensitive is to do what you’re doing! Stay spiritually hydrated!IV IN DESERT
    PRAYER
    Father…I thank-you for the water of Your Word! May Your Word Hydrate me to overflowing that I would stay forever sensitive to Your leading and Your love! In Jesus Name…Amen!

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  • Uncertainty

    “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:”
    1 Corinthians 9:26 (KJV)
    Yesterday, we celebrated Father’s Day and 5 kids in the family graduating from high school, College and University. So much of the conversation was answers to “What are you going to do…”. uncertainty-person direction arrows all waysSome had clear set paths that were ideally matched to their giftings, while others didn’t know and shared the concerns of their uncertainties.UNCERTAINTY-Many roadsigns
    Sometimes we feel like we’re just “shadowboxing” or fighting as one that “beateth the air” as they say in Shakespearean English! ☺ Seemingly, running this race of life aimlessly. It can be frustrating when we are uncertain of what the future holds and others around us have such clarity.
    The uncertainties of life can be draining, until you recognize as Christians that our future is certain. Paul encourages the Ephesian believers that he was praying God would give them the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation” so they would know “the hope” to which he had called them (Ephesians 1:17-18 NIV). Jeremiah 29:11 assures us that God has hope and a good plan for our lives. So, if we put these two verses together with our faith, we can know that there are truly no uncertainties. We can let the frustration and stress leave, as we relax in the knowing that He has it all figured out and, we’re not just aimlessly running the race. Our Father who is all knowing, has a good plan for our life and, He will reveal it to us!
    Prayer
    Father…I thank-you for your plan for my life. I ask that you would continue to bring revelation to the details, as I need to know them. Help me to trust you in this journey of faith. In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • Ladies' Bible Study

    Ladies Bible StudyI’m part of a trio.  The only kind I’ll be a part of!  A “Teaching Trio” with my friends Julie and Michelle.  We lead a Women’s Connection, Monday Night Ladies Bible Study group at  FGT Family Church.  Two days ago was an epic night for us girls.  It was our finale for the Season.  One of those happy/sad things.  We were happy to get together, but sad it meant we wouldn’t be meeting for a couple months during the summer holidays.  We’ve become such a close group that Monday nights are going to seem weird not being together!  We’re so close one of our members Rosie shared how we’re not just friends, we’re family.  She and her daughter left Jamaica and have no relatives here.  We are her family.  I agreed with Rose and told her we’re just the pale side of her family 🙂
    The night started off with an incredible dinner prepared for us by the Lovely Leah!  We normally do pot-lucks, but this allowed us all to relax and enjoy every part of the evening.  Eight of our sisters shared testimonies of how God has brought them “through” the desert and provided them with water in their desert.  Many while going through my book, WATER IN THE DESERT in the study.  Dawn, Michelle and Susan all shared  how the study and the group helped them when they lost their moms this past year.  Others shared about broken marriages restored by the power of God’s grace.  Kerry shared about how God used her cancer journey to restore so much to her that she is glad she went through that desert!  Powerful stories of God’s greatness in the lives of amazing everyday girls!

    We listened to the faith infusing song “I WILL PRAISE YOU” by Rebecca St. James rebecca st jameshttp://www.rsjames.com  Here are some of the lyrics:

    JOY, comes in the morning.  The sun is rising, and I wait for you.
    STREAMS, flow in the desert.  There’s an oasis, and I wait for you.
    WHATEVER the storm, WHATEVER is lost, WHATEVER it takes, WHATEVER the cost…
    I WILL PRAISE YOU!

    Every lady that shared told about how God provided streams in their deserts and how He brought joy in the morning!  They are women who have lived out the WHATEVERS in lives and continued to praise God!  They were, and are so inspiring!
    Prayer time has become an integral part of our group.  We have seen so many miracles in answer to our prayers.  So often at special events we don’t have our normal prayer time and this event was no different.  Our prayer time was anything BUT normal!  For the girls that could stay, we ended up sitting in a circle sharing our deepest needs, praying together, encouraging each other with words and in The Word!  It really was indescribable how sweet the presence of God was in our midst.  The unity in our group is what opened the door for God to move in such a dramatic way.  Each of these girls touching my life in powerful ways.  If you’re spirit is in need of hydration, you NEED to join a Ladies Bible Study group! Getting into the Word with other Girls will change your life!
    Hope you like the pictures of me and my girlfriends!
    xoxo
    Sherry

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  • Paneled Walls

    “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?…You have planted much, but have harvested little…Give careful thought to your ways…Why? declares the Lord Almighty. Because of my house, which remains a ruin while each of you is busy with his own house…the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.”
                                              Haggai 1:3-10 (NIV)
    When I read these verses the first thing that came to mind was my grandparents house in the 70’s with all the paneled walls!  paneled wall 70s
    They were all the rage. The really cool houses had them back then. Home Reno shows today are still trying to come up with ways to deal with the stuff.paneled wall-ripping down
    Back in the time these verses were written paneled walls were a big deal too. It was something the royal families would have in their homes.
    paneld home
    These scriptures tell about the time when the Israelites had come back to Jerusalem after their captivity. They were so grateful to God for bringing them back to their homeland that they immediately began to rebuild the temple. But then they got sidetracked and started to rebuild their own homes and stopped working on the temple. God makes it clear to them through the prophet Haggai that their inactiveness in completing what God had called them to do was the reason they were experiencing lack. He confirmed to them that their lagging in doing His will was withholding His blessing from their lives.
    How important it is for us to quickly respond in obedience to what God calls us to do. How frustrated God must get with us when He brings us out of something and we let the excitement and thankfulness fade and give way to selfishness. So don’t put up any “paneled walls” in your life. Quickly, move forward in what God has called you to do!
    Prayer
    Father…Thank-you for patience in dealing with me. Please reveal any areas where I have held back in fulfilling your calling on my life. Help me to build up YOUR kingdom!  In Jesus Name…Amen.

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