Thursday, October 27, 2016

What I'm Studying this Week ... 10/27/2016

I started a study of I Corinthians week before last and have continued it into this week.  Oh my, is it ever good!   I finished chapter 5 this morning and already Paul has tackled some tough issues that were going on in the Church there at Corinth.  

I’m also reading out of a daily devotional book titled Voices from the Past by Richard Rushing.   The daily devotionals in this book will bring you face to face with yourself.   

I hope you’ve carved out some time in your busy schedules to spend time in God’s Word this week.  Knowing for yourself what God’s word says, not what someone tells you it says, is so important in our walks with God.

Have a blessed weekend everyone and I’ll meet you back here Monday ready to start another week.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

" ... and Peter" ... Mark 16:7

by Patsy Norwood ~ © 2004 - 2016

We have all read many times the story of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. We have read how He was deserted; how in His last hours here on earth even Peter, one of His beloved disciples, denied knowing Him. Oh, the emotional anguish that our Saviour must have suffered on the night of His betrayal! 
But what about Peter, the impetuous disciple that denied Him not once, not twice, but three times? Jesus warned him that he would do this in Mark 14: 27-31 and Peter vehemently denied that he would do such a thing. How do you think Peter felt after he realized he had done the very thing he said he would not do? Mark 14:72 says he wept. Peter surely felt remorse and sorrow for what he had done otherwise he would not have wept. Peter was also probably feeling pretty hopeless realizing that he had really messed up. Oh, for the opportunity to undo what he had done!

I'm sure all of us at one time or another has shared Peter's feelings of sorrow, remorse, and hopelessness over something that we've done. Oh, for the opportunity to undo damage our actions caused! If only ... but wait, there is good news! Mark 16:7 says "But go, tell His disciples – and Peter – that He is going before you into Galilee: there you will see Him, as He said to you". 

" .... and Peter", wait a minute, Peter was the one who denied Him ... 3 times ... at a time when Jesus needed someone to stand by Him. Do you mean that He wanted to include Peter, that He still counted him as one of His own ... after what he had done? 

According to Mark 16:7 that is exactly what He meant. Jesus specifically said "... go tell His disciples – and Peter –." Do you think it was because He knew that Peter was truly sorry for what he had done? Do you think that Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was forgiven? Do you think He feels the same way when we acknowledge our sins, are repentant, and ask forgiveness?

" ... and Peter" assures us that He does!

I wrote this writing back in 2004 and have used it as a reminder to myself several times since.  If you are caring a heavy load of regret over something you've done and wondering whether or not God will forgive you, don't listen to Satan who wants us to believe that we are unforgivable, instead go to God's Word and claim His sweet promises.  God forgave Peter and He'll forgive us too! ~ patsy

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath ... Lesson 10

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood
© 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

 We're going to wrap up our study on The Widow of Zarephath with this post ...  I hope this study has been beneficial to you.

O. K. it’s application time …

The widow needed to rely upon God on more than one occasion and with each reliance her faith grew stronger and stronger.  As we all know, relying upon God is not easy, which brings us to this question …

Why is it so hard for us to rely upon God and His promises?  Could it be that we don't want to relinquish control?

Now that we’ve talked about why it’s so hard to rely upon God and His promises, there remains only one question to answer … what can we do, how can we equip ourselves to battle those ‘whys?’

Here are a few suggestions ... 

(1)  get closer to God, spend more time in His word and in prayer

(2)  reach out to fellow Christians and ask for their prayers

(3)  immerse one's self in the works of the Lord, it helps to take one's mind off of the 'why's'

(4) find verses in God's Word that are applicable and memorize them, then repeat them to one's self as often as needed

Holding on to God and His promises in the face of adversity is one of the hardest things we'll ever do, but the good news is that God does not require us to hold on alone.  Just as He sent Elijah to the widow, He also sends help to us through fellow Christians and through His Word.  God is a loving Father and does not abandon His children to face trials and tribulations alone.  What a comforting thought!


Monday, October 24, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath ... Lesson # 9

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood
© 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

In this lesson, the widow experiences every mother’s nightmare …

Fast forward to a time referred to as “after these things” in I Kings 17:17 and we find the widow grieving over her sick son.  The Scriptures say that “the sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him.”  In other words he was dead.  What is the widow’s reaction?

The widow had just come through a period of time where God had sustained her and her son completely.    She had to have been feeling better about things and her faith must have been strengthened, when BAM, her son dies.   In her relationship with God, where is she now?  Where does God want her to be?

As this tragedy unfolds, the widow takes a look inward.  What, in essence, is she saying in verse 18 when she says, “What have I to do with you, O man of God?  You have come to me to bring my iniquity to remembrance and to put my son to death.”
Apparently, the widow is thinking that the death of her son is the consequence of some sin she has committed in the past. (This type of thinking was common among the people of this time.)  

What did Elijah do with the widow’s dead son?  (I Kings 17:19-21)

What was the end result?  (I Kings 17: 22-23)

This widow has now witnessed two miracles which directly affected her and her son.  What are these miracles?
If, up to this point, the widow has had any doubt about Elijah and his source of power she doesn’t anymore.  What proclamation does she make and why?  (I Kings 17:24)

In the next lesson, we will wrap this study up with some practical application suggestions.  I hope you are taking your Bible and searching out the answers to these questions.  It is only when we personally spend time in God’s Word that we gain the wisdom that He wants us to have.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath ... Lesson 8

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood
© 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

In this lesson, the widow steps out in faith …

Simply put, the widow trusted Elijah but the intriguing question is why?  Other than knowing that trusting Elijah was what God wanted her to do, what might have been some other factors that went into her making the choice that she did?  (Don't forget about hospitality when answering this question.  Hospitality was so ingrained into the Jewish people that they dared not turn away a stranger in the event that he was an angel.)

How can the statement “Faith is a step, not a statement” be applied to the widow?
How difficult do you think it was for the widow to step out in faith?
Reading I Kings 17:16 makes the widow’s faith sound so easy, but, as we all know, having faith is one of the hardest things we’ll ever do.  Do you think the widow experienced any anxiety over whether or not there really would continue to be enough flour and oil as, day after day, she prepared meals for herself, her son, and Elijah?  

God’s plan not only took care of Elijah but this destitute widow and her son as well.  When things happen in our lives that don’t make sense and that we don’t understand, could it be that we, like the widow, need to step out in faith and just rely on God … regardless of our feelings.  (The widow probably didn’t want to, nor feel like sharing what she thought was her last meal, but she did.)  Feelings are an important part of our make-up, but when our feelings contradict what God’s word tells us, what should we do?           


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath ... Lesson 7

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood
© 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

The widow has a choice …

At this point the widow has bared her soul to Elijah about her situation.  What was Elijah’s response to her?
 Elijah tells the widow some pretty remarkable things regarding her food supply, do you think she had trouble believing him?  Why or why not?

Put yourself in the widow’s place.  Would you have believed a strange man who told you your food supply would continue if you shared your last meal with him? (Remember you’re in the middle of a severe drought and famine.)  Would you think he was crazy?
After hearing what Elijah had to say, the widow has a choice to make; what is that choice?  Do you think she wrestled with it?  Why or why not?  (Note:  Even though God had commanded the widow to provide for Elijah [I Kings 17:9], she still had a choice.  God told her what He wanted her to do, but He did not force her to do it. It's the same with us today, God tells us what He wants us to do in His Word, but He does not force us to do it, the choice, like the widows, is ours.)
Every action/decision has consequences, some good and some not so good; what were the consequences of the widow’s decision?


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath ... Lesson #6

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood
© 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

The widow and Elijah start conversing …

What did Elijah say to the widow when he saw her?  (I Kings 17:10)
What did the widow do as a result of Elijah’s request?  (I Kings 17:11)
As the widow started on her way to fill Elijah’s first request he made another one, what was it?  (I Kings 17:11)

Time Out!  Providing water for Elijah was one thing but sharing her last morsel of food with him was quite another.  What are some feelings and thoughts the widow might be having now?
Verse 13 of I Kings 17 says, "Then Elijah said to her, 'Do not fear….'"  Why would Elijah say something like this to the widow?           
What was the widow’s response to Elijah’s second request?  (I Kings 17:15)


Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath ... Lesson #5

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood
© 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Lesson 5

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

The widow meets Elijah …

Who was told to go to this widow and why?  Think deeply on the ‘why’ of this question, other than survival, what might have been some other reasons God sent this person to the widow?  (Hint: God's solutions often serve many purposes; with this thought in mind what lessons might the widow have learned as a result of God sending this person to her?)

What was the widow doing and where was she when Elijah first saw her?  (I Kings 17:10)

Before we go any further, let's get a handle on what's going on with the widow.  What is her situation?

Let’s explore this woman’s probable state of mind as she was anticipating preparing her and her son’s last meal. Put yourself in her place, what are some things that might be going through your mind?

How do you think the widow felt when this strange man called out to her?


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath, lesson # 2

The Widow of Zarephath, Facing Trials and Tribulations

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood

 © 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Lesson 2

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

In our last lesson we were introduced to King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, this week we meet another character in this account.

Enter Elijah the prophet.  Why did King Ahab dislike him so?   (I Kings 17:1)
Elijah is hiding from King Ahab, why?
King Ahab and Jezebel were wicked people and caused the plight of the widow we are studying.  What did they do that caused the circumstances described in I Kings 17?           

Let’s talk about droughts.  What exactly is a drought and what are some of the ramifications of one?
Droughts are remembered for their severity, how severe was the drought in this story?  (I Kings 17:7)    

How long did it 'not rain?'  (Luke 4:25) 

Reading between the lines of the text for this study, what were some of the challenges we can conclude that the widow of Zarephath faced as a result of this drought?


Sunday, October 2, 2016

How Do You Plan to ...

I have a very important question for you to start our week off ...

How do you plan to feed yourself spiritually this week?

Are you going to spend time in God's Word?

Are you going to go to a ladies Bible class?

Are you going to participate in an online Bible class?

Are you going to listen to a sermon or lesson?

Are you going to listen and meditate on God's Word?

Are you going to do a 'fill-in-the blank' Bible study?

Are you going to do a 'mark-your-Bible' kind of study?

Are you going to attend a Wednesday night Bible class?

How are you going to feed yourself spiritually this week?

I plan to:

Spend time in God's Word daily ...

Participate in an online Bible class for women ...

Attend a Wednesday night Bible class ...

Listen to a lesson on a thumb drive I got while at a workshop recently ...

and ...

Complete the class work for a women's class I am taking online from a school of preaching and biblical studies in a town about an hour away from us.

Eternally speaking, feeding ourselves spiritually is more important than physically feeding ourselves?  

So, I ask the same question again ... how are you going to feed yourself spiritually this week?

Please note:  this post is meant to be an encouragement to you and maybe give you some ideas on ways to feed yourself spiritually.  It is not meant to beat up on you.

she hath done what she could