Friday Evenings Bible Study...
5pm @ Bethany Baptist Church of Miami
787 NW 54th Street Miami, Fl 33127
Welcome all to the Bible Study page! I'm glad to see you visit, my name is Estefani and God has been allowing me to serve Him by being your personal note-taker, but keep in mind that it doesn't provide you the opportunity to not take notes for yourself. A key to leveling up, attaining that soul fitness is the Word of God and personalized notes of His Word can be a great aid to achieving a new level of intimacy with Christ. In this page you'll have access to new and old recaps from Bible studies! So feel free to see what you've missed or jog down memory lane, receiving the Word is such a huge blessing.
P.S.: Some notes may or may not have dates in which the study happened, but let us be thankful all the more for having the notes by the grace of God!
Bible Study Recaps For The Month Of February 2020
Reading from: 1st Peter 2:13
Topic: "How to Deal With People”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (2/14/20)
We all have met, know, or have to work with someone with an obnoxious personality that we either avoid or even be two-faced with them. God does NOT call us to steer clear of these people nor does he tells us to be kind to them when they are in the room but speak ill of them when they are gone. As Christians, we endure all types of persecution and yes that includes people that we find hard to deal with.
1. Submit to Authority
In 1st Peter 2:13, Peter is telling us to acknowledge that we did not put ourselves on this planet, God did and He placed this authority over our lives and we have to submit to them. Like our parents, professors, boss. We have to yield to the person in charge, we may be more capable than them or they may be wrong in their actions but we are called to yield to their authority. Like our current U.S. President, you may not agree with his views but he is still an authoritative figure. Take Jesus as a prime example as a submitter to authority, He gave His life even though He is the creator he came to the world obeying the governmental laws in place. When they asked Him to pay taxes He gave Caesar back what was his. We need to have humility as anything rebellious against the human authority is not God’s will. Just as we are to submit ourselves to God the same applies to authority.
Though with all the authority in our life we are free to follow Christ just as we are free to do many other things, godly or ungodly. We are not physically bounded but we are called to live as God’s slave. The word slave has its negative connotation and history but being God’s slave is not something to feel weird or bad about. We are chained to God for good reasons and purpose. Yet for the ungodly moments, we need to think to ourselves on how us watching this movie, being in this relationship, or this having this conversation is Godly, representing Christ. If we are not a slave to God then we are a slave to something else, like our phones, social media, video games, television, and even a person. We are not restricted from doing things we take pleasure in…clean things. But we also have to control over the time of doing the thing that we like, either reading a book or watching a movie don’t let that thing control you. If you find yourself playing a game for hours that’s when you’ve allowed it to enslave you.
We all as human beings have value and we have to honor them.
2. Acknowledge that every person has value
Recognize the value that a person has for we were all made in the likeness of God
• Recognize their presence: Acknowledge them, show the person you see them and care for them. When you acknowledge them they want to be around you because they see you as a person who is willing to make time to spend some time with them.
• Listen as they speak: Sometimes we receive answers from unexpected and unexpected people. Do not be rude and ignore them, they have value and valuable things to say.
3. Love the Brotherhood (1 Corinthians 13:4)
• Means be patient, don’t be quick to retaliate someone who hurt you. We lack patience either with ourselves, others, and God Himself.
• We need to pray to God to strengthen our patience meter. Hold our tongue, actions, and be grateful just like God continuously demonstrates His patience, mercy, and grace upon us. We need to imitate Him.
• We need to be in the presence of those who challenge our feelings/emotions so we can grow as Christians and develop our skills in patience.
• Love does not dishonor; it is not self-serving. We do not do things that will benefit us only but our brothers. Love your family in Christ with all your heart.
Reading from: 1st Peter 2:18-25
Topic: " Submitting To Our Masters ”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (2/28/20)
A slave is defined as “a person who is legal property of another and is forced to obey them.” We as Christians are called to be God's slaves because we belong to him legally yet with the definition above we are wary of considering ourselves a slave to God or anyone who has authority over us. Yes, God has purchased our freedom and we do belong to Him! He had bought us from the market of sin, by allowing his one and only son to die on the cross for us. He removed us from the darkness and brought us to the light, the sacrifice He made for us sinners was the price paid to remove the chains of the world and the flesh off our wrist. But even through this merciful deliverance God does not force us to obey Him, He is not that type of master. Here’s another definition of the term slave: "a person who is excessively dependent upon or controlled by something." This less gloomy definition perfectly describes our relationship with God. Think about it. We are solely dependent on God, we depend on him to provide us with our very life because no matter how hard we may think we are in control of our lives God is the one calling the shots. Everything we need, all the things we have came from Him! We may be spiritually bonded to obey everything written in God's word but He wants us to be free, not only spiritually but physically. Just like He freed the Israelite's.
In verse 16 God tells us to live as free people but we are not to allow this freedom make us succumb to cruelty, darkness, and sin. Remember that we have a purpose, an assignment for God to complete. And in verse 18 we should not only yield to our good masters (parents, boss, professor, etc.) But the bad ones too. God is a witness to the unjust treatment we undergo through our "masters", he views the way we react to the harshness and decides how to handle the situation for us. Take Joseph as an example, even after all that happened to him he still served the people with authority over him in a righteous manner, God had evaluated Joseph and the way he handled the situation before granting him to the opportunity to reign. God is a righteous judge, he is just. If people mistreat you God is there to provide you justice. He gets the final say.
Suggested Scripture to read 1 Samuel 24 and Genesis 39.
Reading from: 1st Peter 2:11
Topic: "Soul Fitness”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (1/10/20)
How many times have we promised ourselves that with the new year it was going to be a new me? Perhaps we told ourselves we were going to save more money and spend less, get organized or hit the gym and become physically fit. Whatever goals you plan to accomplish this year don’t forget to put God first in all that you do. “Therefore I tell you whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 (NIV). With that in mind let me share with you the most important resolution we should all aim to complete: Soul Fitness. Yes, you read that correctly. Just as we are to keep our bodies fit the same applies to our very soul.
Spiritual fitness is not something that can be easily attained, the same process of maintaining control, discipline, and endurance when working out physically is applied in this context. As for the results, well it’ll take time to build the strength and stamina spiritually. But don’t be discouraged, our God is a patient God, He wants us to inherit patience and know that when the time is right, we will attain spiritual fitness. “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV).
The reason why it’s imperative to achieve soul fitness is that we are at war…and no I’m not talking about WWIII. We are in a continuous battle spiritually. Our sinful desires are raging a war against our souls.
The Flesh Vs. The Spirit
The flesh craves to rebel against God, it does not want to be restrained by the Spirit. If someone makes us angry the flesh encourages us to act on that anger or jealousy because it’s in our human nature to satisfy that hunger. Yet the reality of the flesh is that it will never be satisfied and continue to demand more.
The war is within us is: The Flesh Vs. Our Soul and in this battle the flesh is fighting to overpower our soul against the Spirit by preventing us from doing what God has called us to do. Submitting to the desires of the flesh hurts the soul which is why we need to abstain from the desires of the flesh. We all want to grow closer to God, serve him and accomplish the purpose he has for us, but the flesh is always tempting us. We can promise the Lord that we’ll commit our time to Him and began to pray and read his word, but the flesh will be there whispering to us to do anything but grow closer to God. Encourage us to binge watch and distance ourselves from God.
We can watch a 30-minute episode or something longer of a show and sometimes feel that it was too short, but when it comes to reading the word for five whole minutes it feels like an eternity. Why is that? Well that’s because we are spiritually unfit, we read a couple of lines and are already out of breath. Abstaining from the desires of the flesh means to Hold Back! Do not let the flesh take over your life nor do you let something be a priority over God, He’s first in our lives and deserves our full attention. Holding Back will allow us to begin our training of becoming fit in the soul.
Our character needs to change in order for God to use us because the character we have on the inside is what God cares about. If we are Christlike on the inside, he will not withhold the blessing he wants to pour on us. He does not want to pour things on us when he knows we are unable to handle it. If we are unfit in the soul, he will not give us the blessing to lead until we come to God and allow Him to use His power to transform us, fight off the desires and temptations of the flesh. He will grant us victory over all the enemy’s attack on our soul! God has a plan for us!
Here are the 3 things God uses to help us Hold Back:
1. The Word: The more we know about what God says we can fight off the enemies attempt to make us spiritually unfit. Do not only read the word, reflect on it, take notes, ask God to reveal to you the meaning of His word. Constantly go back to the word. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalms 119:11 (NIV).
2. Prayer: It’s a powerful thing, God transforms people through prayer. You maybe struggling in your prayer life but don’t abstain from prayer because of that. Ask God to provide you with the words. Protect your prayer time and don’t fill that time to do something else. When we pray we are wrestling with the flesh. Bring everything to to the Lord, He’ll give you the strength because He sees you seeking Him for strength. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NIV).
3. Community of Believers: The Spirit also uses other people. With those people He allows them to help us Hold Back. God does not intend for us to be alone nor does he intend for us to face this battle alone. Not only is He with us he gives us someone (you may already know, if not think about it) to get endure our spiritual journey. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13 (NIV).
Reading from: 1st Peter 2:11-16
Topic: "Good Deeds”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (1/17/20)
God called Peter to be a fisher of men, Jesus came to Peter’s business and recruited him in which Peter dropped everything and followed Christ. God’s purpose was for Peter to fish for man , it was not Peter who choose this for himself. Yet when Jesus was crucified Peter abandons God and goes back to fishing fish because what Jesus said He’d fulfilled it did not happen (YET), Peter assumed Jesus would reign on earth, be a great king where he would rule beside Him. But even after Peter ran away Jesus, once resurrected comes back to recruit Peter again. God does not abandon his children, even if they fail Him repeatedly He does not lose hope in our character. He’s praying for us and is always there to pick us up either through our failure, troubling times, etc.
No matter what we’re facing do not forget that we re God’s special people and the way we ought to live to needs to tell people of the God we serve. We as believers should devote our lives to good deeds, make an impact on society.
How to make an Impact on society?
Living good lives: By helping out when the opportunity presents itself. God wants our lives to be a testimony to Himself, at our jobs, neighborhoods, schools, and homes He wants us to point people to Christ. Being good isn’t all about good actions, but a goodness in our hearts that allows people to see that the goodness they see in us is from God. We should not only do good to those who are good to us, God is not at work if we are ignoring those whose wronged us. We are called to love our enemies, show them kindness.
Put ourselves under human order: God calls us to respect and obey the governmental laws in place because life is only sustained through order. Do not go against the order that God has established unless the government tells us to disobey the commands of the lord. And with that we do not oblige with it respectfully.
1. Keep an eternal perspective: Means life is not about here on earth but life after death, in heaven. The things we do on earth will be accounted for on the judgement seat of Christ. Keep your focus on the eternal impact, God does not evaluate by number but by faith. Time spent in the word, prayer, serving, evangelizing.
2. Keep your heart praying: Prayer is so important! We need to stay in communication with the Father who will give us the strength to live the Christian life that is not easy. (1st Peter 4:7)
3. Keep your body moving: The limited time we have on this earth do what God has called you to do with all your heart. Do not do things half-halfheartedly. All that we do will be evaluated and rewards will be given for the work we do for God. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
Passages to read: 1st Peter 2:11-16, Matthew 26
Reading from: 1st Peter 2:4-10
Topic: "Called For a Purpose!”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (12/20/19)
Have your thoughts ever questioned you with a series of questions like what’s the meaning of life? Why am I here or what am I supposed to be doing with my life? Sometimes we come to believe we have no purpose on this earth or we have to go and find it. But as believers we do not need to seek what’s already been sought, we just need to become aware of our God-given purpose. We’ve been chosen by the creator for a reason, given life for a reason. We are part of something bigger, God’s kingdom! And we have a mission to serve His kingdom, to advance it in the name of Jesus! Take Peter as an example, before he met Jesus, he was just an ordinary fisherman yet when he met Jesus his life changed for the better. God showed him his purpose, to be a fisher of men.
Being God’s chosen people and doing what he calls us to do will not be easy. The world hates us just as it hated Jesus (John 15:18-25) because we are fulfilling His will, the same will many people reject and slander. But we have to continue to carry our cross, God will not abandon His children but lift us up as we take on our mission (Jeremiah 17:7). Jesus is the key cornerstone He’s the key to everything, we cannot do anything without him. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV). He is the only way! If you do not go through Him you will perish, He is life and resurrection.
Sometimes we view God as an outsider, “the big guy in the sky” and we fail to realize and become aware that we as believers are one with Him, He lives in us. When you are aware of God’s presence everywhere you go you are able to live the way He wants you to. Jesus is the living stone, but we are also living stones (1st Peter 2:5) that God is using to continue to build his spiritual house. He’s using our service, offerings, worship, etc. as the building blocks to advance his kingdom. God did not choose us as his chosen people based on behavior, personality, race or gender. He simply chose us because He loves us! We are God’s special treasure and when people look at us God should reflect through us everywhere and anywhere, we go. Every day we wake up our lives should be a living sacrifice for God! We are his voice, hands, and feet on earth to evangelize, give, and teach. We have access to God 24/7 which is not only limited to prayer, it can also be through serving and not only within the church but at home, school, work, and our community.
We are giving our life to God to aid His universal church by fulfilling the role God calls us to do. He does not want to build his church without you! Because there’s a specific thing only you can do for the church. A uniqueness God has created in you to do something no one else can do the same way you can do it. God has a plan for us all, He will present opportunities like placing us in a certain job, school, people in our life and it’s not a coincidence as God is using these placements to further Himself in our lives and the lives of others. But also, be aware that there are opportunities the enemy will throw at us to distract and prevent us from doing what God calls us to do. When opportunities arise ask God for discernment so you can see which opportunity is from God and what’s from the devil so you can push it away.
We are a chosen people…Chosen for what? You may still be lost and be wondering why are you a chosen people, well let me clarify the reason why. He chose you because He loves you, setting you apart from the world for a sole purpose, that purpose is to declare the praises of God who called us out of the darkness and into His wonderful light (1st Peter 2:9-10). We are chosen to show the world who has chosen You! We are to live a life as a chosen people, set apart from the world. We do not only show the world who God is at church and we do not need a podium to exclaim who God is. We can present God everywhere we go to everybody we meet. Either through our speech our actions we can declare who God is.
Pursue God and fulfill your purpose! Do not remain idle! Offer your life as a living sacrifice because God wants to use YOU!
Reading from: 1st Peter 2:4-10
Topic: "Chosen For a Purpose!”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (12/13/19)
Have you ever experience that moment where a teacher overlooks the raised hands of your peers and calls on you even when your hand wasn’t up? Well, she chose you for a purpose! Most likely to see if you were paying attention in class. When it comes to God he also chooses for a purpose, we all as believers of Christ are chosen by God for a purpose on this earth. With this being the last month of the year, the season of praise and giving thanks let’s anchor our faith in God! For God is the living stone, our foundation, he’s what we have built our lives on, the church and our faith.
In the Bible, there are a plethora of examples of who God chose and used for a specific reason, in Matthew 16:15-18 is just one of the ways that not only demonstrates how God uses someone for a purpose but how only the Spirit of God can only make it possible. He opened Peter’s eyes to allow him to see that Jesus is the son of the living God, it was nothing revealed to him by flesh and blood or education, it was God who provided him with this knowledge. The same can happen to us, God can open our spiritual eyes and enlighten us. We need to realize that Jesus is the son of the living God! With that God built His church on (not physical church) but the church in the body of Christ. The body of Christ is the church, built by Him, for Him and He will hold that church. We are part of that church sustained by Him, He is not only the living stone but the cornerstone, the keystone. We are part of something greater, the kingdom of God and we cannot look at someone else as the keystone because the only keystone is God.
Jesus, the same foundation and cornerstone people rejected because He was not seen as glorious, a man born in a manger. He was rejected by man and even His own family thought He was crazy till they believed after He died. Jesus was chosen for a purpose as well, through His purpose he endured slander, rejection, and excruciating pain so He can complete his mission not assigned by humans but to fulfill the will of God. He did not care for mankind opinions of Him, He completed His mission victoriously because He understood God’s purpose for Him, leading Him to die on the cross so His church could be built!
If we want to get to a new level in our faith, build trust in God and have intimacy with Christ we are going to have to be squeezed. Just like an orange needs to be squeezed in order to make orange juice we need to be squeezed to create a new person whose muscles of faith, trust, and closeness with God emerges when we allow ourselves to lean on God and allow Him to make us go through those tough obstacles to reach that new level. The father loved His son so much that He allowed His son to die on the cross for us, it not only shows His love for Christ but us and how much He loves us. Even with the sacrifice, He knew there will be many people who would reject Him as the son of God.
Okay, now I’ll be that teacher who’s going to pick on you by encouraging you to read Luke 2:25-40. In this story God will show you a story of two people, a righteous man named Simeon and a prophet called Anna. Through their closeness and great faith in God, he revealed to them secrets and kept his promises.
In order to walk with Christ, we need to seek him with an open heart and know that He has a purpose for us! Stay strong in the faith! The word of God is milk for our soul!
Reading from: Daniel 6
Topic: "Give Thanks Facing The Den!”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (11/29/19)
Let’s be honest here, when bad things begin to happen in our lives, we don’t go running to God giving thanks to Him in all His glory and splendor. Because it seems crazy…right? Well, I’m here to tell you your crazy for thinking it’s ludicrous. Okay maybe you’re not crazy for the assumption but it’s not only when good things are happening in our lives like success at school or at work is when we should thank God. Today I’ll show you a new view of giving thanks when things are bad and how to do it because we are to give thanks to God no matter the situation. The life of Daniel started with trouble, he was taken from the only place he knew as home and was exposed to a different world in which he was forced to learn the new culture, language, education, and religion. He had no choice but adapt to the new environment he was placed in. Yet even when he had to become part of the new system, he did not leave God behind and worship the idols of Babylon, a sign not only of great faith but a testimony on how having a close relationship with God allows you to trust him.
In Daniel 6, Daniel encounters trouble, which is not for the first time. The first being in Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar planning to execute all the wise men including Daniel and his friends because no one could interpret his dream. In response to this trouble, Daniel went to the king to ask for more time to interpret his dream and when he returned to his house, he pleaded to his friends to pray to God to show mercy on him and his friends. God answered his prayers within the night and Daniel gave thanks to God. Now back to Daniel 6, Daniel was in the face of trouble once again, this time he had been set up by the jealous satraps. Their jealousy for Daniel awoken because of how he as a foreigner worshiped a God of Israel had such a blessed life compared to them who worshiped the king. The very king who was impressed by Daniel and the work he was doing (God blessed Daniel in all that he did) wanted to appoint Daniel in a higher position that would put him in charge of everything. The satraps did not like that. In our lives there are people who are envious of us and the things God has blessed us with, they even go as far to find some way to sabotage our life. So 120 satraps and 2 administrators (basically the entire workplace) plotted to get rid of Daniel, not out of his position but kill him and the only leverage they could use was his faith that he always publicized to the world because they knew the only way to enact their vengeance was if it had something to do with his God. Sometimes we are targeted not because of who we are gender or race wise but because of our faith, the same happened to Daniel. The way Daniel reacted to the persecution even after hearing the decree that would allow him to be executed if he was found worshiping God was amazing. He gave thanks to God even with the threat of his life, in the grave situation, remembering how God had delivered him once before and trusted God would do the same again. We also can give thanks in the worse situations all we have to do is remember how gracious and glorious our God is and how many times he aided us through the tough times.
How Can I Praise God When I’m In A Bad Situation?
1. Look Back! Look back at the miracles and blessings He provided in your life!
2. Look at your present situation and who God is! You may be going through going some difficult times but look at who God is and know he will deliver you from it!
3. Look to the future, because your future has God in it! Your future is in God’s hand, we have nothing to worry about. Remember that he will never forget us, he will take care of our problems for it’s his responsibility, therefore, we should not worry.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7(NIV). Stop worrying! Because when you do you waste a day away worrying instead of giving thanks and praying for about your anxious thoughts.
Since God made the lions Daniel knew God was master over them, he was not afraid because he looked at who God is and believed he would deliver him from the predicament. God can do the impossible, unthinkable because He is in control! It’s important to know the attributes God has because knowing who He is will make people irrelevant. The King himself could not save Daniel from the lion’s Den, but God had all the power and authority to do it because no one can do what God can.
Forgetfulness is the root of ungratefulness! Keep a journal and write about the things God has done for you, be creative either through poetry, recording it, and framing it somewhere so you can look back and be reminded of who God is. The promises he has made to you, how he’ll deliver you and that He is our future. We have the creator on our side!
Reading from: 1st Peter 1:22-25 & 1st Peter 2:1-3
Topic: "Deep Cravings”
Taught by: Sr. Rose (11/15/19)
Okay, I know we all can agree that unhealthy foods like cookies are a WAY more preferable snack than veggies and as adults, we know better than children on which foods provide the good nutrients versus the bad. But we still find ourselves craving unhealthy food and in a way force ourselves to eat the healthier options. The same can be said when it comes to our spiritual diets, we know the essential thing that will allow us to grow is the Word of God, but we even find substitutes to replace the main and healthy nutritional source needed in our diet. Sometimes when we seek the unhealthy cravings, the desires of the flesh is due to our negligence of adding the Word in our life. The same Word that will make us develop muscles of faith so we can stand against the obstacles of the world, devil and the flesh throws at us.
Craving the unhealthy foods will NOT help you grow spiritually for we are not walking with Christ; we’re depleting in health…drifting away. Growing and maintaining these muscles of faith comes from actually seeking him with all your heart through this word which will also produce a stronger trust in our living God who can do all things and not doubt his power. We can’t live without God. It may seem like in certain times or situations like at school or the workplace where we do not need Him but that isn’t true at all. He aids us with our school and work performance when it may seem like it’s all us, He gives you the strength, wisdom, and patience that allows you to complete that school and workday.
It’s time to REALIZE that you NEED to crave God’s Word. REALIZE that you NEED to READ God’s Word!
Now that we’ve come to that realization, know that reading His Word doesn’t simply mean read a passage and call it a day, it’s letting each the Word resonate with you, slow down, take your time because there’s no rush and let His Word transform you! Know that there’s nothing wrong with reading a single passage a dozen times as each time God will show you a new message you hadn’t noticed before. God’s Word is so powerful! Memorizing God’s Word and replaying it in your prayers will aid you in growing closer to God as you know the truth that is written in His scripture. For instance, if you feel that God has forsaken you, praying to Him and expressing to God how you feel that He has forsaken you but back it up with His word of knowing He would not abandon His children like orphans (John 14:18) will strengthen your trust and bond with God.
The Word Of God is the PURE spiritual milk, we need to go to the REAL thing, the TRUE source! Yes you can listen to Christian podcast, music, YouTube worship, etc. (there’s no harm in that) but you cannot let these take the place of the essential source needed in our diet which is the Bible. Just like organic is much healthier than artificial processed foods we should not let God’s Word become artificial like the podcast, music, and YouTube worship because in the end the Bible is the only source of nutrition that will allow us to grow spiritually.
What do we need to realize?
1. We need to crave
2. We need to crave the pure spiritual milk (The Word Of God found in the Bible)
3. Evaluate our lives and see what we’re craving and if we’re going after the right things to satisfy our cravings.
A craving is different from when your simply hungry because when your hungry anything you find to eat will suffice but when you’re craving something specific not just anything will do. You will not be satisfied till you get what you were desiring.
Ask the Lord to Thirst for his Word! The word is food for the soul, our road map. Do you want to see how the word can help you grow spiritually read Psalms 119:6,9,11,18, & 20. Pray to the Lord to aid you to remove these dirty clothes so the word can reach you, so you can crave his word and most importantly so God can change/transform you.
Reading from: 1st Peter 1:22-23
Topic: "Healthy Craving (s)”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (11/1/19)
Who here loves when things don’t go the way as expected or planned? No one I assume. As humans, we love to be in full control of our life and when the unexpected happens it eradicates the structure we formed in our lives. Let me refresh your memory, Our God is unpredictable, full of surprises, miracles, blessings, and among that a pain of carrying our cross. So, we should expect when it comes to asking God to transform us inside out, level us up spiritually that some type of hardship will follow suit. Don’t question God for his purpose and judgement but pray for strength and patience to get through that difficult trial because his reason for allowing you to go through tough times is to develop your muscles of faith, to demonstrate his plans for you and yes it will be painful and stressful but know that He will never allow us to go through tribulation without something greater coming out in the end, He will let us bend but not break. When it comes to asking God to allow us to mature spiritually requires us to go through a trial just like we have to go through several tests and obstacles in our jobs and school. The trials God puts in our lives are necessary in order to level up, do not run away from it but trust God and know that he will deliver you from your pain for we cannot grow without the presence of trials to learn patience, kindness, love, etc.
God loves us and he cares for us deeply, he just wants to strengthen us, trust him, and rely on Him alone. We as a people tend to cling to certain people who either provides us with strength and other resourceful aid, but we fail to realize that God placed these people in our lives to help us. The only problem with the attachment is if we rely on the people in our lives more than God, NO ONE is greater than God. We cannot always rely on family and friends; they can betray you and they cannot do the Impossible like God. Without the word of God, it’s impossible for growth to occur, the word of God gave us believers life to grow, therefore growth can only take place where there’s life. And the same thing God used to give us life (The Word) it will allow us to grow. You need to crave the word in order to grow. But that doesn’t simply mean read your bible as though it’s a thing on your checklist you have to strip off certain things from your life before seeking the word with all your heart.
How can I grow and become the person God wants me to be?
You need to confide in God, ask him to help you remove the following before seeking God with all your heart:
1. Wickedness: As Christians, we can be wicked, have wicked thoughts and even perform wicked thoughts because we’re human. But we should not allow this wickedness to fester within us, take control of us because someone may hate you or you may dislike a person for what they’d done to you. Before you go to the word remove this dirty article of clothing known as wickedness by telling God you confess and remove it from your heart.
2. Deception: The human heart is very deceitful, we can manipulate and trick people any way we please, sometimes without even knowing it. We cannot go to church, praise the Lord and expect to change if we do not confess our deception we either do to ourselves or others.
3. Hypocrisy: Do not hide behind a mask and be something you are not, sometimes we are not the people we truly are when it comes to the presence of something people. God does not want us living this lie, he wants us to come to him, confess and tell him this is the true me. You cannot only be holy at church but unholy everywhere else. And you surely cannot judge someone for their deception if you’re also deceiving others. (Read Matthew 7:1-6)
4. Envy: Don’t allow your heart to become envious, but confess the jealousy in our hearts. Yes God may have blessed someone with a promotion or good grades but don’t grow jealous because he did not offer the same to you, he has something in store for you as well, just be patient and happy for the blessings he provides to others. Cain was envious of his brother Abel which resulted in his death because Cain acted on his envy. God will show you how to deal with your jealousy, you just need to ask him for he’s waiting to speak with you.
5. Slander & Hateful Speech: When someone either hurts us physically or emotionally humanly speaking we want revenge. But confessing to God of our slander and hateful speech and praying that he gives us the capacity to love will prevent us from acting on revenge. And pray for those who triggered this attitude by telling God to bless them and their families. (Read Luke 6:27-36).
Pray to the Lord to aid you to remove these dirty clothes so the word can reach you, so you can crave his word and most importantly so God can change/transform you.
Reading from: 1st Peter 1:22-23
Topic: "The God Capacity To Love Is In Us”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (10/25/19)
What’s the similarity between a plant and a human being? They don’t live forever, okay that may have gone off as a bit dark, but it’s the truth. We are made of dust, we’re breakable and perishable. But here’s the good news, as believers we were born again with the word of God that is a seed that has been planted in our hearts and it’s not perishable. Eternal life comes from that seed. There’s also a huge difference between our natural birth and our spiritual birth. The flesh is born of the flesh, the flesh is like grass; “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” Psalms 103:15-16(NIV). Yet when someone is born again the spirit receives the word and we are birthed as a new person in Christ. This birth did and will continue to impact our soul, body, and mind because God lives in us. The new life God has generated within us has an impact on our decisions, emotions and our body. We need to acknowledge that the spirit lives within us and that the spirit is God who wants to shine through us. It’s required to let God live through us because it’s impossible for us to live on ourselves alone, the flesh is not capable of loving someone you hate. For it’s not something you can do with your own strength but with God’s strength.
We need to transform ourselves inside out, but that doesn’t mean change yourself from the outside and remain the same on the inside. In simpler terms do not be two-faced because the inside matters as much as the outside. Love lives inside of you because God lives inside of you which makes it very much possible to love your enemies and those who persecute you. God can make his love that’s in you appear on the outside but it takes time. Just like a caterpillar 🐛 undergoes its many phases of change before emerging as a beautiful butterfly God makes us go through the same process of transforming from the inside out. Be aware that we cannot take credit for what ONLY God can do through us. Like going through a stressful and hectic time without feeling stressed out or someone doing something to us that can cause us to react in rage but instead we hold a calm composure and forgive, that’s all God. If we still lived by the flesh we would’ve snapped or acted on that anger, seeking revenge. Taking up the cross means to be kind, love and have the patience to someone whose not being so kind, loving and patient with you. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:19-26 (NIV).
God will not impose a change on us, it’s us who need to go to God to allow Him to change us. Just as we need to go to the gas station to fill up on gas and it not being the other way around we need to come to God. Seek Him, no one else can do it for you, God requires us to come to him, trust him and know that he has plans for us through not only through seeking change but through our maturity spiritually. Do not remain the same, you can be going to church for a plethora of years, participate in activities but that does not indicate you’re changing in the mind. Being born again through the spiritual life means you start off as a baby, but we do not naturally age up to a toddler, child, teen, and adult as we do in the flesh just by the number of years we’ve been a believer. “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” Hebrews 5:12-14 (NLT). The increase in age in our spiritual life occurs when we mature spiritually, allow God to change us.
This change (which can be anything from seeking God to inherit a new attitude, kindness, patience, love, forgiveness, etc.) God does through us allows other people to notice, it’s not something needed to be announced your family, friends, co-workers, and peers will see the glory God is shining through you by your actions and emotions. People will want to know about this change and how it came to be and it will be a perfect opportunity to speak the Good News. “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT).
This change also doesn’t mean that it’s the only change we should seek, we are human, we are not perfect like God which means we need constant change in our lives and said change means we will need God to transform us all the time to become more like him. God can allow us to drop our harsh attitude but there always being something needed to be changed the next thing can be patience and then kindness and the cycle continues. We need to seek God, it’s only by his grace that we can change, but that can only happen by opening up and letting God transform us.
You cannot expect God to randomly change you out of His own will for His will is for you to come to Him, speak to Him, tell him you are here and want to change. Because we have the capacity to love, to be kind, patient, etc. because the Spirit of God lives in us and we can activate it by coming to God and asking him to transform us inside out.
Reading from: 1st Peter 1:17-21
Topic: "The Must-Have For A Friendship With God”
Taught by: Sr. Mirlenda (10/11/19)
Psst.. you want to know a secret? You have a friend in Jesus! Okay, maybe you all knew that already, but do you know what true friendship with God looks like? I'll let you in on a little secret, it involves more than just reading your Bible every day and checking it off as if it's a daily chore. But before I go into depth let me give you an example of someone who had an impactful friendship with Jesus. Peter. Yes, the man who denied Christ three times, but guess what, as humans, we cannot uphold a perfect friendship like God. Peter was one of the closest disciples of Jesus, he was a friend of Jesus. And believing in God isn't the only quality that makes him our friend. In Peter's case, Jesus instructed Peter to feed his flock (John 21:17), becoming a true friend of God is doing what He instructs us to do, what He wants us to do. In the beginning, Peter was just a fisherman until he met Jesus his life changed forever, and he now began fishing for people. So now I tell you, we need to grow in our relationship with God, doing things such as sharing God's word to others (teaching, preaching, feeding His flock).
"The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them." Psalms 25:14 (NIV). The Must-have to be a friend of the Lord is to fear Him. The Lord does not confide to everyone. Out of the many disciples He had only a selected few were revealed things by Him. Such as His plans for Peter and John. God reveals plans to those who fear Him (Are in Awe of His presence, Aware of His Presence, and align their lives with God).
God’s Word emphasizes that fearing God is an essential attribute for us believers to cultivate IF we are going to have a special friendship or closeness with God.
3 definitions of fear:
1. Be in Awe of his presence (He's not ordinary like man, He is almighty, pure creator)
2. Be aware of God's presence (He's everywhere)
3. Align your lives with who God is (What he calls you to do, what He desires)
Our friends on earth can either make you or break you but the company you keep with God is a friendship filled with destiny, blessings, and joy. Take the friendship of Abraham and God into account, before God destroyed Sodom, He decided to confide in his friend Abraham of His plans. Abraham feared the Lord so much he was willing to sacrifice his son to God. God wants us to form a friendship with Him, yes you heard right. The Almighty God wants us to be friends with Him! And out of that friendship, the lord can/will reveal things to us, things we don't even know about our own lives, our future and ourselves. We're not fully aware of who we or what we're capable of doing, but the Lord is willing to reveal these things to us and that all comes from a friendship of those who fear the Lord.
To gain this close relationship with God we simply need to pursue that friendship. Give Him our undivided attention because He deserves it. He gives us life and He should be the first person on our minds when we wake up and go to bed thanking and praising Him for providing us with life. Yes, we all lead busy lives where we don't seem to fit God in, but what if it was our boss, professor or someone with a high status wouldn't we set our time aside just so they or we can talk to them? God is not ordinary, he deserves all the praise, therefore he deserves our time before all else. Creating an appointment to be intimate with God and honoring it is the step we need to make to form that friendship with God. Because time is precious to us and we usually spend it on other matters besides our creator which is why He loves when we dedicate our time to Him, not only reading scripture but talking to Him.
God knows everything, from the very situation we're going through, nothing is impossible for Him and He wants to reveal that to you. Be patient and do not lose faith as you grow closer to God know that He will not immediately confide in you, it takes time, but that's all the more reasons to grow closer to God as who doesn't want to hear secrets involving your life while gaining the best friendship in the universe. God is waiting for us to tell Him we're listening, that we're willing to sacrifice for Him (like getting out of bed early to spend time with Him) and it's all a matter of having an open heart and US taking a step in gaining a friendship with God that allows Him to speak to us.
Reading from Matthew 4:5-7
Topic: “How can we believers face temptation?” (LEVEL UP!)
Taught by Br. Junior Noëlliste
Tell me this, do you believe walking with Christ on the road to spiritual maturity is easy?
Before you answer let me save you the trouble and say no, it is not easy, and it was never meant to be. In the second temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:5-7, we see the devil tempting Jesus to test God by transporting him to the Holy City and the highest point of the temple and by telling him “if you are the son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: he will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hand so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” (Matthew 4:5-6). Jesus fights off the temptation once again by using scripture. War strategies we can learn from the temptation of Jesus when facing the devil:
1. Meditate on the Word of God
2. Take the Word of God seriously
3. Know the Word of God
4. Stand on the Word of God
5. Quote the Word of God as it is
6. Know that we can be VICTORIOUS through the Word of God
Reading from 1st Peter 1:13--Teaching: Sr. Mirlenda
We react a certain way to the information given to us, such as events in our life and the issues we face. So the question to be asked is: What type of reaction is God expecting from us after everything Peter says in verse 13. Well through a series of questions God wants us to react to every message about him in this manner:
1. What sins MUST I confess?
2. What OLD habits MUST I drop?
• Procrastination, Laziness, etc.
3. What NEW habits MUST I form?
• Diligence, gratitude, etc.
If we do not drop our negative habits we allow sin to win by having it continue to enter our lives. And sometimes we have other things supporting our bad habits, such as friends.
4. What promise MUST I BELIEVE?
We need to be in a relationship with the word (if this is not a habit we already have let us develop and make this habit a priority in our lives!)
The word of God is not just information but FOR our transformation, this is the key to transforming your life!
This change will not happen overnight, but do not get discouraged and have patience. Because you need to be the ONE to take responsibility in confessing your sins, dropping your old habits, forming new habits, and believing in God’s promises and he’ll be here to aid you.
Our level of alertness is very low; we’ll most likely tell people about a dream we had before discussing a message that was preached to us. We need to be aggressive when it comes to growing spiritually as Satan is trying to make us stay in the same place in our lives in regard to living in our bad habits and not growing spiritually. Beware Satan’s clutches, rebuke our old habits and take up new habits to protect us from Satan’s grasp.
REACT to the word! The Spirit will do great things in your life!
Reading from 1st Peter 1:13
Topic: “Focus Your Mind”
Our God is a God of action which means we as believers of Christ need to be ready for action. Such action that requires us to “gird up our loins” or in simpler terms, tie away whatever it is that is holding you back from the journey God wants us to embark in. Be prepared for whatever is coming in Jesus name! In Luke 12:32-40 Jesus informs us as Christians to be in an alert mode and not have a posture of inactivity (laziness) because God wants his disciples to be alert (waiting) for when he comes back (inherit an expectation attitude). When God returns, we should not be in a deep slumber, we need to be watching for his return like we watch for someone giving us a ride; questioning “Is HE here yet?!” There is a special reward for those Christians awaiting God’s arrival, so be alert FOR our Saviors return.
In 1st Peter 1:13 Peter talks about girding up our loins but not in a physical sense but a mental sense. We need to prepare our mind for action as the mind is important to the Christian life. “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NCV). As Christians we need to control the thoughts that enter our minds because our minds have the power to have dominance over our life. It can determine our habits, character, friends, career, and the things we watch.
How do I get my mind to be sober/alert?
1. Assess your thoughts: Evaluate what I’M thinking. Evaluate the quality of MY thoughts, we have good thoughts and bad thoughts (satanic thoughts).
• How do you know if your thoughts are good? If they align the way God thinks and is biblical these are the pure thoughts God wants us to have.
• How do you know if your thoughts are bad? If your thoughts do not Align with the way God thinks. Rebuke the negative thoughts such as worrying because our God is our provider and will rid us from our worries. Rebuke the immoral thoughts that are not godly.
• Self Judgement is crucial to MY thoughts, God wants us to judge our thoughts, which are holy, and which are unholy. We cannot get ready for action unless we fix our thoughts!
2. Confess your bad thoughts! A bad thought is any thought that does not align with the word of God.
• Example: Waking up exclaiming your day will be horrible yet the lord provides days in which we need to rejoice and be glad in it (Psalms 118:24)
3. Expel your bad thoughts! (cast away your bad thoughts!): Take your thoughts captive! (2 Corinthians 10:5)
• The enemy shoots thoughts our way, such as: Jealousy, hatred, lust, envy. We need to expel these thoughts in the NAME OF JESUS!
• Do not let these thoughts: depression, anxiety etc. take over our lives, we are not the victim, we are not powerless because we have a powerful God on our side.
Be ready for action and control your mind/thoughts!
Reading from 1st Peter 1:13
Topic: “How Do I Have A Focused Mind & Keep it That Way?”
1. Renewing your mind is a habit to form in obtaining a focused mind. Thinking that aligns with God’s thoughts. In Isaiah 55:8-9 God says we do not think the way that he does, he being God and us mere humans. Which creates this HUGE Gap between Our thoughts and God’s thoughts, such a gap allows us to question at times the actions God puts us through because we do not think much of what God values. Our thoughts are not aligned with his.
In the Christian life we will stumble and fall, yet the joyous thing about our tumble is that we can just get back up again and dust ourselves off. “The righteous falls seven times and get back up again.” So, don’t be afraid when you fall and can’t seem to get back up again, God hasn’t abandon you and he will surely help you up when you’ve seemed to have lost your balance.
• Keep in mind that EVERY single day I can start again (NOW!) because we all sin in some shape or form everyday, but we shouldn’t be discouraged through that sin and let it manifest in which it will take control of our lives. When sin is allowed to grow it gives birth to death (James 1:15). Take that sin captive, confess it to the lord and steer clear from that sin. Thus, forming the habit of renewing your mind.
• Forming new habits is painstaking task, it disrupts the norm in our lives by having to change and let go. But God wants us to let go of our bad habits (laziness, procrastination, etc.) and form new habits that will glorify his name!
• It’s normal for us to think like the world but when it comes to the lord it requires resistance against the world, by not living like the world. Change only comes from God and in order to form new habits to renew our mind call on God to aid you in transforming not only your mind but your life.
• In Acts 2:42 the believers devoted themselves to hear God’s word and and have fellowship with him everyday. Let us be devoted to God like these believers.
2. It requires collaboration: Let God change the way I think! We alone cannot change the way we think which is why God uses people part of his kingdom to change the way we think in the manner he wants us to think.
3. Multi-Steps process: We receive the word of a God through various ways: The Bible, Audio, Videos, Verses, Messages (Sermon). Yet through these ways the question to be asked is: “Do WE devote our time PERSONALLY to God’s word?” Because there’s a BIG Gap between just hearing God’s word and Practicing the Word.
Beginning Steps To To Renewing Your Mind!
Exposing MY mind to the word: Many Christians remain at the beginning step of exposing themselves to the word of God but there’s another step then just allowing us to hear the word of God.
Reflective: We can hear the word of God but not reflect on what we exposed ourselves to. Think about what I hear, question the word. How do I reflect on the word?
Journals: Writing what I heard. The more you REACT to the word the more it changes you. If you do not reflect on the word, what you heard or read it’s like you basically wasted your time exposing yourself to the word. It enters one ear but leaves the other.
Take the time to to react and reflect on the word by writing the message as it allows you to remember what you’ve heard and practice it.
Find or buy a journal to write what you’ve heard/read so you can reflect and grow spiritually. This is how you you produce transformation in your life!
Action/Reaction: Remain plugged in God’s word because if we neglect to charge ourselves in his word by not exposing ourselves to it, reflecting on it and taking action upon it our batteries die. Leaving us vulnerable to the world and our sins to grow within us.
Expose yourself to the word, Reflect on the word and React.