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Well, I have been remiss in writing here, but I am so happy to report that God has helped me to be faithful in my 30 day commitment (post-Bible Study). If you did an encouragement… here’s what I have to say, straight up! It’s never too late. You can start 30 days today. 🙂

Here’s what I’m doing…. as an experiment and as a promise to my time with you and this study over the past 3 months…

1. I pray the Lord’s prayer in first person. That’s been very powerful.
2. I proclaim the wonders of God through various Psalms passages I selected. There are so many ways to speak of His glory in the Psalms: Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name!
3. I pray Ps. 26:2, asking the Lord to reveal my sins/transgressions from the previous day and ask for forgiveness. That has been very healing.
4. I then pray Ps 25:4-5 before I begin to read and reflect on the Word.
5. I decided to start in the New Testament again and I am working my way through Matthew. I am taking my time, reading short passages as the Lord leads, summarizing them and then writing an affirmation and application of the verses. I am also writing “notes” as the Lord reveals truths I had not thought about before. Then I pray Ps 16:11a (“You have made known to me the path of life.”)
6. And finally, I pray for myself (if I feel there is a need still), for my family, friends, church, community & nation … as the Lord leads.

In 23 days, I have reached Matthew 10:4.
Here are just a few thoughts I’ve written in my new prayer journal:

  • From the story of the Magi, Matt 2:1-12, I heard the Lord ask me, “What do you seek?” and I answered, “I seek You, Lord… give me a star to follow!” (And really, give me the courage to follow You.)
  • When Joseph and the Magi were warned in a “dream” to flee, they understood God meant NOW. For me, I understood Him to say, “do it now.”
  • From Matthew 3:1-12 – If water baptism is a symbol for the forgiveness and washing away of confessed sin … brought to the surface, won’t the “fire baptism” that Jesus brought remove the deeper sins embedded in the fabric of our beings?
  • After anointing, comes challenge. (Jesus, the dove & the desert)
  • Temptations are customized to our weaknesses. (see Matt 4:3-11)
  • Healing the body is “symbolic” of Jesus’ ultimate goal of healing the soul. Always pray for the healing of the sick. (Matt 4:12-25)
  • To incorporate the beatitudes … woo! too much… so much truth, so much to consider. So the Lord gave me a break: Pick One! so I picked Mercy!!!!! It is my only hope.
  • The natural state, as a Christian, is to “shine” … if I am not shining, then I am preventing it. I am blocking the light with my own choices. Lord forgive me. (Matt 5:13-20)
  • Are we really to “be” perfect… or is it a call to stay on the road to perfect… the narrow way. (Matt 5:43-6:6)
  • The essence of the Lord’s Prayer: glorifying God (who He is), accepting God’s plan for our lives, asking that our basic needs be met, asking forgiveness for our sins and mistakes, and finally asking for protection and deliverance.
  • Worry is an unacceptable way of responding to God’s love and care. We are, instead, to see His “place” (environment) and His essence that rules over that space.
  • We must always remember “what” we are seeking. In the end, whatever we seek, is still Christ, in the end. (Matt 7:7-14)
  • I must tend to the tree. (Matt 7:15-23)
  • The sermon on the mount is essence of being a Christian.
  • Enough for now… I’ll share more later.

Our last class!
I have invited everyone who is here tonight to add their reflections on this study and add what their plan is for the next 30 days!

I really enjoyed this opportunity to seek personal revival in a group setting. It was great to hear the experiences of the other group members. Thank you, Irmgarde for leading the group. I hope to continue with your Mary/Martha class this Fall.
Saundra

It has been wonderful reconnecting with God during this study. This has been very revealing and
life changing. I will trust in God’s grace to help me keep it up. Our conversation was transparent
and real much of the time. I really appreciated that aspect of the class. Thanks, Irmgarde for bring us through.
Terri

What a wonderful renewing study. God never ceases to amaze me and woo me when doing a study like this. This study is a good reminder for me when life gets tough to come back to God . I want to expieriece all he has for me!!

This has been an excellent bible study. an eye opener and makes one more aware of God. We get so caught up in life things that we do tend to shuffle God to the side only to pull him out when we need him. BUT… this bible study has placed our need for God in the front of our lives at all times. We need to be humble and ask for forgiveness every moment b/c we have a sinful nature. Knowing Jesus as our Lord and savior purifies us. thank-you.

Irmgarde, thank you for being such a beacon! I appreciate your honesty and how your words were able to mentor us through this process. I feel very blessed to have met you, and am fortunate to have the Lord continue to call me back to His loving arms. I feel honored to have met such lovely people and feel less alone..there are so many of us struggling to remain faithful. I am ready for my 30 day commitment, and have my devotional open and ready! I look forward to your blogs, and God willing will be back in the fall for your next endeavor..Alyce

Seeking Him came into my life at just the right time. I enjoyed my time with the book each night. The classes were a perfect way to sum the lesson up each week. Now that this revival has started in my heart, I can’t wait to keep the process going. I plan to get into another study, pronto, whether it is with another group or with a book by myself. Thanks to everyone for sharing their heart with us!

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been in this class. The Lord was alive and well and evident in the teachings. From the animated spirit-led presentation by Nancy and Irmegard to the honest, open revelations and sharing by everyone I was truly blessed. I pray God’s help and direction to continue following Jesus. Praise and thanks to the Lord.

Thank you Class! You were all great. Hope to see you in the Fall for our next study.

After the discussing the DeMoss video which gave a good word picture of the Holy Spirit in our lives being like the Niagara Falls. In the same way that the Falls weren’t used for power-generating until the early 20th century, so many of us have failed to harness (use effectively – not control” the true power of the Spirit within us. Reread Romans 7 and 8 for a complete review of how the Holy Spirit is more powerful than the “law of sin.” She also gave a word picture for these concepts in considering “sin” to be like the law of gravity, always there and always “pulling on us” while the Holy Spirit fuels the “law of aerodynamics” that gives us the power to overcome the “law of gravity” and to soar in freedom. That’s all good stuff to hang onto as we move into our final week of study!

After the video, we asked those participants who missed last week, to share their 2-minute testimonies. Again, the glory of God’s power in the lives of a believer.

As we considered the Holy Spirit, I felt we should also discuss some of the historically different experiences of the Holy Spirit in our lives. For myself, I came into the Lord during the heyday of the “charismatic movement” in the 70’s. During this time, there was much emphasis on being “drunk in the spirit” and there was great joy, but there was also some misplaced seeking for the “signs and wonders” instead of seeking for the Spirit who was the author of them.

Many in our group came from this same time period and several shared their own personal “Holy Spirit” baptism. No matter how you define it, there is nothing like that deep presence of God… for some this happened in a “whoosh” like a waterfall and for others, it was a steady stream.

The “faith builder” story from the workbook led us into a long discussion of how difficult experiences in our past, particular abusive situations, are healed. We agreed that the story seemed to “simplify” the process. Clearly, anyone who has had those experiences has a choice in how he/she will respond to the circumstances. There is that moment when the person must “choose” to open up to God’s power through the Holy Spirit. Once those gates are open, healing can begin. It may not always happen quickly or immediately, but God is faithful. (“…Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” II Timothy 1:12)

We also talked about the idea of being a victim or having a “victim mentality.” Clearly, there is a tension when coming to the Lord for healing. Victims are generally the ones who feel powerless and if they have survived a traumatic situation, then generally, they have also built a complex array of defense systems to “protect” themselves from further hurt. But, to accept healing from God, one has to open the doors of the heart. One must, literally, give power fully to the Lord. This is not easy.

6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Selah

7 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.

9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
Selah (Psalm 24: 6-10)

Can you think of these gates being the gates of your heart? He will do battle for you, He will overcome. This King of Glory is the Holy Spirit!

What else does the Holy Spirit do in our lives?

  • counselor
  • teacher
  • brings conviction
  • brings “fruits of the spirit”
  • intercedes for us
  • reminds us of God’s love for us
  • empowers us
  • guides us into truth
  • heals
  • glorifies the Lord
  • helps in the sanctification process

Sanctification is the walking out of our salvation. Sanctification is initiated by the Holy Spirit and supported by the church and fellow believers. Sanctification is a process! Are ever finished? Not until that day we see our Lord face to face. It’s the journey and not the destination.

It is on that we must choose daily to give the Holy Spirit reign of our lives. As we submit (and isn’t this the full circle of our study … going all the way back to humility?) … the Holy Spirit manifests the power of God in our lives. We become “other-oriented.” We become joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. We know the Truth (Christ Jesus) and we are set free. We experience intimacy with God. Amen.

“For this is is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.” (I Thessalonians 4:3)

Why is it important to discuss sexual purity in the midst of a study on personal revival? Because we are a “whole” … the body, the mind, and the spirit. Our bodies are are a temple… and how we treat our bodies and how we use our bodies is important.

Clearly, when sexual purity is examined in the midst of a marriage, then adultery (all kinds … including lust or too close friendships) can cause damage: broken trust, defilement, lying, reproach to God, guilt and shame for the family, self-centeredness, confusion, strife, anger, frustration, and living in a fantasy. Some safeguards we discussed that might help (in a pro-active way) to prevent adultery might include open communication, accountability, transparency, honesty, building hedges, establish mutually agreed upon boundaries, benchmarks, avoiding compromising situations, NOT complaining about mate to a member of the opposite sex, and most important of all, praying for one another. So often, adultery occurs because of a slow “withering away” in the relationship and it is not “checked” early enough in the process. The “other” appears to be better and so, we begin to “live a lie.”

Adultery and sexual sins have actually become prevalent even in the church. Most of us agree that the power of the secular world and its “messages” sets the stage for infidelity. I believe that “loss of intimacy” with God can cause a loss of intimacy with a mate and as a result, send us out looking elsewhere for that intimacy. I believe women crave intimacy!

One of the questions DeMoss asks in her workbook is “what advice would you give to a teenage son or daughter about why or how to keep morally pure.” We all had a laugh as we waited for others speak, hoping someone else would have a “good idea” that might actually work! Some of the suggestions were that we talk about “consequence” – not just in the face of sex and the possible consequences there, but consequences for all of our actions. Other suggestions were to tell the teen that abstinence sets the stage for giving a “precious gift” to your marriage partner and on the flip side, by having sex before marraige, you are also “stealing that gift from that person’s spouse of the future.” In the end, we agreed that it’s important to communicate the importance of choice! I also added that we should share with our teens that every sexual liaison creates a binding … a literal spiritual thread… that remains forever unless supernaturally cut by Christ’s “sword of truth.”

Because of my interest in word pictures, I asked the group to brainstorm a bit on the word “purity.” What are some of the word associations that you have for purity?

  • white
  • harmony
  • not contaminated
  • without spot or blemish
  • 100%
  • not blended
  • clean
  • whole
  • innocence
  • fresh
  • bright
  • unadulterated

Interesting collections of words I think.

In the end, we must choose to nurture these words in our lives. If we have failed, then it is critical that we confess. If we ask for purity in our lives, then we must also expect the refining process.
“Refiner’s Fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy… ”