A Little Bit of Yeast

Scripture to Read

Matthew 16:5-12, Galatians 5:9, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9


Devotional

I heard a message from a well loved pastor, whom I listen to regularly, teach on a subject I, personally, did not know much about or had studied. I didn’t have a solid, foundational knowledge on this topic to use in order to disagree. I just believed what he said because I trusted him. Since I didn’t do my own research and reflection before bringing this topic up to a friend, I wasn’t ready for her questions. I wasn’t confident in my own knowledge of this topic to really offer sound, biblical evidence to support this view.

In the days that followed we each did our own research and I discovered that I saw a different side to this subject. It’s not to say that I no longer trust this pastor, but I now realize how important it is to study and read scripture for myself. I can no longer take someone’s word just because they are behind the pulpit. I love how my Pastor tells not to take his word for it, but to go home with our notes from service and discover it for ourselves.

We have to be active participants in our own faith.

This concept isn’t new. This idea of discovering truth for yourself isn’t breaking news. But, it is important to remember and actually do. I am no longer an infant on milk, as Paul describes a new believer who is just getting their feet wet. Pastors and teachers of the Word are planters, sowers and nurturers, but only God can make the seed grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).

This means that we can learn from our pastors and teachers, but only God can bring true revelation and truth through His Holy Spirit. In order to allow growth to occur in our spiritual walks we must:

  1. Be in the Word on a regular, consistent basis
  2. Be careful how much of the world we allow into our ears, eyes, hearts, minds and bodies
  3. Be continually in prayer throughout the day–> I don’t mean in quiet, secluded prayer, but in conversation with God in everything we do.

In Matthew 16:5-12, Jesus tells His disciples to be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. These teachers of the law were educated and gifted with words. They did not believe Jesus was the Messiah and were contaminating the truth. This is important because, as Paul says in Galatians, it only takes a small amount of yeast to work through an entire batch of dough. If we aren’t aware of this we can be easily swayed by other’s opinions, thoughts and views.

I’m not a baker and don’t pretend to be one, but after doing some research I discovered that for two loaves of bread only a scant tablespoon of yeast is needed. Therefore, we need to be careful what we listen to, believe and speak without personally knowing. In this information age we live in, there’s always opinions, speculations, and “truth” buzzing around. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 that we are being equipped and built up in the knowledge of Christ– working toward maturity. We have a role in our growth.

Just like we saw in 1 Corinthians 3, new believers need help learning Scripture and truth, but as we grow and mature there’s responsibility and a commitment to standing firm in the Truth. It’s easy to be tossed around by waves and winds of every teaching, every pretty Instagram scripture, cultural fads or spiritual ideas. Thinking, reflecting and researching on our own is what will grow us to become, in every respect, the mature body of Christ Jesus.


Research & Define

blue letter Bible

Research two words from the Scripture to Read that stood out to you.

1.

2.


Related Scripture

1 Corinthians 5:6

1 Corinthians 2:6-16


Questions & Reflections

  1. What are some truths you’re dealing with right now?
  2. How can knowing Scripture strengthen your views?
  3. What’s one topic or viewpoint that you can study in scripture now? Ask God to help you filter through what others are saying and focus on hearing His voice.
  4. How does 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 relate Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:5-12?

Memorize & Meditate

1 Corinthians 3:7

Only God makes us grow. We just have to allow Him in. 

 


Pray

Father God, thank you for Your Word. Your Word is truth and life. Speak to each one of us through your word and through Your Holy Spirit. Open my eyes and ears to receive Your truth today. You are all I need and I trust in Your Truth. Help me to filter through the teachings and views that are washing through social media and the world right now. Give me peace in the midst of uncertainty and courage to question. You are not afraid of my questions. Thank you for teaching me and granting me Your Holy Spirit of wisdom and revelation. I love you Father God. I Pray this in Jesus’ name! Amen

Psalm 119

What a great week to study Psalm 19! My friend, Crystal, did an amazing job today leading our group through this amazing Psalm.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of your hands. ?????

Biggest take always from studying Psalm 19:

1. The skies, nature and all the earth are works of God’s mighty hands. The glory of God is displayed in so many amazing ways. Psalm 19 is full of symbolism and awe inspiring truth: creation is God’s invisible nature and characteristics, His eternal power and divinity, are clearly seen in and through what has been made. (Romans 1:19-20)

Psalm 115:6 reminds us that the earth was a gift to us by God. A gift. Enjoy it.

Take a moment to stop, look around and smell some roses or grass or trees or squirrels today. ?

2. The law of the Lord is perfect, rejuvenating, trustworthy, radiant, pure, firm, righteous, and the giver of joy. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh= Jesus. (John 1:1, 14)

When reading this Psalm insert Jesus wherever law, statutes, precepts, commands and decrees are written… how does it change your perspective?

In Psalm 119:24 the psalmist says “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselor.” Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be called wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

We have Our Winderful Counselor, by His Holy Spirit, all the time. Go to Him.

3. There are 3 Heavens in scripture. In this Psalm, “heavens” is mentioned twice (verse 1 and 4). In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul mentions a third heaven where he was shown paradise and heard inexpressible things.

The first heaven is the sky, our atmosphere, in which our human eyes can see; where birds fly and clouds float.

The second heaven is the celestial heaven or outer space. This is where the moon, stars and sun can be found.

The third heaven is God’s house, paradise. God cannot be placed in a geographic location, but His place of residence is way above our understanding and knowledge.

How does knowing about the three heavens change the way you read this Psalm?

4. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. Proverbs 6:22-23 (msg) says “the fear of the Lord means hating Evil, whose ways I hate with a passion. Pride and arrogance and crooked talk. Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics.

As followers of Jesus we are called to love people but hate the sin. So much of what is happening in our culture stems from pride, arrogance, self righteousness and crooked talk. If we seek our Wonderful Counselor, we receive good counsel and common sense which create your character.

Character is who you are when no one is looking. Character defines you. What’s going to come out of you when there’s pressure?

David says, in verse 10, that God’s Word is more precious than honey than much pure gold. Honey is natural. Gold is beautiful. Both are privileges. God’s word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Act Justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with our God.

Post a picture in the comments of the most beautiful, breath taking view of nature that you have ever seen. Did it speak to you of God? How?

 

Psalm 143

My friend, Erika, led group this week and brought great insights and applicable tools for our study of Psalm 143.

This Psalm is known as the prayer of a soul in distress. There are different theories as to when David wrote this Psalm, but one of the more accepted theories is that he wrote this prayer while on the run from his son, Absalom.

This week we looked at how David constructed his plea. He prayed from a place of desperation. Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed and defeated? <– Me too.

Biggest take away from Psalm 143:
(1) David magnifies who God is more than his troubles.

Who David says God is:
Righteous (vs 1, 11)
Unfailing Love (vs 8, 12)
Faithful (vs 1, 5)
Holy (vs 2)
Sovereign (vs 5)
Good (vs 10)
Protector, Shelter, and Refuge (vs 9)

(2) David prayed for more than deliverance from the situation. He asked for it to mean something, for God to use his distress for His glory. How often to we thank God for the problems we are facing because we trust that He has plan to work it all out for good?

(3) In verse 3, David says his enemies crush him to the ground and make him dwell in darkness. Those are real feelings, true emotions he felt. He didn’t hold anything back from God. But, he didn’t stay in that darkness of thought, he remembers what God has done for him (vs 5). We can learn from David and remember. In times of despair, remember what God has done for you, remember your blessings and fix God thanks.

Thanksgiving squashes darkness.

(4) David says his enemies make him dwell in darkness, but in Psalm 23, David says God makes him lie down in green pastures and walk along still waters. We have been given a free will. We have a choice which way we will go. Will we allow darkness or Light to reign in our hearts and minds?

Jump over and read Psalm 23. Write it out and meditate on it.

(5) Basics of Prayer:

-Pray should be heartfelt.
1 Samuel 1:10-13

-Pray from a humble heart.
Psalm 143:6

-Pray with faith.
Mark 11:22-24

-Pray in obedience to God’s will.
James 1:22

What were your biggest take always from this week’s study?

Psalm 63

My friend, Ina was our guest leader today and had so much prepared, she didn’t get to half of it. That’s when you know it’s good stuff.

Note on background before recap:

King David wrote Psalm 63 many years after he took the throne when his son, Absalom, revolted against him (2 Samuel 15). Yet again, he was on the run, fleeing for his life. He penned this Psalm in the dry desert lands surrounding his homeland of Judah.

Biggest take always from Psalm 63 Study and Discussion:
(1) David chose to focus on God not his problems. After all he has been through with Goliath and Saul, he found himself in a terrible situation where his own son sought to take his life and throne. He could’ve easily focused on “why me… again God” yet he chose to magnify God instead.

(2) David writes from the wilderness and we can all relate to being in some kind of wildernesses in our life. A place that is dry, weary, lonely, and desolate. Keep in mind how David’s focus in on God even though he is physically thirsty, his spiritual thirst for God is far greater.

(3) David remembers God when he goes to sleep. Night time is one of the enemy’s favorite times to attack our thoughts and get us out of peace. We are tired and usually not mentally alert. Joshua 1:8 tells us to mediate day and night on God’s Word.

In verse one, earnestly is the Hebrew word shachar. Shachar means to seek early. The verb tense used in Hebrew refers to an intensive or intentional action or process that is incomplete. Meaning— seeking God first thing in the day is an intentional act that is never completed. Always seek; pray without ceasing. Seeking Him all day and remember Him as you lay your heads down to sleep.

(4) Mediation is focus and prayer is expression. Meditation is being filled up by God and prayer is pouring out to God.

(5) Jesus tells us to love our enemies as ourselves, but David spoke of his enemies destruction. ?

David was speaking of justice not revenge. Justice is in God’s hands. David was trusting God to handle his enemies according to His will. David was also being human and pouring it all out to God– his hurts and anger. God can handle our human emotions. He wants us to just come to Him and give it all to Him. 1 Peter 5:6 reminds us to cast all our cares and worries on Him. David was doing just that. Remember that David also lived under the old covenant. Forgive and pray for those who hurt us is what Jesus calls us to do. (Luke 6:27-36)

Related Scripture:
2 Samuel 15:30
Psalm 145:5
Psalm 17:8
Luke 6:27-36
Colossians 3:3
1 Peter 5:6-9

What was your biggest take away this week?

Psalm 1

Want the study? —>Psalm 1

Psalm 1 is said to be the preface Psalm in which the rest of the book is based. This Psalm begins with “Blessed” linking it to the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3.

Our guest leader, Jen, came armed and ready to lead our group today with powerful insights and practical truths to live out.

Top 5 take always from group today:

(1) The world says walk, stand and then sit- living a life that is comfortable and godless. It’s easy to sit and stay complacent. Our relationship with God is opposite- Sit (with God and read His Word), stand (full of His Spirit and mediate on His truth), then Walk (live a life that reflects the internal transformation of His Spirit within you).

(2) verse 3, implies that the blessed man/woman will bear fruit as a result of his faithfulness to continually seek God… first the root (relationship with God), then the fruit (acts). Most importantly, we are to act in the fruit of the Spirit (character of God). We are dispensers of God’s character toward others. When pushed what comes out of you? Which fruit of the Spirit do you struggle with the most? (Genesis 12:2 God told Abraham that he would bless others, dispense good toward others.)

(3) We are women planted by streams of water. Jesus said He was the living water in John 4:14. The closer we plant ourselves to Jesus, the more abundance and fullness of life we experience: internally and externally.

(4) We study and meet together so we each can grow into the fullness and maturity of God by knowing His Word, living His Word and loving His Word. We will not be like a chaff blown away by the wind because we know what and why we believe. Planted. Rooted. Unshakable.

(5) Three ways God measures success: speak His Word, meditate on His Word and obey. (Joshua 1:8)

#RisingOaks
#WomenintheWord

 

Psalm Study Series

 

This Friday starts our Psalm study series that will take us to September.

Each week of Psalm Study Series we will have a guest leader, from within our group, that will study her little heart out, prepare questions and lead us through the Psalm of the week.

Come expecting God to do something amazing.


Each Week Study will look like this:

This week we will study ________.

(1) Read Psalm ____ in two different translations.

(2) Write out your favorite translation of Psalm _____ **double spaced

(3) Mark it up: circle, highlight, underline:

*Define unknown words.
*Look up related cross references.
*Rewrite certain verses that stand out to you in your own words.
*Write out a prayer using this passage.

(4)Reflection:

*What does this passage reveal about who God is?
*What does this passage reveal about yourself?
*What stands it to you as you read?
*What is confusing?

(5) Meditate:

*Which verse stuck out to you the most? Why?

*Memorize and pray that verse—> How is God changing you with His Word this week?


Get ready, it’s going to be amazing! !! ??

A Dash of Doubt

I’ve been struggling. 

I have not written a devotional or blog post in a while. I needed to take a step back and evaluate what God was really leading me to do.

I needed to minimize distractions and focus on His voice. It’s easy to lose sight of Him and His direction when we get distracted by the world’s standards and what others say is important. That’s what I call a dash of doubt. It’s a passing comment from someone, a brief look at someone else’s life or a quick thought that can open the door for the enemy to jump right in mixing up the dash of doubt with a spoonful of desire for new, better or more, a cup of discontentment, and a whole box of feelings.

I’ve been struggling with restlessness over the season of life that I am in right now. I’m a stay at home mom, housewife, and the glue that keeps my family together. Those first two jobs are seemingly insignificant according to the world. But without the first two (momma and wife) I wouldn’t have the privilege of being glue.

“Do your everyday and your ordinary, Godliness is found and formed in those places. No man or woman greatly used by God has escaped them.” Jennie Allen, author of Anything

I’ve heard God tell me many times already to remain faithfully available and He will put me firmly in place. I knew coming into my 29th year of life that this was going to be a preparatory year for me. I clearly heard God tell me He was going to be refining, transforming and molding me this year. With this revelation I have had struggles— growing pains.

As a child I would get severe legs pains, growing pains, that would start at the top of my leg and pulsate down to my feet. When this happened I would cry out to my Mom who would then grab the heating pad and ibuprofen. She knew the drill. She knew what would cause the pain to subside. When the pain became this intense I couldn’t even walk. I would miss school and have to hang out with the heating pad.

That’s how my struggle feels right now. It’s painful because I’m growing. I know what will cause the pain to subside. I know that when I keep my eyes focused on Jesus and trust in His plan, His timing and His Big Story that everything will workout. When I stay in consistent communication with Him and remain thankful for what He’s given me, the pain subsides. I can walk, I can happily participate in my life.

In Genesis 3, we find Eve and the serpent having the conversation that would lead to the Fall of Man. Oh Eve… (face palm)

Let’s look at Genesis chapter 3 and see how Satan used the dash of doubt with Eve.

First, in verse 1 the serpent removed God’s Name “the LORD God” to say “God.” Little removals of God’s sovereignty are dangerous. It slowly diminished how we see Him and who He is— the creator of all mankind, the maker of the Heavens and the Earth, the Lord of lords and King of kings.

Then, in verse 2, Eve repeated two important things. First, she also removed God’s Name just like the serpent. Secondly, she repeated what God commanded regarding what to eat. She started losing sight of Him but tried to hold on with remembering what her purpose was on this earth. She tried. Ultimately, she fell into the pot where Satan put the dash of doubt with a spoonful of better, a cup of discontentment and a whole lot of feelings.

Verse 4 (NLT), says “the woman was convinced.”

Convince: to move by argument or evidence to belief, agreement, consent or a course of action.

It’s easy to be convinced when we lose sight of the Big picture, God’s Story and His truth.

A puzzle piece doesn’t make sense individually. Together, puzzle pieces make the picture complete.

Eve lost sight of that truth.

It’s easy to do what we want, what our flesh wants, what we already know to do. It’s more difficult to be consistent in obedience and remain steadfast, trusting God- especially when we are distracted. Eve removed God’s name- in essence- she lost sight of Him.

“Jesus says the way we glorify God, the way we step into His story, is by accomplishing the word God gives us to do… We play our part in His story, and the beauty is, it was what we were made for.” Jennie Allen, author of Anything.

I’m challenged by this passage of scripture in Genesis. I refuse to let Satan in with his manipulating recipe of lies. I’m choosing to meditate on His truth instead of my own self doubt. I’m choosing to remember my small, yet important, part in His Big Story. I’m choosing to remain in constant communication with Him.

Have you been challenged by Genesis 3 today? What distractions do you need to eliminate to better hear His voice?

God’s will for us is to remain in constant communication with Him- so when doubt slips in we are quick to speak with Him, letting Him fill us with joy and peace as we trust in Him, His timing, His plans. Rely on His truth above our own circumstances and thoughts.


Related Scripture:

Isaiah 26:3

Romans 7:23, 8:1-11, 15:13

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18