149 posts categorized "Bible Study"

The Book of Esther: Enemies Destroyed and a New Holiday

Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church For such a time as this… SUMites, when we last left Esther and Mordecai, the king had given them Mordecai his signet ring (authority). Esther seems to hold such great favor with the king that just her explanation of her relationship to Mordecai results in this transfer of authority. Esther again speaks to the king, falling at his feet in tears as she pleads for the lives of her people. The king gives both her and Mordecai permission to do what they feel best to save the Jews. The king’s scribes are summoned and a new proclamation is written to “react” to the one Haman had made. Since a Persian’s king’s decree could not be revoked, this counter attack was the best way to stop the annihilation of the Jewish population. Once again, the God of the Jews is protecting... Read more →

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The Book of Esther: The Queen Risks Everything

Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church For such a time as this… My friends, we’re moving deeper into the story of Esther where things are moving much faster and starting to heat up in a big way. We left the story with Queen Esther’s life hanging in the balance. As chapter five opens, Queen Esther has put on her royal robes (put on her best dress) and enters the king’s throne room. We hold our breath and wait. What will her fate be? Yet we know who, I mean WHO, has her back, right? With God behind her, she is destined for victory. Just as we are, my friends. Often, it’s all in how we look at it. Like Mordecai, we can turn every situation upside down and ask God, “What do you want to do here? What are the possibilities?” King Xerxes extends his scepter,... Read more →

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The Book of Esther: Haman's Plot and Mordecai's Plea

Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church For such a time as this… SUMites, are you as riveted by this story as I am? The intrigue thickens as we walk into chapter three. Mordecai continues to refuse to bow to Haman or explain why to the other gate officials when asked. These men bring this to Haman's attention to see if it will be tolerated. Sound familiar? Everyone watched to see if former Queen Vashti's refusal of the king would be tolerated as well. All eyes are on the king waiting to see precedent set. We see the same mentality today in our own political arenas, my friends. It's like a pack mentality. Haman is now alert to Mordecai's ongoing refusal and is enraged. He has learned who Mordecai's people are and decides he the idea of just killing Mordecai isn't enough. He wasn't to eliminate all... Read more →

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The Book of Esther: A New Queen and a Conspiracy

Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church For such a time as this… I remember nearly twenty years ago studying the book of Esther and finding myself enamored with this woman of humble means and her willingness to sacrifice her life to save her people. I wondered if I could do such a thing myself. I felt (and still do) very connected the Jewish people and their story. Most likely because my birth father and my grandfather were Jewish. However, my grandfather married a Methodist woman and refused to allow his children to be raised Jewish. Interesting how one person's decision can change the entire course of those who come after, isn't it? Vashti chose to refuse the king. Esther chose to risk her life. Mordecai chose to reveal a plot against a king, who would haphazardly follow the council of a wicked man bent on destroying... Read more →

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Chapter One of Esther: The King Divorces Queen Vashti

Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church For such a time as this... Hello, my friends! Welcome to part one of our study of Esther! Like many of you who commented on Monday, I love the book of Esther. The more I read and study it, the more I appreciate the complexity and the multiple layers that compose this fascinating story. A little glimpse of my work area as I study Esther. And that is how I've decided to approach this amazing book of the Bible. We will go chapter by chapter in search of the truths and details of each layer. The Layers of Esther When I look at stories, I tend to look for layers and how they intertwine together. Esther is rich in this kind of structure and symbolism as well. I hope you get as excited as I do when I discover these... Read more →

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The Mystery and Wonder of Esther

Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church For such a time as this... Hello SUMites! I mentioned last week that I was feeling led to do an series on Esther. Since then I can’t seem to stay away from this book and have poured hours of research into digging into the deeper places of this astonishing story. So consider this an introduction to Esther and what I have in store thus far to share with you. And I encourage you to read the book yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal its truths and promises to you too. One of the most significant aspects of the story of Esther is that God is not mentioned by name once in the book. He isn’t even referred to. But He is very much implied. However, there are actually clues I believe the author put in place to make... Read more →

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Combating the Enemy Within

Photo courtesy of DigitalArt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net I’ve always been curious as to the stubbornness of my anxiety and sinful habits that nag away at me. I thought it a useful topic to discuss as we walk through this fabulous series on emotional healing. I’ve mentioned my struggles with anxiety previously. Like many of us it’s been a regular companion for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent enough years of my life in counselors chairs that I figured it was something that would be with me all of my days. There was a self-defeatist sense of ‘oh well, it must just be part of what makes me, me.’ I know many others who struggle with it think similarly. Some of you may be able to relate to this as you too have had anxiety as a companion or perhaps it’s some habitual ‘thing’ that just hangs around. You’ll have some days... Read more →

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The Power of God’s Words

"Jesus is your sword." One of the things I love about living in Florida is the cloud formations. They are tall and fluffy, filling the sky with a terrain of fluffy like cotton. Then other times they are imposing and dark, flashing with lighting and pouring down rain. Rarely is the sky completely devoid of these puffy wonders. One bright and humid Florida morning, I went for a walk to worship and pray. My conversation with God that day was about prayer and words. I wanted to understand more about what He seemed to be impressing upon my heart to understand. I looked up in the sky and noticed a could that looked just like a sword, which I thought was so interesting. But what made it relevant was what the Holy Spirit spoke to me as I looked at this simple formation. “Jesus is your sword.” My friends, this... Read more →

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The Power of Words

My friends, on Monday we talked about our authority and place of power, that we have everything through Christ Jesus and nothing to lose because of His sacrifice for us, and that the enemy has nothing and everything to lose. That's because he's already lost. With that I want to point to a truth that we sometimes forget to practice, because we do a fair bit of spiritual warfare in our mismatched marriages. Just after Jesus tells us about the authority He's given us, He points out where our focus and rejoicing should truly be focused. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” — Luke 10:19-20 We are secure in... Read more →

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What Does God Want From Me?

Hello SUMite Nation, The Holy Spirit is speaking the Word – PRAYER! (Don’t tune out. This is good.) “Oh man, did she just write – PRAYER.” Did you just whisper this under your breath? Let me explain what I feel the Lord is impressing upon me as well as upon most of His church right now. Prayer. Some of you may remember that I served on staff in Women’s Ministry at my local church for years. I led Bible study groups, choose studies for our women and directed a lot of the Bible study efforts. I left that position four or five years ago as our online and book ministry began to grow. What I always found fascinating and utterly disappointing in the years of choosing Bible studies was the fact that if we chose a Bible study about prayer, no one signed up. Yep. Bummer! But true. However, what... Read more →

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Lord of the Harvest

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” My friends, I don’t know if you remember me sharing in June of 2013 a dream God gave me, which I believe was a precursor to our salvation word this year and what’s to come. There are several pieces to this that the Holy Spirit is showing me, and I am excited to share with you. So let’s start with a refresher of that dream and then pray in this harvest! May 2013 (date of dream) I was half awake, half asleep, but the dream was very vivid. I stood before a tall cornfield—taller than me. Jesus stood next to me. He gestured to the crop and said, "This is the Great Harvest.” I said,... Read more →

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Change The DATE - Praying The Word

OOPIE! Yep, Lynn's back and I'm showing my blonde. Many of you have already registered for the LIVE online class, Praying The Word of God with me. AWESOMENESS! However, I gave you the wrong date. The date of both classes is now scheduled for August 16th. Class times at 12:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. PACIFIC. This is the following week on a Tuesday. If you already registered and cannot make that date, please forgive me. I hope to offer the class again later in the fall. It's not too late to sign up. To register visit the registration page Praying the Word with Lynn Donovan. The class is FREE. Let me ask you a few questions. Do you want to pray with power? Do you want to pray and actually know God heard you? Do you want to see the results from your prayers? This class is intended to instruct... Read more →

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Foundations Series: INHERITANCE & IDENTITY, part 2

Hello, SUMites! Yesterday my hubby and I walked through our house to see the changes in just the last week or so. The drywall is up and the rooms are more defined now. As we passed through an unfinished doorway, my husband pointed a written Scripture still exposed there. He asked me, “Is this one of yours?” I answered, “Yep.” And I laughed with delight inside, my friends. This was a victory for me, as I felt no concern about his reaction. I simply rejoiced in knowing what’s coming and seeing the evidence of it all around him, even though he isn’t seeing it…yet. Just like this house, seeing only the present stage, yet knowing so much more is coming and yet to be seen. The floor tiles, the walls painted, cabinets, kitchen, etc. So much more is coming…salvation. My heart dances with expectation of the coming promises. As I... Read more →

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Part Four: The Promised Provision

My friends, are you ready for more of God’s amazing truth and love? Are you ready to have your thinking transformed a bit today? Let’s go back to the book of Jeremiah and take another look at King Zedekiah’s story. Let’s look at the first five verses of Jeremiah 34, because this is where things get really interesting. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face... Read more →

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The Call to Rest

My friends, my search for deeper understanding of God's call to rest has brought me to some interesting places. I'm excited to share what I have discovered with you. As I pondered and prayed over this, Holy Spirit brought to mind first "trust" and "strength." Specifically these pieces of Scripture. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. — Proverbs 3:5-6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts." — Zechariah 4:6 I then began a search for the word "rest" in the New Testament and discovered there are at least five different Greek words used for this one word. The more obvious one would be koimēsis—to rest,... Read more →

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We Stand for Jesus

A week ago I shared in my post the things I am standing for. I sensed then Holy Spirit might be leading me to share a story that began in 2013 that had to do with the word and command in the Bible, to “stand.” Jesus presented it to me as a question, but its full meaning wouldn’t become clearer until almost a year later. Will you stand for Me? The question came as I worshiped with over a thousand others at a faith based conference. Will you stand for Me? So unexpected and suddenly there. Often I would hear something and wonder, “Is that me or is that you, Lord?” This time I knew it was Jesus. I went to my knees. Yes, Lord, I will stand for you. That was at the end of 2013 and before I understood that this question was the beginning of what was... Read more →

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In the Courtroom with the Apostle Paul

My friends, I know many of us sat in church alone on Easter Sunday. I did too. But today I want to encourage you with a story that has gripped my heart with a message that is for us, SUMites. Turn back to the pages of Acts and let's look at the story of Paul. I am captivated by this man's journey, my friends. As I read the words he shares with King Agrippa about his Damascus Road encounter, it was as if I were right there sitting in the courtroom. Read Paul's story. Imagine yourself sitting in the audience with great anticipation, listening to every heart-pounding word. Imagine the intensity of Saul, a Pharisee who approved Stephen's stoning and held the coats of the men who killed him. Saul, so sure in his belief that Jesus was an imposter, he chased the believers of the Way to imprison them,... Read more →

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How Do You "Speak" God?

My friends, as I listened to a very gifted teacher at my recent healing rooms training I attended teach about our words, I knew right away this applied to our "how do we hear God" series, thus my title "How Do We "Speak" God?" It seems the natural progression, as Scripture says what we hold in our heart is what comes out of our mouths. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. — Luke 6:45 NLT God's Word also says we are created in His image, therefore we are creative beings, like our Creator. We just have different ways of expressing that creativity. God's Word shows the power of His words to create, bless and curse. And as image bearers... Read more →

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How do you "hear" God?

Over the last several weeks I’ve been following along with the Lenten reading on Margaret Feinberg’s site that Ian shared with us. I feel like I’m taking a walk with Luke through his testimony of his time with Jesus and what happened after the cross. It's a fascinating way to follow the progression of events. Thank you for the recommendation, Ian! What I want to share with you today is one verse in particular that a stopped me in my reading and became an assignment I gave myself and a few dear friends. It’s a verse I know I’ve read many times, but you know how that happens, when a verse just grabs you, one know you’ve read many a time but in that moment, Holy Spirit is saying, “pay attention to this!”? And He literally meant “pay attention…” “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen... Read more →

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Guest Post: Blessed are the Peacemakers

Dear friends, we have some more exciting news for you today. Our very own SUMite, Ian Acheson, has come on board with us and will be posting the first Wednesday of each month. As you know, Ian is the author of Angel Guard and has written guest posts with us periodically. We are so thankful to have him on board to give a male perspective to our mismated journeys and to our SUM family. God is so good! He knows exactly what we need! If you want to know more about Ian, check out his website too! Thank you, Ian! We are excited to see what God has planned for you here and we are blessed to receive your wisdom and authenticity. Lord Jesus, bless Ian and equip him with more knowledge and wisdom in You. In the name of Jesus, amen! Blessed are the Peacemakers Photo courtesy of Arvind... Read more →

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What Does Thankfulness Do?

SUM family, we talked last week about the first two keys, forgiveness and love. On the subject of love I just want to make one more point that the Holy Spirit reminded about me over the weekend. We reference 2 Timothy 1:7 frequently when we talk about fear. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. We’ve been given love in our spirit. I just want to point that out in case you’re feeling like you can’t love your pre-believer or someone else in your life well enough. The truth is, on you’re own steam, you can’t, but as a child of God, you can. God’s Word says you have a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. And I love how these three are bundled up. Love without God’s power runs out. Power without God’s love turns manipulative and self-seeking.... Read more →

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How Do We Love?

My friends, I’d planned to talk briefly about love and then move into thankfulness, but the Holy Spirit impressed our Father’s heart on this subject upon me and I want to give that ample space. So today we will talk about love, the second key in this Abundant Life series. I want to tell you that this series simmered in my heart for a few weeks and at first I thought love should come first since it is so foundational to all we feel, think and do. But I realized that unforgiveness needed to be covered first because when we hold that unforgiveness we are actually trying to control a person or situation, and we have talked in the past about how love and control can’t coexist, especially in a marriage. And your comments were so good, so honest! Never discount how much sharing your heart here ministers to others.... Read more →

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Your Mismatched Marriage Isn’t a “But” (part 2)

My friends, on Tuesday we started talking about seeing our marriages instead of a but, to see them as a "But God..." My heart is to encourage you to walk in God's truths and to be all that His heart and love have declared and planned for you to be. The more I work in our healing rooms here, the more I understand that God has asked me to partner with Him to help people do this, to realize their divine destiny and walk in it. And this calling He's placed on my heart is not limited to healing rooms. He puts me into action all over the place. What an adventure! And I love, love, love that I can bring that to our SUM nation. Dear friends, Lynn and I love you so much! We are passionate for you to walk in freedom, in the truths that Jesus came... Read more →

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Your Mismatched Marriage Isn’t a “But” (part 1)

My friends, I want to touch on an area that I feel the Holy Spirit has placed on my heart. I sense there are some of you out there who are reading this spiritual warfare series and seeing your marriages (regardless of how you got there) as blocks to all that God has for you. As a “but.” Instead, I want to encourage you to think of your marriage not as a “But God…” We’ve talked about sanctification before so I encourage you to go read this post on that subject and study and seek God for more truth and understanding of 1 Cor 7:14. That is a powerful foundational truth to understanding the influence your faith has on your marriage, your pre-believer and your children. But today I want to talk about our places in these marriages, the truths that protect us and how this relates to spiritual warfare.... Read more →

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Wearing Our Armor—God’s Word

My friends, I want to share with you today how I “pray on” my armor. And I do this out loud whenever possible. I know that can be awkward at times in our spiritually mismatched places, but I find bathrooms, closets and cars to be good places when needed! Lord, today I am putting on my armor. My belt of truth, which is You, Lord Jesus. You are my way, my truth and my life. In You I live, move and have my being. (John 14:6, Acts 17:28). My breastplate of righteousness, because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). My shield of faith for the righteous live by faith and You, Jesus, are the author and perfector of my faith. My shield is strengthened and empowered by the truth of Jesus to deflect the barbs of the enemy. (Rom. 1:17, Heb. 12:2) My sword... Read more →

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