Friday, October 9, 2015

Acts 21-25 (Week 5) - Good Morning Girls Bible Study

Good Morning Girls & Guys,

This week we are studying Acts 21-25. We are reading one chapter a day, Monday through Friday. This blog post is for those  who either join our group late or would like more information on the book of Acts. 

If you would like more information on the Good Morning Girls Bible Studies, please visit

If you would like to join our group, please email me at for more information and I will get you on the morning email. We would love to have you!

Acts 21


We are reading chapter 21. I actually chose the same verse and question that goes with Good Morning Girls for today's SOAK.

Acts 21:13 "Then Paul answered, 'why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."

Paul is traveling to Jerusalem where he knew he would be beaten and imprisoned. The other disciples and followers were afraid for his life and constantly begged him not to go. But Paul knew that it was God's will and he was so convicted to God's mission and purposes for him that he was at peace with going to jail, being beaten, and even his impending death because he trusted and had complete faith in God.


If faced with imprisonment, being beaten, and death in your future, how would you respond? 

I personally would be scared. I would like to think of myself as a strong Christian, but I am only strong through Christ. I do know that I will always put Jesus above all, even when it is hard (like my boys and my Husband). I am willing to die for Jesus. I will not give up on him, because he never gives up on me. That doesn't mean I won't be scared or cry a lot but he gives me the strength to get through anything. A couple years ago, I couldn't honestly tell you that I would be willing to die, be beaten, or imprisoned for Christ. I was at a different place in my faith walk but now my faith has convicted me to always fulfill God's will and purposes that he has laid out for my life. 

Where are you at in your faith walk? Are you to this point yet? If not, it is ok. Keep growing, and one day you will be <3

Acts 22


In this chapter, Paul has been arrested and is speaking to the crowd. He speaks his entire testimony and tries to relate to them through it. But the crowds hearts are hardened and they demand death. He is then transferred to be questioned by the Sanhedrin which we see in the following chapter.

This chapter is definitely more so a transition chapter but we again see Paul's bravery and courage that God gives him. He stands up for his faith, even testifies to his faith by speaking to an angry crowd that wants him killed and he doesn't even waiver. Paul is such a powerful person, someone who we should try to mimic in our everyday lives. 


I like today's GMG's question. I try to share my testimony or  at the least a part of it the majority of my days. I can do that with you, through my blog, on social media, when I'm at the store, on a play date, and any time I choose to. Where I'm 9 months pregnant, I mostly share mine through social media which is nice. I also use the First 5 app and can talk to other believers and new believers through that. I believe it is just as important to help new believers and other believers grow in their faith as it is to bring new believers to Christ. By equipping and growing others, we strengthen Gods cause by making better equipped warriors for him. :)

My past is filled with mistake after mistake, pain after pain, and many life lessons that I can use as my testimony. Everyone has a past and God gave us that past for a reason! Use it today to help others that need you!!!

Acts 23


Today we are in Chapter 23, Paul is taken to the Sanhedrin where he is placed in front of the High Priest, Sadducees, and Pharisees. Again, the crowds become violent when questioning him. The Sadducees are totally against him where the Pharisees relate to him because of his past as a Pharisee. It's an absolute and utter mess! 

What struck me most though is that after being questioned, Paul was comforted by Jesus by being told "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome." (Acts 23:11)

Can you imagine Jesus himself coming down to you and comforting you. What peace Paul must have felt in that moment! That in itself is truly powerful! Oh how the Christian community would be so different if everyone had a literal personal connection to Jesus like that. Even though we can't meet with Jesus physically, Jesus gives us this option every day through reading the bible, Prayer, attending worship and church, small group fellowship, and serving others. The more we strengthen our relationship with Jesus, the less we worry because we are comforted by him more and more. 


I don't really relate to today's discussion question because I've never felt like God was done using me. I feel the opposite in that I won't be done until I'm in Heaven and sitting at the table with Jesus in person. And even then I want to serve him for eternity! I would love to hear others responses to this question. Please share!!!

Acts 24


In Chapter 24, we see Paul being taken before the Governor to be trialed once again. He couldn't find anything to accuse Paul of and even hoped he would bribe him so he could have something to go off. He kept Paul for two years and spoke with him, but he never actually accused him of anything. 

"So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man." (Acts 24:16)

Paul lived in such a way that he never had to lie or push the truth in order to get his point across or to defend himself. He lived in the light, he lived in pure righteousness. He allowed God to lead his life choices which freed him from ever having to defend himself. Instead God's wisdom was enough of a defense. 


I am always faced with unjust judgement because I live almost exactly the opposite of society. As we grow in our faith walk and draw closer to God, we seek Gods righteousness in everything. It doesn't all come at one time but over time we change our ways more and more. As I've learned, society is driven by the King of Earth (Satan) but we follow the King of everything (God). They are total opposites. I run in to issues of judgement a lot because what we are told is right on earth isn't always what is right with God and when I choose God it's like people can't comprehend that what I am doing is right because it isn't what the majority believes is right or it isn't what they are comfortable with. We must also understand that Satan is tricky, he isn't just going to make everything black and white for us to see plain as day. He wants us to stumble and come to his dark side. We must arm ourselves with Gods word and be filled with the Holy Spirit to guide us! If not we will stumble in to the clutches of Satan. 

What is something you are currently changing in your life that brings upon judgement from others? 

Acts 25

In Acts 25, we see Paul still in prison even though he still has not been condemned of a crime. We see the Greeks scrambling, not really knowing what to do with this man who as they see it, only has disputes with Jewish religion. 

We see Paul still standing firm and speaking with righteousness and bravery through God. He does not seek to get out of death, but wants to make sure his death comes for real reasons and not accusations that can't be proven. 

GMG Discussion Question:


People like to judge other people. It is just the world that we live in, a world filled with sin. I try to live righteously in the name of God and don't have too many disputes with others. I try to stay out of drama as much as possible. But I have found when dealing with the youth and those that still need to rapidly mature in to adulthood, my words can be twisted in to something that I didn't say. I see this with my two little sisters, one is 15 and the other is 21. I can speak to them about God but if they don't really like what I am saying, they can twist it to other family members in a way that makes me look bad even though it's not what I meant at all. I deal with this most of the time with love, patience, and holding my tongue. Sometimes I have blown up, and I am not proud of those moments. I usually also consult my Husband and we make a plan together, rather if it is to leave it alone or pursue it further by sitting down with them and explaining things. My sisters are like my own children to me, so they weigh very heavy on my heart. Where if it were other people I probably would let it roll off. 

How do you deal with these situations? 

Have a wonderful weekend!!! It is suppose to be absolutely beautiful on Delmarva! I hope where ever you live that you're having great weather also! Love you all!!!

Walk Gracefully with God,

Jess 💕

Acts 2-5 (Week 1) - Good Morning Girls Bible Study


Good Morning Girls & Guys!

Wow! What an absolutely amazing chapter in the bible! We see the Holy Spirit ascend and the beginning of the Church. As Christians, we know how truly powerful both of those things are!

One of my favorite verses in the bible is in this chapter. "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting." (Acts 2:2) How amazing is that! I can imagine sitting on my couch in my living room with the windows open and wind just pouring in on me and my family. Feeling the power of God physically all around me. Maybe that is why I crave Fall so much, to feel just a glimpse of that in my home. 

Some items that I took from this chapter are as followed:

(1) How cool it is that God broke the communication barrier.
(2) God wants us all to come to him and be saved. He doesn't care what gender you are, your race, your background, your language, the region you live in, or even who you are associated with. God loves us so much that he wants us to call upon the name of Jesus and be saved. How awesome is that!
(3) When we draw close and establish a relationship with God, he fills us with hope, happiness, strength, and life. You just need faith the size of a mustard seed :)
(4) All we have to do to be saved is to call on the name of Jesus. No strings attached!

What I get from all of these is that our God is truly amazing, all powerful, and we are so blessed that he loves us so much that we get to experience eternity with him!

Today's Application Question is: How can I live my life to show that I am filled with the Holy Spirit?

- Speak Softly to people, helping them when ever we can, not holding grudges but loving every one.

- Living authentic, by reading God's word every day and applying it to my life. Not just choosing pieces to follow but living in the whole truth. An example of this is of course is following God's principles of being nice and helping others in every day life when we can, going on mission trips and talking to people about God, but how about our habits as Americans? Where do you shop? Do you shop at big box chains just because it's cheap? How about if you knew how they treated their manufacturers, how they truly impact the community, or how they treat their employees? Do you want your children in those stores and around people who may not be the best example for them? Sometimes we selfishly make decisions based on our needs and wants and don't look at the impact on others when making them. I don't want to sway anyone because it truly needs to be your choice but a couple things that my Husband and I have changed are as followed. 
(1) We haven't shopped at Walmart since 2011. Look in to the pressure on manufacturers and how they are hurting local economies (yes that's are friends and family). And that's just the start with them.
(2) We buy local as much as we can.
(3) We buy fair trade and organic when we can. Do you really know the practices of today's corporations? Well let me introduce you to the world of the immoral lol.

Remember, this world is built by the Devil, we as Christians are counter cultural to the beliefs of the majority. Have you looked at your convictions lately? 

- Setting a good example for everyone including our spouse, children, parents, friends, and so on. Sometimes we often take advantage of our closest relationships and forget to intentionally love on those closest to us. We also "let loose" when we are comfortable around people which can bring out our true heart which isn't always righteous. Let's work on changing our hearts around those closest to us and everything else will fall in to place. 

Ok! It's time for you guys to tell me your thoughts about the chapter! Please don't feel pressured by me or anything, I love you all and I definitely don't judge! Our family is convicted to just make small changes every day to make this world a better place for everyone! 


Acts 3


Acts chapter 3 although a shorter chapter is super powerful! In this chapter, Peter performs his first miracle through healing the crippled beggar. This shows through pure faith and use of the Holy Spirit, nothing is too big for us as Christians to do. Could you imagine being able to heal the sick simply by speaking to them? Just holding out your hand and helping someone up and instantly they are better? That would be amazing! 

Reflection Question:

While the people were in awe over the lame man's healing, Peter took that chance to direct the people's attention to God.

In what ways can we apply this to those we come in contact with? 

In other words, how can we use our lives (our trials and circumstances) to bring Glory to God and to further God's kingdom?

Through true faith, you find worry disappears and peace comes, you are strengthened through God in every trial of life. 

My Family has had a hard year this year, we've lived in four homes before finally going to settlement on our home we're in now, in the midst of that I had severe debilitating morning sickness for over three months straight to the point of depression, both of our beloved dogs passed away from separate ailments, and the worst was the day after our settlement on our new home, we awoke at my In-laws home to find that my Mother in law had passed away at only 46 years old. Oh and I was pregnant the entire time! 

Even though so many things happened that could have drug our family down, we chose to live by faith, to fall in to the arms of Jesus to get us through. His peace and comfort were so overwhelming that I can't even explain how it felt. He used our pain and lack of control to strengthen us as disciples in his name. We became stronger through him being able to help others in pain throughout the way and growing us a lot in our walk with him. That's the reason I am leading this group today. I want to have fellowship with other people, to help, to comfort, and to be a witness to others that God is forever powerful and will get us through anything if you just hand over control. 

I am so excited for this group! You guys are amazing for joining and going on this walk with us! I can't wait to see how God uses each of us and how he grows our group! 

Our amazing Lord! I just want to come to you today and thank you for always being here for us, for showing your power every day and for unconditionally loving us all. Thank you for bringing so many amazing people to this group! Please use this group to bring glory to your name, to grow us as your body and for us to draw closer to you! We love you God! It is in Jesus's name that we pray, Amen!



Acts 4


Today, we are reading Acts 4. Peter & John are put in jail and questioned about their faith, teachings, and miracles. Even though they were being judged and under extreme pressure at the time, they both allowed themselves to be led and flooded with the Holy Spirit and were able to defend their faith. At the end of the chapter we also see that when the entire group of people Prayed and Praised God, their physical location shook! Wow! Could you imagine having faith so strong that you entire house shakes?!? And it also adds that they were able to speak boldly about their faith. 

Some scripture that stood out to me was: 

Acts 4:12 "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we may be saved."

Acts 4:19 "Judge for yourself whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." 

Acts 4:31 "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

Discussion Question:

Peter & John remained firm in their faith, despite knowing what happened to Jesus when he spoke against the scribes. 

Do you allow fear to consume your choices to speak out about God or do you allow faith to continue to show through? 

This is a touchy subject for a lot of Christians because they don't want to offend or be judged by people. Unfortunately, just being a Christian brings judgement because we live differently than the majority of the world. We are counter cultural in every way and we will consistently be tempted and judged by others. Not just by non Christians but Christians in different walks in their faith. Everyone is at a different maturity level in their faith and it doesn't matter what their age is or how long they've been a Christian. This is when we have to cling to God's word, and his guidance and not allow others to sway our thinking and how we live. 

This week, I've been a household filled with non-believers and cultural Christians. Matt and I have been the only ones who cracked open a bible. It's been difficult for myself to be around people led more by shopping than God. The topics of conversation are very hard for me to be apart of. It's a constant fight to stay righteous in Christ and not build up resentment towards the others. I have to ground myself, stick to my beliefs and Pray for guidance from God and to be a witness for him for the rest of the group. 

Years ago, early in my faith, I would have just went with the flow and took a "break" from my faith while on vacation. But now my heart bleeds to be obedient to God and even though it is hard, I stick to God and not to this world. I'm definitely not perfect and am still weeding my old ways out, but each day I get a little better at it.

Thank you God for unconditionally loving us, for being our constant. Please guide us all and give us the strength to live for you and not for others, not for this world. Help us defend our faith in such a way that it brings others to you. Allow us to shake this Earth for you and Praise your name! We love you! Amen!

Acts 5


I know a lot of you are doing the SOAK method. It's many people's first time so I am going to share my SOAK on Acts 5 with you to give you kind of a basis to go off of. Please let me know if you have any questions and I would be glad to help!

S - The S stands for Scripture:
- Acts 5:21 "At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told to do (by the Angel of the Lord), and began to teach the people."
- Acts 5:29 "We must obey God rather than men."
- Acts 5:41 "The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name."

O - The O is for Observation: 
- Even though just put in jail, the apostles didn't hesitate to listen to the Angel of the Lord and obey him. 
- When being questioned, the apostles firmly replied that they were going to obey God, not men.
- Even after being flogged, the apostles rejoiced in God's name for that they felt honored that they were considered worthy enough by God to suffer disgrace in the name of Jesus. 

A - The A is for Application:
- How can I live each day, each trial, each attack on my beliefs to bring honor and glory to God?
- By living a life completely guided and led by God's will.
- Not wavering from the truth because following men and the lures of this world is always going to be easier. 
- Fighting every day for God through scripture, Prayer, and total surrender to God. 

K - The K stands for Kneeling in Prayer:
- Thank you God for finding me worthy enough to grow. Thank you for using me for your will and your purposes, for breaking my heart and convicting me to bring glory to your kingdom. Thank you for the blanket of peace and joy that you cover me with even in the midst of the mundane and trials in my life. thank you for just being! I Love you Lord! I will continue to fight for you! Use me! Guide me! I surrender! Amen!

This is my personal SOAK above, my personal Prayer from my heart. I hope this helps you as we progress in this study! Please feel free to respond to any of these email with thoughts, Prayer requests, Praises, things that sparked your interest, or anything at all! I would love to hear everything each one of you has to share. Let us build this group as the Brothers and Sisters that we are in Christ and lift each other up! 

Remember too that you can sign up for Wednesday and Friday emails from Courtney Joseph over on her blog Women Living Well. And please tag #goodmorninggirls, #womenlivingwell, and #lamerediaries  (me!) in your posts on social media! Let's spread the word of God through every outlet God has gifted us with. 

I love you all!!!

Walk Gracefully with God,

Jess <3

Monday, September 28, 2015

Acts 16-20 (Week 4) - Good Morning Girls Bible Study

Hi Everyone!

This week we are studying Acts 16-20. We are reading one chapter a day, Monday through Friday. This blog post is for those  who either join our group late or would like more information on the book of Acts. 

If you would like more information on the Good Morning Girls Bible Studies, please visit

If you would like to join our group, please email me at for more information and I will get you on the morning email. We would love to have you!

Acts 16


Today, we are reading Acts 16. The focus of this chapter is still on Apostle Paul. How amazing is he as a person and a follower of Jesus. It was funny that we are reading this chapter today because my Pastor was just speaking about it yesterday at Church as part of his sermon. Did you know that Paul actually wrote the majority of the New Testament? And he didn't just do that but wrote it from a jail cell. Paul was a true evangelist, even in the worst circumstances. 

I chose the following verse to focus on today:

Acts 16:31 "Believe in The Lord Jesus and you will be saved - you and your household."

Paul had many trials and ran into problems constantly throughout his ministry. He didn't run into these problems by living life the way he wanted but by choosing to obey God and to be led by him. When we become a Christian, we sign up to be warriors for God, rather that be spreading the good news to others or simply having to deal with criticism from others about our lifestyle choices. 

Paul was publicly flogged and thrown into jail for defending his faith and sending out a spirit in a slave girl. Even when put in jail, his faith did not waiver and instead of dwelling in his horrible circumstances, he decided to Pray and speak Gods word to the prisoners. God showed up with a powerful miracle by shaking the ground and unlocking all of the prisoners chains and unlocking the jail. Those prisoners were saved that day but also a guard and his entire Family. Because of Paul's unwavering faith that Jesus is Lord, many people were saved that day. I don't know about you but when I die and go to Heaven, when being judged, I want lists upon lists of those who I was able to touch through my ministry, and by the way I lived. In the end, that's all that matters. We live simply to serve God and to bring glory to him. If we have this mind set than anything is possible and God will give us everything! 

Today's Discussion Question:



Acts 17


Today we are in Acts chapter 17. It is a continuation of Paul's ministry and how he dealt with problems that arose as well as a great big chunk of his teaching. The scripture that I chose is:

Acts 17:24-31New International Version (NIV)

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[a] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[b]

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

(Copied from

We are all God's offspring, all made for God's Glory and purposes. God is not our design, we are his. 

The Greeks in Athens had alters everywhere and they were filled with idols that they worshiped. That same concept still plagues our world today, and effects everyone, even Christians. We choose to worship our Husbands, our Children, family & friends, money, shopping, food, success, power, sex, alcohol, drugs, pleasure, television, drama, and the list can go on and on. What I mean by worship is what takes you away from strengthening your relationship with God, and what you put before God. We would love to say we always put God first, but we don't. I have to fight my flesh every day to put God before my husband. My husband is physically here, he holds me when he gets home from work, he can kiss me and comfort me on those hard days through his touch. That is my fight, but I know that when I beat my flesh, the comfort and love I feel from God is like no other. It is perfect comfort, joy, and peace that nothing else on this Earth can ever give me. God is the only constant, he is our strength, and our everything. 

I know many Christians who struggle to find time with God every day. That's when worshipping something else is overpowering your worship with God. If you have time to get on Facebook, check your emails, go to lunch with friends, go shopping, online browse, and so on then you have time for God. You simply are choosing not to and are putting things above him. This is when a heart check comes in to play. Narrow down why you do the things that you do and Pray that God will change that in your heart. I've grown throughout the years in this way. It used to be I was power and success driven, I wanted to be put up on a pedestal through my status in the community, I wanted all the glory for myself. When I finally couldn't handle it anymore for multiple reasons, I broke down, got on my knees and Prayed for God to take control of my life and to change my heart. What followed was years of him breaking me down, humbling me, and making me new in his image. It is hard work but so beyond worth it. Now I'm a stay at home Mommy with no community power but living in the power of God! 

What is holding you back from fully surrendering?

Today's GMG's discussion question:



Acts 18


Acts 18! The verse I chose to focus on was:

Acts 18:9 "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent."

Paul was rightfully frustrated with the Jews and how abusive they were being to him. God came, comforted and encouraged him to keep speaking. He said "for I am with you." How powerful it is that the Lord directly spoke these words to Paul. It comforts me so much hearing them through Paul. And as we see, when Paul is brought to court, his case is dismissed and he is set free, protected by God. How refreshing is it that we get to walk in Gods strength and don't have to rely on our own.

I made my own discussion question to this chapter :)

When has there been a time when you've became frustrated when speaking to others about your faith?

I easily can become frustrated because I want everyone to be saved and I want everyone to know the good news about Jesus. Without Jesus there is darkness. Who wants to see anyone in the dark? I want everyone to walk in the light with me! When a friend or family member refuse me or just make me in to this "good religious woman" it hurts because I don't speak about God for my own glory but to bring others to God. They can compliment my lifestyle all they want to but if I'm not impacting their life than it means nothing. That's when I get frustrated and that's when I fall to my knees and God fills me with his strength. How I love our amazing God!!!

Today's GMG Discussion Question:



Acts 19


Acts 19:20 "In this way the word of The Lord spread widely and grew in power."

After a failed attempt for some Jews to drive out an evil spirit, the evil spirit told them that he knew Jesus, but didn't know them. They hadn't yet been given the Holy Spirit because of their lack of faith. But after this event, they literally had the fear of God put in them and it spread so rapidly that an entire city believed in Jesus and were saved. God used this one evil spirit to bring large numbers of others to him. The people believed in Jesus so much that they literally "burned" their old ways and chose to fully walk in the light of Jesus.

As Christians we grow and mature at all different paces and times. There are so many variables for each Christian that shapes their development. Some include: their past, their home church, life events that may boost or hinder their faith, the amount of effort they choose to put in to building a relationship with God, and the list goes on. Age of a person and the length of time as a Christian are not related whatsoever in spiritual maturity. I have learned though the secret to greater spiritual maturity is fully "burning" my past ways of thinking and living, and instead I fully live and rely on the ways of God. I do this by mediating on God's word, and continually seeking growth and wisdom through God's guidance through constant and deep Prayer.

How are you "burning" your old ways to be closer to God?

GMG Discussion Question:



Acts 20

Paul knew that he was getting ready to be imprisoned and was giving his last speech to the disciples. This chapter shows a lot about Paul's character and his view on life itself. For this chapter I am going to do things a little different by going through the 5 verses that I chose and then going a little more in depth on each one. 

Acts 20:2 "He traveled through Macedonia, speaking many words of encouragement to the people."

Paul was encouraging and helpful to others. He always tried to speak and live in a way that would make people crave to be closer to God. He subconsciously motivated others to strive to know and be more like Jesus. Is this what your life shows? For me an easy change is stopping and thinking before posting on social media. Use this question in your mind every time, Is this bringing glory to Gods kingdom?

Acts 20:19 "I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested." 

Paul was humbled by and convicted to God's causes. Paul didn't care about worldly treasures, about his wellbeing, or about his goals in life, he understood that God's cause is the only cause and that we should always give everything we have to it. What is getting in your way? Do your goals align with God's goals for you?

Acts 20:24 "I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."

Paul was focused solely on spreading the gospel to others. What we need to take from this is that Paul was a simple man just like you and me. God didn't make him King or task him with a special assignment. God tasked all of us to focus solely on him and to spread the gospel. We need to stop putting the apostles at a higher standard than ourselves and step up to the task that God has set for all of us. What makes you feel unworthy of the cause? Is it something that I can Pray for you about? Just know that God loves you so much, no matter what you ever do and that you are worth being a disciple of Jesus Christ! You were actually born to be one!!!

Acts 20:28 "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the Church of God, which he bought with his own blood."

Paul was very concerned and devoted to the wellbeing and growth of other followers and the Church. He always made sure they were taken care of. Church is a powerful way to connect with other Christians but also bring non-believers to Christ. We are a family, all of us, not just those who go to my physical building every Sunday. We should be concerned with the growth and wellbeing of our fellow siblings in Christ. We should be encouragers and a place where other feel secure to come when hurting or praising! Small groups are a great tool to connect to other Christians and develop deeper relationships with them. Everyone needs help at one point or another. And I know most of us need someone who will be there to keep us on track, you guys are mine every day!!! I am so thankful for all of you and am so humbled that I get to write to you every day!!!

Acts 20:35 "It is more blessed to give than it is to receive."

Paul was a very giving person. He took care of his followers monetarily and made sure that everyone else was taken care of before himself. What is your next step to be more giving? Mine is opening my home up more to not only our youth ministry leadership but also to some of our youth as well. I want to use the home that God gifted Matt and I as a tool to bring comfort, healing, and growth to everyone. 

GMG Discussion Question:


^^ I believe my post goes in to that in depth :D

I love you all and please please please share! We don't have too much longer with each other and I would love to hear everything you have to say!!! We all bring so many different personalities and thought processes to the group. Please share today!!!

Walk Gracefully with God, 

Jess <3

Monday, September 21, 2015

Acts 11-15 (Week 3) - Good Morning Girls Bible Study

Good Morning Girls & Guys,

Can you believe that we are already on Week 3 of our Acts study! Time is flying! I hope everyone had an absolutely wonderful weekend! I had my baby shower on Saturday and am officially going to on my 36th week and 9th month of pregnancy this Wednesday! I am so ready for our new little bundle to be here!!! 

Acts 11

Today, we are going over Acts chapter 11. 

Acts 11:17-18 "So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, 'So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."

God commands us as Christians to love, not judge or discriminate, although we all fail at one point or another. We have to be intentional when loving others and never assume someone is too far gone to be saved or that a specific group of people don't deserve the same Grace that God gives to us. We should seek to help ALL God's people, not just those who are easiest for us to help or those who are convenient. We are commanded to love and spread the good news to EVERYONE. 

What are some ways that you can be more intentional at loving others?

Some ways that I thought of are: 

- Pray for those on your heart everyday. 
- Physically reach out to those in need and spread Gods word.
- Ask God to change your heart by getting rid of your prejudices and judgements and filling you with love for others.
- Volunteer for something that is out of your comfort zone. (If your comfortable, you're not growing.) 

GMG Discussion Question:



Acts 12

Acts 12:16 "But Peter kept on knocking and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished."

Even though those who had been consistently Praying for Peter were putting effort in to Prayer, they didn't have complete faith in God that he would actually save Peter. 

I don't know about you but I catch myself in this loop all of the time. Right now it's with the safety of the delivery of my Son. I constantly Pray and Pray that he will be healthy and the birth will go smoothly but I still have anxiety about it, I still have doubt. What's more frustrating is that I Preach that only with full Faith comes contentment. There is no room for stress when you have Faith in God. It shows that I still have a lot of maturing to do in my walk with God. My flesh is trying to fight the Holy Spirit inside me but I so want the Holy Spirit to win. I've felt the peace of full faith and I will be a warrior and fight until the bitter end! 

What sends you in to your loops of doubt?

Mine this time was all of the risks associated with a c-section that were listed out yesterday at my Doctors visit. Also, reading articles and seeing posts about still born babies. It plants doubt in my head and I have to fight my flesh and know without a shadow of a doubt that God will deliver me a healthy baby and I will be ok through surgery.

GMG Discussion Question:



Acts 13


Acts 13:52 "And the disciples were continually filled with joy and the Holy Spirit."

Even though the Jews treated the disciples poorly, over and over again, they still were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. 

I don't know about you but this is hard to grasp! I am at the point on my Faith walk that culture and those who aren't close to me don't bother me at all. No, I don't feel the need to post on Facebook about how they don't bother me because they REALLY don't bother me. BUT it's those who are close to me that hurt me the most. When Family directly attacks you because of your beliefs or your morals and values of obedience that's when it hurts me.

It doesn't hurt me that I feel that I am not righteous, it hurts me that they aren't to the point in their faith or life to know what is righteous and what is not. Because I want all my loved ones to be raised up, I want them all to be filled with joy, and I want all of them to have a relationship with Jesus! 

How do you feel when others treat you badly because of your Faith?

GMG Discussion Question:



Acts 14


Acts 14:22 " they strengthened the disciples and encouraged them to remain true to their faith." 

This was the verse that I pulled out which is the first half of the verse that GMG's chose as today's verse. I have tied this verse in to point number 3 that I got out of this chapter. See below for more information. 

(1) Paul and Barnabas show how true their Faith and Trust in God is in this chapter. They started off by going straight to the "Lions Den" (the synagogues) to speak "boldly" about God. These are the same people who continually plot to mistreat and stone them. They don't just go to surrounding areas and hope that the word is heard, they literally go right in to the center of those opposed to them at that time. This take strength and courage that only can be found by Faith in God! It astounds me of the bravery of these two Men. 

But it doesn't stop there, after preaching in Lystra, Paul was stoned and drug outside the city. But a little death didn't stop him, he got up and went right back in to the place where he was stoned and won over more disciples. Then he decided to go back to Antioch, the place where the leaders of the stoning were from, and preached more there!!! Wow! I would love to have an ounce of that faith that he had. He is definitely someone to strive to be like, learn from, and to gain wisdom from. He is a true believer in God!!!

(2) Paul and Barnabas when preaching in Lystra get mistaken as the Greek Gods Zeus and Hermes. Instead of allowing all of the honor and glory the people were given them to go to their heads, they gave all the Glory to God. How hard is this for us? It's easier to give glory to God after a negative experience that God brings us out of. But when things are going well for us and we are at our highs we tend to dismiss that it was only God that brought us that success. Don't forget to give every moment back to God. Every morning my Son Liam comes up to me and asks for hugs and kisses, these moments are brought to me by God alone. My little one is one of the biggest blessings that God has given me in my life and I am so thankful every day for him. Give everything up to God! He controls everything for his Glory!

(3) The last point I chose directly correlates with my verse for today. When Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, they strengthened and encouraged the disciples and established an organized Church. They didn't do this by making rash decisions but instead trusted fully in God and decided to seek his guidance through Prayer and Fasting. This relates to our household right now because my Husband's ministry is in transition. This was the perfect verse for us because we really need to be in Prayer and Fasting a lot more to be guided by God and shown what the next step is. It is truly difficult for us this time around where our Son can be born any day.

That leads me to a Prayer Request from you guys :)

Please Pray for God to guide us as a Family in making the right decision for our Family as well as God's vision for my Husband's ministry. Please Pray for God to show us that balance and for strength for the both of us. Strength for Matt to be the leader God wants him to be in his ministry and as the Man of the Household. And strength for me to run the household and support my husband in any way possible! Thank you guys so much for the Prayers! I would love to Pray for you!

GMG's Discussion Question

^^^ I touched on this in point number two :)


Acts 15


Acts 15. The verse I chose was:

Acts 15:11 "We believe it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as everyone else is."

The Gentiles were confused and still thought that they had to be circumcised to be able to enter Heaven. The Apostles on the other hand concluded that everyone automatically enters Heaven simply through the Grace of God. Not by our actions.

Within the Christian religion, there are many different denominations. All the denominations have different traditions and beliefs that aren't technically commanded in the bible. Some examples are repentance of our sins to another person (it does say repent to God), Lent (fasting is referred to as a great exercise but not the Lent season itself), holidays (Christmas/Easter - they signify events in the bible and bring honor to God but aren't commanded), and the list goes on. Then there are disputes between Old Testament and New Testament commands which is technically what this chapter is about. Most of the things listed above our awesome practices that were put in to place to strengthen our relationship with God, the problem is that this is miscommunicated to a lot of people and they tend to feel guilt when they don't do them "appropriately" or on a regular basis. We don't want anyone deterred from God because of a mortal tradition. 

I'm a Southern Baptist, we don't really have any traditions, plenty of "rules" when it comes to leadership within the Church but no real traditions. We believe that what the bible says is what we do and there is nothing else. But some years I practice Lent to build and focus my relationship with God more. It helps a lot! Matt and I also celebrate Easter and Christmas and use it to promote Gods Grace to others and of course teach our children in a fun way!  The point is that if we do these things to bring Glory and Honor to God they are awesome tools!

We just need to remember that we can't earn our place in Heaven no matter how hard we try. We are simply saved by Grace alone. 

GMG Discussion Question:

What are your thoughts on today's chapter? 

I hope everyone has a blessed day and an absolutely awesome weekend!!! Love you all and see you Monday!

Walk Gracefully with God,

Jess <3

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Book of Acts (Intro & Chapter 1) - Good Morning Girls Bible Study

Good Morning Girls & Guys,

First of all I would like to welcome everyone to our Acts Bible Study. I believe it is everyone's first time doing a Good Mornings Girls/Guys study and I couldn't be more excited excited to have you all! I am writing to you guys from the beautiful Avon, NC in the OBX where I will be able to spend time with God every morning in our house right by the ocean. It's such a blessing to be able to start off this study this way. 

(NOTE: This post was initially intended for the Acts bible study starting on September 7th 2015. If you would like to join our Acts bible study, please email me at You can also use this post as an archive for going through the book of Acts if the study has ended. Please feel free to share any material that you would like, please give credit to LaMereDiaries if it is from this site or if it is from Good Morning Girls or Women Living Well, please give them credit. We are here to help you on your wall with growth! Please contact me with any questions or concerns. Thanks you!)

We are starting Acts 1 this morning in our workbooks or if you do not have a workbook, you can do the SOAK method in a journal, on a scrap peace of paper, or in whatever version makes you feel most comfortable. Again SOAK stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Kneeling in Prayer. For more information on SOAK or color coding you can visit

Here is my SOAK and Color Coding from today's study:

If you guys have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!!! 

Today's Reflection Question is:

The Apostles knew they needed to replace Judas; therefore, they trusted God to place the right person in that position. 

How can we apply this principle to the relationships in our own lives? 

If you want to answer the question, just respond to this chain. I'll answer after one other person responds today to get the chain going. 

My application question that I asked myself this morning was: How can we live as if Jesus was physically here guiding us everyday? (Btw how amazing is it that they had 40 days of personal time with Jesus, I'm jelly!) How can we live in obedience to his teachings?

Even though we are saved by grace, we still should live in obedience to God's teachings and will for us. As we grow closer to him through Faith, we automatically crave because of the Holy Spirit to live in line with God's will. I know that for me, when I'm actively reading the bible and studying it, my life aligns with Gods will more and more and I just feel all around more at peace and like God is literally cradling me and my Family in his arms. When I have breaks with GMG, I can easily slip back in to my old ways of thinking, my old habits, and start taking on characteristics of this world and choosing it over God. I try to stay as active with God as possible not to go through the motions but to build that relationship with God. I can never love him as much as he loves me but I'm going to continue to fight and try to hehe. 

I love you all! I can't wait to hear your responses and thoughts from today's reading!!! 

Walk Gracefully with God,


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Acts 6-10 (Week 2) - Good Morning Girls Bible Study

Hi Everyone!

This week we are studying Acts 6-10. We are reading one chapter a day, Monday through Friday. This blog post is for those  who either join our group late or would like more information on the book of Acts. 

If you would like more information on the Good Morning Girls Bible Studies, please visit

If you would like to join our group, please email me at for more information and I will get you on the morning email. We would love to have you!


Acts 6

Today, we are diving in to Acts chapter 6. It is a fairly short chapter but still powerful! 

I chose to focus on Acts 6:2-4:

"So the Twelve gathered all of the disciples together and said 'It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."

The disciples had to prioritize where they spent the bulk of their time. They stayed focused and obedient to Jesus' commands. They knew when to delegate different tasks and fixed problems by using others within the Church. 

This is very hard for Americans to comprehend because we are so wired by our upbringing and society to stay busy all of the time. We somehow link busyness with success. We stay busy in our careers,  through our children's activities, taking care of our household and family members, and the list goes on. 

God wants us to stay focused on him and his will for our lives. Take time to Pray today for guidance in this area in your life.

Discussion Question:


Acts 7

Today we are in Acts 7. Stephen is speaking to the high priest which leads to him ultimately being stoned at the end of the chapter. I almost get this feeling that Stephen knew what was about to happen when he provides the high priest with a history lesson to get his point across. It's amazing that he was filled so much with the Holy Spirit that he had the courage to speak in such a powerful way to those in earthly rule. He is definitely a role model for me, I would love to have just an ounce of that courage that he has. 

Throughout history, God's followers have rejected and disobeyed him. We are not immune to doing the same thing today. We have to allow ourselves to be fully filled with the Holy Spirit. We have to be obedient to God, and this can only be done by knowing God's commands by reading and studying God's word. The bible is a living document where God will speak to you through his word. There are also other things that can block the Holy Spirit from your life, and usually the Holy Spirit is letting you know what these things are. A couple years ago, I struggled with Pride, I was an earthly success, making a lot of money and had a lot of power in the community. I thought I was unstoppable, that is until God stopped me in my tracks. The Holy Spirit was trying to guide me but I was rejecting it. It wasn't until my Marriage started to deteriorate, I couldn't get pregnant, and then I had health issues that I totally submitted to God. God broke me in to a million pieces but built me up in his name tenfold. He made me and is still making me in to the person that he wants me to be and that is because I am dependent on the Holy Spirit. 

Some questions that I wrote for my application are:

How can I fully allow the Holy Spirit in to my heart?

How can I be more obedient?

What is God laying on your heart as your next step?

GMG Discussion Question:


Acts 8


This chapter tends to focus around the apostle Phillip. Some verses that stood out to me today were:

Acts 8:26-27 "Now an angel of The Lord said to Phillip, 'Go....' And Phillip Obeyed."

Acts 8:4 "Those who had been scattered preached the word where ever they went."

Phillip is such a great role model for us all! He lived in complete obedience to God. He never questioned God's motives or compared them to his own. He fully trusted God and always followed his commands. Phillip had so much trust and faith in God that he was moved supernaturally throughout the land. Where ever he needed to go, God literally teleported him where he needed him to be next. How crazy is that! What faith Phillip had!!!

God brings every single person into our lives. Everything is planned out perfectly to bring glory to God. You can either be obedient to God and use the opportunities that he brings to you to help his Kingdom or you can do nothing and hinder it. God will have his will done either way. I know that I personally want to be one of God's warriors!!!

Are you up to the challenge?

Today's Discussion Question:


Acts 9


Wow! Chapter 9 is such a powerful chapter. We see Saul, a man bent on destroying all of Jesus's followers personally encounter Jesus himself and instantly start following Jesus. He didn't just start following Jesus, but spoke "Boldly" about Him throughout the land. 

Acts 9:28 "So Saul stayed with them (the apostles) and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord." 

It's so interesting that Jesus chose someone like Saul to preach in his name, even after all of the horrible things that Saul had done to his followers. Jesus forgave and loved Saul. He used his past as a testimony for a life drastically changed by Jesus. It shows us that none of us are too lost to be saved by the Grace of God.

Testimony is definitely one of our biggest resources when it comes to spreading the news about Jesus. 

I grew up in a Family that lived by "typical culturally acceptable behavior." That means that we lived in the bounds of what culture told us was the right way to live, which as I have learned as I have gotten older, is usually not the way the bible teaches us to live. Some examples I can give are living with a partner before marriage, fornication (how many girls are having babies in high school?), supporting radical liberal ideals that go against Christian beliefs, materialism, Corporate corruption, gluttony, American impact on the environment, popular music/television shows (trash in/ trash out), and the list goes on. It is so overwhelming how much sin we allow ourselves to be apart of each day just because we are used to it and it is "normal" in our culture. 

The awesome thing is that as we grow in our faith and relationship with God, he gives us wisdom to see everything through his eyes. Then we can use how we used to live to help other grow and come to Jesus. It makes us relatable to others because we've been through it and had their same thought process at one point in our lives. God always uses everything to bring Glory back to himself! It's amazing! 

Today's discussion question:


Have you been able to use your testimony? Have you spoke "boldly" in the name of the Lord?


Acts 10


Acts 10 is an awesome chapter because we get a glimpse at a couple characteristics of God himself. If implemented in to our lives, we become more like Jesus which in turn brings more Glory to God!!!

Acts 10:34-35 "Then Peter began to speak: I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is RIGHT."

Acts 10:38 "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing GOOD and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him."

From these two verses we see that God wants everyone, no matter who they are to become part of his family and that God wants to personally touch each of our lives. Jesus didn't just speak in the name of God and instantly anyone that needed to be healed was healed, even though he certainly could have. He instead took the time to personally touch each and everyone's lives through physically going to them. Jesus went out of his way to do what is good and to do what is right! How righteous is our God and how much we can learn from the acts of Jesus. 

I have this saying that annoys my Husband and annoys most of the people in my circles. "If it's EASY, it is probably not RIGHTEOUS." Americans hate to think this way because the last thing we want is to have to work harder at anything we have to do. Our culture thrives on easy, the easier the better. Our entire grocery experience is built on easy. Single serve platters, kcups, reusable paper products, frozen dinners, and food that stays good on shelves for years. It's so much easier to go to the grocery store and buy premade items rather than do it ourselves at home. It's easier to go buy produce than to have our own gardens at home. In turn, the obesity rate has increased drastically, cancer has skyrocketed, and our biggest killers are heart attack and stroke that are all from what we eat! BUT our culture is so beyond hesitant to change because they don't want to put forth the effort to learn the correct way to eat and what is actually in the food they are buying. Why should they? It's so much easier to keep buying things that are already made for us. The corporations can't be that immoral, can they? 

It's not just our food culture that has gone to easy. More related to spreading the message and touching people's lives is social media. We are more inclined now to use social media to "keep up" with "friends." We put our personal life out on statuses because it's easier than calling multiple people when something is wrong and we also get that extra attention from those we normally wouldn't. We say Happy Birthday on people's walls instead of taking them to lunch or calling to catch up. It's so much easier to have a "personal life" from our couches. It's not hurting our generations as much as it is hurting the younger generations that have never knew life without the entire internet at their finger tips. Even though it is impacting our relationships to an extent. There has been recent studies showing how afraid our teenagers are now to just simply talk on the phone with their friends because they can't edit what comes out of their mouths before they say it. They rather text or use a social media outlet. 

There are so many more people out there that need to be personally touched by us. Especially those who are hurting and need to hear about Jesus. 

These examples are just two of how easy is hurting our society, our health,  and our overall lives. For more information on living righteously, read the Book of Proverbs <3

What is your next step to doing what is righteous and not just easy? How can you use Jesus as a role model for your life?

GMG Discussion Question:

Sorry for the length, righteousness is one of my convictions that God lays heavy on my heart. 

Please feel free to comment on this post or contact me anytime!

Walk Gracefully with God,


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