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. 

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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