chosen - Bible Study for 2019-2020

Hi ladies!

We are so excited for this year as we are studying two of our favorite books - Nehemiah and Esther.

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Nehemiah was the first book of the Bible I taught the women at Calvary San Juan Capistrano 12 years ago. It was an appropriate book as we were beginning to build a new work. We are still building and battling and the Lord is faithfully working.

It’s been said that the Christian life is not a playground, it’s a battleground. This year we will learn how to battle while building. We’ll be reminded that we too are chosen just like Nehemiah and Esther for such a time as this to stand and be bold for our faith.  

We are a privileged people living in tumultuous times. Times that demand our careful attention and diligent service. Let’s not waste the time we have left, but use it to further the kingdom of God. 

No matter your age, you are Chosen and called to build your faith, your family and your friends! You are Chosen to battle and fight for what’s right! And Chosen to be bold in your faith for such a time as this!!!

No work for God is accomplished without a fight.

Both Nehemiah and Esther were chosen and called to accomplish a difficult task and they were both opposed for doing so. Whenever we step out in the name of the Lord, we can expect opposition. But be assured that He who calls you is faithful and He will do it! (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Who’s up for the challenge to build, battle and be bold for Him?

This year, we will learn how we can best be prepared to fight our battles and how to persevere when the building gets hard!

Get ready ladies—because we are going to battle with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other!

We are looking forward to a fruitful year! 

Love,
Michelle Randal

His Vessels

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“But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.” Jeremiah 18:4 NLT
Aren’t you glad that the Master Potter, Jesus, didn’t leave you a messed up, lopsided, leaky pot? When we first come to Him we have cracks and issues. But He doesn’t leave us in that condition. He starts fresh and begins to mold a new vessel with His hands that will be useful for His kingdom. To start fresh He must smash the clay and begin again... not with a new lump of clay, but with the same one.

As He molds the clay and makes the vessel He will need plenty of water to keep the clay pliable. Likewise, as we are being molded into the very image of Jesus it’s the continual watering of the Word Of God that keeps us soft and shapable. The water is the key ingredient in molding the pot. But the heat is the key to keeping it from cracking. Firing clay is the most critical part of the ceramics process because it is the one thing that makes clay durable.

When the Lord turns up the heat know that there is a purpose in it... go with it and let the Lord have His way. For a vessel can be perfectly formed and beautiful but unless it’s put in the oven at a very high heat it won’t be of any use! “And we know that ALL things Word together for good to those that love God and are the called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28

Transformed

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And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

The process of metamorphosis is defined as “a change in the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.” This is the process that most accurately describes what happens to a person who is born again. You start as one one person and over time you develop into a completely different one through the process of sanctification. As you read the Word you’re being transformed and becoming more and more like Jesus and less and less like the person you were before you knew Him. You begin to take on His characteristics and leave behind your old ones.

The caterpillar has no idea when it enters the cocoon that it will loose 10 eyes, 10 legs, and 5-6 layers of skin! When the caterpillar emerges it will be completely different in form and appearance. For the Believer in Jesus, this process takes longer than 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years... it’s a lifetime! So be patient with the process! Trust the Lord as He transforms you! Be in the Word daily and allow it to be the spiritual soap that cleanses you from the inside out! The more Word in the more Word out! The more soap we use the cleaner we will be!

Stay and Watch 

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Mark 14:33-34

Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with Him and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”

Gethsemane means “oil press.” It is the instrument that crushes the olives for oil to flow. Without crushing there would be no oil. In the Bible “oil” always represents the Holy Spirit. If it weren’t for Jesus being crushed and dying on the cross for us, we wouldn’t have been given the Holy Spirit.

I find it interesting that Jesus took all eleven disciples into the garden instructing them to “Sit and Pray.” Yet He only took three disciples: Peter, James, and John further, telling them to “Stay and Watch.”

This shows us that as disciples of the Lord we have different jobs—some pray while others are on watchful guard. But often while watching, we can become weary and even guilty as with Peter, James and John who fell asleep on duty. Luke gives us further insight that the inner three were sleeping for sorrow. They were so sorrowful for what Jesus was going through that they were physically and emotionally exhausted. Intercession can be exhausting, especially when there is pain and sorrow involved.

The Lord is very much aware of the fact that we are mere men and women made up of flesh, which is why He told Peter specifically, “The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” He knew that Peter would deny Jesus three times, and He also knew that Peter would be restored and become the leader of the early church.

The lesson for us is that the further in you go to the Garden of Gethsemane the closer you get to Jesus. Though we will at times fall asleep on the job, we must be mindful to pray and watch lest we fall into temptation.

Jesus knew the trials and temptation the disciples would soon find themselves facing so He instructed them to sit, pray, watch and stay. To accomplish these commands, we must stop our busy schedules to “sit,” taking time to pray, which requires entering into His presence, being still and listening. Obedience to Christ also requires watching for the enemy, suiting up and being ready for battle.

Don’t be a sleepy disciple; be alert and watchful because the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Silence Has a Purpose

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There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. Knowing when is the key! On an average women speak 13,000 more words a day then men... not because we save all our words until our husband gets home and then we use all 20,000 in the first hour, or because when we are raising little ones we talk gibberish all day long and need to speak with an adult. It’s because God made man and women differently... and that’s a good thing!

But learning when we are to speak and when we are to remain silent is a work of the Spirit. Self control is the ninth fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and we know why it’s last right? It’s the hardest to attain! Jesus sets a wonderful example for us in the Word about “silence”. Our Lord did a lot of speaking in His 33 years of life... He encouraged, He healed, He preached, He even rebuked! But when it came to Him being wrongfully accused we read that “He answered not a word.” (Matt. 27:14)

It’s hard for us to keep silent when we want to defend ourselves... when we have been misunderstood, misrepresented or even mistreated! But we need to learn from Jesus that in those times our words should be minimal yet powerful. Jesus only spoke seven Words from the time of His capture in the garden to His crucifixion on the cross. Those seven statements were both profound and powerful... they were few but never forgotten.

Let us learn from the Lord that silence has a purpose and can even make a huge statement. In a world that tells us to “say anything”, “speak out”, and “give them a piece of your mind” we would do good to look at the example of Jesus. He was meek and mild. He was the epitome of strength under control! Corrie Ten Boom so wonderfully said; “Look to the world and be distressed, look within and be depressed, look to Jesus and be at rest! Let Him empower you with His Spirit of meekness and self control and may your silence speak volumes!