The Cross

Your God came to earth and lived to die to forgive you of your sins. I don’t know about you, but that makes me pretty excited!

– Sam Terry

“He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In chapter 8, Sam’s childlike excitement about Jesus’ love, free gift of forgiveness, and heaven forever with Him is contagious. Linger at the foot of the cross of your Savior today & bask in his grace until you feel excited with childlike faith again or for the first time. Jesus loves you! It really is that simple.

Power Question: Are you excited about Jesus’ love and forgiveness through His Cross?

This post is from chapter 8 of a short devotional, Understanding God.

Thank you for joining us in this space to go through the book. I hope it’s blessing you!

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Worship

Worship keeps us in awe of God.

In chapter seven, Sam shares how one of his favorite ways to keep a good relationship with God is through worship songs. This child took his first steps just below the stage during worship band practice inside the walls of our church! Worship music has been a huge part of his life from before his birth, when his dad would sing to my pregnant belly. He loves to write his own worship music and has been doing so since he was a preschooler.

How does worship music keep you in awe of God?

It reminds you of who God really is. Often, it breaks through the disconnect between the mind and strikes a chord in your heart. Through worship music, we physically surrender our pride and fear, and we worship a Holy God who loves us without end.

Power Question: Do you connect with God through worship? If not, what is stopping you? If so, what are your favorite songs right now?

This post is from chapter 7 of a short devotional, Understanding God.

Thank you for joining us in this space to go through the book. I hope it’s blessing you!

Stories

We are all living the story God has written for us and sees in its fullness from start to finish. He knows the plot, has chosen the characters, and the timeline for events to occur.

As Sam writes about in chapter 6, Stories:

“So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭1:17

He is a God of detail.

Our Father has detailed plans of time, redemption and restoration. We may think He is being slow about His promises, but He is actually being patient so more will be saved. (2 Peter 3:9).

Lord, help us lean into your perfect love, including your perfect plans that include using imperfect people like us. Imperfect people, like those in your lineage, Jesus: Abraham, David, and even me.

Thank you for including me in your beautiful story of redemption and restoration. I can’t wait to see your tapestry of grace in heaven, all connected and woven together for good. Please use me in your redemption stories. Help me trust your perfect timing that include the details I could never consider. Jesus’ name amen.

Church

“Church: a crucial thing to do or is it?” – Chapter 5 Understanding God”

We have reduced our church in America to a thing we do instead of being the Body of Christ. If we look at the first generation church after Jesus returned to the Father, the church had no programs (until they organized a way to care for widows). They gathered and their focus was to worship and pray together, seeking the Lord together. The Holy Spirit led them.

Today, you can go and participate in church programs and not know Jesus at all. Your involvement in Christ’s body should be an extension of your relationship with Him, not the primary source. The primary source is Holy Spirit living in you and moving through you to build the church in love.

Don’t get stuck in religion because of church programs. Instead, stay soft to Holy Spirit and let Him move through you. Be the church.

As Sam says, “Yes, go to church. But your relationship with God is what really matters. Church is good. Your relationship with God is great.”

A last thought: I love church. My local church, and the global church. The church is the light of the world.

Suggested reading: Letters to the Church, by Francis Chan

Fear not.

To overcome fear, we have to put our faith in God.” -Sam Terry 9 years old

Fear draws us closer to God, if… we respond rightly.

How do we put our faith in God and become successful in facing fear in the face?

>>> We look straight past the fear into the face of our Risen and very Alive Savior who has conquered death and hell. We see His eyes of fire burning fiercely with love for us and we tell our fear to go to hell where it belongs with Satan. (forgive my bluntness) – But I truly believe we have to have this resolve and much for The Kingdom is at stake when we are paralyzed by fear.

It’s hard because we can’t see Jesus with our eyes, but sometimes we can see fear. We see bills mounting up and check balances dwindling. We see a doctor’s mouth moving when there’s disease found. We see children in poverty starving.

We may not be able to visually see Jesus, but we can hear Him through Holy Spirit and His Word. We hear Him speak “fear not” over us, as he spoke the same words to John in the passage below.

In Revelation chapter 1, John saw Jesus in his vision. He “fell at his feet as though he was dead”

But Jesus “laid his right hand on me and said, “FEAR NOT, I am the first and the last, the Living One, I died and behold, I am alive forevermore.” Revelation 1:17-18

“Every time you are afraid, just remember you have a chance to do something good” – Understanding God, chapter 4

Here is our opportunity to trust the voice of God in our lives.

Power Question: Do we believe Jesus is worthy to be trusted over our fear?

Do we believe He is the One who died and rose because He loves us so much? That He is putting His right hand on us and saying FEAR NOT?

Lean in and listen to His proclamations of who He is the next time you fear. Overcome fear by feeling His hand on you and hearing His voice roar power and love over you!

In the beginning…

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

Today is day 3 of Understanding God here at Refocused Bible Study. Today Sam took us all the way back to the first verse of God’s Word. I remember when he was had just started talking as a toddler, singing this verse together from a bible story cd.

In this chapter of his book, Sam shares with us his ponderings about why God made earth if he knew he would have to destroy it. I think it’s something we’ve all wondered. Maybe we’ve talked to God about it. Maybe we’re at peace with His justice or maybe we are still wondering how a good God could flood the earth in Noah’s time and destroy the earth again when he returns the second time.

Sam shares that it has to be to teach us something, but what?

He encourages us to look into the Bible- specially the story of Noah and all the people of his time, right before the flood. He poses the thought that maybe God is teaching us to be faithful.

“In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.” Matthew 24:39

God is good. He said after he made the earth and everything in it the first six days of creation that it was good. He said after he made Man that his creation was “very good.”

Though earth will pass away, we can trust God’s solid plan of salvation through Jesus and know that the forever home He is preparing for us cannot hold a candle to the good things we have seen on this earth!

Power Questions: Do you think about heaven often? How can you live your life faithfully today, ready for Jesus to return?


Without the Bible…

It’s Day 2 of Understanding God here at Refocused Bible Study. I hope If you’re reading it with your family, you are having good discussions. This morning we had a sobering realization together about how different our family would be without the Bible. 

Sam, my son and the author of Understanding God, really got our wheels turning in Chapter 2, titled “The Bible” by asking us to imagine religion without the Bible. He brought up the fact that most of the morals we live by come straight from God’s word. How would we know how to act without them?

I took it one step further by focusing on the powerful phrase Sam wrote in the first line of the chapter: “without the Bible.” How would your life look different if you didn’t believe in the Bible?

It overwhelmed me to realize how different our family would be if my sweet husband and I had not come to faith and built our life upon His word. The picture below says it all. I am so thankful he loves God’s Word as much as I do and that we trust it as a firm foundation – the only foundation that will build things of lasting value.

Power Question: How might your life look different if you and your parents did not believe in the Bible? 

It’s an eye-opening way to see what God has done in your life through you trust in His Word. Here are some ways our family would look different:

Without the Bible, we would not have a son named Sam. The name “Sam” was never one I was doodling when I dreamed of having kids. We named our son Samuel because we went through a time of praying earnestly Hannah’s prayer for a son from the book of 1 Samuel from the bible.  “and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the LORD for him.” 1 Samuel 1:20

Without the Bible, would would not be a ministry family. Seven years ago, my husband left his secular job in Nascar to work as a chaplain in the sport. We are thankful to be available to the people in the sport today!

Without the Bible, we would not have adopted. We adopted our daughter Sharon solely because The Lord gave us a burden for His burden for the orphan. “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27

The picture of our family is so uncertain without the guidance the Lord has given us through His word. At every major decision or life event, He has given us a word from His Word to cling to and move forward in confidence with.

What are some ways you know your life would look differently without the Bible? How can you see God’s word molding your life and your family’s life for the future and the next generation?