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Friday, August 23, 2013

KOINONIA STUDIES

The Pure and Slippery
PSALM 73
 
Psalm 73 –A lesson about the blessedness of trusting, which also shows us the futility of what happens if we find ourselves turning our backs on the Lord our God, and the tragic difference that can result from a life of rebellion. 

The 73rd Psalm was penned during the time of King Hezekiah, possibly by Asaph.  Though most of the psalms are sourced to the wonderful King David, there are about 10 of them that we that we can cite to the seer Asaph.  Since we are concentrating more of the reflecting aspects of this devotion rather than the historical information it would be good for each of us to do our own word study to discover a little about who Asaph was for ourselves  One place you can read about him is in 2 Chronicles 29.  

DESPERATION WILL COME
 
Psalm 73:1 “Truly God is good to Israel,
To such as are pure in heart….”
 
There is a key to God here. In fact, I see two.  Something to think about?  What do you see in this verse as the key to God and that Key to His gracious dealings with His chosen people? 
 
God IS Good and His Gracious dealings are to The PURE in Heart. Jesus also talked of the same attitude of heart that should be part of our lives in the 55h chapter of Matthew when he dealt with the beatitudes.

“Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart,
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
my steps had nearly slipped.  

WHAT ABOUT THOSE SLIPPERY FEET?
 
Ever feel like you've had them? There is not one of us,who does not at some time or another in our lives live with that sense. Not one of us who does not at some time come to a place of despair in some way.  Not one of us who does not at some time or another, slip.

Psalm 73:2-3 “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
my steps had nearly slipped.’ For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

This psalm is a wonderful place to go for us to get ourselves back on track. That is the feeling that went through the writer when he wrote this. There is much for us to learn from it. 

Have you ever found yourself discouraged in your personal walk enough to nearly slip? What did you do and how long did it take for you to do it? 

What are some other things that cause a Christian woman to stumble and slip?

The one sign of discouragement that can bring us down and overtake us before we know it, is another word for invidia!  It’s called  ENVY.  You might not think this represents you, but it is a bitter pill we all have to swallow at some time or another.  Even the faith and trust of a mature Christian can be shaken.
 
At those times it is in danger of failing, when the storm in her life becomes great, if the anchor of that believer’s soul isn’t rooted and holding fast to the word and foundation of the source that gave it life.   

It is important to remember:  We cannot and should not trust in the feelings of our heart.  There is a reason for that.  Our hearts will only deceive us and too often will bring us discouragement. 
 
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Koinonia Reflections - Who Was Bathsheba

 
 
Your Life as a Woman of God
WHO WAS BATHSHEBA?
The Daughter of an Oath?
We read about Bathsheba (and the continuing saga of David the King) in 2 Samuel 11 and 12). Grab your Bible again and let's take a look briefly at Bathsheba's life.
Key scripture from David with regard to his confession of sin with Bathsheba: "'…I have sinned against the Lord' and Nathan said to David, 'The Lord also has put away your sin: you shall not surely die.'"
2 Samuel 11:1-27; 2 Samuel 12:1-15
Question we might ask ourselves with this reflection on Bathsheba's life and what we can learn from her --
Bathsheba's greatest sin?  Knowing what was right and not doing it.
How do you respond to temptations when you know what's right?
David had been king for seven and a half years over Judah.  Then he was ruler over all of Israel. He was always faithful to God amidst his stormy relationships and other difficulties. His subjects respected him as he treated them all fairly. 
THEN HE MET BATHSHEBA.
Instead of going out to war with his men, Kind David decided to stay home. First woops (The dangers that can arise out of idleness)
As he was taking a walk on his roof one evening what did he notice but a woman taking her bath on the roof of her own house. Her name? Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of David's chief men, a most loyal soldier, and who was out fighting the war for David…while David indolently stayed back.
What happens to David here when temptation took hold of his eyes? When the lust of his eyes were given free reign? (Second Woops) The temptation was great, David ignored his conscience and principal choosing to watch the lovely woman (our Bathsheba) bathe. His heart desired what he saw and since he didn’t renounce the temptation
·         he acted on it
·         he turned it into sin 
The temptation itself wasn’t the offense so much as it was what David chose to do (sin) when he faced his temptation. He could have made a decision to turn away.
But he didn’t.
As much as Bathsheba was beautiful, her husband Uriah was an excellent officer in David the King’s army. Another special attribute about Uriah was that he performed his service dutifully and was a conscientious soldier. Sadly, because of his loyalty to David, he couldn’t be home a lot during times of war.
·         Was Bathsheba lonely because her husband Uriah was away? 
·         Was she frivolous in trying to draw the attention of the king?
·         Was she unsuspecting but just negligent?   
Once Uriah was gone, Bathsheba would have known David was not out with his men. She could have looked around before removing her clothes there on the roof. She could have taken more precautions to protect herself from other people’s improper interests. From the King's improper gazing.
When the call came for her from David (by way of his court) to come TO him, she went.
·         as a subject did she have to obey?
·         Was she willing or did she protest? (we don’t know her heart, but we can speculate)
REFLECT:
What would you do, if you knew WHY you were being summoned?
History will give insight into Bathsheba's character, as we look deeper into her life and traits of character. She was far from being innocent.  
Joseph said in Gen. 38:9 “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God” (when the Pharoah’s wife tried to seduce him). [Joseph shows us his strength of character. He turned and ran, knowing he could be punished for doing so…and he was]
 
Bathsheba didn’t go the other way. She didn’t hold back. She was required to obey the King, and if she had she might’ve been punished, but one can only wonder if she would have not lacked self-control and courage GOD would have given her just as he did Joseph a way of escape. (But did she seek a way out? We don’t read that here.)
The bible shows us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 there is always a way given us for escape.
In the book HER NAME IS WOMAN, the author writes about Bathsheba, “Her absence of God-given perception –equal to her sin of adultery – caused her sin”
Bathsheba didn’t PREVENT David, a man after God’s own heart from casting blame on his name which would forever be written. Bathsheba's taking part in the sin caused David to insult God. David's act of adultery would affect his life, his family, and his future for the remainder of his days. Because of David and Bathsheba’s sin – Death came to at least five people. In other words, it it started a chain reaction.
·         Death came to Uriah (Bathsheba's husband)
·         Death came to their baby (within one week of birth/divine judgment for dark sin)
·         Death came to three of David’s sons: Adonijah, Absalom and Ammon who brought disaster to the home
 
David was disgraced by one (2 Samuel 13:3),
David was banished by another (2 Samuel 15:19)
Dave was revolted against by the third ( I Kings 2
Important Note: David did confess his sin to get right before God. But the infinite grace of God is the beauty that enters into this picture for after David confessed, he was freed from his burden of sin. He got back into fellowship with the Lord and his life gained new dimension.
Though Bathsheba’s feelings aren’t mentioned to us I think it’s safe to assume she shared in David’s sense of guilt – and sought God’s forgiveness and received it as well.
David and Bathsheba's next child Solomon (name means: “beloved of the Lord”) turned out to be a KING full of wisdom and riches. 
 
We learn that David and Bathsheba had five sons altogether. 
We also learn this woman, Bathsheba who started off on such a negative note went down in history as the wife of the greatest king of Israel. 
An even greater blessing and an wonderful glimpse of just how merciful our Almighty God is to each of us: He made it possible for Bathsheba (In spite of her flawed character) to appear in the ancestry of Jesus Christ.
Another Important Note as we read about this woman
·         Bathsheba wasn’t a young innocent girl attracted by older men.  She was well experienced and married herself. 
·         She knew how to kindle the desires of another man just as you and I know or have known or will soon learn that we too can influence a man to the good or to the bad easily by the way we dress, by the way we act and live, by the standards of our conduct which ultimately reveals the nature of our hearts.
·         Bathsheba wasn’t a heathen worldly woman either.  She was a believer. She came from a God fearing family with high moral principles.
What about you and me? When we look at Bathsheba's life we gain a clear perspective on God's holiness and His forgiveness.
Bathsheba's greatest sin?  Knowing what was right and not doing it. But she used her mistake as a guide to future better conduct. 
When we fall short of the glory of God by our actions? Seek forgiveness, turn away from the past, and once we are forgiven, let go of the past forever. Don't brood over sin.  Confess and look up. We have a gracious God who is merciful.
Take a few more minutes and read  PSALM 51:10
Question to ask yourself: How DO you respond to temptations when you know what's right?Once again, our Lifestyles and our Actions do make a difference.
Koinonia Reflections
Shirley Kiger Connolly
2013
(for sources: click on Bible Study Resources

Friday, August 9, 2013

FORTY DAYS OF PRAYER


For Our Koinonia Community and Friends
Please join us for our Koinonia Forty Days of Prayer with you

            For our Nation
            For our Churches
            For our Families
            For our Unsaved Friends
            For our Health Needs
            For our Financial Needs

And for anything else that comes to YOUR minds.

This is a great time for all of us to lift up together the many trials that surround each of us.

Psalm 88:14
But I cry out to you, LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.

Psalm 92:3
To proclaim your love in the morning, your faithfulness in the night,
 
 

Psalm 150:6--Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!

 
 
Lord, thank Youf for who You are and for always being near us to inhabit our praises. We lift up every member of KOINONIA Community as they prepare to come together for the purpose of intercession and this special means of worship. We pray for your protection because of our prayers together to keep any interference from our lives from focusing on YOU. We ask for protection of sickness. And we ask for an extra measure of the blessing of Your presence in their hearts. Help each of us to totally concentrate on You.

In Jesus's precious name, amen.
 
Please feel free to add your own prayers, a scripture, or a word of encouragement as we count down the days.