The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 20: Sabbath Peace

Front Porch Bible Study Series May 20 Week 20 Sabbath Peace by Karen Jurgens

Welcome to our third week of study about finding peace. This week we’ll look at the Sabbath and how keeping it produces amazing peace in our lives.

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 20: Peace by Karen Jurgens
Front Porch Bible Study Series Topic: Finding God's Peace in the Sabbath by Karen Jurgens
The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 20: Sabbath Scripture Memory by Karen Jurgens

“Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:3 NKJV).

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 20: Sabbath Let's Read by Karen Jurgens

Genesis 1-2:3, Isaiah 58:13-14, Mark 2:23-3:5

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 20: Sabbath Let's Examine by Karen Jurgens

Genesis 1-2:3

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. On the first day, He created light, dividing it into day and night; the second, the heavens; on the third, the dry land, seas, grass, and trees; the fourth, the sun, moon, and stars; on the fifth, sea creatures and birds; the sixth, cattle and creeping things. His masterpiece came last: man and woman, whom He created in His own image, giving them dominion over the earth and every living creature.

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3).

Isaiah 58:13-14

God always teaches by example and by precept, laying a path for us to follow. He also promises great blessings for keeping His Sabbath Day, as He outlines in Isaiah 58. “‘Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord, And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father'” (Isaiah 58:14a NKJV).

Mark 2:23-3:5

The Pharisees closely followed the Law, including the Sabbath. Since no man was allowed to work on that day of rest, they highly criticized Jesus for healing the sick. Jesus answered back, pointing our their hardness of heart. (Click HERE to read the story.)

They also condemned Jesus and His disciples for plucking heads of grain to eat on the Sabbath. Jesus reasoned with them, pointing out that King David and his hungry men had eaten the showbread in the temple, reserved only for priests.

“And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath’” (Mark 2:27-28 NKJV).

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 20: Sabbath Let's Discuss by Karen Jurgens

Are we still obedient in 2019 to observe the Sabbath day? And how long does it last–just until noon when the church service is over? Let’s look at God’s instruction about it through the ages.

The Ten Commandments

God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and gave him the Ten Commandments. The fourth one is the law of the Sabbath.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11 NKJV).

Click HERE to read the details about what God directed Moses to tell His people about the Sabbath, including the consequences of not keeping it.

A Sign of Sanctification

“Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you’” (Exodus 31:13 NKJV).

What does sanctification mean? Growing in the grace of God, His blessings, His purity, and His holiness. Keeping the Sabbath has great spiritual benefits, doesn’t it?

The Fruit of Peace

Sabbath rest yields the fruit of peace. As we pause our busyness, we walk into God’s tranquility, serenity, peace, and repose. This seventh day creates something good in us by allowing the Holy Spirit to commune freely with our spirits. It transcends the natural, physical world, bringing calm and quiet to our buzzing thoughts, burdened minds, and heavy hearts.

As we set the Sabbath aside to worship the Lord, we cease, stop striving, and trust. The physical practice of a day of rest changes our hearts and frees our souls from chains of bondage.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1 NKJV).

As Jesus stated, the Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath. It is God’s gift to us where we can devote that time to honor and worship Him. Let’s partition off this sacred day with pleasant boundaries to protect it. Let’s enjoy communing with God and appreciating Him.

How does keeping the Sabbath bring you peace?

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 20: Sabbath Let's Pray by Karen Jurgens

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for creating a day of rest for us every seven days. Just as we park our cars and open fuel caps to fill up our gas tanks, so may we be quiet before you. As we open our hearts, fill us to overflowing with the Holy Spirit’s truth and sweet peace as we prepare for the week ahead. We honor and praise You, giving You all the glory. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Front Porch Bible Study Series Lady in Prayer by Karen Jurgens Sabbath Peace
Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 19: Peace

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 19: Peace in Relationships by Karen Jurgens

Welcome to our second study about finding God’s peace. This week we’ll be exploring how to experience peace in our relationships with people. We’ll begin by looking at Moses and how he dealt with his huge assignment of leading the Israelites to the Promised Land–a 40-day journey that took forty years.

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 19: Peace in Relationships by Karen Jurgens
The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 19: Peace in Relationships by Karen Jurgens
The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 19: Peace in Relationships by Karen Jurgens

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7 NKJV).

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 19: Peace in Relationships by Karen Jurgens

Exodus Chapters 7-11 (click HERE to read)

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 19: Peace in Relationships by Karen Jurgens

When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses balked. He claimed that neither the sons of Israel nor Pharaoh would listen to him due to his poor speaking skills. How could he find peace and have success in these new relationships God had thrust upon him?

“So the Lord said to Moses: ‘See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them (Exodus 7:1-5 NKJV).

But God had a plan. He appointed Aaron, Moses’s brother, as his spokesman. He also explained His plan from beginning to end and what Moses could expect from his relationship with Pharaoh.

Each time, Moses approached Pharaoh’s throne to make his request with humility coupled with God’s reassuring strength. God had already told Moses that Pharaoh would refuse to honor his word.

So, the plagues arrived as Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go: water turned to blood, frogs, lice, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness– and finally– the death of every firstborn, which pried open Pharaoh’s chains and freed the Israelites.

Isn’t it interesting that God purposefully hardened Pharaoh’s heart? He tells us why: “‘…so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt’” (Exodus 11:9b NKJV). God always brings glory to His Name.

Therefore, God had a greater purpose in Moses’s relationship with Pharaoh. He also proved that He protects His children even while punishing His enemies. We witness this in two places: when Egypt was covered in darkness and when God smote the firstborn of the Egyptians. (Click HERE to read about the miracle of light and HERE to read about the miracle of Passover.)

God had forewarned Moses of His plan but also promised His peace and protection. “‘But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel’” (Exodus 11:7 NKJV).

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 19: Peace in Relationships by Karen Jurgens

How does this lesson about Moses help us find peace today? We’re all called to be leaders, whether it’s in ministry, our jobs, or our families. No matter our title, we all must relate to someone above us as well as to those equal and below us in rank.

Relating to those superior in rank

Just like Moses approached Pharaoh, we should approach those who rank above us with respect, patience, and humility. But, in spite of our best efforts, what if our superiors treat us badly? Moses must have dreaded the job of going before Pharaoh to continuously ask for freedom, but remembering God’s promises pushed him forward.

We, too, must go forward as God directs us. If it’s God’s will, we must patiently endure harsh treatment, resting in God’s promises and the knowledge that He is in control.

Peter sums it up for us: “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good” (I Peter 2:13-14 NKJV).

On the other hand, God is everyone’s superior. Moses found out the hard way that the Lord has boundaries we mustn’t cross. After God instructed Moses to speak to the rock so that it would yield water, Moses struck the rock twice instead of obeying the Lord. Therefore, God refused to allow him to set foot in the Promised Land. (You can read about it HERE.)

Relating to those equal in rank

Our relationships with friends and family may be sweet one day and sour the next. These relationships may steal our peace the most. How can we learn to live without struggling against our loved ones?

Moses struggled in his relationship with his siblings, but God defended him. His older brother, Aaron, and his sister, Miriam, spoke against him because of the Ethiopian woman Moses had married. “So they said, ‘Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?’ And the Lord heard it” (Numbers 12:2 NKJV). God proceeded to give the two a dressing down for judging their brother, whom God honored as His faithful servant and with whom He spoke face to face. God’s punishment slammed Miriam by making her become leprous. It was after Aaron repented and appealed to his brother that Moses appealed to God for her deliverance. (Click HERE to read the story.)

Let’s heed wise advice from Peter for finding peace: “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 2:8-9 NKJV).

Relating to those below us in rank

Do you gaze at those in charge of you and dream of future leadership? It may look easy on the outside, but the responsibility is heavy. Those who lead others at work and/or children at home must learn excellent coping skills for acquiring peace.

As the Israelites roamed the desert for forty years, Moses had a plethora of duties as he cared for the people–and no peace. He dealt with everything from their daily complaints to leading them in battles against various enemies they encountered on the way to the Promised Land. We can witness, for example, how he suffered over their demands for food (Click HERE) and for water:

“Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water, that we may drink.’ So Moses said to them, ‘Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the Lord?’ And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, ‘Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!”’ (Exodus 17:2-4).

Delegating authority is a good solution to attaining peace. As Moses experienced exhaustion and frustration from dealing with the people, God used Moses’s father-in-law to help find peace through governance. Jethro recognized that Moses couldn’t bear up under such a weight of responsibility and convinced him to get help. Read about Jethro’s advice HERE.

Peter shares the recipe for finding peace in every relationship

“For ‘He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers’” (1 Peter 3:8-12a NKJV).

Throughout our lifetimes, we’ll experience different relationships with people as varied as the stars. Let’s heed the Apostle Paul’s encouragement when he says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18 NKJV).

How do you find God’s peace in your relationships?

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 19: Peace in Relationships by Karen Jurgens

Dear Father, we look to You for divine guidance and wisdom as we seek peace in our relationships. With your help, may we love one another and live in peace all our days. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens
Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Week 18: Peace with God

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens Peace with God

Welcome to the month of May. This month we’ll be resuming our regular Bible study on the Fruit of the Spirit as we focus on PEACE. As Christians, our peace is not of this world–ours is a free gift from God. Today let’s plant seeds of peace in our eternal souls, focusing on salvation in Christ Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens Peace with God

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Peace with God

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1 NKJV)

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Romans Chapters 4 and 5

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Finding peace with God begins with faith. We know from Hebrews 11:6 that “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” In Romans 4, Paul traces the beginnings of justification by faith before the cross of Christ. How were our forefathers like Abraham and King David justified in righteousness?

Peace with God: Abraham and Sarah

Although Abraham and Sarah were well beyond child-bearing years, He believed God’s promise of a son who would anchor the foundation of the Jewish race. “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). (Click HERE to read more.)

God established circumcision as the mark of faith in those days. Abraham’s justification occurred before he was circumcised, however, proving that the cutting itself didn’t result in salvation. It foreshadowed the circumcision of the heart, later established by Jesus at the cross.

David and Bathsheba

After King David sinned with Bathsheba, God sent Nathan the prophet to confront him. David repented before the Lord: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1 NKJV).

David received God’s forgiveness through faith, treasuring salvation apart from works. He sings, “’Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin’” (Romans 4:7-8 NKJV).

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens Peace with God

The fact that Jesus died for the ungodly, even those not yet born, is amazing. Would a man die in another’s place? Perhaps one might die for a good man, but what about an enemy? “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV). At the cross, we are justified through His shed blood.

Adam versus Jesus Christ

Through Adam’s act of sin, condemnation rested on all men. But Jesus’s righteous act bestowed the free gift of salvation, resulting in our justification. Adam’s disobedience produced death, but Christ’s obedience produced salvation and everlasting life. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19 NKJV).

True peace with God begins with our salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV).

Let’s join King David as he rejoices in his salvation: “I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High” (Psalm 7:17 NKJV).

Can you rejoice today because you’ve found peace with God?

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us peace with You through Your Son. We are eternally grateful for the blood of Christ that is our justification. May those seeking peace today find it at the foot of the cross. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens
Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens




The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 17

Welcome to the last post in our Easter study. This week we will explore the resurrection of Jesus and its deeper meanings. How does God’s resurrection power impact our lives?

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens
Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live’” (John 11:25 NKJV).

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Let’s focus on Jesus’s resurrection in the final chapters of the four gospels. Click on each one to read: Matthew 28 / Mark 16 / Luke 24 / John 20 (NKJV)

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

As we read these accounts, we can feel the same amazement of Christ’s resurrection. Isn’t it interesting that the Lord first appeared to women? Following an earthquake, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (not His mother) encountered an angel who rolled back the stone. The Roman guards froze and shook from fright at the supernatural sight.

“But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you’” (Matthew 28:5-7 NKJV).

On their way, the women met Jesus who said, “‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me’” (Matthew 28:9b-10 NKJV).

The disciples were astounded at this news. Many found it hard to believe, although Jesus had told them many times that He would live again. Until they saw Him themselves–and Thomas placed his hand on the Lord’s side and examined His nail-scarred hands and feet–then they believed.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Resurrection means to bring back to life. During the ministry of Jesus, He raised a twelve-year-old girl from the dead (Click HERE to read Luke 8:49-56). We also know about Lazarus whom we studied about during Week 12. But, were these resurrections a harbinger of what was to happen in Jerusalem?

Parallels Between the Resurrections of Lazarus and Jesus

We might think of Lazarus’s resurrection as a miniature “dress rehearsal” for Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Many people in Bethany believed that Jesus was the Son of God after He raised Lazarus. But multitudes believed in Him when God raised Jesus to life. Afterward, Christianity exploded.

Let’s backtrack to when Jesus stood before Lazarus’s tomb and wept. If Jesus knew He was going to resurrect Lazarus, why did He mourn? Was He simply identifying with human pain and sorrow? Or could it have had something to do with The Passion that awaited Him a few days later? He had discussed these future events with His disciples, even though they did not yet fully comprehend.

“‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again’” (Matthew 20:18-19 NKJV).

Just as Jesus wept at Lazarus’s tomb, do you think God may have also wept at His Son’s tomb? God knew He would resurrect His Son, but that’s not why He wept. As a matter of fact, this was the first and only time the Trinity had separated. Jesus–the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us–had to suffer and die in our place. The Lamb of God bore our sins, and God had to turn His face away, for a holy God cannot look on sin. Their brief time of separation, full of sorrow and tears, must have been very dark for God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

However, on the third day up from the grave Christ arose! What victory and rejoicing on heaven and earth! Through His work on the cross, our dead souls sleeping in sin can now awaken to newness of life. Christ’s resurrection power lives in all believers and makes us new creations in Christ Jesus. How amazing!

Christ’s Resurrection Power Deep in our Souls

Just as Lazarus was buried in a tomb, do we bury our pain and sorrows deep inside our souls? We stuff them away, roll a stone to seal it up for good, and then try our best to forget. But those memories fester and stink, just as Lazarus’s body did after four days. Like Mary and Martha, let’s call Jesus to “come and see ” our grave. Let’s allow Him to roll the stone away and resurrect those dead things we’ve buried. Although it may be painful for a moment, we will forever be set free. Our souls can live again–not hiding in darkness, but alive in the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Click HERE to read about the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11:32-44.)

How has the Lord Jesus set you free and brought you new life with His resurrection power?

This has been a glorious month of celebrating Easter with all its important aspects. From Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday, we have rejoiced in God’s perfect plan to make a way back to the Father. What was stolen from Man in the Garden of Eden has been redeemed and reestablished by the obedience of Christ, our perfect and final sacrifice. May we forever praise Him for the free gift of salvation and eternal life. Next week we will return to our study on the Fruit of the Spirit, focusing on peace.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your resurrection power that also lives in each believer. We praise You for restoring our relationship with You and sealing our salvation through Your Son’s work on the cross. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens
Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 16

Welcome to “Front Porch” Bible Study Series and Passion Week. We have just recently celebrated Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. So, let’s study three main aspects of what has just passed in more detail: the six trials of Christ; the seven places Christ shed His blood; and the seven last sayings of Christ on the cross. May you be blessed as we dive deeply into His Word.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens
This week's topic is the Passion of Christ.
Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center ” (John 19:17-18 NKJV). 

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Click to read each Gospel’s separate account: Matthew 26:36-27:61 / Mark 14:32-15:47 / Luke 22:39-23-56 / John 18-19 (all NKJV).

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

After the Last Supper, Jesus and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane. He withdrew about a stone’s throw away where He prayed for strength to endure His coming crucifixion.

“‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done. Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:42-44 NKJV).

Then Judas entered the garden, leading a crowd of chief priests and elders. “But Jesus said to him,‘ Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? (Luke 2:48 NKJV). One of the disciples then took a sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus, however, stopped the violence and healed the servant’s ear. Disregarding this compassionate miracle, they arrested Jesus and took Him to the high priest’s house.

The Six Trials of Christ consisted of three religious (Jewish) and three civil (Roman) trials. The first one began at 2 am and the last at 7:30 am. The Jews declared Jesus guilty, accusing Him of blasphemy. On the other hand, the Romans found no guilt in Him deserving of death. However, the Jews insisted that Jesus die because He claimed to be the Son of God. Only the Romans had the legal right to put Christ to death.

Sometime during the second trial, Peter denied Christ, just as Jesus had predicted at the Last Supper. “But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are saying!’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times’. So Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60-62 NKJV).

At 6:30 am the Jews took Jesus to His first Roman trial to appear before Pilate. “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,  saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘What is that to us? You see to it!’ Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5 NKJV).

Pilate found no guilt in Jesus and sent Him to see Caiaphas, who sent Him back to Pilate. He wanted to punish Jesus and release Him, but the Jews refused anything less than death. Pilate even offered to release a prisoner–Barabbas, a violent murderer–or Jesus.

“The governor answered and said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release to you?’ They said, ‘Barabbas!’ Pilate said to them, ‘What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said to him, ‘Let Him be crucified!’ Then the governor said, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’ But they cried out all the more, saying, ‘Let Him be crucified!’ When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.’ And all the people answered and said, ‘His blood be on us and on our children.’ Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified” (Matthew 27:21-26 NKJV).

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens
Christ Shed His Blood Seven Places

Let’s first discuss the seven places Christ shed His blood (if you wish to read a medical explanation of how Jesus could be born with pure and sinless blood, click HERE).

The seven places where Jesus shed His blood fulfilled Old Testament Scripture in Leviticus 16. When the Jewish High Priest made atonement for the sins of the people once a year, he sprinkled blood seven times on the mercy seat, seven times in front of the mercy seat, and seven times on the horns of the altar. (Click HERE to read the full account in Leviticus 16:11-19 NKJV.)

The first place Jesus shed His blood happened during His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44 NKJV). Just as in the Garden of Eden where man lost his state of innocence through Adam’s sin, it was in this garden that Jesus’s blood began the redemption process for all mankind.

The second place occurred when Pilate ordered His scourging, where they flogged the back of Jesus with thirty-nine lashes–just under the legal limit of forty. “Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified” (Matthew 27:26 NKJV). This blood paid for all our sicknesses and diseases: “The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5b NKJV).

“Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?’ (Matthew 26:67-68 NKJV). These bruises he bore under His skin marked the third place He bled for us. This blood was shed for our inherited weaknesses or iniquities, as Isaiah states. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5a NKJV).

The crown of long thorns the soldiers wove and pushed onto Jesus’s head was the fourth place He shed His holy blood. This blood gives us the mind of Christ, freeing our thoughts from the control of the enemy. (Click HERE to read this account in Matthew 27:27-31 NKJV.)

When the centurion drove the nails into Jesus’s hands and feet, these were the fifth and sixth places Christ bled for us. His blood-stained hands freed us to receive all that God has for us and to lift our hands in holy prayer (Click HERE to read 1 Timothy 2:8 NKJV). His blood-stained feet gave us back dominion on the earth that we lost through Adam’s sin. Through His blood, we can claim righteousness and power over Satan wherever our feet touch the ground (Click HERE to read Luke 10:19 NKJV).

After Jesus had surrendered His spirit into God’s hands, the centurion speared His side. The blood and water that came out of His side was the seventh place He shed His blood for us (Click HERE to read John 19:31-37 NKJV). The release of blood and water proved medically that Jesus’s heart had burst, making this blood the provision for the healing of our broken hearts.

The Seven Last Sayings of Christ on the Cross

1.“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” — Luke 23:34 (NIV)

Even while Christ suffered His agonizing crucifixion, He forgave His persecutors for what they had done. Contrary to some beliefs, the Jews didn’t kill Jesus. Jesus willingly lay down His life to fulfill Scripture and complete God’s perfect plan of redemption. “‘Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father’” (John 10:17-18 NKJV).

2.“Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” — Luke 23:43 (NIV)

The two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus represent a choice of two reactions to our Savior. The one hurled insults at Him, commanding that He prove His deity by rescuing all three of them from their fate of death. The other one rebuked that thief, claiming that they, not Christ, were deserving of death. One repented; the other refused (Click HERE to read Luke 23:39-43 NKJV).

3.“Woman, behold thy Son.” — John 19:26 (NIV)

Jesus had no written will, but He verbally expressed His wishes to His most loved disciple, John, to care for His beloved mother, Mary. From that day forward, John took her into his house to live out the rest of her life.

4.“My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” — Mark 15:34 (NIV)

For the first time, Jesus addressed His Father as God. It was an agonizing cry of separation. As Jesus became sin for us, the Father had to turn His back to His Son at that moment. As a just and holy God, He cannot look upon sin. Jesus had to die all alone as the perfect sacrifice, the perfect Lamb of God.

5.“I thirst.” — John 19:28 (NIV)

Christ’s statement fulfilled Scripture of two prophecies in the Old Testament (NKJV): Psalm 22:15, “My tongue clings to My jaws,” and Psalm 69:21, “For my thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.” This was the first and only time Jesus gave voice to His physical suffering. (For a comprehensive sermon about “I thirst” from Keep Believing Ministries, click HERE.)

6.“It is finished.” — John 19:30 (NIV)

The sinless Lamb of God shed His holy blood and died as the price paid in full, the final sacrifice for the sins of mankind–past, present, and future. His mission on earth to redeem us from death, hell, and the grave was now complete, and Scripture fulfilled. The curtain in the temple tore in two from top to bottom, signifying that we now have access through Christ to the Holy of Holies, the throne room of God. (Click HERE to read Matthew 27:51-54 NKJV).

7.“Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” — Luke 23:46 (NIV)

Where did the spirit of Christ go after He died? There are differences of opinion as to this Scriptural interpretation. (Please click on these Scriptures for further study: 1 Peter 3:18-20 / 1 Peter 4:6 / Ephesians 4:8-9 / Romans 10:6-7 / Acts 2:27.) I would like to offer what the Lord has shown me in answer to this question.

My personal opinion: As the propitiation for our sins, Jesus descended into Hades after His death to serve in our place. His purpose was to take the keys of death, hell, and the grave away from Satan. “‘I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death’” (Revelation 1:18 NKJV).

His mission was also to preach to the captives held in Sheol (the side holding the damned). Why? Because God is fair and just. Every person must have the opportunity to hear the gospel of the cross and choose between Jesus or Satan, heaven or hell–especially those who had lived before Christ had died for their sins.

Jesus also freed the captives in Paradise (the side holding believers saved by faith) and sent them to heaven. Even the repentant thief on the cross was there. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:43 NKJV).

Jesus paid the price for our sins in full, suffering death from Friday afternoon until God resurrected Him back to life before dawn on Sunday morning. In order for man to be totally redeemed, Christ had to suffer, die on the cross, and descend into hell. Jesus willingly came to earth to pay the price in full. We had a debt we couldn’t pay; He paid a debt He didn’t owe.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).

Can we ever thank Jesus enough for this great exchange?

Are you hungry for more? The accounts in the Old Testament Scriptures foretell many of the details of Christ’s passion. (Click HERE to read Psalm 22:1-18 and HERE for Isaiah 53 NKJV.)

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Dear Lord, thank you for loving us so much that you willingly died for our sins. We are forever grateful that You took our place, taking our just punishment upon Yourself. May we always rejoice in our free gift of salvation and share the good news of the gospel with everyone we meet. For You are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory forever. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens
Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 15

Welcome to Passion Week. We will begin with the Last Supper where Jesus and His disciples celebrated Passover in the upper room. He established the New Covenant of grace and gave a new meaning to the Passover Seder. As Christians, we observe communion to remember the death of our Lord. But the story doesn’t end there–Resurrection Day follows His crucifixion three days later. Hallelujah! Christ is alive forevermore and we, the Redeemed, will spend eternity in His presence.

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’” (Luke 22:19-20 NKJV).

Click to read separate accounts in the Gospels: Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-23 and John 13-17.

The three accounts of the Last Supper in Matthew, Mark, and Luke are almost identical. Jesus directed his disciples as to where they should prepare the Passover meal. That evening as they were eating, several significant things happened. He established the New Covenant of grace by breaking bread and sharing the cup with His disciples.
“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise, He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’” (Luke 22:19-20 NKJV).

Jesus’s spirit became troubled as He announced that one of them at the table would betray Him. “Now as they were eating, He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me’” (Matt. 26:21 NKJV). The gospel of John paints a complete picture of this event as Jesus dipped bread and then gave it to Judas, saying, “‘What you do, do quickly’” (John 13:27 NKJV).

Jesus also predicted Peter’s denial in Matthew 26:34. “Jesus said to him,
‘Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’” Peter declared that he was ready to follow Jesus to prison and to death, if necessary.

Have you ever sent children off to college or perhaps their wedding day? Think back to that last meal together as a family. As parents, you remind them of everything you taught them in preparation for this pivotal life change. You make predictions, explaining what they can expect as they enter this new phase of life, as well as warnings about coming pitfalls. Speaking into their spirits, you declare your love, support, and that you’ll always be only a phone call away. You pray over them, committing them into the Father’s loving arms. You reassure them that even though they may not understand everything you’re saying now, they will remember and fully understand later. After blessing them, you kiss them, and then let them fly away.

Jesus prepared His disciples to continue in His absence that night during their last supper together. The Lord explained that He would not drink of the vine again until He did so with them in heaven (Matt. 26:29). At that table, He established the New Covenant, which fulfilled—not replaced—the Law (Luke 22:19-21 / Mark 14:22-26).

The book of John tells us the details of what the Lord proclaimed to His disciples during their last supper. In Chapter 13, Jesus began by washing His disciples’ feet before the meal, demonstrating complete humility and exemplifying servanthood. (Click HERE for our previous lesson about foot-washing.)

Knowing all things that were about to happen, the Lord encouraged His disciples before His departure. (To read, click on each verse in parentheses. All are taken from the NKJV.)

  • The Present
    • He manifests Himself to anyone who loves Him and keeps His commandments by giving them His peace, which is unlike the world’s (John 14:23-27).
      He is the vine, we are the branches. By bearing much fruit, we prove to be His disciples (John 15:5-8).
      Love one another (John 13:34-35).
  • The Future
    • He will prepare a place for them and come back to receive them. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:1-6).
    • He won’t leave them alone but will send them another Helper—the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-16).
    • Ask anything in His Name and He’ll do it (John 14:12-14.).
  • Warnings
    • The world will hate them as it hated Him (John 15:18-25).
    • They will put them out of the synagogue (John 16:1-4).
    • He foretold His betrayal and Peter’s denial. (Mark 14: 27-31).
    • He told them ahead of time so they would believe when it came to pass (John 14:29).
    • A servant is not greater than his master (John 15:20-21).
  • Comfort
  • Prayer

Do you celebrate with a Seder or Passover meal at your church or synagogue? If not, the details of what people eat during Pesach (Passover) and their significance are a fascinating study. Click HERE to read a detailed Messianic Jewish perspective of its history and present-day practices.

Dear Father, we humbly thank you for fulfilling the Law by establishing the New Covenant of grace. As we eat the bread and drink the cup, may we always remember Your death until You return. We look forward to the day when we will take communion with You in heaven. In Jesus’s Name we pray, Amen.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens
Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 14

Welcome to the “Front Porch” Bible Study Series. This week we’ll prepare for Palm Sunday by studying the significance of waving palm branches to the Lord. Now I’ll always have a richer understanding of this Palm Sunday celebration of thanksgiving. Come along as I share this nugget from God’s treasure chest with you.

Click HERE to read today’s Scripture. For comparative Scriptures, click HERE to read Mark 11:1-10.

“The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna!
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The King of Israel!’” (John 12:12-13 NKJV)

As Jesus and His disciples approached Jerusalem, He sent two of them ahead to find and untie a colt on which no one had sat. The Lord instructed them to answer anyone who questioned their actions by saying that the Lord had need of it, so they would allow it. As the disciples obeyed, it happened exactly as Jesus had said. They spread their cloaks over the animal’s back where Jesus then sat and led him down the hill into Jerusalem.

When the multitudes who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was arriving, they ran to meet Him. They laid their cloaks on the ground and cut down leafy branches as a “red carpet” for Jesus’s entrance into the city. The excited crowds consisted of those from Bethany who had witnessed Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead and those in Jerusalem who had heard about this great sign. They congregated joyfully around Him, waving palm branches and chanting Scripture taken from Psalm 118:25-26: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” (John 12:13 NKJV).

The Jews intended to cast off Caesar and his Roman rule and crown Jesus as their king. This uproar, however, distressed the Pharisees because they were losing the fight to suppress His popularity. Caiaphas expressed fear over what would happen to them politically, realizing they had to side with Rome against Jesus in order to save themselves.

What is the significance of people waving palm branches? We can trace this practice in both the Old and New Testaments.

In Leviticus 23:39-44 (Click HERE), the Israelites waved beautiful palm branches for seven days during the Feast of Tabernacles (also called the Feast of Booths or Sukkot). This feast memorializes how God brought them out of slavery from the land of Egypt. (For more study about the Feast of Tabernacles, click HERE.)

During Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the people rejoiced by waving palm branches in His honor. They welcomed the deliverance they believed He was bringing to them—freedom from Roman tyranny and the political occupation of Israel. They honored Him as a king riding victoriously into His kingdom. A worldly king would come riding on a horse—a symbol of war—but He came riding on a donkey’s colt—a symbol of peace. Later the disciples would understand how this act fulfilled Zechariah 9:9:

“‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey’” (NKJV).

Lastly, we find a future waving of palm branches during a thrilling time in heaven. Revelation 7:9 describes those who will be saved out of the Great Tribulation wearing white robes and holding palm branches. They will cry out, “‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (v.10). (Click HERE to read more about it.)

Do you understand why waving palm branches is significant to God? It represents people showing thanks for God’s deliverance.

  • In Leviticus, God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and entrance back into their Promised Land.
  • The Gospels describe how the Jews expected deliverance from Rome’s political tyranny and the beginning of Messiah’s reign.
  • Revelation reveals the Lamb of God who will deliver a multitude from the evil rule of the Anti-Christ. They will stand before God’s throne and will serve Him day and night in His temple.

The triumphant entry into Jerusalem will happen one day in the future.
At the Second Coming of Christ, Jesus will be riding on a white horse, not a donkey’s colt. He will come to make war on the Anti-Christ and destroy his reign. This is the age when the Messiah’s eternal reign will begin. (Click HERE to read Revelation 19:11-16.)

As we joyfully wave our palm branches on Palm Sunday, let’s remember to be deeply thankful to God for His gift of deliverance. Jesus loosed us from the bondage of sin and death and gave us the right to become God’s sons and daughters through Jesus’s shed blood. We will be joint-heirs with Christ in His kingdom forever.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name”(John 1:12 NKJV).

Dear Lord, thank you for becoming our King of kings and Lord of lords. We wave our palm branches to you with hearts full of thanksgiving and praise for Your gift of deliverance. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 13

Welcome to April on the “Front Porch!” This month we will be taking a short break from our study on the Fruit of the Spirit in order to focus on Easter. This month we’ll study the events leading to the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m anticipating a very rich and meaningful study, and I look forward to sharing it with you. This week we’ll begin with the anointing of Christ for burial.


Click HERE to read John 11:45-12:9

Memory Verse:
“But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.  For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always'” (John 12:7-8 NKJV).

After Lazarus’s resurrection, many believed in Jesus. Others, however, ran to tell the Pharisees. Their Jewish counsel convened and planned how to end Jesus’s ministry. They feared all men would be converted, and thus Rome would remove their position as a nation. Caiaphas prophesied, “‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish’” (John 11:49-50 NKJV).

Therefore Jesus limited His presence to Ephraim, a city located in the countryside. As the Passover approached, the Jews sought for Him, wondering if He would attend the feast that year or not. The chief priests and Pharisees had issued an order that they be informed of His whereabouts so they could seize Him.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived in Bethany. He stayed at the house of Simon the leper where they made Him a supper. Martha served, Lazarus reclined with Him at the table, but Mary did the most important thing of all: she worshiped. She broke a very expensive alabaster vial of pure nard and anointed Jesus’s head and feet and wiped His feet with her hair. The disciples and others criticized Mary for her act of extravagant worship, protesting that the perfume that cost a year’s wages could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus rebuked them, saying, “‘For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always ’” (John 12:8 NKJV).

Many people congregated to see Jesus and especially Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. As a result, many believed in this testimonial to the divine power of Christ. The distraught chief priests planned to kill both Jesus and Lazarus in their plot to stop these conversions.

Beginning with Jesus’s arrival in Bethany, He was no longer “in hiding.” In fact, quite the opposite. Throngs came to see the dead man, now alive, and the Teacher who had performed this miracle. Now He invited the crowds to come and surround Him, continuing all the way to His final journey at the cross.

But He didn’t hold Himself up as a “superstar.” He dined at the house of one who would have been exiled for leprosy, but one now healed from Jesus’s touch. He was not surrounded by the elite of that city, but by commoners. Mary had a very important role on this occasion. She didn’t realize the significance at that time, but hers was the only anointing of Christ before His burial. She broke open the alabaster jar with its precious contents–a pound of ointment of spikenard made from an aromatic herb from the valerian family imported from India, Arabia, and the Far East. Its cost was so great that only the very wealthy could afford to purchase it. Even the alabaster jar, made out of a white Egyptian semi-transparent stone, was very costly.

Mary didn’t just pour out the oil on the head and feet of the Lord; she broke the jar so that not one drop would be held back. She gave it all. In that day, only guests of honor, including kings, were anointed. They washed feet with water, but using oil elevated Jesus to the highest point of honor.

As Mary wiped her Lord’s feet with her hair, the fragrance filled the room, causing a protest. The men, especially Judas, chastised Mary for wasting a year’s wages. “‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’” (John 12:5 NKJV). Judas didn’t care for the poor, but he was a thief in charge of the money box.

Let’s learn a valuable lesson from Mary’s actions. The disciples didn’t understand the importance of what she did that night, but we understand. Nothing we do for Christ is wasted. We may waste other things in our lives–time, strength, money–but what we give Him is never wasted.

Have you broken your alabaster jar of sacrificial worship for Jesus today?

Dear Father in heaven, we come to honor and glorify the Name of Jesus. May our lives spill out our offering of sacrifice to You, and may we always be the fragrance of Christ to the world. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 12

Welcome to Week 12 of the “Front Porch” Bible Study Series. In this last post of our study on JOY, we’ll look at one of the most amazing miracles of all: resurrection. When Jesus rose from the grave on the third day, His resurrection sealed our privilege of spending eternity with Him in God’s kingdom. Is there any greater JOY? Today we’ll read about the story of Lazarus’s resurrection.

Click HERE to read today’s Scripture about Jesus’s raising Lazarus from the dead.

Memory Verse: “‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die'” (John 11:25b-26a NKJV).

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

While Jesus ministered in another town, Mary and Martha sent word for the Lord to come to heal their sick brother, Lazarus. Although His disciples discouraged Him from going, Jesus explained, “‘This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.’” (v.4)

Two days later, Jesus and His disciples arrived in Bethany where Lazarus had already been buried for four days. Jesus spoke privately with Martha and then Mary before grieving at Lazarus’s tomb. The sisters and other mourners expressed their disappointment: Lazarus would still be alive if Jesus had come sooner. Jesus declared to Martha, “‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (v.25-26). Martha declared, “‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’” (v.27).

Mary and the crowd of mourners joined together to mourn at the tomb.
Everyone noticed how strongly Jesus wept along with the others. They quietly discussed how much Jesus loved Lazarus, asking “‘Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?’” (v.37).

Jesus told them to remove the stone in front of the cave. He prayed aloud to the Father, asking God to answer His prayer that people would believe in Him. Jesus then cried out with a loud voice, “‘Lazarus, come forth!’” (v.43).

Can you imagine the shock when the dead man appeared alive at the mouth of the cave, still wrapped in his grave clothes? Overjoyed, many people believed in Jesus as the Son of God, but others went to report it to the Pharisees.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

As you may recall from our earlier study, Lazarus wasn’t the first person Jesus raised the dead. Remember Jairus’s daughter in Mark 5? (You can read about it HERE.)

Why do you think Jesus purposely delayed the call to go to Bethany to heal his dear friend Lazarus? Not because He didn’t care. Although He knew Lazarus would die, He also prophesied to His disciples that this sickness wouldn’t end in death (v.4). “‘And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe'” (v.15).

However, there was one good reason why Jesus planned to raise Lazarus’s body on the fourth day after burial. Since the Jews believed the spirit didn’t depart from the body for the first three days after death, this was a sign and irrefutable proof that glorified both the Father and Jesus, His Son.

What a paradox. He purposely chose his dearest friends, whom He knew He could trust to endure deep yet temporary sorrow, to prove His identity as the Son of God. We know He loved Lazarus very much, as evidenced by His emotional weeping at his tomb. But human reasoning expressed by Martha and Mary came forth loud and clear: “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (v.21, v.32). Such a burden of disappointment and sorrow to bear.

But what joy filled their hearts after Lazarus was resurrected! All sorrow and disappointment vanished in that miraculous moment as they received their brother back into their loving arms. As He had said He would, Jesus used this opportunity to bring glory to the Father and prove His identity as God’s Son.

Let’s apply this lesson to our lives.

Don’t we do the same thing as Mary and Martha? When something that we treasure dies, we weep inconsolably at its tomb. We cry out that if Jesus had shown up sooner, it would still be alive.

Perhaps it’s a dream that you believe will never come to pass, and your hope is flickering out. Or maybe it’s a physical illness you’ve prayed about for a long time, but you’re still waiting on healing. Perhaps a relationship appears dead and impossible to bring back to life. Or maybe something to do with money or income has left you mourning and troubled about the future.

Just as Jesus came to Mary and Martha, let’s also take comfort that our Lord will come to minister to each of us. He is a compassionate and understanding Savior who weeps with us in our darkest hour.

Let’s listen as He speaks to our situation and commands whatever is dead to be resurrected back to life. Oh, the JOY that will fill our hearts!

Has the Lord brought you JOY by miraculously resurrecting something dead in your life?

I hope your JOY in the Lord has blossomed and grown this month. When the Holy Spirit lavishes us with the love of Jesus, gardens of JOY grow in our hearts. JOY isn’t conditional on our circumstances, thank goodness, but the Lord gives us JOY in spite of them. When we worship and praise Him through our tears, we are lifted up and out of this world. Isn’t God so good!

For more study on the topic of resurrection, click HERE for a sermon by Charles Spurgeon or HERE for a sermon by Ravi Zacharias.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your compassion and understanding of our human sufferings. We ask You to speak resurrection to our dying circumstances, for You are the Resurrection and the Life. We glorify You and pray these things in Jesus’s Name. Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 11

Welcome to Week 11 where we’ve been studying the second Fruit of the Spirit, JOY. This month we have explored how JOY comes through trials in our lives. Last week, we witnessed the JOY in heaven when just one sinner repents. This week we’ll study the church’s engagement and marriage to the Lamb of God. It’s a time of JOY as we, the bride, prepare to meet our Bridegroom.

The Parable of the Vestal Virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” (Matthew 25:1) Click to read the rest of Matthew 25:1-13.

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10 NKJV).

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Jesus explained His Father’s kingdom by telling a parable about ten virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. Five foolish ones took no oil for their lamps, but five wise ones took oil in their vessels. As the bridegroom tarried, they all fell asleep. Then at midnight, a cry announced his coming. All the virgins arose and trimmed their lamps, but the foolish five had no oil. The wise ones didn’t have enough to share, so the foolish ones went to buy some. While they were gone, the bridegroom arrived, and those who were ready went into the wedding with him. When the foolish virgins returned, the door was shut and the bridegroom refused to let them in, saying that he never knew them.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Is there any day more JOYous than a wedding day, especially if you’re the bride? Our culture has glorified weddings in recent years with television shows about everything from buying the dress to ceremonies and receptions. Weddings are currently big business—and no expense is spared.

But wedding traditions haven’t always been like today’s. In order to understand this parable, we must first familiarize ourselves with the customs of those times.

Hundreds of years ago, the bridegroom would travel to the home of his bride. Although the bride never knew exactly what time he would arrive, she still had to be dressed and ready to go. Sometimes a bridegroom was late, and the bride waited anxiously for days. But after his arrival, he would JOYfully carry her off to his home. Then they would celebrate with a wedding ceremony and a marriage feast with friends and family, sometimes lasting for days.

Who are these virgins in the parable? They represent the sleeping church, who is engaged to Jesus and waiting for His return. We don’t know the day nor the hour of His coming. But when He arrives, those who are saved and full of the oil of the Holy Spirit will be taken to heaven as His bride. Those who aren’t saved will be left behind, knocking at a closed door.

The most JOYful realization is that this event may happen soon. With our shining lamps full of oil, our eyes look up because we know our bridegroom is coming. When Jesus arrives in the clouds with His angels, we who are alive on that day will be caught up to meet Him in the air, along with the resurrected Saints. He will take us to heaven to be His bride and to feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb. You can read about this JOYful event, the rapture of the church, here.

Just as today’s bride takes time to groom and adorn herself for that special day, so we must also make ourselves ready to meet our bridegroom. Jesus is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle. Let’s wash away our sins in His blood and anoint ourselves with the pure water of His Word. Let’s clothe ourselves in garments of praise and righteous acts as we wait for that shofar blast to sound from the clouds.

‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb’” (Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV).

For more study on the subject of the Bride of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, click HERE to listen to a sermon by Charles Spurgeon.

Nothing is more JOYous than a wedding celebration! Would you share some JOYful memories abou your special day?

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for inviting us to be Your bride at the marriage supper of the Lamb. May we fill our lamps with the oil of Your Holy Spirit and be ready to go home with You at Your appearing. We pray that You send worldwide revival now. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens


The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 10

Welcome to Week 10 where we’ve been studying the second Fruit of the Spirit, JOY. Last week we explored how JOY comes through trials in our lives. It’s a paradox for something so wonderful to come out of difficulty or suffering. Where does JOY originate? Deep in our salvation, placed there the moment we say YES to Jesus. This week we’ll see what happens in heaven when just one sinner repents.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Click HERE to read Luke 15: 1-24.

Memory Verse: Luke 15:10: “‘Likewise I say to you, there is JOY in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’”

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

When tax collectors and sinners gathered around Jesus, the Pharisees and scribes criticized Jesus for allowing such men to be near Him.
That sparked Jesus to relate three parables directed at these hypocritical Pharisees.


The first one deals with a shepherd who leaves his flock of ninety-nine to seek for one that is lost. “‘And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing’” (v.5). But his JOY multiplies after returning home. He invites friends and neighbors to a party to celebrate with him over finding his one lost sheep.

The second parable tells about a woman who loses one of her ten silver coins. She lights a lamp, sweeps her house, and searches diligently until she finds it. “‘And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’” (v.9)

The third relates the story of the prodigal son. After he squanders all his money, he finds himself working in a pigsty where even the pig’s food looks appealing to his empty stomach. After he comes to himself, he makes the long journey home to appeal to his father to make him as one of his slaves.
Much to his surprise, his father runs out to meet him and welcomes him with a joyful kiss. “‘But the father said to the servant, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” And they began to be merry’” (v. 22-24).

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever lost something of great value? I have. The situation causes my heart to canter and my mind to swirl in panic. I retrace my steps and get on hands and knees, feeling behind furniture and shining a flashlight into dark corners. Finally, my lost treasure is discovered–usually in the last place I look. My relief turns to JOY, and my family and friends rejoice with me.

What do these parables have in common? Probably something that has happened to each of us–something precious is lost and later is found. And the finders’ joy overflows to a celebration.

But the meaning is far deeper.

“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me'” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV).

The lost sheep, coin, and prodigal son represent those who are lost in their sins but who find JOYful salvation at the cross of Christ. Jesus uses these parables to show the Pharisees and scribes how God feels about one lost sinner. Each person is so special that God personally seeks out each one. Then He calls His angels in heaven together to rejoice with Him over every person who repents.

As an altar minister at my church, I have prayed with several people over the years for salvation. Through our tears, I remind them that the angels are celebrating JOYfully in heaven as well as writing their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

There is no sweeter time of celebration on heaven or on earth than when a lost soul repents and meets Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.

“The king shall have JOY in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!” (Psalm 21:1 NKJV)

Can you share your story of JOY with us, either about your own salvation or the salvation of a friend or loved one?

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making the salvation experience one that is full of JOY. May we feast on the JOY of our salvation and also rejoice with those whose salvation we witness. We ask You to send forth Your Spirit to draw in the Lost and use us as Your witnesses during these last days. In Your Son’s Name we pray, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 9

Welcome to “Front Porch Bible Study Series. We are beginning our study of the second Fruit of the Spirit–JOY. This month we will discover the place where JOY lives deep in our spirits, waiting to be mined out, like precious diamonds. Let’s go mining today for this priceless gift from God!


The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Series Week 9: How to find joy in trials.

Click here to read today’s Scripture reading.

Memory Verse: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18 NKJV).

Let’s begin with a word study. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of happiness is “A state of well-being and contentment; a pleasurable or satisfying experience.”
Happiness lives in our souls and is based on fickle feelings, emotions, and changing circumstances. This temporary fix is the best the world can offer.

JOY, on the other hand, doesn’t come from the world. God lovingly plants it in our spirits the moment we become His through salvation.
Just as our salvation is permanent, so is our JOY.

In today’s reading, the prophet Habakkuk cries out to God over witnessing the dreaded arrival of the Chaldeans, godless destroyers who have come to conquer and plunder Israel. He pleads with God over how long God will look on evil and not do anything to stop it (Habakkuk 1:2-4; 12-17 NKJV).

God’s response is that He is in control of evil and not to fret. In time, they (the Chaldeans) will pay the price. (1:11). The Lord declares to Habakkuk that
the day of retribution will certainly come, as it’s an appointed time for which to patiently wait. In the meantime, the righteous should live by their faith. (Habakkuk 2: 2-4 NKJV).

Have you ever had your life torn apart unexpectedly? I have. Whether it’s losing a marriage, a child or loved one, a job, career, or finances, we can go into a tailspin, paralleling Israel’s suffering.

We cry out for God’s justice, mercy, and His hand to reverse our situation. We plead with our God, who is too holy to look on evil, and ask Him how He can allow these things to happen.

What should our response to God be?
The answer is the secret to finding JOY during our trials .

Let’s meditate on Habakkuk’s ending prayer:

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines;

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food;

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls—

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength;

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high hills” (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV).

No matter our circumstances, JOY is planted deep in our spirits. Like Habakkuk, we can mine JOY out of our salvation and rejoice in the Lord–in spite of the trials we experience. God will make us sure-footed and guide us safely along narrow, mountainous paths. Isn’t God so good!

Can you rejoice in your trials?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Let us remember that our lives aren’t spiraling out of control when we face trials, but You are at the helm. May we trust You and not despair. Teach us to choose to rejoice in our trials and to draw joy from our wells of salvation. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 8

“Front Porch” Bible Study Series on The Fruit of the Spirit

Read: Genesis 22: 1-18 NKJV

Memory Verse: “He said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me’” (Genesis 22:12 NKJV).

God tested Abraham by commanding him to take his only son, Isaac, to Moriah to offer him as a burnt offering to God. After a two days’ journey, he told the young men traveling with them, “’Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you’” (v.5).  As they went up the mountain, Isaac asked his father, “’Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son’” (v.7-8).


The story of Abraham and Isaac parallels the future story of Jesus’s obedient sacrifice on the cross. God stopped Abraham from plunging the knife into his son’s body, and Abraham’s reward for His obedient faith was great. Read the climax of the story here.

Sacrifice is defined by Merriam-Webster asan act of offering to a deity something precious especially, the killing of a victim on an altar.”

But in the case of Jesus, He was not a victim. He willingly laid down His life for our sins. That was the very reason He came to earth, to restore our salvation stolen by Satan in the Garden of Eden. Read about it here.

When Jesus walked the earth, He told His disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35 NKJV).

Jesus added, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:12-13 NKJV).

Jesus complied with God’s request to become the supreme sacrifice for the sins of mankind. He willingly left his abode in heaven with the Father and the Holy Spirit and came into the world through the Virgin Mary. We praise and worship Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross where we are saved through His blood, and our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Choosing the assurance of eternity in God’s kingdom is an awesome gift.


Out of our overflowing love for our Savior, let’s generously demonstrate our love to one another through sacrifice. What better way for us to prove that we are His disciples!

Have you ever sacrificed for someone else? Or has someone sacrificed for you? Please encourage us with your story.

Let’s conclude this month’s study with a look at the definition of LOVE as defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” ( v.4-8). To read the full chapter, click here.

I prayerfully leave you with Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Lord, thank you for loving us enough to come to earth and lay down your life so we can be saved. May we love one another and sacrifice for our fellow man, and so prove to be Your disciples. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.

Let’s pray one for another. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Studies

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 7

Front Porch Bible Study Series / The Fruit of the Spirit

This month we are focusing on LOVE, the first fruit of the Spirit. In Weeks 5 and 6, we studied how we show God’s love to others through intercessory prayer and Christian service. This week we’ll look at how God’s love grows inside our spirits and produces fruit for God’s kingdom. Join me as we study how to abide in the vine.

Week 7: LOVE

Click to Read: John 15: 1-8 NKJV.

Click to Read: Memory Verse: “‘By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples'” (John 15:8 NKJV).


Jesus explains what living the true Christian life is like by comparing it to a vinedresser (God) who cares for the branches (those saved by grace), which are attached to the true vine (Jesus).

God prunes every branch by either cutting away those that don’t produce any fruit or by pruning a fruitful branch to make it more productive.
Either way, we’re all going to feel some pain on occasion when God comes to inspect us!

Jesus then defines the consequences of rejecting Christ: “‘If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned’” (John 15:6 NKJV).

On the other hand, Jesus promises to those who accept Him: “‘If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples'” (John 15:7-8 NKJV).

Are you a gardener? If so, you’ll best understand the principle of pruning and cutting. We trim off dead branches to make way for new growth, in addition to watering, fertilizing, and sunning our plants for maximum growth and yield.

Jesus, as our gardener, looks at the fruit of our spirits. We are designed as flowering branches, expected to grow abundant fruit by yielding ourselves to His loving care–as well as His pruning shears.

Daily we ask for forgiveness through Christ’s blood shed at the cross and ready our spirits to receive His nourishment. As the Holy Spirit flows through our lives, like water inside branches, we are filled to overflowing, without sin or iniquity blocking the flow.

Jesus also cultivates us by cutting away any dead works, pruning us to the nub so that more sap can get through. Since we are connected to Jesus through faith after we’re born-again, our vines are fed by the sap of the Holy Spirit, automatically causing us to bear much fruit.

What kinds of things does God prune away in our lives? Perhaps ones like bad habits, wrong thinking, or negative attitudes and words. Sometimes it may involve losing friendships or changing activities that are leading us down wrong paths. And yes, this cutting away can be very painful.

Although pruning represents a loss in our lives, it’s necessary so we can produce abundant fruit. As spiritual branches, we have a choice: either be withered, cut off, and burned up in God’s fire OR abide in the vine and bear much fruit.

He also promises to give us our heart’s desire if we plant His Word in our spirits. Isn’t that a sweet promise to do and claim?

Our goal is to bring God glory by bearing much fruit for His Kingdom. How has the Lord been using His pruning shears in your life?

Prayer: Dear Lord, we humbly ask You to cultivate us to be more fruitful. May we willingly yield our spirits to your pruning shears. Give us much fruit so we can bring you much glory. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Let’s pray one for another. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Studies

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 6

Front Porch Bible Study Series Week 6 by Karen Jurgens

Front Porch Bible Study Series / The Fruit of the Spirit

Future videos will appear at the beginning of each month when a new fruit of the Spirit is introduced. The month of February is about the study of LOVE and how we show God’s love to one another. Our pot of seeds we planted last week is now full of little green sprouts! May God’s love take root in your heart and bloom more everyday.

Week 6: LOVE

Front Porch Bible Study Week 6 by Karen Jurgens

Click to read: John 13: 3-17 NKJV

“‘If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet’” (John 13:14 NKJV).

Jesus taught His disciples many lessons during His three years of earthly ministry. Even on the night of His coming arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus demonstrated servanthood—not just telling, but showing them by example.

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (John 13:3-5 NKJV).

When He came to Peter, Peter balked in his usual exaggerated way, refusing to allow Jesus to perform a lowly servant’s job. Jesus explained that although the disciples didn’t understand His actions now, they would later. He continued, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me” (13:8).  Peter swung to the other extreme, pleading, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and head!” (13:9). Jesus reassured Peter that a person who has bathed only needs to wash his feet to be totally clean.

Let’s discuss the important lesson Jesus taught His disciples and the part humility played. According to Jesus, who is greater—the master or the servant?

Immediately following the Last Supper, there arose a quarrel among the disciples over who was the greatest among them. Jesus addressed their dispute by using His role as a model for them to imitate.

“And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.  For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves'” (Luke 22:25-27 NKJV).

In today’s world, many religious “on-stage” leaders are puffed up and prideful What Scriptures might Jesus quote to them?

“When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2 NKJV) OR “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18 NKJV).

Roles of leadership are roles of humble servanthood in disguise

As we step forward to serve others, may our passion spring from a pure and humble heart. It’s the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we are promoting, and it’s Jesus to whom we point–not ever to ourselves. May the Lord Jesus always receive the glory and honor, for He alone is worthy of our worship and praise.

How do you show God’s love through service?

Lord, may we learn to be humble and serve one another. We strive for the promise of John 13:17: “‘If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.’” In Jesus’s Name we pray, Amen.

Let’s pray one for another. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Studies

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 5

Heart"wings" Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Week 5: Love

Welcome to our study of the first fruit of the Spirit–LOVE. Let’s allow the Lord to plant seeds of love for others in the fertile soil of our hearts this month. Let’s begin by digging up verses of truth in the Word…

Read: Luke 8:40-42; 49-56

Topic: Intercessory Prayer

Memory Verse: “But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well’” (Luke 8:50 NKJV).

Examine:  God plants seeds of love in our hearts for others who are sick or suffering. He calls us to pray for others and intercede on their behalf.
But how powerful is intercessory prayer?

During Week 2, we studied about Jairus, who had persuaded Jesus to come to his home to heal his dying twelve-year-old daughter. As they pressed through the throngs of people, Jesus suddenly stopped and addressed a woman with an issue of blood who had been healed by touching the hem of His tallit or prayer shawl.

After they had resumed their walk, one of Jairus’s servants came running with a report that Jairus’s daughter had just died and not to trouble the Teacher any longer. “Do not be afraid, only believe and she will be made well,” Jesus answered (verse 50), and “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping” (verse 52).

Although the mourners ridiculed Jesus for His words, the Lord took His three closest disciples and the girl’s parents into the room where she lay.  “But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, ‘Little girl, arise.’ Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat” (Luke 8:54-55).

Discuss:  Does someone you know have a situation or illness that appears hopeless?
Intercessory prayer tills the soil where God plants miracles Others may express disbelief, but we should model Jesus who ignored the naysayers. His miracles always bring glory to the Father and prove His identity as the Son of God.

Notice how faith works concerning both pleas for healing in Luke 8. The woman with the issue of blood reached out to touch Jesus’s tassels on the edge of His tallit. Hers was an example of direct prayer on her own behalf–not of intercession. Many people were pressing against Jesus in the crowd, and He hadn’t been aware of her presence until after He had felt power go out of Him. She had seized and received her healing through her great faith.
“And He said to her, ‘Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace'” (Luke 8:48 NKJV).

But the little girl couldn’t reach out–Jesus came to her bedside and touched her on behalf of her father’s intercession.
Isn’t it wonderful to realize that we, as intercessors, have the power to bring Jesus to the bedside of those for whom we pray?

Does a situation look impossible? That’s no reason to be discouraged or to give up.
Our job is to keep praying and interceding on behalf of others. Jesus may be ready to perform miraculous healings in answer to our prayers, according to His perfect will. What a glorious day of rejoicing when we witness His healing touch!

How has your life been changed through intercessory prayer?

Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you for showing us Your perfect love through answering intercessory prayer. Erase our doubts by helping us grow in our faith so that we believe in Your miracles. May we not only reach out and touch the hem of Your garment for our healing, but may we faithfully intercede on behalf of others. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Studies

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 4

Week 4: Introduction

Topic: Fighting Spiritual Battles

Read: Galatians 5:16-25

Memory Verse: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16 NKJV).

Examine:  Did you know there is a battle going on continually in our spirits? Paul instructs us to feed our spirits so that our flesh with its ungodly desires is defeated. He tics off a long list: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like;” and concludes that “…those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (verses 19-21).

How do we fight against such ungodly desires to stop their attacks? We will all be tempted at times, but we must know that God has provided us with spiritual weapons to overcome those temptations. What are our weapons? Let’s read Ephesians 6:10-18.

But here’s the good news. After we put on our spiritual armor, we can easily defeat the enemy with its wicked temptations. The flesh with its passions and desires are crucified with Christ. Then we can feast on the fruit of the Spirit, walking victoriously in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Discuss: Do you remember the hymn called, “Onward Christian Soldiers?” I remember singing it in Sunday School as well as in church. God provided us with spiritual armor to put on daily as we go out to fight our enemy, Satan, who comes to us in many forms. Ephesians 6:11-12 defines this war: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Let’s define the fruit of the Spirit, so we always choose it. Here’s the list: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Can you choose one from the list and give an example of what it looks like in today’s culture? Which ones do you want to see grow and mature in your life?

Prayer:  Dear Lord, may we deny the temptations of the flesh by putting on our spiritual armor and always choose the fruit of the Spirit in our daily lives. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Studies

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 3

Front Porch Bible Study Series

Week 3: Introduction

Topic: Born-again salvation

Read: John 3:1-21 NKJV

Memory Verse: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17 NKJV).

Examine:  Nicodemus secretly met with the Lord one night, so he could question Him about His miraculous works. Can’t we identify with this Pharisee’s literal thinking? I know I can. Even with all his religious education and high position as a ruler of the Jews, he was baffled by Jesus’s statement that “’unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3:3). However, Jesus took the opportunity to teach about the difference between the flesh and the Spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Jesus used the wind as an example to illustrate this principle. “‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit’” (John 3:8).

Discuss: Jesus explained spiritual birth to Nicodemus, a Torah scholar and intellectual who was confused about the born-again concept. As was Jesus’s custom, He used an illustration to express what salvation is like–a mystery of God that we feel and witness but cannot see. Perhaps that’s why intellectuals, even today, find this concept difficult to understand. It’s a matter of the heart and spirit where true salvation takes place.

The consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience sentenced every person to be born into spiritual death, a condition which separates us from God. But God sent His Son into the world to save mankind and reunite us with the Father. God provided His only Son as the perfect sacrificial Lamb who laid down His life on the cross. Jesus took the sins of the world on Himself so we could be saved through His shed blood. Everyone who believes on the Name of Jesus will be born again, but those who don’t believe are already condemned.

How about you? If you’ve been born-again, would you share your salvation story with us? If not, pray this prayer below and let us know so we can rejoice with you! “‘Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents’” ~ (Luke 15:10).

Prayer: Dear God, I’m a sinner, but I want to be born again. I confess and repent of my sins. Come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. Wash my sins away in the blood of the Lamb and robe me in your righteousness. Thank you for making me alive in Jesus and writing my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Studies

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 2

coffee-2390136_1920 Week 2

This Week's Topic by Karen Jurgens

 

Week 2 Introduction: Exercise your faith

 

 

Scriptural Reading by Karen Jurgens

 

Luke 8:40-48

 

 

Scripture Memory by Karen Jurgens 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV).

 

Let's examine by Karen Jurgens

Jairus, a ruler of the Synagogue, had a twelve-year-old daughter who was on her deathbed. He sought Jesus for help. As Jairus escorted Him to his house among the thronging multitudes, Jesus stopped. “Who touched Me?” No one spoke up. “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Then a trembling woman fell before Him and confessed that she had been healed the instant she had touched the hem of His garment. He responded, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:45-48)

Let's Discuss by Karen Jurgens

Why would this woman’s faith be significant? In the culture of that day, she was considered unclean because of her hemorrhage. For twelve years she had suffered, having spent all her money on physicians who couldn’t help her. Such conditions forbade her mingling among the crowds, so she kept a low profile, hoping she wouldn’t be noticed. But her faith drove her on. She knew that if she could just touch the lowest edge of the tassels on Jesus’s prayer shawl, she would be healed. Getting to Him was her only hope.

Why had she hesitated to come forward when He asked who had touched Him? Most likely, she had never expected Him to know what she’d done. For an unclean woman to touch a holy Teacher was unthinkable. She was caught, and she trembled at how He might respond. She must have been shocked when Jesus addressed her with words of kindness and love instead of harsh rebuke. “Daughter, be of good cheer. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace” (Luke 8:48).

During this initial month of the New Year, let’s intentionally exercise our faith to attain spiritual health.

As sinners, we all are “unclean” until we “grab hold” of Jesus and accept His salvation. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

But Jesus cleanses our spirits with His blood shed at Calvary, and His resurrection sealed our eternity with Him in heaven. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Let’s also exercise our faith to receive healing from sickness and disease.

We all suffer from occasional sickness. Or perhaps you’ve been diagnosed with a malady that modern medicine can’t heal. Have you ever used your faith to press into our Great Physician? Let’s take this week to stretch our faith and reach out for the hem of His garment.

What are you asking the Lord to do for you today?

If you’re praying for healing, or if you’ve been healed in the past, would you encourage us with your testimony?

Let's Pray by Karen Jurgens

Dear Lord, take our measure of faith and stretch it this week. May we believe for physical healing and gratefully receive it according to your perfect will. In Jesus’s Name. Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Studies

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week One

Welcome! So delighted that you have come to visit on the Front Porch today. Pull up a chair, grab a hot cup of java, and open your Bible to the book of Psalms. Stay for five minutes or as long as you can. You’re encouraged to leave comments on A Woman’s Fellowship/Ministry Page where this study is posted, but you’re also welcome to comment on my WordPress website. I’ll jump into the conversation from time-to-time, too. Are you ready to begin? Let’s go!

Week 1: Intro

 This Week's Topic by Karen Jurgens

 

Spiritual Renewal for the New Year

 

 

Scriptural Reading by Karen Jurgens

 

Psalms 51  (See 2 Samuel 11-12:15 for further study)

 

 

Scripture Memory by Karen Jurgens

 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10 NKJV).

 

 

 Let's examine by Karen Jurgens

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Most of us vow to diet and exercise after months of feasting over the holidays. That’s great for our physical bodies, but what about our spirits? How do we get them in shape?

How do we get our spirits in shape?

 

Like King David, let’s begin with prayer to cleanse our spirits from sin. He prays, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalms 51:7). David asks the Lord to restore the joy of his salvation and sustain him with a willing spirit. His request isn’t selfish, as we might expect, but he desires restoration so that he can help other sinners find salvation. Then he states he will joyfully sing of God’s righteousness and declare His praise.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (Psalms 51:17).

 Let's Discuss by Karen Jurgens

As we enter a fresh start in 2019, let’s make a list of spiritual resolutions. What can you do differently to grow closer to God this year? Spend more time in prayer? Read and study more in the Word? How is the Lord leading you to be more involved this year? (Share your commitment in the comments below.)

 Let's Pray by Karen Jurgens

Dear Lord, may we begin the New Year with a clean, pure heart in Your sight. Cleanse us with your blood and clothe us with your righteousness. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Studies

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year by Karen Jurgens
Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, and blessed New Year.

Are you excited about all the new things the Lord will do in 2019? For many, 2018 has been a difficult year, and they are anxious to leave it behind.

Several challenges have faced my own family, including my mother’s two eye surgeries and each of my daughters relocating to a new apartment unexpectedly. We have prayed and sought the Lord together like never before, and He always saw us through our trials. We are so thankful!

For such a time as this, let me share one of my favorite Scriptures:

“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?” ~ Isaiah 43:18-19, NKJV


Remember to look forward, not behind. Let’s experience His blessings and rejoice together this year. What are you anticipating in 2019?

Merry Christmas from Touched By Him Ministries


6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them (Luke 2:6-20).

Wishing everyone a blessed and a very Merry Christmas! May you make room for Jesus to be born in your hearts this day. Praying that peace, love, and joy abound in your lives this Christmas season.

Road to Bethlehem

Road to Bethlehem by Karen Jurgens

 Have you ever had to travel a road to a new destination, not knowing what to expect? God alone held your future, and all you could do was trust Him to take care of you. Mary and Joseph must have felt the same way on their long road to Bethlehem. Let’s imagine together what that journey may have been like.

Mary sat, rocking gently side-to-side on a donkey led by her husband Joseph. As they traveled the ninety long miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, she had several days to ponder about the supernatural events of the last nine months.

Beginning with Gabriel’s angelic visitation, Mary was astounded at the announcement that God had chosen her, a virgin, to be the mother of His promised Messiah.

And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’ ~ Luke 1:35 NKJV.

Why her? A poor, fourteen-year-old Jewish girl from a strict, religious family who was betrothed to a carpenter, also devout. But why couldn’t God have waited until after they were married to avoid the scandal of a child conceived out-of-wedlock?

Joseph had confessed to her that he had been planning to “put her away” quietly so that she wouldn’t be disgraced in their community—not to mention avoiding the penalty of death by stoning.

Road to Bethlehem by Karen Jurgens

She shuddered and drew her cloak more tightly around her shoulders, recalling the dream Joseph had shared with her. God had reassured him that her unborn child belonged to the Holy Spirit and not to a man.

‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save Hispeople from their sins’ ~ Matthew 1:20b-21 NKJV.

She bowed her head and silently thanked God for His protection, deliverance, and especially for her husband’s obedience to God’s instruction.

Her thoughts turned to her relative, Elizabeth. More supernatural signs had appeared before her eyes that revealed she herself wasn’t the only woman who had conceived by a miracle.

Road to Bethlehem by Karen Jurgens

Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible ~ Luke 1: 36-37 NKJV.

After Gabriel’s announcement, Mary had risen in haste to visit Elizabeth. Upon her unexpected arrival, Mary’s voice called out a greeting, and Elizabeth returned it with a prophecy.

And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord’~ Luke 1:41-45 NKJV.

What role was Elizabeth’s child going to play in this drama of the ages? As Mary witnessed the miracle of Elizabeth’s swollen belly, she marveled. It was just as Gabriel had announced.

Then Mary’s heart surged with the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and words of thankfulness and praise poured from her lips.

‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is Hisname.
And His mercy is onthose who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proudin the imagination of their hearts.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever’
~ Luke 1:46-55 NKJV.

 For three months Mary had stayed with Elizabeth, who recounted the puzzling story of how her husband Zacharias had been serving in the Temple six months earlier and had experienced some sort of angelic vision. He couldn’t relate what had happened because he had been struck mute and unable to speak. Right after that, Elizabeth had become pregnant and was rejoicing that the Lord had graciously taken away the shame of barrenness in her old age.

No one understood what had happened to Zacharias, but Mary reasoned that the silent man seemed to be at peace, waiting expectantly for the baby’s birth, no doubt.

After three months, Mary had returned home, and her belly continued to swell. She hadn’t meant to worry, but what could she and Joseph possibly offer in the way of parenting such a precious, Holy child? People continued to gossip and look down on her as time progressed. She dreaded fighting the rejection and ridicule this Child would likely face in their community. Raising Jesus would not prove easy.

Then the unexpected occurred. She heard the news of the census, which forced the couple to register in Bethlehem, as Joseph was of the house and lineage of David. She welcomed an escape from the gossip surrounding this Holy Child. Much better to give birth in a strange place where no one would question the parentage of God’s Son. Though difficult and seemingly unending, this trip proved far better than staying in Nazareth.

Road to Bethlehem by Karen Jurgens

Joseph paused at the top of a hill, halting the donkey and interrupting Mary’s thoughts. He turned around to her, eyes shining, and he ran his hand through his dusty beard. He pointed. “Look up ahead! Bethlehem. Our journey will be over soon.”

Relief and thankfulness swept through Mary. God had brought them safely to their destination. She joined hands with her husband and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. The baby in her womb kicked, and she cradled her belly. As the first contraction stabbed her, she doubled over. 

She searched Joseph’s face anxiously. “Please, let’s hurry. Time is short.” 

How Hanukkah Celebrates Jesus

How Hanukkah Celebrates Jesus by Karen Jurgens

The Hanukkah celebration isn’t just for Jews. If we look closely, we’ll find Jesus Christ, both the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world, at its very core.

First, some history…

The significance of Hanukkah is embedded in a miracle. The second Temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem following the successful Maccabean revolt against the Greco-Seleucid Empire. The Jews expelled these pagans, after which the Jews purified the Temple. During this Feast of Dedication, eight menorah candles were lighted, one for each day. The flames required sacred olive oil, but there was only enough oil to last one day. In spite of the impossible circumstances, the flames miraculously burned all eight days.

Today, Jews celebrate this minor religious holiday not only to remember this miracle but also to commemorate the victory God gave to Jewish freedom fighters, the Maccabees, in 139 B.C.

Jesus celebrated Hanukkah…

The gospel of John gives us the only account of Jesus during Hanukkah, also called the Feast of Dedication. In John 10, we find Jesus walking in the Temple along Solomon’s porch.

Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, ‘How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly’ ~ John 10:24 NKJV.

This group of unbelievers (much like a lynching mob) didn’t want the truth—they had already decided Jesus was a blasphemer, and they only wanted His words to legally condemn Him. But Jesus responded with a clever answer.

Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.  But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one’ ~ John 10:25-30.

Then the Jews took up stones to kill Jesus, claiming their right to do so since He had made Himself equal with God, a sin in Jewish law punishable by death. But Jesus proved His deity another way.

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him ~ John 10:37-38. 

This mob refused to believe Jesus’s miraculous works, which proved His supernatural identity. Instead of waiting for them to cast their stones, Jesus slipped away and withdrew to the region of the Jordan.

But isn’t it ironic that just as the Maccabees had driven unbelievers out of the Jewish Temple, now unbelievers were driving out the Son of God from that very Temple?

Jesus’s true identity…

Jesus claimed to be the light of the world.

He [John] was not that Light but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world ~ John 1:8-9.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life’ ~ John 8:12.

‘As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world ~ John 9:5.

What does Jesus, the light of the world, have in common with this Festival of Lights, beginning at sundown on December 2, 2018, and concluding December 10th?

The symbol of lights comes from the lighted menorah candles, which burn for eight days and nights. As Hanukkah’s candles light Jewish homes, so Jesus lights the lives of believers.

God created our spirits with a God-shaped vacuum that only He can fill. When we’re born again, the war against unbelief is won, expelled from our hearts. Then our spirit’s “temple” is purified by the blood of the Lamb shed at the cross. The Holy Spirit fills our spiritual “menorah” with His sacred oil and ignites our hearts with the flame of belief. We shine with the eternal light of Jesus living within us, as a lighted lamp for the world to see.

The lamp of the body…

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light’ ~ Matthew 6:22.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’ ~ Matthew 5:14-16.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light ~ Ephesians 5:8.

Final Thoughts…

God provides several prototypes of the miraculous advent of Messiah in the Old Testament. Jewish believers will understand how Jesus shines through the eight candles of the Hanukkah miracle, but now it’s time that Christians also discover this truth. Judaism and Christianity fit together like a hand in a glove.

As we come into this season of Christmas, let’s remember that the light of God came into the world through the birth of His Son, Jesus. May we rejoice, as did the shepherds that Holy Night, in the salvation message the angels brought to earth, announcing that a Savior had been born in Bethlehem.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’ ~ Luke 2:8-14.

May our eternal spiritual menorahs burn brightly. May all the world see the light of Jesus, our Messiah, shine through our lives. 

Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas!

Feasting on the Fruit of the Spirit

Feasting on the Fruit of the Spirit by Karen Jurgens

Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner. Some people will enjoy a meal out, while others will be guests at another’s table. Perhaps some will prepare a dish to take, while others may be hosting the entire family, like me.

Wherever we take our places at the table this year, it’s always a special time to pause and reflect on our blessings over the past year.

As we feast on traditional or not-so-traditional dishes, let’s also feast on some “delicious” scriptures—specifically, the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Here is a list of my favorite Bible verses, from both the Old and New Testament—one for each spiritual fruit (all taken from the New American Standard Version).

LOVE: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

 JOY: These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full (John 15:11).

 PEACE: And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

 PATIENCE: And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise (Hebrews 6:15).

 KINDNESS: Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4).

 GOODNESS: Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalms 23:6).

 FAITHFULNESS: They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).

 GENTLENESS: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS (Matthew 11:29).

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

Now it’s your turn … what are your favorite verses we can feast on today?

 

Unjustly Accused: The Story of Joseph

Unjustly Accused by Karen Jurgens

Joseph’s story, although thousands of years old, could be a headline in today’s news: Powerful government official accused of sexual assault.

When Pharaoh ruled Egypt, laws didn’t defend the innocent until proven guilty. (In fact, countries whose laws do defend the innocent aren’t plentiful, even today.)  So, no surprise about the instant condemnation that swiftly followed when Potiphar’s wife held up Joseph’s garment and screamed, “Guilty!”  That innocent man landed in prison for years due to her lie of revenge, all because he refused her advances of seduction.

Unjustly Accused by Karen Jurgens

However, God was weaving a plan for Joseph’s life, and this unjust accusation was only one of many threads. Not only did God intend to deliver Joseph from prison and reunite him with his family, but He also planned to use him to deliver the nations from a coming famine.

How did God work this out?

 

Unjustly Accused by Karen Jurgens

Although doomed to serve out an unjust sentence, Joseph found favor with the keeper of the prison and immediately was given charge of all the prisoners. After a passage of time, Joseph met Pharaoh’s baker and butler, who had both been thrown into jail for insulting their master.

One night they each had a troubling dream and asked Joseph to interpret its meaning. Three days later the baker was hanged, but the butler was reinstated into Pharaoh’s service, just as Joseph had prophesied. As the butler was released, Joseph pleaded with him to ask Pharaoh to free him from his own unjust prison sentence.

Unjustly Accused by Karen Jurgens

Time passed. The butler forgot all about Joseph until two years later when Pharaoh dreamed two strange dreams on the same night. As no one in Egypt had the wisdom to interpret it, the butler finally remembered Joseph and advised his master.  Immediately Joseph shaved, donned clean clothes, and came into Pharaoh’s presence.

Unjustly Accused by Karen Jurgens

And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.’  So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace’ ~ Genesis 41:15-16 NKJV.

After hearing the dreams, Joseph declared that both had the same meaning and gave the following interpretation:

 God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do.  Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will deplete the land so the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe.  And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass ~ Genesis 41: 28-32 NKJV.

 Not only did God give wisdom to Joseph to correctly interpret those dreams, but He also gave him a plan for how to avert the coming disaster. When Pharaoh recognized that Joseph was discerning and wise, he set him over the land of Egypt as the second-in-command. Joseph saved one-fifth of all the bountiful Egyptian grain for seven years to offset the future years of famine.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. After his brothers happened to come to Egypt from Canaan to buy grain, God brought Joseph’s dreams to pass when his brothers bowed before him—the very dreams from his youth that had turned his jealous brothers against him.

Unjustly Accused by Karen Jurgens

Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.  So he said to them, ‘Please hear this dream which I have dreamed:  There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.’

 And his brothers said to him, ‘Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?’ So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

 Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, ‘Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me’ ~ Genesis 37:5-9 NKJV.

Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth…Then Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed about them… ~ Genesis 42: 6, 9a NKJV.

The Takeaway

Joseph had a blessed ending in spite of his trial of unjust accusation. In addition to saving Egypt from starvation, he lived as an Egyptian ruler with a wife and children. His brothers and father moved to Goshen where Pharaoh gave them land for herding sheep.

God blessed Joseph and his family with rich abundance. But doesn’t it also make you wonder whatever happened to Potiphar’s wife? We’ll never know.

If we’re ever falsely accused, let’s remember Joseph’s story and be encouraged. God is always working to deliver us from our enemies and their lies. Let’s live by our faith and in obedience to God. At the perfect time, Almighty God will deliver us from our situation of suffering and promote us to live a blessed and peaceful life.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever ~ Psalm 23: 5-6.

Have you experienced God’s blessings through an unjust accusation?

 

 

 

Unjustly Accused: The Story of Job

Unjustly Accused by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever been unjustly accused? The story of Job brings us a behind-the-scenes-fly-on-the-wall view into God’s throne room. Let’s see how Job’s ancient story brings wisdom and understanding into our lives today.

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil ~ Job 1:1 NKJV.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

We’re all familiar with this common complaint. To fully understand the reasons, let’s investigate Job’s story from God’s perspective.

According to Revelation 12:10, Satan is the accuser of the brethren. In the second chapter of Job, Satan brought accusation against Job after God pointed out Job’s godly character.

Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person’ ~ Job 1:8-12 NKJV.

Isn’t it interesting that Satan accused Job of serving God for the material benefits and spiritual blessings? It’s a safe bet that he also unjustly accuses every righteous believer before God.

Satan is the source of all unjust accusations.

Let’s switch back to Job’s perspective. In round one, Job suffered incredibly, losing his children, his flocks, and many of his servants. But he won that round, to Satan’s dismay. Through it all, Job didn’t blame God.

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.  And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord’ ~ Job 1:20-21 NKJV.

As we again turn into a fly-on-the-wall in heaven, we hear God declare victory for His servant Job against the accuser.

Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life’ ~ Job 2:3-6 NKJV.

Now Job stepped into round two of his testing. Satan smote him with sore boils from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. From his wife to his three friends, Job heard no words of sympathy or consolation. Instead, his wife told him to curse God and die. His friends accused him of hidden sins for which he was being punished. But through it all, Job held fast to his integrity and didn’t sin with his lips. Instead, he said, Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? ~ Job 2:10b NKJV.

Unjustly Accused by Karen Jurgens

Keep on walking through the fire

Have there been times in your life when you feel like you’ve been tossed into a fiery furnace? You may feel God has forgotten you because He hasn’t come to your rescue. Your trial, undeserved, continues without relief or an end in sight. Are you tempted to walk away from God, convinced that the Christian life simply “doesn’t work?”

Just think—if Job’s faith had failed and he had quit believing, he would have missed the most amazing part of his journey.

A surprise meeting

Just when Job had reached the climax of his suffering and every “why” question possible had been voiced, God Himself showed up. What a meeting! God did the admonishing while Job did the listening.

Pause to read Job 38-41 and be amazed as God reveals His true character and sovereignty. We gain glimpses into the mysteries of God found nowhere else in the Bible. And we also come away, like Job, with a new sense of awe and reverence for the Lord’s wisdom, love, and power—spanning all His creation including our individual lives.

 Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, “Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?” Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, “I will question you, and you shall answer Me.” ‘I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes’ ~
Job 42:1-6 NKJV.

What is our takeaway?

First, Satan is every Christian’s accuser before God. If you belong to Jesus, you will be tested, but only by the permission and within the boundaries of God’s will. Satan cannot destroy you because God doesn’t allow it. God’s in control, we don’t have to fear.

Second, Job endured his suffering without blaming God. He may have cursed the day of his birth, but never God. He continued to praise and worship the Lord throughout his trials.

Third, Job asked honest questions and sought wisdom and understanding from God. He instructed his friends by quoting scripture from Psalm 111:10: ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding’ ~ Job 28:28 NKJV. Seek God’s wisdom, discernment, understanding, and knowledge as you travel rocky paths.

Fourth, God answered Job by personally showing up. Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: ‘Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me’ ~ Job 38:1-3 NKJV.

Today God still shows up personally. He comes to us through the power of His Holy Spirit which dwells inside the spirit of every believer. His spirit witnesses to ours that we are His children. Through prayer, praise, and worship, we commune with our Lord. Be still in His presence and listen for His still, small voice.

Unjustly Accused by Karen Jurgens

Last, Job was blessed more at the end of his life than at the beginning.

 And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold. Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations.  So Job died, old and full of days ~ Job 42:10-13, 16-17 NKJV.

What vast rewards and blessings God brought to Job! The Lord is full of great mercies and compassion. His love never fails.

Have you been unjustly accused? Don’t despair. Satan is under our feet and has been defeated by Jesus at the cross. God’s got this! Remember, on the other side of every trial is great victory.

Can you share a story of being unjustly accused?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Rosh Hashanah

 

Happy Rosh Hashanah by Karen Jurgens

‘And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you’ ~ Numbers 29:1 KJV.

Happy Rosh Hashanah! This day of the Jewish New Year (5779) is also referred to as Feast of Trumpets. A shofar blast signals its beginning and Yom Kippur its end. This celebration is referred to in the Jewish community as the “Days of Awe.” It also marks the sixth day of creation when God created man on Mount Moriah.

Right now Jewish people are taking this time to repent of all known sin and to restore broken relationships.

Do you see a connection to Christianity? Through the blood and resurrection of Christ, all men have access to salvation through repentance and belief in Jesus.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation ~ Romans 10:10 KJV.

We are also instructed to be at peace with all men.

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men ~ Romans 12:18 KJV.

Additionally, hearing the shofar is vitally important. Christianity teaches that this sound precedes the Rapture at the time Jesus returns for His church.

Happy Rosh Hashanah by Karen Jurgens

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord ~ 1Thesselonians 4: 16-17 KJV.

And

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality ~ 1 Corinthians 15: 51-53 KJV.

From the Jewish perspective, I’d like to share a summary about this day, taken from The Temple Institute:

” ‘And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation: you shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you. And you shall prepare a burnt-offering for a sweet savour unto the L-rd: one young bullock, one ram, seven he-lambs of the first year without blemish; and their meal-offering, fine flour mingled with oil, three tenth parts for the bullock, two tenth part for the ram, and one tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs; and one he-goat for a sin-offering, to make atonement for you; beside the burnt-offering of the new moon, and the meal-offering thereof, and the continual burnt-offering and the meal-offering thereof, and their drink-offerings, according unto their ordinance, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the L-rd.’ (Numbers 29:1-6)

Our sages teach us that Rosh Hashana marks the sixth day of creation, the day that adam harishon – the first man – was created. The particular place was none other than what would come to be known as Mount Moriah. We further learn that it was on this very spot that Adam first sinned and repented. Here he built an altar and presented an offering. Some twenty generations later it was here that the angel stayed the hand of Abraham at the binding of Isaac. It ws here that the ram appeared, providing Abraham with the means through which to express his love for G-d.

Rosh Hashana is the day that we recognize the sovereignty of G-d the King, Creator of the universe and Judge of all mankind. The day on which “all beings pass before Him like tender sheep,” Rosh Hashana’s message is truly universal: it is incumbent upon all mankind to accept upon ourselves G-d’s sovereignty, and to take account of our thoughts and actions, in light of this awesome recognition.

The trumpets sounded before the entrance to the Kodesh – the Sanctuary – of the Holy Temple on Rosh Hashana are reminders of G-d’s dominion. The sound of the shofar – likewise blown on the Sanctuary steps, eminates from breath itself, the breath that comes from deep within us, where it was placed, for the first time, by G-d, in Adam, on the sixth day. ” (https://www.templeinstitute.org/rosh_hashana/introduction.htm)

Studying the Jewish Feast Days completes and deepens our understanding of the Scriptures. The Old Testament mirrors the New Testament, fitting together perfectly. Isn’t it fascinating?

To learn more, go to https://www.templeinstitute.org/events.htm.

Shana Tova!

 

Forks on the Road of Life

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord,
And He watches all his paths
~ Proverbs 5:21 NASB.

Seeking God’s perfect will for our lives can be a perplexing experience. When there are several choices, how can we know for certain which one to choose? It’s like coming to forks in the yellow brick road of life, each one appearing to lead to Emerald City.

Forks on the Road of Life by Karen Jurgens

Remember Dorothy and Toto? They made three friends along the way, but they also encountered witches and flying monkeys. Just when it appeared that Dorothy would become the wicked witch’s prisoner and lose her ruby slippers forever, her fate changed after she doused the witch with a bucket of water. Although Dorothy had no idea it would kill her enemy, it turned out to be the only way to destroy the witch. What dumb luck.

Our lives, however, aren’t based on a fairy tale with a lucky ending like Dorothy’s. But we do have a good God who guides us down the paths of life, directing us away from evil and keeping us on the straight and narrow, even granting us our heart’s desire as we obediently submit to Him.

But how do we know which path to choose when we encounter forks in the road?

Forks on the Road of Life by Karen Jurgens

My daughter Meg recently experienced this dilemma. After working as a long-term substitute teacher last year, she had applied and interviewed for a science position in the district’s intermediate school. Teaching there had been her heart’s desire from day one.

However, she didn’t throw in the towel after she found out she didn’t get the job. She continued to pray and speak words of faith, confessing that she believed she would still get hired last minute for her dream job at her dream school.

Personally, I viewed her situation with realistic skepticism and pushed her to apply to other districts. I truly believed her vocational opportunities lay elsewhere.

As she prayed for God’s will, several offers came along, making the choice difficult. Should she simply choose the one that paid the best salary in the public arena? Or should she work with like-minded Christians in a private environment? While the Lord uses us wherever we’re planted, it’s still vital to be in the proper place.

All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the Lord weighs the motives
~ Proverbs 16:2 NASB.

Usually, money is our biggest motivator, but we must remember to weigh all sides. Looking beyond our worldly needs may be difficult and considered foolish by some, but God’s ways are contrary to the ways of the world. Keeping this in mind, Meg chose the job in the Christian school with the lowest salary. She released and surrendered her dream job to the Lord.

Forks on the Road of Life by Karen Jurgens

But then, God had a better plan. A few days later, she received an email from the new principal at her dream school inviting her to interview for the same science position. Long story short, he offered her the job and she accepted. The Christian school graciously released her and found an immediate replacement for their kindergarteners.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts ~ Isaiah 55:9 KJV.

Meg’s journey of pure-hearted obedience and speaking words of faith have been a good lesson to me. Watching the Lord give her the exact right job for her talents in the right school has been nothing short of amazing. Even when making those previous choices, the Lord knew they weren’t final. God had something far better at the last minute. And He gave her the most precious gift: her heart’s desire.

 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! ~ Romans 11:33 NASB.

How about you? Are you encountering forks on your road of life?  I’d be honored to pray with you to find God’s perfect will and receive the desire of your heart. Just leave your request in the comment box.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

Under Spiritual Attack

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever been under spiritual attack?

The last three months have been some of the hardest times I can remember. It began with weird harbingers like accidentally grinding up my pearl earring in the garbage disposal (don’t even ask). Next, I broke off a tooth biting into a pretzel. After a few more bizarre “accidents,” a thought crossed my mind. Might I be under a spiritual attack?

Yes, I was. But then the attack spread to other family members. The worst began on April 20th when my mother saw something black hanging in her side vision. That led to emergency surgery to repair a detached retina.

Everything should have been fine with a happily-ever-after ending…BUT. That small, three-letter conjunction changed our lives and spiraled us into a Kansas tornado lasting over three months.

The problem? A viral infection appeared in Mother’s eye a week after surgery. The prescribed eye drops didn’t seem to work, even after several weeks of applications.

To make matters worse, black streaks reappeared in Mother’s side vision, indicating a second retinal detachment. When her doctor planned to do a second surgery despite the worsening virus, I knew I had to find another doctor and a second opinion. Quickly. Thank God I did, or otherwise, she would have surely gone blind in that eye…BUT.

God led us to the right doctors who diagnosed her infection correctly and began treating it aggressively. After several weeks, her new surgeon was able to do major surgery. He had to remove fluid from the back of the eye cavity that was beginning to cave in and then reattach the retina. We held our breath and prayed.

The operation was a success, thank the Lord, and everything was back in place. We were rejoicing! God had come through again, and all Mother had to do was heal…BUT.

Without explanation or reason, she developed unbearable pain on that side of her head, like a severe migraine. I can’t express how frightening it was to care for an elderly person in that physical state. I felt completely helpless. As her eye swelled closed, she couldn’t eat, take her medication, or get out of bed. I had to get help.

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

So off we went to the ER at a local hospital. Not only did we go that day, but also the second day after. Her blood pressure was sky-high, as well as the pressure in her eye. After aggressively lowering her pressure, an ER doctor decided to treat her pain with opioids.

What a mistake.

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

As a person who has never taken drugs stronger than Tylenol, I had no idea of the effects she would experience. I assumed her pain would be eased and she would be able to sleep…BUT.

After arriving home from the ER, I seated her at the table for dinner, but she was only able to eat a few bites. Since she sat peacefully with her eyes closed, I decided to wash the dishes before helping her back to bed. Before I could finish, however, it became apparent that something was wrong.

She had lost consciousness and was having a petit mal seizure. She had experienced a few in the past, so I was familiar with the symptoms. I sat next to her, all the while talking and trying to get her to come back to consciousness. When thirty minutes had passed and she was no better, I prayed earnestly to Jesus for help. After another thirty minutes with no change, I didn’t know what to do.  There was no way I could carry her back to bed. Would I need to call an ambulance? I was desperate.

Suddenly her lips began to move. I listened carefully as she whispered, “I see Jesus.”

At first, I was elated! But the next second, fear gripped me—was Jesus coming to take her to heaven? Was she going to die? Oh no. Jesus couldn’t take her. Not yet. It wasn’t her time.

I sloughed off fear and clung to my faith that all would be well. Sensing that this was a holy spiritual encounter with the Lord, I asked, “Did Jesus speak to you?”

She could barely respond. “No. He touched my shoulder.”

Wow. A healing touch from Jesus. I could sense His very presence in the room as she grew quiet and peaceful, and her seizure ended. My knees hit the floor.

Right then I led us in a time of prayer and praise songs, thanking Jesus for touching her. I was awed to witness His glory, and tears flowed as I basked in His holy presence.

Soon Mother’s eyes opened, and she was able to walk back to bed with my help. She talked about Jesus, especially His face, describing Him as a young man in his thirties with brown hair, dark eyes, and a perfectly clipped goatee.

 

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

 

I imagine you’re wondering like I did, if she really had a vision of Jesus or if it was a hallucination.

I’m convinced she saw the Lord. I believe Jesus came and touched her that night because of her steady improvement after that encounter. Her migraine and the swelling of her eye dissipated within a few days and totally disappeared.

Today her eyesight is returning steadily each day, and we know it is being perfectly restored. Her eyes are focusing together—something that has surprised her doctor, who had predicted she would probably never see much out of it again. Her strength has returned and she is again active and enjoying her life.

BUT God!

What was the key for my mother? I believe several things played a part in her healing.

First, prayer and communion. My daughters and I anointed her with oil, took communion together, and prayed over her daily.

Second, speaking to the illness or affliction. We prayed Scripture over her circumstance, speaking to her eye and every cell to be healed and made whole in Jesus’s mighty Name.

Third, understanding spiritual warfare and how to pray against the attacks of the enemy, which is vital in these last days.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places ~ Ephesians 6:12 NKJV.

In Jesus’s Name, we bound up the ruler of darkness, Belial, another name for Satan or the Lord of Lies, and cast him into the pit.

What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? ~ 2 Corinthians 6:15 NIV.

Another factor is my mother’s personal life. She has lived a life of obedience, holiness, and humility and has always walked softly before the Lord. She especially has compassion for the poor and helpless, and she never passes a beggar on the street without rolling down the car window and giving money.

Psalm 41: 1-3 promises:

Blessed is he who considers the poor;
The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

 The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive,
And he will be blessed on the earth;
You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.

The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness;
You will sustain him on his sickbed (NASB).

How amazing that God graciously performed these promises in Psalm 41 over Mother’s life.

Did you know the enemy attacks God’s anointed ones, especially when something glorious is just around the corner? Whenever you’re under attack, rejoice!

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing ~ James 1:2-4 NASB.

AND

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed ~ 1 Peter 2:24 NASB.

Do you have a physical illness or affliction that you’re asking the Lord to heal? He is no respecter of persons. Jesus is waiting for you to ask and tells us:

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” ~ Matthew 7:7 NKJV.

Be encouraged in your suffering. There is an end because we have a merciful, loving heavenly Father.

We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful ~ James 5:11 NASB.

Are you experiencing a spiritual attack of the enemy? I would be honored to pray for you. If you fill in the comment box with your request, I will agree with you for your healing.

Abundant love and blessings!

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens