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 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 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 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