Crystal's Posts, Kerrington's Posts, UYM Bible Study

{UYM Bible Study} Day 24. Love that Unites.

Written By: Crystal Cyr
Ephesians 4: Love that Unites
As we look at Ephesians 4 we see that in verse one it begins with the word “therefore”, meaning that everything in this chapter hinges on the previous chapters.  What a perfect way to conclude our look into these first four chapters of Ephesians; with a summary and a challenge! 🙂
If you’ll recall in Chapter 1 we learned that we have received a new identity in Christ when He chose and adopted us into His family, and as with any family, we have been given an inheritance of His Holy Spirit. His Spirit changing us more into His likeness every day is our proof that one day in eternity we will receive that inheritance in full.  In the next chapter we were urged not to take the gift of our salvation for granted, or to become prideful and religious by comparing ourselves to others; these things keep us from unity, rather than building it.  Last week in Chapter 3 we then looked at how because of our position with Christ we can be bold and confident before Him and not only that, but we have access to unlimited resources and strength in Him.  We looked at how our roots grow and cause us to become strong in Christ as we allow Him to have access to more areas of our heart and as we go deeper in His love by understanding it with our minds and by experiencing it’s power displacing our fears.
The central message of Chapter 4 is on unity and getting rid of the old ways of life.  We can only talk about unity and getting rid of old behaviors when we are confident in our position with Christ, that He is pleased with us (not always our behavior…but He separates that from us as a person and is pleased with WHO we are); when we remember to be thankful for our gift of salvation and not get puffed up thinking it’s because of anything awesome we did to deserve His forgiveness, but only because of what He did; and when we are constantly digging our roots deeper into the love of God, allowing it into every area of our thoughts, motives, hurts, and intentions to transform us, heal us, and strengthen our trust in His loving nature.
Verse 2 – 4 says, “Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  (3) Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. (4) For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.”  I know there’s so much in this chapter to cover, but I think that if we were to really chew on this verse over and over and allow it to become a part of us daily that the rest of the instructions wouldn’t be as much of a challenge.
Speaking for myself here, I know that more times than I’d care to admit I’ve been guilty of allowing other’s faults and weaknesses to cause division in my heart rather than unity.  I’m not talking about sin here; when it comes to sin in other believer’s (not the world, which is clearly in sin) we are to “speak the truth in love” as verse 15 says (because love sees that sin causes destruction and hurt)  Seeing the weak areas in other’s is easy, in fact, sometimes we can almost pride ourselves on it and call it “discernment”…whoops…stepping on toes maybe…but hey I’m just being real with you guys…and I only say it because like I said…”guilty”…but being humble, gentle, and patient…that takes the Spirit of Christ in me to do…to keep my love tank open to those other believers when I see areas that they’re weak in and I’m not.
Can you imagine how strong the body of Christ would be if instead of criticizing each other’s weak area’s we were to be patient with them and allow room for each other to grow in our giftings, callings, or general life?  Do you think that perhaps maybe, just maybe, as we cover each other in love…valuing unity and each other above our glaring weaknesses, we could bring each other into further unity because instead of living in a culture of fear (fear of other’s seeing my weaknesses/mistakes/judging me) we would be living in a culture of love that build’s trust, causing us to desire to confront our own weaknesses because we know our brother’s and sisters aren’t waiting to jump on them and attack us, but rather to help and love us into strength.
This is why verse 22 – 24 says to, “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.”  Loving each other and keeping unity is a tall order, and because of that it is only possible when we throw off our old sinful nature and allow the Holy Spirit within us to give us new thoughts and attitudes.
The chapter goes onto discuss the old things we are to get rid of, but I’d like to end by reminding us that when this task of loving can seem overwhelming we need only remember the patient love of our Heavenly Father towards us, who continues to love and believe the best in us even when we are at our worst.  As verse 31 and 32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Thank you for joining me in this study.  It’s truly been an honor and a privilege to walk through the Word of God with each of you and to allow it to change our hearts.
Until Next Time,
~Crystal
Advertisements
Crystal's Posts, Kerrington's Posts, UYM Bible Study

{UYM Bible Study} Day 23. Prayer Requests!

Prayer requests

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Hello Friends! Day 23!! What can we pray for this week?

Comment below or send us a direct message

Join Us on Facebook at our UYM Bible Study Group

Or by Email: uniquelyyoursblog@gmail.com

Bless you, UYM Bible Study Group!

~Kerrington Sweeney

Crystal's Posts, Kerrington's Posts, UYM Bible Study

{UYM Bible Study} Day 18. Fun-Fact Fridays!

Fun Fact Fridays

Welcome back to FUN fact Fridays!! We get to interview lovely Monthly-Writer Angela Ridsdale.

Top Character quality you admire most in people?

 Genuineness.

Happiest childhood memory?

Grandma’s blueberry pies!

 Who has influenced you the most in your life?

People in general have influenced the way I see myself, the way I act and how I continue to narrate my life. It does not matter if I am close to them what has mattered has been the interactions I have had.

 Describe your dream Home?

A quiet country home with a lot of blankets and cozy spaces

 Favorite sport to play?

I like to do yoga and also volleyball.

 Favorite source of social media?

I don’t actually like social media. I  use it to kind of see what’s going on and maybe talking to people but, I would have to say I do use Facebook more often.

Favorite meal?

This wonderful meal of pork medallions with gorgonzola cheese sauce…. too bad its all the way in Portugal 😦

 Describe yourself in one word?

Calm.

Favorite worship song?

Letting go – Steffany Gretzinger

 Favorite hobby?

Making cards and stuff.

Join Us on Facebook at our UYM Bible Study Group

Or by Email: uniquelyyoursblog@gmail.com

Bless you, UYM Bible Study Group!

~Kerrington Sweeney

Crystal's Posts, Kerrington's Posts, UYM Bible Study

{UYM Bible Study} Day 17. Rooted in Love!

Crystal Cyr Bio Pic

Written By: Crystal Cyr  Based on: Ephesians 3

As I was studying this chapter I noticed that the beginning verses through to verse 11 are a bit of a summary of the last chapter and seeing as we focused on that in great depth previously; this blog post will be focused more on verses 12 to the end of the chapter.  (Insert plug here to read the last post on Chapter 2 if you haven’t already. hee hee 😉 )  Although Paul does add that basically he is honored that God would choose him to spread this Good News as he is least deserving, (I can totally relate to that feeling!), yet another reminder that God doesn’t choose us based on our qualifications, but rather because He wants to show Himself strong in our weaknesses.

In verse 12 we see that because of Christ we can be bold and confident in God’s presence; this is because as we learned in Chapter 1, we are accepted and loved.  Skip down to verse 16 and we are reminded that we have access to unlimited resources in Christ and inner strength because His Spirit lives in us.  More amazing news again! 🙂

Verse 17 says, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.  Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”  Notice that it says that Christ makes His home in our hearts as we trust Him…that implies that there is room for Him to “settle in” to our hearts.  How much Christ makes Himself at home in our heart is up to us; for some He may only be a house guest, for others He might be like a boarder…invited to move in and live there but with conditions and limited access to certain rooms…or, and this is the best…He could be completely at home with no restrictions to any areas of our heart and as much rights and say to matters in the home as the owner.  Isn’t that amazing?!

So the second part of that verse says that for us to stay strong, our roots need to grow deep, like a tree, down into the soil of God’s love.  We’ll only go as deep in Christ as we allow Him to go deep (or become at home) in us.  The next few verses tell us how to grow deep in the love of God; the first way, by understanding His love with our minds, and the second way by us experiencing His love.

Practically speaking, what does it look like for us to understand God’s love with our minds and how do we cultivate that?  I believe we can do this in three basic ways; firstly being that we can read about His love in His written word the Bible, secondly, we can hear about His love from other’s…this is why community and authentic relationships are so important in the body of Christ…we are built up from being real with one another about our struggles and victories, and the third way we can understand God’s love is by thinking about those things that we’ve heard and read.  The more we think on these things the more we allow room for the Holy Spirit to unpack an understanding in our hearts which leads to a change in our beliefs.

Experiencing God’s love is the other half of how we dig our roots down deep.  So how do we experience His love?  That can seem like a way out-there concept…easy to say but how do we practically do that?  Well, I thought of it in terms of a relationship with a friend or a spouse; that individual could show all the love they want in every single one of the five love languages, but if my heart is closed towards that person than it doesn’t matter what they say or do, I will refuse to receive that love.

So what does it look like to have an open heart, what does that mean?  Having an open heart simply means that you are being real with yourself and God about what’s really going on inside of you, and you are willing to let the other individual (in this case God) in to your inner world.  So our only responsibility in order to experience God’s love is to keep our hearts open.

If this is true, than I think it’s important to look at what keeps us from opening our hearts.  There can be any number of reasons that we can give, but I think what it really boils down to is fear; fear of rejection/punishment/being hurt.  Fear will cause us to want to keep our hearts closed in an effort to self-protect.

1 John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear.  Therefore, the only way to get rid of this fear is by love, and more specifically the love of God, because Christ is perfect love.  So the more we open our hearts to Him to let Him love us, the less fear can keep our hearts closed.

So where do we start?  That answer seems like a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” type solution.  Well, first of all, this is why we need faith, but secondly, I suggest starting with an area of your heart that is easier to open and allow His love to displace that fear.  Practically speaking, that means that every moment you feel fear trying to sneak back in to that area, invite God’s love in to remind you of His truth.

As we begin to yield more areas of our heart to Christ’s love, by simply keeping an open heart (staying real/vulnerable with ourselves and God about what’s going on inside of us), the more we begin to want more of that love to fill our hearts.  This is how gradually, day-by-day, we can become stronger, as we open our hearts to receive more of Christ’s love, and displace more of our fear.  Then, as the end of verse 19 says, we “will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (NLT)  Let’s let verse 20 be our response to all of this; “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Keep digging into Perfect Love this week!

Join Us on Facebook at our UYM Bible Study Group

Or by Email: uniquelyyoursblog@gmail.com

Bless you, UYM Bible Study Group!

Until Next Time,

~Cyrstal

Crystal's Posts, Kerrington's Posts, UYM Bible Study

{UYM Bible Study} Day 16. Prayer Requests!

Prayer requests

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Hello Ladies:

Todays Challenge, Is to be bold and ask for prayer! While I was preparing and researching about prayer for today, this incredible quote came up in my search and I had to share…it says:

“Fight all your battles on your knees and you will win every time.”

When I read that, God really tugged on my heart. Whatever trials or tough situations you are facing today. Give it to God, allow Him to work in your life, like never before. Our Prayer team here at UYM, would absolutely LOVE to pray with you and for you…Comment your Prayer requests below or send us an email. We look forward to having this opportunity as an online community, to pray with you and to support you in your life journey.

Join Us on Facebook at our UYM Bible Study Group

Or by Email: uniquelyyoursblog@gmail.com

Bless you, UYM Bible Study Group!

~Kerrington Sweeney

Contact us here, Please know that all prayer requests are highly confidential within UYM Staff.