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{UYM Bible Study} Day 10.Reunited and it Feels so Good! 

Crystal Cyr Bio Pic

Written By: Crystal Cyr

Based off of: Ephesians 2

In this chapter there is much discussion about the Jews and Gentiles being reconciled and united in the person of Christ. In order to really understand what is being said here we must take a look at the Jewish people’s history. (If hearing the word “history” makes you want to check out, I would encourage you to stick with me because this is good stuff…and yes, I may be slightly biased, but this still holds to be true…trust me. ūüėČ )
A very brief synopsis of the situation is this; the Jewish people were (and still are) God’s chosen people, they were the ones who first had relationship with, worshipped, and followed Him. Long before Jesus was on the scene God had instructed them on requirements for the temple they were to build for His Presence to live in, which only the priests could enter, and very detailed instructions on how the priests were to make atonement for the sins of the people through the death and blood of a perfect animal. The Jewish people had lived in this way for generations, following very strict, exact rules and regulations set out by God in order for them to hear from Him and meet with Him through the priests. Just check out Leviticus for a taste of some of the many rules set out for them. Fast forward to the New Testament and we see how these rules had led some Israelites to become experts in the law, but to forsake the very heart behind the laws; Jesus called these Pharisees out many times even referring to them as white washed tombs, implying that they looked good on the outside with their knowledge and strict law compliance, but were full of dead rotting corpses inside, meaning their hearts were full of the sin they preached against, pretty harsh, right? Take Paul, the author of Ephesians, for example, before he had a revelation that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah through an amazing encounter with God, He was a devout Jewish leader, persecuting and even killing Christians and was 100% convinced that he was making God happy doing this! Talk about a real deviation from the original plan right?!
Here’s the amazing thing though; God not only knew that this would happen, but he prepared for it to happen. He was waiting in anticipation for the day that he could fulfil the old covenant in the person of his Son Jesus, the perfect, sinless sacrifice for all of our sins, allowing not only Jews but also Gentiles to have free access to Him at any time and at any place. He couldn’t wait to adopt the rest of us into His family! He was wanting to tear down the wall of law and outward religious behaviour that separated us and unite us into one new person.
This is the very message of this scripture; undeserved mercy, and grace, which is the favour of God that destroys the power of sin in our lives, and empowers us to live for Christ. This mercy and grace had absolutely nothing to do with us, but absolutely everything to do with Christ. Our past; accepted, adopted, good, or bad, doesn’t matter, we’re all on even ground at the foot of the cross. Paul was the perfect example of undeserved mercy and grace and a good reminder that it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Christ. Perhaps today, you find yourself struggling with the same problem that the Jewish Pharisees had developed; doing what you know is the right thing to do on the outside but experiencing no change on the inside in your thoughts and attitudes. Sometimes this can happen so subtle that we don’t even realize we’ve slipped into that place until we find ourselves comparing and either criticizing others by elevating ourselves, or beating ourselves up over our shortcomings; either way, these things are evidence that we have begun to base our identity on our works, rather than on our unchanging position with Christ. This response amounts to nothing more than religion that seeks to earn it’s way to God rather than that of the cross, which is God’s way of reaching out to us. His only requirement now is that we receive and believe Him.
As I reflected on this scripture I was asking the Lord to show me what He was saying in all of this and how it relates to us today. Although this is literally speaking of the Jews and Gentiles as two separate people groups becoming One in Christ, He showed me that these two groups can also be representative of how we can still behave and respond to Him today. This first response being that of pride and outward obedience with no allowance for the transforming power of the Holy Spirit Who transforms us from the inside-out, and the second being like that which is represented by the Gentile group.
The Gentiles were outsiders to the ways and laws of God prior to the cross; they had no idea of the requirements that were in place in order to be considered acceptable to God, nor of the restrictions in place in order to speak to, or come close to God. Today we can read and understand the requirements of the Old Testament and we can know that the forgiveness and acceptance that we have received in Christ is an amazing thing; but we can still find ourselves quickly taking it for granted. This heart attitude puts us into a place of familiarity with the Lord, which is exactly what Paul was cautioning us against.
As I was writing this I read just a few of the end chapters of Exodus and the beginning chapters of Leviticus (I know…riveting right?) which were describing all of the instructions that God had set out in the building of His Tabernacle (the place where He was to dwell) and the instructions for sacrificial atonement. When I finished reading all of this I was struck with a reverence and a deeper revelation of the love of God. Here is why, in the Old Testament only the Priests could enter into the Dwelling Place of God, and the details of when they could enter, and how, right down to every layer of clothing that they had to wear were so specific that if they were not followed correctly they could die in the Presence of God.

The Tabernacle itself was built with careful attention to every detail; God did not miss one thing in the building of it, not one stone. Yet years later, God chose to make the perfect sacrifice for our sins in His Son and then offer His Holy Spirit to live in us…us individually, and us collectively, Jew and Gentile as His Body, His Church, His Dwelling Place, with Christ being the head of us all.

Are you getting this yet? God wanted connection one-on-one with us so much that He completely did away with all of the previous requirements of a beautifully adorned tabernacle of precious jewels and materials to instead live in unperfect, weak, messy, prone-to-sin, and prone-to-wander vessels of flesh and blood. That is incredible love. A Holy, Righteous, Perfect God who deserves to, and could chose to, live anywhere, instead choosing to live in us…a people who had not a chance in the world to meet with Him prior to the Cross.
This revelation caused me to question myself: Have I forgotten what I’ve been rescued from? Have I been blinded to the enormous wall of requirements that Christ tore down for ME to be able to freely walk into His Presence at any time? Have I become so familiar with His Presence that I take it for granted, waltzing in and out like a child would in a Palace of great wealth, getting what I want when I want it and then leaving until I need something else; the whole time utterly unaware of the enormous privilege I’ve been entrusted with?

The good news is that if the answer is yes, than we can simply turn our hearts back to Him and receive His love and restore our connection. So whether you find yourself in the category of going about your religious duties without that heart transformation, or receiving a heart transformation but taking it for granted, today allow the Lord to do what only He can do because each one of us is an important part of His Dwelling Place; not one more important than the other, but each of us a precious living stone in His temple.

“…God is building a home. He’s using us all – irrespective of how we got here – in what he is building…a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.” (Eph 2:19-22 MSG)

Until Next Time,

~Crystal

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{UYM Bible Study} Day 9. Prayer Requests!

Prayer requests

Hello Ladies:

Today’s challenge, is a little different than usual. Click the image below to watch an incredible video about Prayer and the importance of prayer. We look forward to the discussion on the UYM Bible Study Facebook Group later on today…

Bless you UYM Bible Study Group!

~Kerrington Sweeney

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{UYM Bible Study} Day 8. Tell it Tuesdays!

Tell it Tuesdays

Hello Ladies:

Welcome to Tell It Tuesdays…This is where we get real. Today’s challenge, is to tell it. What’s one struggle your facing right here, right now. I know at times, we have a fear of being vulnerable and sharing our struggles but, I believe in ‘sharing the burden.’ As I was preparing for today, I stumbled on to the verse¬†in the Bible¬† Isaiah 66:9 it says…

“I will not cause pain, without allowing something new to be born. Says the Lord.”

The struggle-some season you may be caught in currently, won’t last forever and to think that it says something new will become out of this. How amazing is that. When you feel at your lowest point…your rock bottom…You can look up and¬†know that God already has incredible¬†plans for you.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you for each and every woman reading this. I thank you for allowing us this opportunity to share our burdens, to lighten our loads. We know that, you are the ultimate creator, mentor and guide. I thank you for every struggle that was confessed today. God I thank you, for the new levels of vulnerability and courage these women are stepping into. I ask a special blessing on each of them, as we all continue to grow and draw closer to you on a daily basis. We pray this in your precious Holy Name. Amen!!

Bless you UYM Bible Study Group!

~Kerrington Sweeney

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{UYM Bible Study} Day 5. Discussion Day.

Written By: Crystal Cyr

-What verse spoke to you the most and why?

-How were you challenged by the scripture and/or the blog post?

-According to Ephesians 1, God chose us to be holy and without fault in His eyes. How does this change the way you see yourself, or does it?

-When your behavior doesn’t line up with how God sees you how do you deal with it?

-How have you seen God’s Spirit work in you to transform you?

-What lies about your identity do you need to begin to defeat with the truth of God’s word?

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,

~Crystal

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{UYM Bible Study} Day 4. Fun-Fact Fridays!

Fun Fact Fridays

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Hello Ladies:

Welcome to Fun Fact Fridays…Today’s challenge, is to get to know each other a little bit better, opening ourselves up and being vulnerable with each other about those God-given quirks…

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Bible Study Coordinator at UYM, Crystal Cyr!!

Crystal Cyr Bio Pic

-Where did you become a Christian?

At church, when I was 6 years old.

-Favorite Scripture?

Romans 8:38-39 & Psalm 42:7

-Sweet or Sour?

Sweet

-Favorite Season?

Autumn

-Starbucks or Tim Hortons?

Starbucks

-Coke or Pepsi?

Coke

-Read or Run?

Read

-Dream Vacation?

Ha, anywhere warm, historic and beautiful with my husband right now!

Let’s say somewhere on the Mediterranean… Maybe Greece.

-Favorite Color?

 Mint/Turquoise & olive green

-Favorite Childhood Memory?

Summer holidays with my family at a cottage resort. Fishing every morning and night, swimming all day, and all the candy, arcade games and gimp bracelet making.

Okay Ladies! Its your turn…The Questions will be on Facebook! Join us there for a Fun-Fact filled Friday!!

Join Us on Facebook at our UYM Bible Study Group

Or by Email: uniquelyyoursblog@gmail.com

Bless you, UYM Bible Study Group!

~Kerrington Sweeney

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{UYM Bible Study} Day 3. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours!

Crystal Cyr Bio Pic

Written By: Crystal Cyr

Based on: Ephesians 1
 

As we begin this walk through the book of Ephesians let me begin by saying that I am not a scholar on the bible, nor do I pretend to be; in fact, if anything I feel completely under qualified, which as far as history has indicated for me thus far on my journey, is a good thing because it means that Christ can be strong in my weakness. ¬†ūüôā ¬†What I will offer though is personal revelation of what the Lord has shown me in His Word and how it has applied to me and can apply to you today!

Recently I’ve been in a season of the Lord revealing to me lies that I had been believing from unhealed circumstances in my past; those lies had formed foundations for patterns of behavior that were keeping me from moving forward.¬† Many of those lies had to do with my worth and value.¬† As we take a look at Ephesians 1 today, my prayer is that the Word of God will be a double sided sword that will cut through every lie you are believing about your worth and value, and that as His sword separates those lies from your identity, His truth will bring healing into every area where the lie has caused brokenness.

Ephesians 1:4 says thatEven before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” ¬†This comes as an incredible encouragement to me because it tells me that we weren’t a mistake and that He is not looking at us with eyes of judgment.¬† So many times we think that God is up there ticking off all of our faults and judging us according to them as unfit or unworthy of His call.¬† This couldn’t be farther from the truth; in fact, He is cheering us on and sticking with His original plan for us to be holy and without fault; we may not be manifesting that truth today, but when we set our eyes on that truth that is what we will believe and live up to.

The next verse goes on to say that “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.¬† This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” ¬†Whoa, did you just hear that?!¬† Not only did God choose us before the creation of the world to be holy and without fault, but He also chose long ago to adopt us into His family.¬† He didn’t “have” to do it, and it wasn’t because it was the “right thing to do”; He chose us because He wanted to, and not only that, but it gave Him great pleasure.¬† I don’t know about you, but that makes my heart leap.¬† Every lie that screams, “God doesn’t have a big plan for you”, “God doesn’t think you’re worth the fight”, “You don’t belong”, “God’s disappointed in/sick of/mad at you” is silenced with those few words, “He Chose”, and it “Gave him great pleasure”.

In verses 7 – 9 Paul explains how God adopted us by purchasing our freedom with the blood of His Son Jesus, and forgave our sins with His kindness and grace.¬† Just as He chose us in advance to be holy and without fault, and to adopt us into His family He also chose to pay the price for our sins before we even committed them; before we could earn or deserve it, meaning that our salvation had nothing to do with how good we were or how good we weren’t – it was a free gift.¬† This is so amazing because if we couldn’t do enough good deeds to receive it, we also can’t do enough bad deeds to lose it.¬† He trusts us and loves us enough to give it freely, which is why Paul’s response was to praise God for this grace in verse 6.¬† When we truly understand this grace it should cause us to want to move closer to God.

Next Paul goes on to explain God’s purpose in all of this, which was to bring His family together in unity as one family with Christ as the head, both the Jews who were the first to hear and trust in Christ, and then the Gentiles (the rest of us) who were adopted in.

In verses 11, 13, and 14 we also see that as adopted-in family we were also given an inheritance and the Holy Spirit is Christ’s guarantee that we will receive this inheritance.¬† If you think of it in terms of a contract, the Holy Spirit would be like the down payment or validating signature that guarantees our inheritance.¬† What that means is that we can know that we belong to Him now as we allow His Spirit in us to transform our thoughts, our attitudes, and our actions.¬† This transforming power of the Holy Spirit is the down payment, giving us just a taste of what we will experience in eternity in complete fullness, when we are not at war with our sinful flesh.¬† What an incredible inheritance, and what an amazing thought – that because we now belong to Christ and have His Spirit in us we don’t have to wait for eternity to begin to experience His likeness or to receive our inheritance.

The end of this chapter from verses 15 – 23 is a prayer that our “hearts would be flooded with light so that we can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called” (v 18), and in verse 19, that we would understand the “greatness of God’s power for us who believe him” (v 19).¬† What this tells me is that we must mix with our knowledge with both faith and an¬†experiential relationship with Christ¬†in order for it to have any affect on our lives at all.¬† We can know all of this as fact, but if we don’t chose to believe it, to really embrace it with every faculty of our being, than these promises will remain on the pages of our bibles rather than lived out and engrained on our hearts and lives.

My prayer for you is the same as that of Paul; that today you would reach out and grasp these promises with every fiber of your being.¬† These verses are life and truth, and today you may be feeling like these words couldn’t be further from what you’ve experienced thus far or are experiencing now in your life, your thoughts, your emotions.¬† In fact, chances are, everything within you is screaming, “yes, BUT…”, just as it was for me as I was fighting those lies about my worth.¬† However, I challenge you today to step out, to grab onto these truths, to CHOSE to believe them today, just as Christ deliberately chose you.¬† That is what faith is; choosing to believe when everything in your life looks opposite to what God says.¬† Think of the power in choice; Christ chose you, He chose to adopted you, He chose to give you His Spirit as an inheritance; now the ball is in your court, will you chose to believe Him, because if you do, it will transform your life.

Join Us on Facebook at our UYM Bible Study Group

Or by Email: uniquelyyoursblog@gmail.com

Until Next Time,

~Crystal

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{UYM Bible Study} Day 2. 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

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{UYM Bible Study} Day 1. Welcome!!! Reading Requirements.

reading requirements

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Welcome to the UYM Bible Study,

Today we encourage you to read Ephesians 1. Brought to you by: Bible Gateway

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New International Version (NIV)

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3¬†Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4¬†For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5¬†he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will‚ÄĒ 6¬†to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7¬†In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God‚Äôs grace 8¬†that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9¬†he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10¬†to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment‚ÄĒto bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11¬†In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12¬†in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13¬†And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14¬†who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God‚Äôs possession‚ÄĒto the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Join Us on Facebook at our UYM Bible Study Group

Or by Email: uniquelyyoursblog@gmail.com

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

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{UYM Bible Study} Registeration!!!

BIBLE STUDY UYM

Coming September 2015…With Guest-Writer Crystal Cyr, we will be on a journey together, discussing in depth, the book of Ephesians. In the form of an online Bible Study! This is our very first UYM online Bible Study. We hope you will join us, early every Saturday Morning, as we learn to constantly cling to the powerful words, of Our Heavenly Father.


Registration begins TODAY!

To Join us, click this link to the: UYM Bible Study Facebook Group.

In this online group, we will have discussion topics and also have time for prayer requests. If you have any questions…please message us here:

 Until Next Time,

~The UYM Team