Partakers of the Divine Nature Mini Bible Study

Journal any notes as you go through today’s post. Ponder and Pray questions follow.

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But whoever lacks these traits is nearsighted to the point of blindness, having forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
2 Peter 1:3-9 BSB

Glorious news! God’s power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Christ Jesus. Trust that! There are no if, and, or buts in verse 3. So where do we get the knowledge? Reading the Scriptures under the divine tutelage [guardianship, instruction, guidance] of the Holy Spirit and letting it soak into every part of us.

And the news just keeps getting better! God has given us precious and magnificent promises that allow us to become partakers of the divine nature. **Partaker come from the Greek word koinónos (koy-no-nos’) meaning a sharer, partner, companion, partaker, fellowship. It’s not just a morsel of the divine nature we are receiving. We’re receiving a partner’s share, and fellowship with the Almighty God. And it says we have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. It is already finished. Whoa! Selah. Take that all in.

Because of all that glorious news there are some things Paul tells us we need to do. There are always things we need to do in response to God’s works. Not the least of which are thanks and praise. The ones Paul lists are to build up our character and godly nature:
To faith add virtue;
To virtue, knowledge;
To knowledge, self-control;
To self-control, perseverance;
To perseverance, godliness;
To godliness, brotherly kindness;
To brotherly kindness, love.

I find it interesting the order in which Paul lists these things. When I studied the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, I looked at the way they are listed (though not proposed as a progression as these are), yet they seem to have a kind of flow from love, joy, and peace, through patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, to self-control. Many of them similar to the current list. Actually either list I don’t believe is to be taken so literally as a do one at a time order. We must do them all somewhat simultaneously. Possessing these qualities makes us fruitful. They make us salt and light to make unbelievers thirst for Jesus and shine His light into their darkness [Matthew 5:13-16].

The Greek word translated here as virtue is areté (ar-et’-ay) meaning moral goodness, virtue, uprightness. Virtue is something that seems to have lost all meaning in today’s society. Our virtue is our righteousness in Christ and living in obedience to God’s Word. So many in this world have decided God’s Word is outdated, pick and choose, or completely irrelevant. For those of us who have chosen to live for Jesus alone, God’s Word is life and breath and every Word is true. It is our Standard for living, thus the basis of our moral virtue.

The word translated above as perseverance is from the Greek word hupomoné (hoop-om-on-ay’) meaning a remaining behind, a patient enduring. But it also needs to be noted that this is a cheerful (or hopeful) endurance. It is not burdensome.

Persevering is active waiting. If we’re in a season of waiting (and which of is isn’t waiting on something fairly often) we’re not literally sitting still in one place while we’re waiting for direction, healing, a loved one’s salvation…. We are living our lives, raising families, working, serving, playing, praying, worshipping…. While we’re waiting there are some other things we need to make sure we continue doing as well:

I will:
– Remain confident in the Lord
– Live boldly for Him
– Move forward in what He has
already
given me to do
– Walk in obedience
– Pray and praise
– Worship and adore
– Remain hopeful, joyful in the Lord.
while I wait
– Serve the Lord and people, thus also
serving the Lord.

Self-control is probably the toughest one. It appears on several lists, here, the Fruit, the lists of qualities for Elders [1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9], and one of my favorites 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.” I will confess that self-control in certain areas of my life still eludes me, especially when it comes to certain foods, my sleep habits, and time wasters like social media and solitaire games. Since the pandemic started my sleep habits have been out of control. I have gotten them normalized for a few weeks at a time, but then they fade back into an up all night, sleep all day routine again. As I write this I am on night 1, day 1 of a more normal up in the daytime sleep at night routine. Yay!

I have taken steps to curb my time wasters. I removed all but 1 game app from my phone. Something about the one I left on there makes me sleepy, so I thought that might be a good thing. I am trying to limit myself to once a day for Facebook and Instagram. I can post what I need to post and check my notifications. Maybe scroll through my feed for a little while. I should set a timer for that.

Food is the hardest thing for me. It’s not like when I gave up smoking. We have to eat. Believe it or not, though I do love desserts, savory foods can be just as much a kryptonite for me as sweets. I don’t like really sugary sweets. Dark chocolate is my big thing! Then there’s the tanginess of cheesecake, and the earthiness of pumpkin pie. Because of the way I was raised, I equate food with love and also with reward and punishment. It’s a complex relationship I have with food. During the pandemic it has been harder because of my messed up sleep schedule I am doing very little cooking. So we’re often taking advantage of the various delivery services to get takeout. That right there leads to extra calories over home cooking, not to mention the availability of yummy treats like brownies (unfrosted) and cheesecake.

The way to succeed with self-control is to:
[✔] ask the Lord for help
[✔] seek the Lord and His strength
[✔] knock on the door and enter into His place of rest.
[✔] practically speaking, plan ahead. If I plan meals and grocery shop, I will be better prepared to cook at home. If I get my sleep, and get more “God time” I will be less likely to “need” my sweet treats. And I just need to make sure I set a timer when I go on social media or play games, so I don’t obsessively waste time. I also need to set a bedtime and stick to it, making sure to complete tasks such ad laundry for Jim to wear to work anf making his lunch long before bedtime. These are things I gladly do for Him, since I am able to stay home to be free to pursue my writing and ministry.

PONDER and PRAY
1) Jump up to the ** and re-read the Partaker paragraph. Was that as exciting for you as it was for me? How does being a Partaker of the divine nature affect the way you see yourself and your life as a disciple of Christ? We have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires, therefore perseverance and self-control should be easier WHEN we look for the escape God has provided and rely on His grace and strength in our weakness [1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Corinthians 12:9].

2) Take the perseverance list and make it your “watchword” for being an overcomer. Write it out and carry it with you, post it wherever you will see it often:
I will:
– Remain confident in the Lord
– Live boldly for Him
– Move forward in what He has.
already
given me to do
– Walk in obedience
– Pray and praise
– Worship and adore
– Remain hopeful and joyful in the.
Lord while I wait
– Serve the Lord and people, thus also
serving the Lord.

3) How can my testimony and the checklist help you overcome your self-control challenges?

4) Use the self control check-list, and the corresponding Bible verses below, to help you gain self-control over some area of your life:
[✔] ask the Lord for help
[✔] seek the Lord and His strength
[✔] knock on the door and enter into His place of rest.
[✔] practically speaking, plan ahead. What steps can you take, what plan can you make, to help reach your goal of self control over _______________?

7“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8 NLT

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV

Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.
Proverbs 13:16 ESV

Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3 ESV
“Literally, roll them upon Him, as a burden too heavy to be borne by thyself. ‘Thy works’ signify all that thou hast to do.”
Thy plans shall prosper, for they will be undertaken according to the will of God, and carried out by His aid.”
–Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, for Proverbs 16:3

Blessings of Hope & Joy,
Julia©2020 Julia Melatis, Hope & Joy Ministries All rights reserved.
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Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked ESV are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

#ISaidYes

My last Blog Hop entry for the online Bible study, “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” by Lysa TerKeurst.

I just made up a new word, God-incidence. Definition: What some would call coincidence. But I know God is in control and He is the one that makes it all work together.

This new word came to me as I was finishing the last chapter of the Bible study book. Just that morning I was thinking and praying about how I am sometimes too concerned with my own comfort – whether it be physical comfort (I hate to sweat) or social comfort aka a situational comfort zone. Then I read in the book,
    “Life isn’t about being comfortable and taking the easy route. It’s 
    about living to give our lives away and make a real impact in this
    world.” -Lysa TerKeurst, What Happens When Women Say Yes To
    God.
I was once again reminded that this life is not about me, it’s about Jesus. “He must increase, but I must decrease” John 3:30 NASB. Saying yes to God is a continual thing. Each day, each moment brings opportunities to say yes to something God wants to do in us or through us.

When we started this study I was at a point where I had lost my passion and lost sight of my vision – the dream God had given me. I had already been praying for God to renew the passion for writing and the vision He had given to me. I had been staled and feeling overwhelmed by the feeling that I need to get this book finished. I would get frustrated waiting for God to show me the next step toward fulfilling His vision for me. I kept hearing, “finish the step you’re on,” which IS the book. That added to my anxiety, because I just wasn’t feeling it. Then I heard Him telling me that I needed to take a step and start working on writing again and THEN He would show up and renew the passion. We always have something to do, some step of faith to take, before God does His part. He want us to put that faith and trust to work even when we can’t yet see or feel Him working. That is the essence of faith.

God has used the opportunities to blog and comment during Facebook parties and daily emails to stir up the writing desire within me once again. God showed up just as He said He would. I am feeling much more peace in my heart and a renewed passion for writing. One day as I was commenting on something I was re-posting on my own Facebook page I realized that what I was writing was the answer to the part of the book that was just not working. I had started what I was writing with, ” Yes Lord. Here I am Lord.” And did He ever show up. When we say Yes to God with humble and sincere hearts God shows up in amazing and unusual ways.

Taking a step of faith requires us to get out of our comfort zones. I have started noticing that when God is leading us to step out of our own comforts He will start making us less comfortable in that “zone.” I have to admit I watch too much television. Even if I’m not sitting in front of it I often keep it on for “company.” The trouble is with that worldly noise filling the air it makes it hard to hear the still small voice of the Lord. He has been making me less comfortable with TV and shows I really like are not as interesting to me as they once were. As I keep saying yes to God, He keeps changing me and my priorities. I am turning off the TV more, and listening for God’s voice even more. When I want to sing and dance and praise the Lord I put on Christian music and when I need a little background noise to help me concentrate (I’m sure I was not the only teen who had to listen to music while I studied), I have been putting on the light classical Music Choice channel softly in the background. I’m not sure why this works for me, but it does. I have a tendency to be easily distracted. I guess the music occupies that part of my brain, so I can concentrate better. Anyway, changing things up and yielding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit may take me out of my “comfort zone,” but it leaves me with a feeling of peace and rest in my heart when I have completed the task, as though my heart is hearing my heavenly Father say well done my child. Welcome to the new comfort zone – Radical Obedience.

I was already planning to lead this study with my small group this Fall when I saw the opportunity to do this study online with y’all. I was led to say yes to this amazing adventure. You wonderful ladies from all over this country and around the world have prayed for me and encouraged me through comments on my blog and the life stories you’ve shared on your own blogs. I’ve learned new things, like verse mapping, which I can share with my group. And I know that God is going to do amazing things in and through each of us – the 24,000 women from every corner of this world – as we continue to say YES to God each day. Our radical obedience to a God who radically loves us will lead to many radical blessings, which will equip us even more to be a blessing to others. I’m looking forward to doing “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope with y’all next.

Much love to all my sisters,
Julia

http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/

Radical Obedience – Saying #YesToGod

This blog post is in response to the online Bible Study of Lysa TerKeurst’s book, “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” for the week two blog hop.

Back in 2007, we were considering renovations on our house in California. One day as I was trying to figure out how to best layout our great room I clearly heard God’s voice in my heart/spirit saying, “Don’t worry about it you won’t be here.” I somehow got it in my head that it would be 18 months from then. I had always wanted to move to the Central coast of California. Our favorite vacation spot is Cambria. That’s where “I” wanted to move. Our youngest child got married in September 2008. I was certain that we would be moving soon after that. It didn’t happen. I figured I heard God wrong and put it out of my head.

Fast forward to August 2009, I was laid off from my job. At first I was devastated, not to mention our budget. It was a very stressful job, which only got worse for the people who were left behind to pick up the slack left by all the people who were laid off. I was so stressed prior to the lay off that being laid of was actually less stressful for me and I found peace and rest. The severance package we got in the lay off helped cushion the blow. In the whole experience I saw God’s hand of provision in our finances and my peace of mind.

That same year Jim’s employer filed bankruptcy. Just before Christmas we found out the business was for sale as part of the bankruptcy and a local company looked sure to win the bidding. When hubby went back to work after the New Year the owners were there – Surprise! – a company from Missouri. They were moving the whole operation to their facility in St. Louis. They asked Jim to go, too.

When Jim came home and asked me if I was willing to move to Missouri my first thought was no, but then God reminded me of what he told me years before, and I heard myself saying yes. Missouri, not exactly the coastal oasis “I planned on.”  Jim was put in charge of the move on the California end. It took until July to get the move completed.

The end of June 2010, one week before we left California we found out our baby girl and her husband were expecting their first child/our first grandchild. We had been looking so forward to being grandparents and now we were moving away. I was heartbroken. That last Sunday in California during worship I cried out to God asking why we had to move away. He said to me, You can choose to stay, but if you want to see (my heart’s desire) you have to go. I’m not ready to reveal this desire, as it has not come to pass yet. Of course, I knew in my heart that we had to go, for so many reasons, but most of all I did not want to disobey God. Nothing good ever comes from that. It was not easy, for sure, but following God isn’t always easy. That’s where faith really comes into play. Trusting that the Lord’s plan is better than your plan/desires. Over the last three years I have experienced quite a bit of depression, primarily when I focus too much on me, my feelings, and how much I miss our ever-growing family. But I have also experienced much joy and fulfillment in obeying the Lord, not only in coming here, but in following Him in the way I live and serve Him.

But there are still some things I still have to learn about completing what God gives me to do (like the book I’ve been supposed to be writing now for too many years) and waiting on His timing in other things. I’m realizing that until I complete the book, some of the other parts of the ministry/calling God has on my life will not move forward. He’s not going to show me the next step, until I complete the one I’m on. I ask all my #YesToGod sisters to keep me in prayer, so I can find the courage to complete the book and move forward with the Lord’s plan for my life. 

On 1-17-04 I was having breakfast “with God” at a McDonald’s when a young man came up to me and asked to see my Bible. He opened it to Joshua 1:1-9. He pointed to it and told me, “Take it, take it.” These verses are where God is commissioning Joshua to take over as leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death. Three times God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. For years I questioned how these verses could be for me. I have a past. I never went to college. I’m not a pastor. Who am I to teach others, be a leader? When I finally started seeking God on this He showed me that it’s not about me, it’s about Jesus. It’s about how God equips me through His Spirit and His Word, not about who I am. I just need to be strong and courageous and make myself available to Him, say YES to Him. Yet, sometimes I still waiver and allow my circumstances to get me so down that I don’t do what I know I need to do. Even more, what I enjoy doing. I love being in the Word. I love seeing how God uses me, even in small things, to touch other people’s lives. We all have our ups and downs, but hopefully we’re still moving forward through those peaks and valleys.

A friend recently pointed out that maybe God had to move me here, fsr from my family, because I would be such a devoted grandma that i might lose my focus on the ministry God is giving me. God has given me a small group of sister-friends here in Missouri that encourage and support me in where God is leading. I didn’t have that so much in California. God is good and provides what we need.

God has a plan and a purpose for each person, young old, male, female. My oldest daughter’s church is even training children to work in the healing rooms. It’s not about our abilities, but our availability to God’s work and trusting Him to see the work completed in and through us with “Radical Obedience.”

Blessings and peace,
Julia

http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/