Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Summer Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!
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Kendra Graham notes from 1 Corinthians 15:58.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.
FACTS: Be steadfast, immovable, ALWAYS ABOUNDING in the work of the LORD, your toil is not in vain, IN THE LORD.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?
Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?
LESSONS: [We hope you will be inspired by this special reflection, written from Kendra’s heart, after the recent passing of Danny Lotz, husband of Anne Graham Lotz, and uncle of Kendra’s husband Will.]
I watched a room that seemed overwhelming and huge fill up with standing room only. I saw the overflow room, packed, without a seat to spare. I heard testimony after testimony of family and men, locally and from around the world, come and share how Danny Lotz–a man I affectionately called, “Aunt Danny”(a story for another time)–had impacted their lives with the Gospel of Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah. I heard not a mention of the home Aunt Danny lived in, the car he drove, or the clothes he wore. Aunt Danny had impacted his home, his dental practice, his church, his college campus, professionals from the least to the greatest, politicians, pastors, coaches and whatever person with whom he came in contact, with the Truth of God’s Word. The life focus of Aunt Danny was not about gaining “stuff,” but was always about the souls of people and showing them Jesus.
Aunt Danny stood steadfast for the Truth, in his family, church and the city at large. A true imitator of Jesus, a portrait of what a disciple does. Aunt Danny is gone, in the sense I won’t hear his laugh, his stories of New York City, where he grew up, or his stories of what God was doing right in front of him, as he would ask me, “Kendra, what are you seeing God do? Are you in the Word? Do you know the King’s highway?” My heart is so heavy, but light for him. His work is done, after all, “The night is coming when no one can work”(John 9:4). Aunt Danny truly was focused on being about the business of Jesus until He comes (Luke 19:13).
So often we hear rhetoric from politicians to pastors, to small groups, to ourselves in Sunday School classes and Bible studies. It is not our rhetoric that we will be remembered by, or our perfect attendance at Bible studies or church services; it is our faith, worked out in the Lord Jesus Christ–everything else is vanity. One of Aunt Danny’s favorite verses was, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added,” Mathew 6:33. A lasting legacy is what Aunt Danny toiled for–and that legacy is Jesus. Moth and rust will not destroy the lives that Danny Lotz impacted for the Kingdom of God. Neither can thieves break in and steal the souls that are safe in the hand of the God, Who is relentless for us. Aunt Danny was not only faithful to pray, but faithful to work and toil so long as there was day (Matthew 6:19, John 10:28-29).
Do you want to work, to toil to the point of exhaustion for something that matters? Stop talking about your faith, and begin living by faith (Hebrews 11:1-12:2). No matter what the times bring, no matter what the history books say, Hebrews 11:36 speaks of “others” in the Old Testament who believed God and lived lives of faith, regardless of what society said or did to them; they believed Jesus, the Messiah, was coming, and they lived their lives accordingly. God’s Hall of Fame, “others” leaves room for you and I, New Testament believers who look back to the cross of Jesus and believe He came, lived for His Father’s business, and died for the sins of His handmade creation who were created to walk with Him, know Him, and need Him. I believe Aunt Danny, whose name was entered into Halls of Fame here on earth, now has his name inscribed on the walls of God’s Hall of Faith. Aunt Danny persevered to the end and ran the race that was set before him, with his eyes fixed on Jesus.
Aunt Danny, your race was not run in vain; God has transformed my life because of your faithful testimony– and for that, “thank you,” seems such an inadequate phrase. I love you dearly and you will truly be missed by this girl. I have seen Jesus work in my life because of your faithfulness.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.
As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.
*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?
Faithfulness can never be judged until the end. Will we run the race set before us with perseverance focused on Jesus? Are we toiling for the Lord, or toiling for our own comfort and security? Are we living a life worthy of the calling to which we have been given? Are we toiling for what matters and for what is not in vain?
LIVE IT OUT!
Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.
So often we talk about faith, talk about living for God, talk about when God gives us a platform, talk about what we want to do for God, instead of doing that which He has put before us! What has God put before you? How are you in the midst of toil? Are you reaching the people at the job you may or may not like for Jesus? Is the extent of your “Christian service” attending a fancy Bible study? How is the Truth of God’s Word impacting and transforming your life? As the Truth of God’s Word transformed Aunt Danny’s life, a family was changed…followed by an office, a community, a city, and so on…but it must start with the transformation of your heart and life. Oh…will you allow God’s Word to sink in today, and will you and I live this day toiling for what matters? Night is coming when no one can work.
Homework: Isaiah 42:16
Click here to read more on the life of Danny Lotz.
Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!