Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fire in the Sky ...

"In the last days, God says ... I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke ..." Acts 2:17-19 NIV

When I read that I silently sighed, thinking, "Really, God? Fire in the sky?" ...
A few days later to my surprise a news article was posted by yahoo ... and spring is even known as "fireball season" ... there's so much more to discover in the Bible ... I suggest reading it for yourself ... 
And, here's a link to the news article:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fasting or Feasting? Bread for the Journey

Have you ever read a story or maybe watched a movie that sticks with you for a long, long time? Then maybe at some point you decide to re-read it or watch the movie all over again for a second or third or fourth time of pleasure? Well, that’s what I did, but as I read this time something I overlooked before illuminated in a delightful way. Want to know what it was? I read 1 Samuel 10:1-9, but here’s what happened leading up to it:

Saul had been wandering through the land looking for his father’s lost donkeys. The provisions he started out with were now gone. His search left him empty handed, both for lack of life sustaining bread and his search for the donkeys was unsuccessful. The servant traveling with him suggested they seek answers from a man of God who resided nearby. Interestingly, Saul found much more than he expected when he was anointed to be king over the people. The man of God, Samuel, told Saul what would happen as he left. Here’s the part I read that seemed to burst with new meaning:

     They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them … The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 1 Samuel 10:4, 6 NIV

Bread represents life, a life sustaining staple. Physically our bodies must be sustained with bread or food. So, too, must our mind, motivation and most inner being find bread for nourishment. Consider this:

     Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NIV

     Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty…” John 6:32-35 NIV

     Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” –Jesus John 6:57-58 NIV

Notice a theme yet? We can eat bread for our physical body which will eventually fade away and die. But what about our inner man, deep down inside where excitement, happiness and pleasure either dwindle or thrive? Deep in our soul is where Jesus wants to reach us and fill us with life. Reading about him and choosing to live by his words found in the Holy Bible is like bread to satisfy our souls.

So what does this have to do with Saul accepting bread that was offered on his journey? Simply this, as you journey through this life, bread for your soul is offered along the way. Will you accept it? Will you accept Jesus, taking His word, reading and devouring it so your soul will be sustained, nourished and flourish? The choice is yours.

If you do not know Jesus, start reading about him in the Holy Bible beginning with the book of John. Romans 10:9 explains what you need to do. If you have known Him but traveled away, reacquaint yourself with Him. His word offers fresh bread for weary sou
ls. Will you accept His invitation to dine?

Many Blessings …
Tanja Dufrene

Thursday, September 8, 2011

From Indifference to Agreement - Part 2

Previously I asked: What do you think moved Abram from indifference to Hagar’s situation to agreement with her when naming Ishmael?

Have you thought about this? What conclusion did you reach? Read Genesis 16 again as a refresher …Then here are some thoughts to consider …

Interestingly, the verses between Abram’s indifference until his agreement with Hagar show us only how God reach to Hagar and her response to Him. But, before we look into that, let’s review the events that led up to it.

Hagar was a slave who was wed to her master and forced to carry his child. When she realized she carried a child and her mistress, Sarai, could not, she despised or dishonored Sarai. Sarai blamed Abram who indifferently returned Hagar to Sarai again as a slave. Sarai retaliated by abusing Hagar. Hagar ran away where the Lord’s angel found her and told her to return. Up to this point what we read of Abram is that he agreed with Sarai and was indifferent to Hagar’s situation.

Now let’s briefly look at the interaction between Hagar and God’s angel in the desert. Notice during the encounter Hagar was asked where she came from and where she was going. Her response only answers half of the question that she is running away from her mistress. She is told to return and then given a promise of numerous descendants and a son in her womb. Hagar was encouraged when she realized God saw her. Can’t you just hear her saying to herself, “Yes, God sees me! He knows all the wrong I have suffered! I am no longer alone!”? Upon her return, Hagar’s submission to Sarai was ultimately her submission or obedience to God who saw her and told her to return.

So, again, what moved Abram to agreement? Hagar first obeyed God by returning and submitting to her mistress, Sarai. Only after the birth of the baby do we see Abram take action in agreement with Hagar, naming the baby Ishmael, the name God told her to use. Her obedience to God led to blessing – the birth of a son, the agreement of Abram when naming the baby and she knew without doubt that God sees her, knows her situation. She is no longer alone, no longer without one to care for her.

Hagar did not have the benefit of studying God’s written Word as we do. Yet she enjoyed the benefit of his blessing when she obeyed His voice. What benefits will you enjoy? Will you read His Word and allow it to grow in your thoughts and heart? Will you listen for His voice and obey your conscience as He speaks to you? The choice is yours alone. Will you obey Him, submit to His instructions and experience His blessings?

I’d love to celebrate with you as you find His blessings on the other side of obedience! Feel free to write and tell me about where he leads you! But, most of all, give Him the glory!

Many Blessings …

From Indifference to Obedience – Part 2 © 2011 Tanja Dufrene

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

From Indifference to Agreement ...

Ok my friends … Here’s a thought to ponder:   
What do you think moved Abram from indifference to Hagar’s situation to agreement with her when naming Ishmael? 
(Read Genesis 16 noting Abram’s change of attitude between verses 6 and 15)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Real Meal

“I want a real meal, mama,” she said. Though the pitch of her tiny little voice indicated the youth of her years, her words almost declared a command. Taken by surprise, I proceeded to carry on a conversation with her, inquiring just what a ‘real meal’ might include. I wish I could remember her response, but I simply don’t. Yet after all these years I can still hear her voice desiring, no rather insisting, that she be fed well so her appetite would be satisfied and her body would grow. Not claiming to be a gourmet cook, I at least attempted to serve a balanced meal including vegetables, milk, meat, and bread. Yet, this little tot wanted more …

Her words returned to my mind as I pondered these verses:

     In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity …
Hebrews 5:12-14, 6:1a NIV

     The Spirit clearly says that in the later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV

     You’re going to find that there will be times where people will have not stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing , accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 the Message

What does your stomach crave? Is your spirit satisfied with smooth words that are easy to hear, like spiritual junk food? Or do you want more, like the child wanting a ‘real meal’? Maybe you desire a ribeye steak, or plate full of lasagna, or cashew chicken, or whatever your favorite meal—an entrée full of flavor and something you can sink your teeth into! Do you crave the spiritual meat of God’s Word, a word that challenges you to grow and mature, something you can think on and put into practice in your life? Notice what Jesus had to say about this:

     “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
     “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
     When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.
Matthew 7:24-29 The Message

So what will you do? Will you feed your mind and spirit on God’s Word, delighting in the feast He desires to spread before you? Maybe you want this but do not know how or what to do. Here’s a simple suggestion: As you read the Bible each day, search for a verse that you can continue to think about. Then look for ways to act on that verse, putting it into practice. For example, Proverbs 15:1-3 (NIV) says ‘A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’ Make a conscious effort to remember this verse and when you find you’re in the middle of a heated situation, choose to give a gentle answer. Take note of the results. What an adventure you’ll find as God’s Word becomes alive! (For the word of God is full of living power … Hebrews 4:11 NLT)

Like climbing stairs, one day rises to another and you will find yourself learning the Word, practicing what you’re learning and drawing closer to God. Enjoy the feast fit for a king as your soul thrives!

So what kind of ‘real meal’ will you enjoy today? I’d love to hear about it …

Many Blessings …

P.S.  Do you want more? Here’s some extra reading to help you ‘dig in’ …

1 Peter 2:2-3
Ephesians 4:1-16
1 Corinthians 3-4:5

Real Meal © 2011 Tanja Dufrene

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Justice ...

The movie began with scenes typical of an old western town. The narrator described one night that changed the course of her life, telling of a drifter’s well aimed bullet that left her dad’s body motionless. Then he hurriedly ran away, stealing her dad’s horse. Disgust and reproach could be heard in her voice as she told how he could have just as easily walked away since no one in the town would have stood against Him.

Can you imagine such injustice? How could so many witnesses remain motionless, silent in the shadows? It’s the age old drama of how too many people are afraid, filled with shock, or are simply unwilling to take action. After all, isn’t that what great movies are made of, a conflict where no one will step up when suddenly the main character emerges, willing to set right the wrong that has been suffered? But, is that really how it is supposed to be? What is the responsibility of those who silently observed?

I was reminded of this movie when considering the words the Holy Spirit illuminated to me about Genesis 1:16-17:

"The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden as its gardener, to tend and care for it. But the Lord God gave the man this warning: “You may eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the Tree of Conscience—for its fruit will open your eyes to make you aware of right and wrong, good and bad. If you eat its fruit, you will be doomed to die."
The Living Bible

"For its fruit will open your eyes’"… As I pondered these words, it was as though the Holy Spirit stood behind me and spoke: ‘Ever since the eyes of man were opened to evil, man has tried to shut them again.’

It did not take long for many injustices to come to mind, especially the genocide of approximately 6 million European Jews, known as the Holocaust. How many people willingly closed their eyes, unwilling to admit or stand against the evil that unfolded? And what about the many injustices experienced since then? Are there any who will assume the responsibility of opened eyes, taking a right stand? Who will stand for what is right? And who will rightly stand, properly handling the weapons available to us?

"And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an in dispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out."
Ephesians 6:10-18 The Message

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete."

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NIV

Do you know what weapons are available to you? Are you well trained, able to use them for the Lord’s glory? And as situations demand decisions, how will you respond?

Will you hide in the shadows, closing your eyes, refusing responsibility?
See 2 Timothy 1:7; Joshua 1:9; Deuteronomy 31:6-7; Luke 10:19.

Will you exact revenge and thus ineffectively spend your fighting energies?
See 1 Peter 3:8-17; Romans 12:17-21.

Will you charge into battle unarmed?
See Ephesians 6:10-19; 2 Timothy 2:15.

Or will you prevail, having trained well for the battle, wielding the Word of God against all evil?

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."
Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV

I mentioned the opening of a movie where a town was riddled by an unscrupulous man. In the story one young woman prevailed against her enemy. But, life is not really like the movies is it? Too many times the happy ending of a movie is short lived and not even close to the reality we face – right? Yet, God’s Word never fails:

"The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly."  Psalm 103:6 NLT

What will you do? Will you close your eyes, refusing the responsibility now upon you? Or will you pick up the sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, and go to war?

"Have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." 
Ephesians 5:11 NIV

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ …"
Philippians 1:27 NIV

Many Blessings ...

Justice 2011 © Tanja Dufrene

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

5 Women of Genealogy - Lesson 6 Something Extra ...

5 Women of Genealogy -

LESSON 6 – Something Extra - Joseph

Joseph: protector, patient, provider …

Life synopsis … Joseph was working toward his goal to be married when his fiancées
purity was unexpectedly compromised. He could have easily thought Mary was sabotaging his efforts. Yet, being a righteous man, he wanted to protect her reputation. When he thought she had been unfaithful to him, he planned to quietly end the relationship. God’s plan prevailed when Joseph willingly responded to a divine dream. He put his own reputation at risk, married Mary, and then patiently waited to consummate the marriage while providing for her and a baby not his own.

Read this ... Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:13-15; Matthew 2:19-23; 2 Timothy 2:15

Key verses … When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him …

Coffee Break Study – The Five Women of Genealogy © 2011 Tanja Dufrene

Matthew 1:24 NIV
Words are not mere words, you know. If they're not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul.

Let’s practice … What are your life goals? How would you respond if someone close to you seemingly sabotaged your efforts? Would you willingly change your life course based on an inspired dream? Have you had an ‘ah ha’ moment where you “woke up,” finally understanding what the Lord would have you do? How can you practice obedience to God’s dream for your life even now?

Personal Reflections …

One last note …

comments on my facebook page

or blog (

Many Blessings …
Tanja Dufrene

This simple Bible study was designed with the intent of encouraging you to read God’s Word while learning to apply its principles to daily life. I pray that your desire to read and learn more continues to increase.

And I, too, desire to continue learning. As such would you be willing to provide me with some feedback? Your comments are welcomed as I continue to prepare additional studies. There are only three questions ...

1) What I most enjoyed about this study was …
2) What I least enjoyed about this study was …
3) This study impacted my life by …

Please feel free to forward your feedback to me
2 Timothy 2:15 The Message