Traci Martin, Author at Big Dream Ministries
Big Dream Ministries exists to help people understand the Bible as God's amazing Word and help them apply Biblical truth to their daily lives. We do this by offering studies that drive people to the Scriptures for answers and equipping leaders with excellent resources to reinforce learning.
The Amazing Collection, Bible study, Know the Word, Biblical Truth
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Author: Traci Martin

Written by Pat Harley

Based on John 11:1-44

We are in the midst of a pandemic. Around the world as of this morning, there have been over 200,000 deaths from the Coronavirus. It makes no difference if one is rich, powerful, poor, or even destitute. The virus is no respecter of persons and makes no differentiation between social classes or bank accounts. At present, no weapon, no medication or vaccine can take it down. It is a ruthless enemy. And behind every one of those deaths is a home where loved ones are grieving, their lives changed forever.

Two thousand years ago, there was another home with a family who was grieving deeply. The two sisters knew there was a cure for the disease their brother was suffering from, yet they were unable to procure it. And so as days went by, they simply had to sit by helplessly and watch their brother, whom they loved dearly, slowly slip away unto death.

It was enormous sorrow – certainly sorrow over their great loss, yet that sorrow was intensified, because the cure was none other than the One they had accepted as the Messiah, and He was their dearest friend. They had witnessed His power. They had heard amazing stories from reliable witnesses about healings from disease, from demon possession, and paralysis. It had been His very words that had raised the young man in Naim, raised him right out of a coffin. They had heard about the leper whose body had been completely healed and cleansed. The disciples had told them about the calming of the storm and the feeding of the five thousand. And yes, they had believed every one of those stories. They had believed without a doubt that Jesus was the Christ, sent from God, and the Son of God.

Lazarus Suffered

They had enjoyed His company and friendship, but they had never needed His power until now. And so, as Lazarus lay suffering, the sisters cried out to Jesus through an anguished message. “Behold, he whom you love is sick.” And then they waited, knowing surely He would come at once. But Jesus did not come. The hours of suffering continued as life gradually slipped away. And then … Lazarus was dead. Anguish, Loss, Confusion, Doubt. No more chances for healing; all hope was gone.

And so, the sisters wrapped Lazarus’ body in strips of cloth layered with the accustomed spices. Some of the men then carried his body to the family tomb, laid it on a cold stone slab, and rolled the stone across the opening. Done. The end.

Almost a week went by. No word came from Jesus. Then after six days, Martha heard that He was coming to Bethany and their home. She went to Him immediately and spoke the words that had plagued her for days. “Lord if You had been here my brother would not have died.” But clinging to the last bit of faith, she continued, “Even now I know whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

And Jesus responded, “Your brother will rise again.” But Martha continued, seeking perhaps answers, perhaps an explanation, most likely seeking HOPE.

“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

And then Jesus spoke words of comfort, assurance, joy, TRUTH. Words so important for us today as we are surrounded with sorrow and grief and fear death.

“I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE: HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME LIVES EVEN IF HE DIES.”

Within the next few hours, Jesus would once again show His awesome power, and yet in a way he had never done before. Mourners once again gathered at Lazarus’ tomb along with the sisters. Jesus, even as Martha objected, asked that the stone be rolled away. And then Jesus spoke, no commanded. “Lazarus come forth.” And in a moment, death was replaced with life, mourning with joy, and doubt with robust faith, for death had been conquered and Lazarus was alive.

The Resurrection and the Life Are For Us

As I sat under the awning, reserved for family members at my mother’s grave during the funeral, the casket resting just above the open grave, I was overcome with sorrow and loss. I had prayed for healing for Mom. I had prayed that she would walk again and enjoy life for a few more years. That prayer was not answered. But then as I looked upon the opened grave that was before me, the Lord brought to mind those same words He had spoken to a sorrowful sister some two thousand years ago. Only this time my name was inserted into the sentence. “Pat, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME SHALL LIVE EVEN IF HE DIES.”

And then I envisioned Mom, not with limbs twisted from debilitating disease, but whole and joyful and free of pain and suffering. It was a glorious picture but one that was real because Momma KNEW Jesus. And at that moment she was more alive than she had ever been, never to face death again. She was with her Savior and there was LIFE. And for me those words brought immense comfort, abundant comfort for such a sorrowful heart.

At Easter, we celebrate the empty tomb. It is an awesome reminder that he has indeed overcome death and for those of us who believe, death truly will be swallowed up, and we will be fully alive, fully healed, and fully at home with the One who gives life to enjoy Him forever.

The Savior Is Calling

The Savior IS calling to all of us, not just during a terrifying pandemic, but every day. Come to Me. I AM the resurrection and the life…even if you die you will live.

There are heroes on the frontlines of this war against the COVID-19 virus that is threatening every nation – one person at a time. They are health care workers! Doctors, nurses, lab specialists, imaging techs, and therapists of all types are in a hand-to-hand combat to diagnose and treat patients against the deadly and highly contagious disease. Working tirelessly, often with limited supplies, the medical teams are trying to help as many people as possible. The emotional toll of watching patients struggle to regain health is enormous.

Behind the medical team who are working directly with the infirmed, is an army of support workers keeping the medical facilities operating – transportation, food preparation, sanitation, supply logistics, to name a few.

These virus-time heroes ae not deployed away on assignment, they go home to their loved ones. The risk of exposure is near certain, even with precautions.

Our prayer is for divine protection from contracting any illness – for both them and their families. We are asking for strength and stamina, along with supernatural rest. May they sense the overwhelming support from the community and be encouraged in the Lord. And above all, may they recognize the healing of God through their work.

Join us in praying Psalm 138:6-8 for medical workers to be saved from the enemy of illness.

Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
    though lofty, he sees them from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures forever—
    do not abandon the works of your hands.

May God keep you and your family healthy and safe.

Churches were told to shut the door of their building without warning. The abrupt halt of ministry as usual has Pastors and their leadership teams scrambling to adapt to the situation. The burden for their congregations is heavy. We are praying for churches, pastors, and ministry leaders.

Psalm 86:11-12

Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.

We are asking God to guide you in wisdom as you formulate ways to minister to your church body and your communities. We ae asking the Lord to provide all that you to do what He has purposed you to do.

May you be strengthened in the Lord as you creatively minister to the many needs surrounding you.

 

The virus is not a social condition that we must endure. It is an illness that is affecting human lives. Daily, the numbers tell us how many people have contracted the disease. But what the numbers don’t say – is how many people are experiencing symptoms at home yet are unable to get testing. Beyond the COVID-19 virus, people are still dealing other illnesses that makes them particularly susceptible to the new coronavirus. Social isolation is an absolute imperative to keep people healthy. Yet, social isolation makes the situation so much more difficult for the sick as they now must go through medical testing and procedures without their support system. The psychological toll is also growing as a result.

We NEED a miracle from God to stop the pandemic and the ripple affect it is having in the lives of families and the world at large. We NEED Jesus to HEAL the masses as recorded in Matthew 14:13-14.

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

This is our prayer! God still heals, He is the miracle worker who we seek. A couple of days ago, a friend asked us to pray for a young pastor who was hospitalized with the virus. His family was told to make final arrangements because the prognosis was not good. Two days later, he is doing better. As we pray for his continued improvement, we also pray for everyone who are suffering. We invite you to pray Psalm 77:11-14 with us for those who are sick and infirmed.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Your ways, God, are holy.
    What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.

Let’s remember the healing miracles Jesus has performed and beseech Him to do it again. If you are joining us in prayer or if you have someone specific you are seeking healing for, let us know in the comments.

#PrayerChangesThings #FaithOverFear #BibleTruth

Churches were told to shut the door of their building without warning. The abrupt halt of ministry as usual has Pastors and their leadership teams scrambling to adapt to the situation. The burden for their congregations is heavy. We are praying for churches, pastors, and ministry leaders. The words of Psalm 86 is a simple prayer for the Lord to guide the leadership teams, to give them a godly focus that is not divided with fear, and to lead them to praising Him.

Psalm 86:11-12

Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.

We are asking God to guide you in wisdom as you formulate ways to minister to your church body and your communities. We ae asking the Lord to provide all that you to do what He has purposed you to do.

May you be strengthened in the Lord as you creatively minister to the many needs surrounding you.

If you would like your church, ministry, or pastor specifically prayed for, put their name in the comments or simply respond with “yes.”

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You know how Saturdays are! Before starting any fun activities, you have a list of “must-do” chores that need be finished to make your work week flow smoothly. My husband and I had that kind of day recently. We were plowing through the last of our chore list before winding down to shower and watch a movie. My final task of putting away clean laundry and tidying the closet was underway. Without any warning or storm to blame, the electricity went out. After checking out any possible causes within our home, we realized the power outage was a problem with the whole neighborhood, and we called the electric company. It would be hours before it would be restored. It was starting to get dark outside so I got out our flashlights. They were small, but bright. Without thinking about it, I stood one of the flashlights on its end on the counter. The tiny beam of light suddenly illuminated the entire room as it bounced off of the white ceiling. It was great! Since a movie was now out of the question, we were able to enjoy reading our books from the glow of the single flashlight.

How impactful the small light became when it was positioned to maximize its purpose!

It reminds me of how much the dark world needs the Light of the world. We hear, or even experience for ourselves, news of loved ones getting a diagnosis that is not promising, of an addiction that causes families to crumble, or even destroyed relationships due to unreconciled strife. The list is endless of all the heaviness people deal with on a daily basis. However, as believers we have access to the Light people desperately need in our world. The Light of the world is Jesus (John 8:12).

The Bible teaches who Jesus is and provides wisdom to live in the light. Knowing Jesus makes a difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” – Matthew 5:14-15

As a believer, you are a light-bearer of Christ! You can make a difference by helping those around you see their situations a little more clearly.  As you prepare to attend or lead a Bible study this fall season, consider sharing the Light with others by inviting those in your sphere of influence to join you in learning the Bible. Open the doors to those who are not believers, those who may be seeking, those who are hurting, or those who may need a friend.

Adopt an attitude of “the more the merrier.”  You may never realize the impact of your willingness to put the “Light of the world” on a stand for all to see.  Use your neighborhood bulletin board, social media group, or local newsletter to invite others to join you.  Even better, send personal invitations to those you know.  People will respond more positively to an invitation than simply seeing a posting about the details.  We often hear testimonies of people who attended a Bible study only because a friend invited them, but they ended up loving the Word and the Lord.

To help facilitate sharing your BDM study, we have a brand new Facebook group called “Find a Study.” We encourage you to share your study information in this group or you can contact our office via email or phone with information about your study and how others should contact you. We regularly receive calls from people looking for a study in their area. Hopefully this information will be useful in pointing others to nearby studies that they can attend. Imagine how much darkness would be overcome if we all remove the basket from our study time and invite even more to join us. It is amazing how powerful a small light will be when placed for many to see!


A Father’s Masterpiece

A son, grieving the loss of his father, began the arduous task of cleaning out his father’s German home and art studio. His tiny home was crammed with the treasures of his craft – paints, brushes, canvases, and books. Willy Wiedmann developed a style of art called polycon, a unique flowing art form with straight lines and sharp angles using vibrant colors woven together to tell a story. His son always admired his father’s work and appreciated his contribution to the art world, but he was not prepared for the discovery of his father’s masterpiece in the attic – the entire Bible painted in his iconic polycon style.  The pages for each book of the Bible were folded in an accordion fashion and then individually bound. His son, overwhelmed by the beauty of the Biblical artwork, shared the collection with the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. Understanding the rare treasure in their possession, the museum curators created a special exhibition to showcase the work.

One-of-a-kind Bible is over a mile long

Recently, our family traveled to the nation’s capital to visit the museum and had the opportunity to participate in the unfolding of this one-of-a-kind Bible. Each of the Bible books had been connected together and loaded on a specially designed cart. Hundreds of volunteers were arranged around the Lincoln reflecting pond at the National Mall as the organizers slowly pushed the cart, unfolding the illustrated Bible as it was distributed to the waiting volunteers.  All stretched out, the Wiedmann Illustrated Bible is over a mile long.

All of the participants were trying to pinpoint the section of the Scripture they were holding. Because of the unique and somewhat abstract style, it was hard to say, especially without the ability to see the whole context of what was in our hands. Across the reflecting pond, we could see the mixture of colors the artist used, vibrant colors mixed with deep dark tones. We were grateful the museum had a team in place to answer our questions. It turns out that the vibrant rainbow of colors represented the garden and Psalms. The bright light colors expressed the work of the Holy Spirit, while the deep, dark tones indicated sin and pain. Collectively, it was absolutely striking! Not one section could be eliminated; each panel was necessary to tell the beautiful and complete story.

It was a magnificent story of a son revealing his father’s work.

It took over an hour to unfold all of the pages of this unique work of art. However, when the last panel was given out, there were loud shouts of victory. We had remained to see the whole project completed. Wiedmann’s son was present at this historic event in Washington D.C. to see his father’s artwork shared. It was a magnificent story of a son revealing his father’s work.

But more than that, seeing the illustrated Bible fully unfolded gives us a glimpse of our heavenly Father’s view. It is the whole story of redemption – the light and happy events of life interwoven with the deeply painful moments, unfolded to reveal His complete story of redemption in our lives. Our stories remain incomplete until the Son reveals His masterpiece in our lives.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

 

Learn more about the Wiedman Bible at https://youtu.be/0kxXiqb5upU

A Testimony from Rachel Coward about The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book
I spent most of my quiet time in the summer of 2015 asking God for real connections with other believers. We had found a church home at Gateway’s Southlake campus, but I still felt like a random face in a sea of faces. I had been saved for many years but after having my daughter, I started pursing God with a new passion. I wanted more than church on Sundays, and I wanted friendships that were centered around God. Week after week, I made my requests to God – Lord please send me friends who desire to know you more…who will be real…who will accept me.
Each week at church, I would hear the senior pastor say – get plugged in – find a small group… so in a big leap of faith and discomfort, I decided to flip the switch, turn off my pride, and go where I felt like God was leading me.
On a Tuesday morning in September 2015, I walked the sidewalk to a complete stranger’s door and pulled up a chair. I sat in a room full of people I didn’t know, and God happened. I knew instantly that while I might not “know” these ladies it was clear that I was in the right place. I can tell you with complete clarity that I didn’t see myself doing a full study of the Bible. In fact, once I found out it was a 3-year study, I quickly felt overwhelmed and a little out of my element. Some days I would show up and it felt like I knew nothing, but I kept reading and pressing in to God’s word. Each week I learned something about God, myself, and how I saw God.
During the first year of TAC, I wrote these words in my Bible – Return from Exile. As I studied more of God’s word, I knew he was speaking to me specifically about my mother and the pain and rejection I felt surrounding her illness and death. God was changing things in my heart and part of me wanted to run. Instead, I kept reading…
In the final year of the study, as we read 2 Timothy and Paul’s instructions on endurance these words from one of the daily lessons stood out to me: Both community and solitude are used by God in our lives to fashion us into the kind of people he wants us to be (Workbook 10 at page 61). And there it was…the thing that had caused me to separate and isolate myself from people was the thing that God used to heal me. Book by book, word by word, He put the pieces back together. Those 3 years played out differently for everyone, but many of the women from The Amazing Collection study have become close and dear friends – truly answered prayer.
It is hard to put in to words what reading the Bible and working through The Amazing Collection study has done for my life, my walk with God, and my desire to be n God’s word. It is a true study of the Bible, but it’s so much more. From the workbooks, to the personal testimonies shared on the videos each week, the curriculum leads you through God’s word in a way that connects the dots.
I am currently leading year one of The Amazing Collection, and I am excited about the Bible in a way I never dreamed possible. The Bible is so much more than an interesting collection of stories. It’s my prayer that more women can experience a revival in their love for God’s word. The Amazing Collection facilitated that for me and I am thankful that I can do the same for others.
For information about Gateway Church, visit their website at gatewaypeople.com

For information about The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book visit our preview page at https://www.bigdreamministries.org/preview-materials/the-amazing-collection/