Monday, March 8, 2010

An Open Door ~ Bible Study Part 2

In continuing with my Bible Study from Shelia Walsh's book, Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God we are on lesson 2. I have chosen to include my answers here in the post rather than in the comments section. I don't know how many of you might have missed that in the last study, so I have linked it here for you. My responses were listed in the comments.

So with today's study we are picking up on page 238 with An Open Door.

One of the things that's important to me as I study the Bible is to read verses in context of what was actually happening when they were written. It's tempting to simply pull out a verse like a rabbit from a magician's hat and apply it to our situation, but if we read in context I believe the message will run far deeper.

In Isaiah 43: 18-19 we read, "Remember not the former things, not consider on the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not receive it?" (ESV)

These words were written to God's people held captive in Babylon. It was one of the lowest moments in their history. Isaiah prophesies about the coming captivity and exile and yet reminds the people that God is a God of love and he will bring them home. It is one more picture in the Old Testament foreshadowing the coming Christ who will deliver us from our sin and brokenness. In these two verses God is saying, Don't look back to the time when I delivered your ancestors from Egypt, I am a God who delivers over and over again.

You may find yourself in a place of brokenness at the moment, and even though God has delivered you before, you can't imagine how will do it again as your situation is very different. Take your eyes off the past and fix them on Christ whose mercies are new every morning.

Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth, shall you not know it? - Isaiah 43:18-19

What does this verse say to you about God's ability to heal your brokenness?
I believe God can do anything, nothing is impossible for Him. When God goes to work to heal your brokenness you will know it.

Read Luke 4: 18-21
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."a]">[a]

20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." - (NIV)

Jesus quoted from the Book of Isaiah and made a declaration regarding the brokenhearted. Read this passage substituting your name for "the poor", "the brokenhearted," "the captives,""the blind," and "those who are oppressed." How does this passage speak to your life?

It gives me hope that God loves me this much He is willing to fix my life and the things that are wrong with it.

Describe a time when you started over. How did that experience make you feel? What were the positive emotions you dealt with? What were the negative emotions you faced?

I would have to say a time when I started over was when I got divorced after finding out about my husband's infidelity. I felt so lost and alone, overwhelmed and wondering if I would be able to make it or fail. The positive emotions I dealt with was looking back at my mom who had experienced the same things with my father, I felt if she could do it with two kids on her salary back then, knowing I was making so much more than she was and only had one child to worry about, I could do it. In all honesty, looking back it wasn't me who made it work out for the best, it was God's hand in it all.

"Good grief!" I said. "Lord, this is not funny. I have no idea what to do here! (p.13). Have you ever had an experience that caused you to say something like this? If so, describe that experience.

Again I would have to defer to the same situation above. Although looking back more recently when my hubby first left his job due to a disabling injury in his neck and then being laid off in the middle of it, eliminating all income and insurance for us, we got down on our knees and prayed. At first, we feared losing our home, what would the kids think, how could we both try and find work again, how can we get Steve well with no money or insurance? These were just a small handful of the questions we asked. The one scripture that kept coming back to us over and over was Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" (NIV)

We decided we would continue to give everything to God, we gave up our home, our finances, everything and told Him we would do as He saw fit. We continued to give our tithes and offerings to the church even if it was our last $20.00. We trusted God to get us through. Looking back now after leaving that life for almost a year, if we were to calculate all our bills and the amount of money to pay them with, the numbers just don't add up. Yet in the midst of this storm, we held firm to our faith in God to provide our daily needs and we never lost anything.


What do you think is the difference between experiencing brokenness and your life being broken?

I think in experiencing brokenness as a human we deal with the emotions and the reasons why it is happening to us, and its only when we realize our life being broken that we can understand just how powerful God really is to come and restore that. We have to hold firm in our faith and not waiver. God can make it happen. Good will come from everything, though not initially right away in some cases.

How can you find hope in the midst of your brokenness? How do you feel about yourself when you are broken before God? How does He feel about you?

Hang on to God and keep your eyes focused on Him. When I find myself broken, I have to realize that growth is going on in my life. God is using even that situation to refine me and make me new again. He doesn't ever just leave you alone to deal with anything. He remains by your side at all times.

Take a few moments and list some of the Scripture passages that have been most encouraging to you.

Matthew 6:25-34, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifea]">[a]?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Mark 10:27, "Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

Isaiah 40:31,

"but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.


Describe a time when you have heard the Lord say, "Just follow me."

I would have to say in regards to my situation with dealing with Steve's work situation and not know quite how I would get through it all. God once again has come through with flying colors as always by helping me create this blog as an outlet to my feelings and having the wonderful prayers come through with readers leaving comments, emails, cards and even packages with just the right things to carry me through.

What encouragement can you give someone who is struggling with the consequences of previous poor choices?

With God there is never a better time to start then now in asking Him into your life and to help guide you through the process in making you whole again. Don't wait! He is standing right there next to you right now, just waiting for the invitation from you. Won't you ask Him today?

How can you better follow God in the days ahead?

Stay close to Him through prayer and reading His word daily. Never think that God doesn't have time for you. He wants nothing more than to share His will for you and to relieve you of your burdens. Keep God close to you all throughout your days. Realize when things start to get stormy, get on your knees and call out to Him.

Summarize the instructions of Luke 4:18-21 by completing the following statement:

Because Jesus said have faith in me, I will believe that anything is possible for Him.

In your study journal, write a prayer expressing your thankfulness to God for healing your brokenness. Throughout the coming week ,use this prayer as part of your conversations with God.

Dear Father God,

We know that you alone are the master potter and we are merely the clay. Father, let us learn that during those times of storm whether the seas are pounding down upon us or merely a light shower falls, that it is during those times, where You are seeking after our hearts. You are wishing to bring us back so you can refine us closer to your image, closer to Your perfection and that we can bring You glory and honor in everything we do. In Jesus, name we pray, AMEN


Denise said...

Another great lesson.

Andrea said...

Great lessons from the heart of GOD! Hope you are doing well. Praying for you, andrea

Deborah Ann said...

This looks like a great Bible study. And that scripture from Isaiah is one of my favorites - God spoke that to me when I was in a desert place, and let me tell you, when He makes streams in the desert, it's too beautiful for words!

Mich said...

I got a surprise in the mail today! thanks friend! Here you are down and out, yet sent me a few goodies with my winnings. You made my day a little extra special.

I will have to come back and do the Bible study. I'm on lunch break right now, so I don't have the time to really dwell on the message. It looks like a fantastic study!

hope you are having a good day and feeling good!

Blessings and prayers...

Peggy said...

Blessings...You are doing such a wonderful job! I only wish that I could join in. I've shared it with others and have bookmarked it for me to come back to when I can get the book.

I so agree with you at looking at the context of verses. I love how you told us to personalize the verse in had a God moment! I know this verse refers back to Isaiah and it's the verse I was given for my blog without understanding why, but I get it now.

Thank you and be blessed. Going to write my prayer and thank God for my brokenness and being Jehovah Rapha & El Roi... just at the right time, His perfect timing as I thank Him and start believing for His healing. It's so amazing how He has put all this together for me today with all 3 studies. God definitely is speaking if we are listening!

Diana Ferguson said...

A great lesson I am so glad to have gotten in on!

Saleslady371 said...

It is so interesting to hear how the Lord rescued you in the past and we know He is not done with us! He is so faithful. Got my blogpost up about this chapter if you would like to read it.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a wonderful lesson, filled with God's love and promises.