Monday, May 10, 2010

Is It Ever Too Late To Start Again?

In keeping with my Monday theme for the next three weeks we are going through the final Bible Study from Shelia Walsh's book, Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God. We pick up today with study # 10 called, Is It Ever Too Late To Start Again?

I would imagine for most women reading this book this chapter may appear to have the least connection to their lives. Think about it, if you have seriously messed up your life with one poor choice after another, it's not very likely that you would pick up a book with the title, Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God. But for those who might have, let me say this. If you sit right now with the reality of a stream of bad choices and you did pick up this book, then I think you are beginning to grasp the truth that with God it is never too late to start back on the good path. If there is one breath left in your body and you cry out to God, he will hear and receive you. Just ask the criminal executed beside Christ (Luke 22:43).

What about those you may have given up on? It could be a child who has walked away from everything you have taught them and shows no sign of ever wanting to turn his heart back towards God. It's easy to despair in those moments, but trust asks us to keep bringing that person to the throne of grace. Whether it's one bad choice or a lifetime of bad choices, the Shepherd waits to lead us all home.

FIND ~ And Samson cried out to God: "Master, God! Oh, please, look on me again. Oh, please, give strength yet once more, God!" ~ Judges 16:28 MSG

Read 2 Corinthians 5:1-17, "14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" ~NIV

How does God's evaluation of us compare to the way the world judges people?

When we seek forgiveness from God, He is just to forgive us as though it never happened, whereas the world condemns us and will never allow us to forget or forgive us for what we have done. It is never as though it never happened with the world.

Read Judges 13:1-24, " 1And then the People of Israel were back at it again, doing what was evil in God's sight. God put them under the domination of the Philistines for forty years.

2-5 At that time there was a man named Manoah from Zorah from the tribe of Dan. His wife was barren and childless. The angel of God appeared to her and told her, "I know that you are barren and childless, but you're going to become pregnant and bear a son. But take much care: Drink no wine or beer; eat nothing ritually unclean. You are, in fact, pregnant right now, carrying a son. No razor will touch his head—the boy will be God's Nazirite from the moment of his birth. He will launch the deliverance from Philistine oppression."

6-7 The woman went to her husband and said, "A man of God came to me. He looked like the angel of God—terror laced with glory! I didn't ask him where he was from and he didn't tell me his name, but he told me, 'You're pregnant. You're going to give birth to a son. Don't drink any wine or beer and eat nothing ritually unclean. The boy will be God's Nazirite from the moment of birth to the day of his death.'"

8 Manoah prayed to God: "Master, let the man of God you sent come to us again and teach us how to raise this boy who is to be born."

9-10 God listened to Manoah. God's angel came again to the woman. She was sitting in the field; her husband Manoah wasn't there with her. She jumped to her feet and ran and told her husband: "He's back! The man who came to me that day!"

11 Manoah got up and, following his wife, came to the man. He said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to my wife?"

He said, "I am."

12 Manoah said, "So. When what you say comes true, what do you have to tell us about this boy and his work?"

13-14 The angel of God said to Manoah, "Keep in mind everything I told the woman. Eat nothing that comes from the vine: Drink no wine or beer; eat no ritually unclean foods. She's to observe everything I commanded her."

15 Manoah said to the angel of God, "Please, stay with us a little longer; we'll prepare a meal for you—a young goat."

16 God's angel said to Manoah, "Even if I stay, I won't eat your food. But if you want to prepare a Whole-Burnt-Offering for God, go ahead—offer it!" Manoah had no idea that he was talking to the angel of God.

17 Then Manoah asked the angel of God, "What's your name? When your words come true, we'd like to honor you."

18 The angel of God said, "What's this? You ask for my name? You wouldn't understand—it's sheer wonder."

19-21 So Manoah took the kid and the Grain-Offering and sacrificed them on a rock altar to God who works wonders. As the flames leapt up from the altar to heaven, God's angel also ascended in the altar flames. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell facedown to the ground. Manoah and his wife never saw the angel of God again.

21-22 Only then did Manoah realize that this was God's angel. He said to his wife, "We're as good as dead! We've looked on God!"

23 But his wife said, "If God were planning to kill us, he wouldn't have accepted our Whole-Burnt-Offering and Grain-Offering, or revealed all these things to us—given us this birth announcement."

24-25 The woman gave birth to a son. They named him Samson. The boy grew and God blessed him. The Spirit of God began working in him while he was staying at a Danite camp between Zorah and Eshtaol." ~ MSG

What does this story teach about God's ability and willingness to offer second chances?

God has always been searching for a way to reunite us once again in a great and close relationship with us. In this case, it will be through the birth of Samson. In the New Testament it will be with Jesus once and for all.

In what ways do you see doubt expressed by Manoah?

He wasn't sure that the person his wife was speaking with was sent from God because at first he hadn't seen him personally only his wife had.

Describe your need for a fresh start. In what area of life do you need a God-sized do-over?

Since my surgery, I have placed all my responsibilities on my husband, now that I am almost fully recovered, I need to transition back into the wife and mother I was before, and get my time management back on schedule including getting back to a healthier version of my former self.

If you had a fresh start today, how would you live differently?

I would probably start off my day with God as a bigger priority and keeping Him in the forefront of my daily as it progresses throughout. Thanking God and talking to Him when my world isn't falling apart is something I need to manage better.

FEEL ~ Samson was born with a promise that would protect him throughout his life if he only lived up to the terms of the agreement. What are the terms of the agreement God makes with those who seek him?

To seek Him daily, prayer for His will in our daily lives, walk according to His will and have faith in Him.

How does it make you feel to disappoint someone?

It makes me feel like I failed them, especially if it came with a promise from me. Yet, sometimes life happens and I can only hope people understand where priorities come and how difficult we can all be stretched at times.

How do you feel when you disappoint God?

The same way as I feel when I disappoint someone, yet the nice thing is that I can seek forgiveness from God and I am forgiven. There is no longer a need to feel guilty.

How do you think God feels when you disappoint him? Why?

God understands our human and sin-filled nature. Yet like any parent, I would think that it hurts Him deeply when we disappoint Him and is over-joyed when we realize this and come running for His forgiveness.

Samson made the mistake of trusting himself instead of trusting God. His mistake cost him. Have you ever made this mistake? If so, what did it cost you?

Everyday I make the mistake of not trusting God and thinking I can handle life without seeking Him first, and everytime I fall short. Yet when I begin my day with God's will in mind, my days go so much better and I maintain a great attitude no matter what comes us.

FOLLOW~ Samson never intended for things to end up the way they did. It was the result of a series of bad choices. What guidance does God provide that will help us make wise choices?

This is easy, He has provided us with His word, The Bible as a series of instructions to help us get through whatever situation we find ourselves faced with, along with seeking His will each day through prayer. We just need to be OK with whatever answer He provides us and not try to do it according to our will.

How passionate are you about making wise decisions?

I am getting better at this than in the past. I seek God before I even get out of bed, and surrender my life to him and commit myself to doing His will and giving Him glory in everything I do or say, each day.

How did God reveal himself and show his power through Samson?

God revealed himself through the Phillistines not being able to conquer Samson's physical strength. As long as Samson did what God wanted him to do, he was unstoppable.

Samson's continual source of problems was his affection for women. What is the constant source of sin or temptation in your life?

My inability to manage my time wisely at this stage in my life.

God offers us the opportunity to start over. Spend a few moments talking to God about your need for a fresh start and asking Him to overwhelm your life with His presence. Write out your commitment to God.

I will seek you first thing in the morning and surrender my life and everything in it to accomplish Your will and glorify you in my actions and words all throughout the day. I will see things through your eyes and judge no one.

Summarize the instructions of 2 Corinthians 5:17 by completing the following statement:

Because the Bible says...we should live our lives for Christ...

I to do His will in my life everyday.

Now write a prayer asking God to continue to renew you every day. Use this prayer as part of your daily time with God and as a reminder that you are a new creation with a new purpose and destiny.

Abba Father,

Thank you for the wonderful Father you are to me. That I can seek Your face and do Your will everyday that I breath. Please renew me every morning upon my waking up and let me surrender my heart, my mind, my soul and spirit and my strength to You today, that I may glorify You and do Your will Lord, not mine. Let all my words and actions be a reflection of the light of Your salvation in me that others will see You when they look at me or hear my words. Give me Your eyes to see others as You see them and let my words be an encouragement to others and provide You all the glory. In Jesus' Name I pray ~ AMEN


Loren said...

Just wanted to stop in and check on you! Hope you had a wonderful Mothers Day and are feeling better each day!

Love you!

Angel said...

Haven't seen you much lately, hope you are feeling better!! Thank you for always doing this bible study, it is awesome, a lot of food for the soul!! Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day. Love and Blessings

Mich said...

Hope you had a beautiful mother's Day weekend.

prayers and blessings...

Greetings from Niecy said...

I just LOVE reading your blog!
It's always so Inspiring and I learn so much. Thank You So Much for this Bible Study!
I love this.
I agree that when we seek forgiveness from God, He is just to forgive us as though it never happened, whereas the world condemns us and will never allow us to forget or forgive us for what we have done. It is never as though it never happened with the world.
Amen to that.
Keep spreading the word of Our Lords Goodness and His Love.
It's a true blessing!
God Bless My Sister-in-Christ.
With Love,

Denise said...

Your blog is fantastic.