Friday, July 18, 2008

Abundant Grace Week Two Discussion Questions

13 comments
 

Wow-I am so proud of you all persevering in diligent study of the Word of God! May God richly bless your efforts to know Him better. I am loving all that we are learning together. Feel free to come back and post as often as you like. Let's get a discussion started together.


Regarding Jacob, Judah, and Tamar;

1-What are some things that made them ordinary?

2-What were their main challenges?

3-Deception continues to run rampant in this family. Do you know any families like this? Share your example with the group, for confidentiality purposes don’t share their names.

4-When God blesses His servants it spills over onto everything they do. Like Jacob, Laban prospered because of God’s blessing on Jacob. With that blessing often comes jealousy from others. Can you see and example of this in your church? Again, for confidentiality purposes don’t share names.

5-Despite our sinful condition, God does work all things for the good of those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Can you give an example that you have seen of this in your life.

6-Friendships based on God are so important. Can you say this is true for your friendships? Explain.

I am not saying at all not to be friendly to non-believers. This is one way to reach out to them by living your faith so they can see it. Hanging out with them while they do non-believer things is not wise. By doing this it is very likely you will fall into temptation.

7-Have you ever seen an example of this happening in someone’s life?

13 comments:

Mariel said...

Angela~
This whole study on the blog is such a fun idea...i am loving 'hearing' from women all over that are doing the same study!

In answer to the friendship question, I will say, having Christ centered friendships make all the difference. I have a dear friend who is VERY different from me...we are both married with children but that is all we have in common other than CHRIST!

We both love Jesus with our whole hearts! We school or children, discipline our children, interact in our marriages and even decorate VERY differently. But because of our love for Jesus and each other, we spend much time digging into the Word together and sharpening one another. She is my dearest friend, but my near opposite!

PRaise Jesus for godly sisters who can be so wonderfully different than us! Amen?!

e&k said...

Ang, i am so thankful for the things God has choosen to deal with me this week using your study! Thanks!

I have a lot i could share, but for now to answer about Jacob being ordinary- I think over and over again Jacob's challenges arose from his own struggles and sins- I experience this so much in my life as a believer, that I am my worst enemy and just pray so much for the Lord to deliver me and continually redeem me from myself! Even this week when i sought the Lord about those things I "wrestle" with God about past and present they mostly have to do with me getting over myself and begging the Lord to have His way of "blessing" and not to let me be, not stuck dwelling in a life where He gives me over to my desires (myself)! So, thank you for making me think and seek God about these things. This has been so sweet.

So, even though Jacob had all these issues that came to surface throughout his life and in the middle of God's plan, he was still a vessel able to be used by God. In labeling myself as a "screw-up" per say, God is still proving Himself and His call on my life as He did with Jacob.

Kimberly said...

What made Jacob, Judah, and Tamar ordinary? Well, I always breathe a sigh of relief to learn that our great bible heroes were real people! It is also very interesting to me how the same issues that plagued them are still haunting us over 6,000 years later! With all our psychology and knowledge of history, etc, why aren't we any smarter? Why can't we learn from others and not repeat the same mistakes? I suppose because Satan knows that we are all vulnerable to the same temptations. Why should he come up with new ones when the same old ones work so well! =)

And do I ever know families like this! I personally know people who have fallen to every temptation that I've read described in our study passages and others throughout the Bible and I am sorry to say that I am one of those sinners as well. However, praise God from whom my blessings flow, what keeps me and others I know from continuing to sin or falling back into a sinful lifestyle is His hand somehow supernaturally guiding us and that yes, He has woven these scraps destined for the fire, into a beautiful life. Amazing!

On friendships-
I have come to believe that I can not go looking for a godly friend, but God has brought into my life those He has chosen for me. It blows me away because I could not have picked out these women and done as good a job choosing someone who complements me just as Muriel described with her friend.

In thinking about question 5-
Even in choosing a husband, I did not know what to look for because no one ever told me I should pray for a husband. My sinful condition (among others ) was that I did not know you should pray for friends or a husband until I was an adult and had already made some bad choices. And sometimes I question my life's path with a "what if I had ..."
I think the reality is that my choices would have landed me in terrible circumstances. God gave me a truly wonderful husband who is perfect for me... and I didn't even ask for him!(and sometimes I even say..."I didn't ask for this!" ;) Which is where having those godly women friends comes in so handy!)

So those times when I wonder what God is doing about Situation A or Incident B... I have to remind myself to look back and think about all that He has brought me through despite all my efforts to block, circumvent, or outright ignore His plans; ultimately His will and His ways have been my salvation!

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Mariel,
I am loving 'hearing' from others all over too. It is really neat. Though I wish I could hug each one of your necks as we discuss this over some coffee. :)

That is so true about friendships in Christ.

K-Love your honesty here. I often find comfort in Jacob's life as well. God can use anyone and that always gives me hope.

Getting over myself is most times the hardest and I can be my worst enemy! God is helping me with that though. He is so good.

Kimberly,
Yes-that is so amazing to me that the same troubles plague us these days. "There is nothing new under the sun." Even as "smart" as man has become still the same ole stuff.

Love this line-"He has woven these scraps destined for the fire, into a beautiful life." I too am one of the worst sinners but God chose to redeem me. That never gets old to me. How thankful we can be.

Love your sweet testimony too of God's goodness.

Thanks for sharing ladies!
Angela

Kay Martin said...

This week's Bible study stirred up some questions that were healthy for me.

The Bible potrays characters with their vulnerabilities as well as their giftedness. Equally, Chrisitan leaders are more effective when they are transparent. I don't trust anyone sharing the goodness of God unless I see their "limp." I've only been touched by people who have had encounters with God that cost them something dear. I cannot recall any significant person in Scripture used of God that didn't have a "limp."

Your question on deception hits home. I was born in a home with many issues and dysfunction from alcoholism and wife abuse. God has been gracious in His healing and freedom that I can now say I thank Him in all things. I am only useful in service in His Kingdom because of my particular journey: the good, the bad and the ugly. I wouldn't miss this privilege to work with Him in rescuing His precious daughters and sons for anything.

So in all that dysfunction I was taught to present a good front for the world. Never would my family want anyone to know all of our failures and issues.

Overcoming this deceptive, manipulative mindset took years of prayer, counselling and transformation. Truth and transparency are precious to me. I have to pray to be merciful for those who choose to conceal and deceive for the good of a institution or oranization. So Jacob, the trickster, was a good example of my family before God became Lord of everything for us.

I loved many sections of this week's Bible study. My Christian friends are dear to me and make life abundantly rich. Most meaningful for me was the section on memorials. Jacob was so impacted by his visitation of God that he had to build an altar and memorial.

Many years ago I was hit with a great betrayal by someone very close to me. God had my entire attention and revenge or unforgiveness were unthinable. So in utter reliance on God I was blessed with joy, peace and hope in the middle of the mess.

The sunsets during those days were vivid with reds, golds, purples and drama. I saw them as my memorial of a Mighty Wonder Working God. Now whenever I see one of those sunsets I instantly reflect on God in times of trouble. I have many times when He reached down and saved me and mine!!!

Also Jacob vowed that the Lord would be his God. In this covenant between Jacob and God I was blessed by God's commiment:
God would be with Jacob, watch over him on his journeys, give him food to eat, clothes to wear, return him safely to his father's house. Jacob commited to give one tenth of all God was giving him.

In America we become somewhat confused in studying covenants. In the eastern part of the world covenants is strong bonded commitments. The commitment is pledged to be held unto death.

Oh, to know and hold onto the power of being in covenant relationship with Almighty God!!!

Beams of Light Ministries said...

I agree with Kimberly when she says that one of the best parts of reading the Bible is that these are the recountings of real people - real lives - real issues. I think today we try to make our lives fit into a common acceptable societal mold but our real lives do not conform quite so nicely. So, I like seeing God's hand in the practical details of life. Their struggles are our struggles too when we take the time to look beneath the surface and just as God worked in their situation, He too will work in our own because He is no respecter of persons. We don't have to worry about Him showing favoritism! And for that, we tell God THANK YOU!!!

Blessings Sisters!
- Sanya

ocean mommy said...

It was very interesting to me that during this particular week, I received an e-mail from someone faced with being deceived within the family. We are believing Rom.8:28 for this situation big time. I love how God orchestrated the timing of this study with this person's need.

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Kay-
Transparency is so important. I love how God shares this stuff with us through His word that way.

Your words are all an encouragement.

I learned so much studying God's covenant. It means so much more.

Sanya-
I too just love that they were real people too! It gives me some hope. I love the no favoritism thing too.

Steph-
I LOVE God's beautiful timing in things. I pray things work out for your friend.

hsb suzanne said...

Hi Angela,

Thank you for sharing this study with us.

6-Friendships based on God are so important. Can you say this is true for your friendships? Explain.

I had a friend in high school who claimed to be a Christian. She thought it was okay to cuss, if the situation "warranted" it. For example: On one of the many occasions when I was upset with my dad's very strict discipline, my friend suggested I just shout out cuss words... not in front of him, but just to "let off steam." Supposedly, that would make me feel better. Did it? Of course not. In some ways, I felt worse.

On the other hand, I've had a few Christian friends who've been a much more positive influence in my life -- for which I'm very grateful! (At the moment, I can't think of anything specific to share in regards to the positive friendships. This is one thing I need to work on -- not being so negative and critical all the time.)

Dorothy Champagne said...

It is so exciting to delve into the lives of people in the Bible and to see their stories unfold.

It is so true that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things! I really enjoyed being reminded of those during this particular study this week.

I love what Kimberly said, "will we ever learn?"
Thanks!!

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Suzanne-
Yes friendships are so important. I too had those bad influences earlier. Then as I grew in wisdom of God I now surround myself with others who will keep me pointed to Jesus no matter what.

Dorothy-
I just love the encouragement that brings-God's uses ordinary people to do His extraordinary things. How much more amazing can you get? :)

e-Mom said...

Very good things going on here! Keep up the great work. Your Bible study and discussion are awesome.

Hugs, e-Mom

Art with Ann said...

Angela, I think the realization of how deception breeds more deception was startling. Yet, God had a plan and a purpose through it all - Jesus the Redeemer.

One thing that really stuck out for me as I was reading through the blessing for Judah that his father Israel gave him was the comparison to a lion. I then made the connection with the names of Jesus - "Lion of Judah". I had never realized that before or maybe never thought about why Jesus is called the Lion of Judah. For me, that was really a neat revelation.

Can't wait to see what I learn this week!
Thanks again!!

 
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