I am so bad. I started this Bible study literally years ago, and still haven't finished it! However, since I am currently reading my friend Lisa's first book, You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes, I decided today to go back and do some more of her I AM So You Don't Have to Be Bible study. I know I've said this before, but in case someone else happens upon this post, I will tell you again that Lisa and I went to high school together. We weren't necessarily 'friends', but we were on annual staff together which means that we did have one class together my sophomore/her senior year. She was someone that I was in awe of, to be honest. She was beautiful, had the perfect 80s hair down pat, and seemed to have a Devil may care attitude. We realized when I started visiting her blog that we had lived in the same town, and then it dawned upon me that I remembered her! I actually graduated with her sister Christi. Though we haven't seen each other in years and years, I am so very proud to call her my friend, and am extremely proud of the work that God has done in her! Her book is WONDERFUL, and I highly suggest it not only to preacher's wives, but to laypeople as well. As a preacher's kid, I can relate to much of what she is saying. We had some....interesting, shall we say?....experiences as a parsonage family, and I really need to write down stories as I remember them, cause they really are funny! Of course, I would never share incriminating evidence or names...but truly, there have been some things that, looking back, were totally unexpected and some that were very life-affirming. Though I have no great desire to go into full-time ministry myself, nor to be part of a parsonage family again, I now realize how much growing up as a part of my father's ministry shaped me, and prepared me for the types of ministry that God wanted ME to be in as an adult.
OK, enough said about that. Shew! Back to the Bible study!
Background reading for today's lesson, "A Face With a Name", comes from Exodus 33 and John 14.
These verses from The Message translation absolutely crack me up! verse 5-6:
"God said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites, 'You're one hard-headed people. I couldn't stand being with you for even a moment--I'd destroy you. So take off all your jewelry until I figure out what to do with you."....
Somehow it makes me feel better to think that even in Biblical times, other people could do such silly things that God couldn't stand to be with them. So that makes me think I'm not the only person who does dumb things. Also, since I really didn't want to be in the same room with my sons last night, it makes me feel better that God felt/feels that way about His children, too! Maybe I'm not a terrible mommy after all!
Lisa's words strike me here:
"There is one thing God will always be and that is the One who fills the Universe with marvelous light. God's eternal, transcending glory is never compromised."
Amen and Amen!
"Many believers set themselves up for disappointment by becoming what James MacDonald calls 'Wonder Junkies'. They are so transfixed on the huge displays of God they can't cope during the days of small things."
And now for the questions!
1. We discussed how we are God’s fame and He is ours. Have you ever been in a situation where you are applauded for your ministry and had to fight back the idol of pride? Ever been tempted to believe your own press? It’s okay to admit it! Your testimony will help others in their resolve!
Hmm...maybe??! I can't think of a time, but I am sure, being a prideful human, that it has taken place. Moreso, I think of times that my 'fame' brought shame to the Lord instead, and I had to come to terms with the pain that this brought to me. Times when my behavior and actions did not shine His light on my dad's ministry, times when my behavior and actions did not shine His light on my own ministry, and times that my behavior and actions show ME--the human, ugly, selfish me, not the person I strive to become in His eyes!
2. Did it ever occur to you in the 3-way drama of God, Job, and Satan that Satan was the only one outside the loop as far as Job’s reactions would be? Does this encourage you in resolving to make a fool of him when he attempts to use you to defame the Name?
No, honestly, it didn't! It brings me comfort to know that Satan was the only one in the dark in this! It does encourage me to make a fool of him. I can remind myself when I am feeling discouraged by him that God and I both know that we will make it through the rough times together and that the Lord and his Goodness will prevail!!
3. Are you in a situation now where you feel you are being overcome? Better yet, are you in a situation where you should have been overcome but are not?
Oh yes. I'm feeling very much overcome right now. I'm physically tired all the time with this pregnancy. I haven't admitted it out loud, but I believe that the fibromyalgia is rearing its ugly head, making things more difficult. The tears are threatening to overflow just writing this down. I want so much to defeat this syndrome that the Devil has placed up on me, but truly....I've known with the particular types of pain that I've been feeling over the past few weeks that I'm fighting THOSE pains again. I don't know why it feels like a weakness to admit it, but it does. I want to be stronger than the pain, but I can't be, at least not on my own. I feel like I get so little done that is productive and helpful. I just cleaned the toilet bowl, and had to sit back down because I was short of breath and my back hurt. I don't want to be a whiner, but this is HARD! I've tried to 'enjoy' this pregnancy, but honestly, I'm counting down the days. Yes, things won't be easy when he gets here--sleepless nights, relearning all those baby things that you think you'll never forget, but at least I will have a little more control back of my own body. I loved nursing Adam and didn't feel 'tied' to him with it. Right now I feel as though I am not my own.
Add to that the stinkin' situation with school....they changed the nature of this class we're taking right now, and we are the official 'guinea pigs' for this one. Given the snow we've had this winter, I'm nervous about getting things done for this class before the baby comes. I know that God is in control, and that does bring me peace. Now if only I could remember that ALL the time!!
4. Have you failed in a Satan-designed trial? Can you recognize God intends for this failure to refine and resolve you for next time? God is not out for your destruction but your perfection!
Interesting question. At first I want to say no, because if I'm still alive I haven't failed. But thinking more about it, yes I have. I think that the times that I have had to totally rely on Him and cling to Him have been Satan-designed, esp. those where I have suffered major depressive episodes. Though I don't wish to go through such trials again by ANY stretch, I know that they have helped to make me who I am today, and that through those trials, I have and can continue to show His glory!!
5. Can you describe yourself as a Wonders Junkie? Found yourself in spiritual highs and lows depending on whether you perceived God was doing wondrous things or not?
When I was younger and less mature, sure. I believe I've grown past that now, though. God is good ALL the time, even in the days when I struggle. When I think of how much worse it could be if He WASN'T there...oh man! Unfathomable! Scary! Thank you, Lord, for being here and in control!!
6. Have you ever been like Philip and had God right in your face and not recognized Him?
Oh yes. Most definitely!
7. Journal a brief prayer asking God for His Glory. Let it be the thing we all desire above all else…..
Lord, shine through me through it all. Show your Glory through this pregnancy and through me fighting this fibromyalgia. I know that YOU are in control, now let me show this to others through how I respond to difficulties! Thank you, Lord, for your many, many, many blessings!! Amen