Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bible Study Groups

Today I am so thankful for the encouragement of being in a Bible study group with other women. I get to meet with my current group tonight, as we continue looking at the Sermon on the Mount. We will pray, we will learn, we will listen, we will share, and we will be encouraged. Can't wait!

Earlier this fall, I asked my women's ministry team: What were you doing fifteen years ago? How was your life different then?

The question prompted us to share of God's merciful work in each of our lives. I was so blessed by hearing the stories of my sisters in Christ, and it left my heart full with amazement at how God drew each of us to Himself.

Thanksgiving for the difference it makes to be in a group of believers just resonated with one story, and I want to share it today. Hear what my friend and partner Dot had to share. Listen to the way God used other believers to meet her needs in the challenges she faced.

My life was very similar to what it is now, except my husband was alive, recovering from his second heart procedure, and having extreme pain in his neck which limited the use of his left arm.

I was working full time, trying to keep up with the yard, the house, the needs of my husband, children, and grandchildren. Tim had been disabled for a long time, having his first back surgery in 1959, at 19 years of age. He had been unable to work since 1976 and in extreme pain for years. Living in this type of household is stressful and can be very discouraging. The constant medical procedures make the financial pressure constant, and the fears and frustrations of someone in excruciating pain and unable to sleep is taxing. My one source of comfort was the Lord.

I taught ladies Bible studies, and even though this added one more time constraints, it was the only thing that kept me sane! The relationships I developed with many ladies, in sharing their needs and them sharing mine, gave me the support network that I could not expect at home. As the Lord prepared my mind and heart through the study of His Word, it always provided just the comfort, or the kick in the pants, I needed.

Never underestimate the value of the impact the Christian community has on your life. As you seek to please God by putting Him first, He will – I promise you – clear the way to handle the other concerns. I don’t know how, but I know it works. Maybe that’s why He is God!
Dot had a thankful perspective on her circumstances. That's not easy to do. My friend Kristi wrote a great post yesterday that really helps us to "think" about this season of Thanks Giving. It will challenge your heart and mind as you approach the American day set aside to express gratitude.

It's such a help to walk through life's trials with a friend who carries our burdens to Jesus with us. If you're in a group, I hope you are being a source of encouragement to others and they to you. A group is only as supportive as the individual members are. If you're in a group, give a big Thanksgiving "woohoo thank You"! And if you're not in a group ... I hope you really want to find one now. :) Someone is waiting to draw you in.

2 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Kristi_runwatch said...

Oh, how thankful I am for the body of Christ! Thank you for this great reminder of how much we need one another - and how truly grateful we should be for those God has placed in our lives!

Thanks for linking - that was a surprise as I was reading! :)

Hugs to you today.

Warren Baldwin said...

Dot's story was amazing. What a servant!

I appreciate your comment on my blog post: "It is a miracle that a man and a woman are able to become one and live in peace together for a lifetime, and only God can make it possible."

That is so true. Dot illustrates how, even with all the hardship in her life, God and the faithful community sustained them.

Good post.