2013 Siesta Summer Bible Study Gathering 3!

Hi Sisters! Way to hang in there with Bible study for the summer! As usual, I’m putting the bare bones of instruction for your gathering here in writing for those of you who aren’t able to watch the video. If you do watch it, you may quickly note evidences of a ample technical difficulties, all of which were caused by yours truly. For instance, at one point, I got out of my chair to grab my car keys on a side table for an illustration and nearly tore my mic off and my shirt with it. That is why it will appear that I have done a magic trick. Other technical difficulties arose when, suddenly, the cold that I’d caught from my darling Annabeth lapsed me into certain phrases that sounded exactly like I was holding my nose. Only on words with the letter “b” was it most apparent which made the words “Bible” and “humble” particularly intriguing. We are a slick group of filmmakers around here. You’re a patient group and I love you! I am so honored to serve you guys and I know that God is really speaking to you through this study journey. Let’s persevere to the last page for the joy set before us!

The following interactives are based on Weeks 3 and 4 of your Gideon homework:

1. We can get no further than p.70 to stumble on something we could talk about all day. My small group and I loved the whole portion on weakness being a key. Glance at the bottom of the page and talk about the effect that your weakness tends to have on you when you focus on it.

2. Turn to p.75 and discuss the first paragraph and your answers to the second question: How have you seen misdirected credit lead to misplaced trust or unhealthy desires for you or someone else?

3. Turn to p.97 and share which answer you chose in response to the following question and explain why you tend to lean that direction: If you are in a season of life in which you feel insecure or doubtful about God, His Word, or His calling on your life, how do you honestly feel God is responding?

4. I so loved the teaching on p.101! How did the 4 Steps in Giving Our Gifts to God resonate with you or open your eyes? Conclude with the quote Priscilla gave us in the middle of p.107 – “honest doubt in which faith lives.” Give an example of honest doubt that you have had at a time when you were still full of faith. A time when those two things were not at odds but part of that same stretch of journey.

OK, Sisters! Finish your last 2 weeks of homework for our final gathering on July 23rd! You guys are fabulous! Thank you so much for participating. You are dearly loved here at LPM.

Siesta Summer Gideon Study – Week 3 from LPV on Vimeo.

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227 Responses to “2013 Siesta Summer Bible Study Gathering 3!”

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  1. 151
    Christen Juhnke Walla Walla WA says:

    small group

    1. When I focus on my weakness, it pulls my focus off the Lord. I tend to look at the task and see my weakness as making it difficult to move forward until I have spent my emotions, physical energy to do it “to what I consider the best I can do”

    2.How have you seen misdirected credit lead to misplaced trust or unhealthy desires for you or someone else? In my profession, I try to do all I can do to keep up with those that appear to have it all “kept up”. It exhausts me, damages my self talk, leads to frustration and eventually to spewing sin onto my family.

    3.If you are in a season of life in which you feel insecure or doubtful about God, His Word, or His calling on your life, how do you honestly feel God is responding?
    I have just come through a time where God was silent and I couldn’t understand why.IT was a waiting period. With time, I started to realize He had already given me Jer 29:11 and that it was about moving on to another calling. He also pressed onto my heart that it was faith not sight this time. I also asked him to please give me one other confirmation. He was faithful to do so.

    4.honest doubt in which faith lives.
    It is the same time as I described in #3. I had honest doubt yet I knew God had made a way for me but I was in a waiting period and had trouble knowing that I was still in his will because I had to wait. I tend to let doubt creep in during these times. Imperfect faith that needed to be strengthened. I love how God faithfully does this for me. Praise you Lord!

  2. 152
    kathy says:

    Kathy
    Madison, CT…solo :)

    1. Loved this…God IS all powerful!…true that….makes sense if He uses MY weakness….and for me…pride gets in the way every time….then it gets ugly when I try to take control and angry if you won’t let me….Thank you for grace, Father.

    2. Unfortunately…I am learning the hard way as I ‘break free’ of pride, that the misdirected credit has been self seeking: “What about me?”….TO HIM BE ALL THE GLORY.

    3. It has taken me a lifetime to say: God loves me….now I need to be patient, not Him.
    4. Gifts…me?…first I thought Ha!…but really, my heart is being pulled and I have been praying for answers as to what God wants me to do right now..I feel led to do something….but waiting to hear….

    I have no doubts…but…it pains me that I don’t hear from God as much as my sisters do. It is a Godly jealously, but not doubting. So I wait and trust.

  3. 153
    Marisa says:

    Marisa, Michigan, Solo

    1. My weakness I get down, have a poor self-image and lack confidence. Overall I feel defeated and not good enough.

    2. Overcoming something is through God not through my own doing and when I loose sight of this I can become filled with self and ego. Also, putting trust in others to meet my needs instead of turning to God to fulfill my needs never ends well.

    3. The last one! He knows me, understands my weaknesses and is patient with my uncertainties. Oh how blessed we are to have such a patient God!

    4. With a possible move to another state with four little ones. We have prayed about this asked God for guidance and just wait to see how we should procede. I have faith in God to lead us in the perfect direction.

    Loving this bible study!!! xo

  4. 154
    Christy Johnston says:

    Pride destroying relationships – YES!! My dad has been diagnosed with Narcissism and just left our family (his second affair) for another woman and filed divorce. My mom and he have been married 31 years. I am the oldest (29) or SEVEN children, and he is choosing himself, his pride, and money over his family. DESTROYING our family. We are praying fervently and believing God will move mountains in his life and in each of our hearts, so that through this we will all grow near to Jesus and watch His outpouring of miracles. Through this storm, HE IS FAITHFUL. He loves my dad more than my dad loves himself. And so we stand firm, stand united and BELIEVE in the ALMIGHTY GOD! Praise HIM! Please pray for us, the Caruso Family in Delray Beach, FL.

  5. 155
    Hannah says:

    1. I feels ad and depressed when I focus on my weaknesses.

    3. I know that God knows me, understands my weak esses, and is patient with my uncertainties.

    4. Right now I am prepping for my third pay cut in 3 years. We lost our home to the bank but we now have a nice rental. My husband lost host vehicle and we went through bankruptcy, but God brought us through. Now praying for his help this time around, praying about the future an not being anxious about it. I know God is our provider. Praying that God will provide a job for my husband.

  6. 156
    Rhonda says:

    #4 – after having my first pregnancy end with a miscarriage at 12 weeks, I had many doubts, but I also had faith that Christ would get us through. I wrestled, struggled & fought for my faith through those doubts and He let me. He stood in the gap when I couldn’t, beside me when I broke, and on the other side when victory was found. Only by His hand :)

  7. 157
    Rinday says:

    1.) Focusing on my weakness leaves me with heightened,irrational emotions, decreased self image and confidence and leaves me felling paralyzed and unsure when I am trying to move forward.

    2.) I have misplaced my trust in one certain friendship because I failed to listen to warning signs that this person did not have my best interest in heart but only hers. The worse heartbreaks can come from a friend who claims to walk in Christ but whose actions betray this…

    3.) he knows me, understands my weaknesses and is patient with my uncertainties.

    4.) I feel this way right now with my career. I have been going to school nearly all of my life and I have no problem with the “preparation” part. My problem has been seeing the end result and believing in it and allowing my heart to be fully devoted to it. I am hesitant (because of fear) to use these gifts He has given me the grace and opportunity and strength to prepare… I am having having trouble with the “laying it down and pouring it out.”

  8. 158
    Astrid says:

    1. when i focus on my weaknesses i feel inferior and insecure at worst and humbled and gratefully dependent at best

    2. God has used a couple of people to minister to me very powerfully during a extremely vulnerable time of my life and it was difficult to let go of some unhealthy attachments i had formed in spite of the fact that i was fully aware that it was God in them that ministered to me.

    3. He knows me, understands my weaknesses and is patient with my uncertainties. Why? Because I am not (empathetic and patient) naturally so his response is distinct and one i must remind myself of frequently.

    4. recently- (due to unclear communication on my part) my sister, her husband and one year old came to visit for SIX weeks. we have 3 younger kids and i work two long days and we have limited space so i started feeling overwhelmed.i prayed a lot and chose to believe God over my feelings. then- out of the blue-she announced that something came up and they needed to change their tickets to only stay 3 weeks. i felt relieved, like God had really come through on this one and was crediting him and praising him happily for a couple of days. turns out, they were unable to actually re-book their flights and i felt doubt rising in the midst of faith that i had given this visit to God and he was in charge. i think any time my specific expectations and perceptions of how God should best respond to my needs does not match up with what appears to make sense to me, doubt rises but it co-exists with the faith i chose to exercise.

  9. 159
    Bonnie of Manakin says:

    1. All effects are negative. I can be living in my own weaknesses and quickly start believing that my feelings are the reality instead of God’s strength. Easy to forget to rely on God—why is that? Pride, just like my 3 year old grandson. “I do it!” Effects-discouragement, fake living, hopeless, fear, unable to move forward.

    2. Feeling it was my responsibility to “do” everything by the book and expecting certain results no only in my lifem, but in my children. When I did not see these results, I was devastated and felt I had failed. If I had gotten the good results I southt, there is no way but to know in my heart I would have taken the credit for it because I did “thus and so”.

    3. I chose #4 He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. This is true and after what I have experienced I know it is true. god does not condemn me but always forgives and welcomes me.

    4. Preparation is not only learning the truth and getting to know God better through study and daily time with Him but it is going through those times when I am devastated – yes – doubting – wondering if God really cares – where is he? and then knowing yes indeed He is here and He was there – that’s how He is. that trial was to teach me and to see God is right in the middle of my life in every circumstance.

  10. 160
    Amy says:

    1. When I focus on my weaknesses, my stress level rises, my confidence plummets,and the end result is that I freeze up and can’t move forward. I see nothing but obstacles,and my productivity stalls out.

    2. It is so easy to credit myself with accomplishments and forget that it is God who did it through me. When someone compliments me on a job well done, I’m working on being more bold to witness to them about God’s power and provision working through me.

    3. God is patient with me! I am realizing this more and more, and thanking Him for it. Married 32 years and still learning how to be a godly wife!

    4. Sometimes, after I feel that God has called me to a specific ministry, I begin to have doubts if I don’t see any fruit from it. I’ve found that when I ask, God will give me little assurances, like a phone call or card from someone saying how they have been blessed.

  11. 161
    Pamela says:

    Pamela, Mechanicsville, VA solo
    1. Whenever I start focusing on my weakness, I am not focusing on God and His strength and power.

    2. All credit/glory should always go to God, I believe and trust in Him.

    3. God loves me, I need to be patient. He has a plan for me.

    4. It is most important for me to always believe in God and His love for me and my family. I try to say Thank You God everyday in all circumstances for everything.

  12. 162
    Kay says:

    1.
    focusing on my weaknesses makes them seem more numerous than they probably are which leads to feeling overwhelmed

    2.
    Many times I’ve seen people take credit for the work of others and it’s unfortunate that many of them claim to be Christians. (very sad to watch) It’s easy and probably ok to feel good about something we have done as long as we remember who allowed it, who gifted us, who empowered us to accomplish whatever it was. Giving glory to God for your success is much more satisfying than whatever you completed, created, or said.

    3.
    Just ending a 30+ year career in education, I look forward to see God reveal what the next chapter will look like. So the 4th choice is mine – “He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.”

    4.
    I loved the part about taking time to prepare. When you are at a juncture in your life not really knowing which way to head, it is always a safe move to get into God’s Word. Small or large group Bible studies are excellent places to plant yourself while you establish or regain your bearings. From a different perspective: over the years, I’ve mentored several young ladies whose husbands are entering the ministry and Bible study is always my first recommendation to them. Some want to begin “counseling” right away without doing the hard work of laying the foundation. Priscilla said, “…you cannot expect God to use what you have not taken time to prepare. …honing your gift “will help you be ready when He opens the opportunity….” Such wise words

  13. 163
    Genevieve Garrison says:

    1. My weakness is my self-image. I know that I need to stop this because I was created by God and He loves me no matter what.
    2. Sometimes I get upset when people get publicly acknowledge for something that they really don’t deserve. But then I have to think about this because no of us deserve anything we have, abstract or concrete. Everything belongs to our heavenly Father, Jesus Christ.

    3. I am in a great season of my life right now and I give God all of the glory and credit for it. He has answered all of my prayers and is still answering my prayers. It is amazing what God will do if you put faith in Him. Although I realize that He does not always answer on my time schedule, I now know it is because it needs to be His time schedule.

    4.This ties in with Number three. We finally sold our home after it was on the market for 4 months. However, we planned to sell and build a home 6 years ago. I prayed so long about our situation. God answered all of our prayers even though I did doubt that He was listening to me. How horrible of me to even think this thought. He is so awesome. Now that our house is sold (after living in it for 17 years) we can begin building are new home, our dream home. Thank you Jesus for YOU!

  14. 164
    Teresa says:

    I become fearful and paralyzed.

    I am self-employed; ergo, I often am too prideful to understand that it is all God’s to begin with. I struggle with relinquishing all to God.

    How do I feel God is responding in this season of my life regarding His calling on my life? I attended LPL in Providence, RI. I stood with the microphone & said I am here to fill it up and pour it out as at this time I am very sensitive to my calling. I knew if I stated this publicly I would carry-out this burden. Now, I am preparing. Once I arrived home I began reading Scripture. Unintentionally, I began reading Jeremiah Ch 8 which unknowingly, is one idea where study began with Beth…Summer. I believe God has forewarned me.

    Wow. Once, in a matter of weeks I was kicked out of church (nothing illicit), my husband asked for a divorce and my relationship with my mentor was severed. I understand that divorce is not God’s idea. Albeit, this was a time God separated me from those closest to me and my faith & doubt coincided.

  15. 165
    Kelly says:

    Kelly from Hollidaysburg, PA – going solo

    1 – I don’t focus too much on my weaknesses, but when I do, it causes me to have an unnatural fear of what I don’t know.

    2 – Misdirected credit allows us to put our trust in a place it was never intended to be. And that’s idolatry. And the longer we have our trust in that person or group, the harder the fall is when they inevitably let us down.

    3 – I chose something between 3 and 4. And I know that how I assume God is responding to me is because that is how I would respond to my kids.

    4 – The preparation resonated with me because currently, we are going through a sermon series at church on preparation for callings. We are looking at different biblical characters and what they were doing before God called them. The idea of needing to fully prepare our gifts is exactly the stage I am in right now and I LOVED that part of it!

  16. 166
    Pamela Pancione says:

    1. I tend to make my insecurity grow and then a feeling of unworthiness comes in and everything gets blurry so that I cannot separate lies from truth.

    2.I have built people up so that I have taken my eyes off of my Father God and maybe really put them in His place, thats frightening…

    3.I know He loves me and is patient

    4. I need to follow through with all of the steps of giving and offer with an open hand…
    When praying for a physical or spiritual healing I doubt….

  17. 167
    Vivian says:

    Vivian, Birmingham, Alabama, Solo

    1. When I focus on my weaknesses I find myself becoming insecure, restless, irritable and not at peace. I am unable to focus on Bible study and follow through with things I should be doing at home. I become obsessed with thinking things that probably are not true. I have fought the situations that cause this and am praying and seeking my Father’s help in demolishing this unholy focus on myself. The song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” and other Christian hymns and songs as well as Scriptures I memorize and Bible study are key in keeping my focus on Him.

    2. My thought about misdirected credit leans toward what I see when people follow after a famous preacher, leader, or even a family member who is the center of their lives. Too much dependence on imperfect humans will eventually lead to disillusionment and disappointment. Our relationship with our Father God through our Saviour Jesus Christ should be the center of our lives. He will never fail. He deserves all the credit and it is never misdirected credit as we focus on and follow Him first.

    3. I answered the question: “He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.” I experience His guidance in my life through Scripture, Biblical teaching, and His unique responses that speak to my heart so clearly. Sometimes He teaches me the same lesson of Scripture in three different resources – and I am not looking for the extra two! That is just one way I know He is wanting me to pay more attention to something. Other times when I am memorizing a verse He confirms I chose the one I needed by, again, letting it show up in other resources almost immediately after I began memorizing it. He never lets me forget I am His loved child. I like to remember the song “He Knows My Name.”

    4. It is easy for me to give back what He has given me and to see that He who created the gifts and desires I have already has a plan for them. I hadn’t thought about it quite the way Priscilla shared it, but I am on this track. I need some more preparation in one area but am following through on others. The term “honest doubt in which faith lives” touched me in the area of missions. I read about so many millions of lost people in our world in a monthly prayer guide I use. I think how many are not being saved and are not being found by Him who is not willing that any one should perish even as I read about those who do have special encounters with Him and are saved. I know He is working in these people groups through missionaries and those of us who pray, but it seems there are so many not reached who will have eternity without Him. Trusting Him here even when I don’t understand is my honest doubt in which my faith lives.

  18. 168
    Melinda says:

    solo
    1. When I focus on my weaknesses,I become paralyzed by fear and filled with anxiety becoming ineffective to be used by God.
    2. Misdirected credit has led to misplaced trust causing deep wounds, suffering and sorrow.
    3. Sometimes when God is silent and it is a time of waiting. He is drawing me to seek him more in His word and growing my trust.
    4. I had never considered the 4 steps prior to reading them. They are so perceptive. When my firstborn required open heart surgery I was facing honestdoubt and faith coexisting. God used thattime to grow my faith and trust.

  19. 169
    SKay Fires says:

    SKay Fires, Possum Kingdom Lake, TX, solo
    1) My focus on my weaknesses has changed over the last several years. Now I tend to use my weakness as my excuse rather than considering it a challenge and trying to tackle or overcome it.
    2) Yes, pride often gets in the way and leads to misdirected credit. Even in churches and Christian organization and groups, the glory that belongs to God is often overlooked.
    3) God knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. I know this and believe this with all my heart. I use to be impulsive and often jumped ahead of God’s time table. Now I am learning to be more patient to the point that I can sympathize with Gideon when he wants God to confirm his calling with both fleece incidents and hearing the thoughts from the enemy camp. God, are you sure this is what you are calling me to do???
    4) At the present time, I am struggling with what God is calling me to do in relationship to the calling He has placed on my husband’s heart. My husband’s calling is a HUGE answer to a long time prayer and the answer was WAY BEYOND anything I ever imagined. Now, I’m asking God to show me how I fit into this picture. What does He want me to do in order to cooperate with His calling on my husband’s life? It just doesn’t “fit in to the box/plan” that I thought was our destiny. I’m believing God, but He is really stretching my faith and ability to surrender to His plan. I’m looking for the light on the path and trusting He guides both my husband and myself in the direction we should go in order to bring glory and honor to the blessed Name of Jesus!

  20. 170
    Kristi says:

    better late than never, right?

    Kristi, Pensacola, FL; going solo

    • 170.1
      Kristi says:

      1. When I focus on my weaknesses, I tend to view myself as a sorry person. I recognize that this is a phrase that I heard while growing up, but I still have to battle past it.
      2. I have seen that when we try to own what is His, churches split when trust is misplaced (and put into self, instead of Him).
      3. I am not feeling insecure about the Lord or His calling on my life right now (Praise Him!), but I know that He knows me, He understands my weaknesses and is patient with my uncertainties.
      4. I love the 4 steps in giving our gifts to God. It is a good reminder of what I need to do. The honest doubt that I dealt with was my personal dealings with my loved ones. Not being grace-filled with them. He has moved me past that! Amen!

  21. 171
    Carolyn says:

    1. When I focus on my weakness, I get anxious and paralyzed, wishing the situation would just disappear. If I feel like I can’t “succeed” I don’t even want to start.

    2. I may be on the other side of the coin than most on this question, but I feel like I’m the one who receives “misguided credit.” People look at my life and think I do everything perfectly. I long to be the one that a girlfriend chooses to share her heart with. I’m still trying to figure out how to be more approachable, transparent, etc.

    3. He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. I’ve been blessed with earthly parents that responded to me that way, so it is easier to believe my Heavenly Father does too.

    4. Parenting is a constant faith walk–trusting that the seeds I’m planting, the instruction/correction I give is making a difference. Even when we seem to be fighting the same battles over and over, I need God’s strength to trust that He is doing a work in their hearts.

  22. 172
    Pam Dow says:

    Pam D., Hendersonville, TN, solo
    1. My trigger in my weakness is fear and the inability to make decisions or move forward. I become apathetic.

    2. People will eventually disappoint you. Some falls are larger than others, depending on their sphere of influence. Many people can be hurt by others in positions of authority or leadership.

    3. I have grown through all of those responses, but at this point in my life, I am most always in #4, God knows me, understands me and is patient with me. Hallelujah!

    4. There have been many times, but 2 of the darkest/hardest times I had where doubt was really honest, but I chose faith were when my husband and I had twins who were stillborn (1992) and when we made a major move (in location and career in 1999).

  23. 173
    Sandy says:

    Durant, OK
    Small group

    1. When I focus on my weakness, it makes me defensive and afraid to fail.

    3. I know He loves me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. Sometimes, I just forget! I did just recently think that I may have missed my window of opportunity to do what He is directing me to do, but now I have regained the encouragement from the spirit to move forward. I loved Priscilla’s session 4 & 5 videos!

    4. And the 4 steps to giving our gifts really spoke to me.

    I know that what God has been asking me to do will be taking a risk, but if I don’t obey Him, I am taking a risk of great consequences. I have to trust Him.

  24. 174
    Pat says:

    Pat Hilliard, OH; solo
    Even later…

    1. My weakness stops me in my tracks. I am not effective for anything when it consumes me.

    2. The crisis’ our nation is in—we continue to think “leaders & regulations” can make us strong but it is only if we will cry out to the Lord and repent that He will heal our land.

    3. “He knows me, understands my weakness…” because I am witnessing this right now in a season of change!

    4. Right now—we are preparing to relocate across the country; to a place with no family or friends. I know God is leading us and guiding each step in the process. Yet, I am still in awe each time He shows me His hand. (Why am I surprised??)

  25. 175
    Amanda (Olive Branch, MS) says:

    1. effect focusing on weaknesses have on me: I am tired, sick, headaches, insecure, my confidence wanes, and I get paralyzed at moving along

    2. misdirected credit: My last school- the pressure continued to mount to do more and more for my resource kids (which is not an area of calling for me in teaching, but accepted it anyway, hum!!). I ended up with a headache everyday. I was exhausted trying to give them miracles only God could do. This was actually an area of pride God had to show me and then God led me to leave this job at the end of the contract without having another job yet. But my headaches went away with humbling myself under God. All my families needs were still met this last year.

    3. season of doubt; God’s response: I’m not currently in a season of doubt on something at the moment, but I’m sure it will come again. In the past have thought God was mad or didn’t love me, but now with recent times of doubt experienced God has shown me his faithfulness, his patience, and his guidance through these times. So I know God understands me.

    4. honest doubt, with full faith: I really answered this in #2. Leaving my last school is exactly what I was supposed to do and full of faith in that decision. And yet over the last year of substituting, I’ve had doubts at times of if or when I would teach again. Jesus loved me through those times and reassured me in His word of what He was doing. At the end of June, one of the schools I subbed for called and asked me to take a 3rd grade class for next year. This is a private Christian school where there are plenty of students who do not walk with Christ and I can freely witness to and encourage. God led me to right where I am and I have NO doubt about that. :-)

  26. 176
    Angie Miller says:

    Angie M – Macon, Ms – solo

    1. I tend to get stuck in a bad mood when I start focusing on myself instead of being a servant. Pride causes me to hate the mundane job I’m doing (laundry, trash, unloading the dishwasher, again!). I begin to get angry at the people who cause me all this work. But if I take that weak key and start praising God for my family, then it becomes an honor to serve them. My pride turns into a humble spirit through God’s strength.

    3. “He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.” I had to become a parent before I could fully understand God as my Father. This statement is how I want to be with my children, and I know my perfect Heavenly Father is the perfect parent. He knows me and is very patient with me.

    4. I loved the concept on page 101 too. I must prepare these gifts God has given me. I can’t just expect them to be ready. And they are not mine to keep to myself. They must be poured out to Him.

  27. 177
    Brianna says:

    Brianna Huntsville, AL – solo

    1. When I focus on my weaknesses, I become very self-centered. I obsess over what I can’t do instead of the things God can do (with me, through me, and for me). I spend so much time focusing on the negatives that I overlook all of the ways God blesses me.

    2. By giving credit to myself(and others) instead of God, I become prideful. By taking credit for things God has done for me I try to convince myself that I have everything under control, that I don’t need God’s help. This way of thinking sets me up for failure everytime, because I will never succeed at anything without Him.

    3. I chose “He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.” No matter how unworthy, unloved, or flawed I feel, I know that God loves me just as I am. He always has and He always will.

  28. 178
    Kathy says:

    Kathy, Easley SC – group

    1. I feel overwhelmed, weak, defeated, and that I can’t do whatever it is I’m hoping to do.

    2. I have infant twin girls, and when I’m out with them I often get comments like “I don’t know how you do it.” Sometimes the first thing out of my mouth is something that gives me credit, instead of praising the one who really did all the work! Me saying it is my accomplishment is a huge lie and couldn’t be further from the truth.

    3. I feel nothing but his patience with me.

    4. Now. I believe he is telling me something that he plans to do in my family. He has also given me this kind of insight in the past. But this time I am doubtful because there are some large physical obstacles which would have to be overcome for it to happen. I am waiting to see what happens.

  29. 179
    Lisa says:

    1. I am anxious and in a state of panic. My emotions are overwhelmed and makes it difficult for me to move forward.

    2. When I was working, I was often told that I was good at my job and made a difference in many children’s lives. This led to pride and I had to be careful not to take any credit for the gifts God has given me.

    3. I feel he is patient with me, but wants me to enjoy my life to the fullest. He would love to see victory in my life and he wants to work through me to ensure that victory.

    4. I loved this concept of giving our gifts to God. I want to be able to remember it and apply it to my life. I am pregnant right now and our baby has a mild kidney issue. I was told it would be present throughout my pregnancy. I have had to choose not to doubt God’s faithfulness in this situation and believe that my baby will be healthy and that this issue does not indicate any further issue (chromosomal) for the baby. I have remained strong in my faith through this study to believe that no matter what the outcome, God is in control. My past 2 appointment, the baby’s kidneys have been normal!!!

  30. 180
    Martha says:

    Martha, Brevard NC (solo)

    1. It can totally paralyze me, discourage and depress me. Anxiety & great guilt/shame. I feel defeated before I begin and afraid to even try again. I feel defined by my weakness(es), full of self-hatred over it. Obviously it is VERY destructive. It has the enemy written all over it.

    2. Putting too much weight on friendships, bible study leaders, pastors, my spouse.. leading to some unhealthy trust & dependency, and then being let down or hurt, which has led to some fractured relationships and baggage. OR if I’m the one taking the credit, it has led to destructive pride and a leanness of soul.

    3. I checked “He is mad at me for taking so long to know for sure what He wants me to do” and “He still loves me but is frustrated and impatient with me.” I seem to vacillate between one of those two assumptions. I think it may have something to do with coming from a legalistic background, and maybe baggage from some of the ways my parents parented where I felt like I lost their love/favor if I messed up/sinned, etc. What really scares me is that I can see myself propagating this again it seems on my own children, and I desperately want to break this cycle! I honestly am very broken over this today and need prayer.

    4. I absolutely loved this week and it so deeply resonated with me also. I appreciated the four steps as well, something concrete. I think it most resonated with me in that currently I tend to really want to prepare something far longer than maybe is needed. To get caught up in perfectionism and fear that its still not quite perfect/ready (and thus never step out and actually USE the gift.) Then if I do actually present it to God for His use, I have quite a long list of stipulations for how I hope He will and will NOT use that gift. :) I don’t really want to fully put it down and surrender out of fear of what He may ask me to do and how He may confront my comfort zones and fears.

    And I meditated on that quote “honest doubt in which faith lives” quite a bit during that few days of study.. I mean, can you actually have faith without doubt first existing?? Is it not the soil in which faith has to grow? Because I cannot exercise true faith unless I am UNCERTAIN of the outcome, unless I am filled with doubt. Then I can experience a letting go of doubt and a choosing of faith, a filling of faith by the power of God’s Spirit and Word. If I don’t doubt, then I am already sure, already confident, and I’m not actually leaning into Him in faith, totally trusting His Word alone even when I can’t see it or feel it to be true.

    Anyway.. as you can tell, this study is so profoundly affecting me, and God is speaking in powerful ways. I am so grateful and thankful for it!

  31. 181
    Susan Whitaker says:

    Susan, Piscataway, NJ, solo

    (1) I do tend to focus on my weakness, which I believe is the way we are graded in school and in the work place here in the US. It leads me to depression and anxiety. I feel so badly about myself, leading to low self esteem and self hatred. When I am in this place, I am not able to move forward.

    (2) this was a difficult question for me to answer during the study. I agree conceptually, but could not think of a practical application. I am a loner and do not rely on church leadership, do not have a spouse, or close friends. I cannot apply in the secular work place as no one is giving the credit to God, nor are we expected to. At the beginning of 2013 my pastor gave what I found to be a very moving sermon. He advised that instead of seeking the next promotion, we should strive to be the best employee we can possibly be. This has led to an opening of the windows of heaven in my life. It has allowed me to be sincere and honest and achieve a work life balance I have never experienced before.

    (3) I did not choose any of these responses because none of them quite fit for where I am in my journey. I feel secure in my life at present. I need to work more on my reliance on God. Later in the study Priscilla taught that our assumptions regarding the natural order of the universe is a modern form of Baalism and the loss of prayer regarding the every day matters of our lives. This really struck me. I am striving to do better in my prayer life telling God about the more mundane matters of my life that are really important to me. I hope that makes sense.

    (4) I found the concept of honest doubt to be profound. To me caution shows that I loveGod but am very uncertain of myself as the recepient of God’s messages/will. Sometimes there are two good choices in front of us (I have this now) and seeking God.’s will is challenging because of good choices.

    Thank you for this study. It is having a huge impact in my life.

  32. 182
    Cheryl says:

    Cheryl, Algodones, NM, Small group – When I focus on my weakness nothing goes right in my life. I fall prey to debilitating anxiety and depression. I have to remember to rest in Jesus. Nothing can take me from the hand of God. I have to remember that no matter what my life looks like I am a child of God and he is ever present with me. In my worse times I find comfort visualizing myself climbing into Christ’s lap and having him hold me. I also ask for prayers from church family. When I am trusting God through the midst of a crisis I can feel Christ holding my heart and I know all is right with the world. I call that a “heart hug”.

    Thank you Beth (and Priscilla!) for this study. It has been amazing!

  33. 183
    Lynn Larson says:

    Our small group is taking the really slow route through this study, between how often we can get together and how much we want to really dig into this study….So here are the answers that were due a long time ago.

    1. Weaknesses bring out fear, pride, confusion and even anger sometimes.

    2. Misdirected credit leads to trusting in myself way too often. I love what Priscilla said in the paragraph above this: “As long as we can even remotely explain it by numbers, smarts, experience, or good genes, we will try to own what is His. Then we settle further into dismal pride that wears away our spiritual fiber. ” –Exactly!

    3. At the moment God is taking me through a season of directing me in a way I am so unsure of. Thankfully this study has been the catalyst for hearing God in a mighty way. He is making himself clear through this study. (Thank you Priscilla for writing and Beth for choosing it this summer). My answer was: He knows me, understands my weakness, and is patient with my concerns (unbelievably patient!). He is so gracious.

    4. This one couldn’t be more timely. I believe he has had me preparing (without realizing it) and presenting it by accepting what He has seemingly been asking me. I am in the process of Putting it down now – the surrender that I have heard Him correctly and that it really is the Lord. My next step is pouring it out and I know that will come when I step into it with no turning back. My doubt is an honest doubt that God is maturing by my questions and my seeking Him in it. I totally believe that IF it is God asking He will provide ALL I need to accomplish it. I just have to make sure it is HIM that is asking. I am so thankful for his patience and His understanding my hesitance.

  34. 184
    Ellen says:

    Ellen, Albuquerque, Small group

    (1) My weakness is worrying about things I can’t control or that haven’t happened yet! When I focus on this weakness, I temporarily forget that the Sovereign Lord is in control and I don’t have to figure things out on my own – He will give me what I need when the time comes!

    (2) I sometimes put people I love on a pedestal, which leads to disappointment, because they are human. Only God will never let me down.

    (3) In this season of life I feel very blessed and that God is responding favorably to what is going on in my life and is leading me every step of the way.

    (4) One of my favorite verses is Mark 9:24 – “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.” This verse reminds me that as faithful as I try to be there are times when doubt will creep in – Jesus knows my every weakness and I can be confident that He will continue to guide me even when I make mistakes!

  35. 185
    Darlene J says:

    Darlene J, Macedonia, OH – solo

    1. Not really focus on my weakness…I tend to regret my weakness, ask God to help me & move on to my next…?

    3. I initially fell “He still loves me but is frustrated –not really impatient –with me. Like…we’ve been through this before, don’t you get it yet??? But I know “He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.”

    4.4 P’s..I think I have understood/believed the first 3, but I think I have always thought I put my gift down…give it to Him…I never thought about me pouring it out…I guess I thought he should pour it out..??? mmm will have to do some more thinking on that one.
    Faith while doubting would have to be rebuilding a shell of marriage. I have faith He can…but it’s been 10+ yrs and no difference..each day I try to live & believe He will… but I also have to consider that may not be what he will do….????

  36. 186
    Terri Tripp says:

    Terri from Winchester, VA
    Started out in a group but finishing strong onmy own …slowly !
    1: focusing on my key chain of weaknesses is discouraging and paralyzing.
    2: misdirected credit leads me to think that I have my life all figured out. This is harmful as this is not sustainable without giving God the glory!
    3: He still loves me but is frustrated and impatient with me. This resonates as I struggle with feeling I have to earn God’s love. People pleasing is not the same as God pleasing!
    4: Pouring out is profound for me as I find I want to know in advance how exactlyGod will be using my gifts in a given situation . Honest doubt came recently when I realized that I can choose flexible ways to serve in my community that don’t take away from the needs of my family.

  37. 187
    Marcy says:

    Marcy, Euless TX (solo)
    1. Extremely sensitive – always in a state of being defensive
    2. I now realize that I have misdirected credit and then felt let down..it started with me – yet I held the other person responsible
    3. Is patient with my uncertainties – I love and trust God, fear grips me
    4. Honest doubt – we worked for the same company and the company closed, relocated to a town without knowing anyone, no family or friends, The Lord provided but in times of uncertainty honest doubt was there

  38. 188
    Danita says:

    Danita, Lake in the Hills, IL, solo

    1. When I focus on my weakness, I become moody, angry, and depressed. I feel I’m just not good enough, that I can never be enough, so why even try? It paralyzes me. I stay stuck where I am and can’t move forward.

    2. If there is anything that can be attributed to science or coincidence or our efforts, we tend to go that route rather than give God the credit He deserves. We desire to make ourselves look better in the eyes of others. Building ourselves up, even if the credit isn’t deserved, makes us feel better for a season.
    Misdirected credit can cause us to become works-oriented rather than grace-oriented.

    3. God seems to be bringing me through a season of loss. There have been quite a few deaths & the loss of a very close friendship that have shaken me quite hard this year. But I have felt God answering me. He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. He has been so gracious as to hold me when all I can do it cry. I have felt His presence so close when I was actively choosing to believe Him and His word even though my heart hurt so badly & I had such feelings of doubt. What an amazing God we have!

    4. The four steps helped me to see my season of life more clearly. I am the mother of 3 small children. I want to do “big” things for God at church, but right now my family needs me at home & in the nursery. He is using this time to prepare me for other things once this season is over. I cannot despise His plan. Also, I must give my desire to serve back to Him to decide how to use it. That part is most difficult for me. I want to use my talents the way I want to use them! Step by step I walk knowing He wants His best for me…
    In this time of loss, I have chosen to believe that God is working things for His best and for our best in the midst of such terrible pain. In my humanness I don’t see how anything good can come from such horrible hurting, but I am actively choosing to believe that my Jesus has a plan. Whatever that plan is, it is for our best, so we can know Him better & He can bring us and others to Himself.

  39. 189
    Beckie Potterfield says:

    Beckie Potterfield – Florence, SC, solo
    1. My weaknesses tend to limit me in joy and happiness with fear leading to guilty feelings at times. I tend to get into the “not good enough” thinking and have to run from that one. My weaknesses can cause stagnation and diminish confidence.

    2. I have a problem when I have an idea and speak it and then the one I spoke it to speaks it as their own. I tend to remember that. So then my thoughts turn to self and what I missed out on – the credit, the compliments. So my own pride gets in my way.

    3. I have recently been blessed with quick answers to prayer. That is not the norm for me and probably not for many of us. The situation I was in led me to send out very specific prayer requests to my closest 5 praying friends one right after the other. I could feel the army of God marching before me and breaking down barriers one by one. This happened right before I did this week of homework. So my response at this moment is “He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.” I am trying to remember each day that God is always going right before me.

    4. Right now. I clearly heard the other day that a woman our ministry has invited to be a leader in our fall Bible study should remain in the position she already is fulfilling – actually heard and wrote it down – “Leave her alone”. I heard it and now I want to question it because we need leaders. I know I will speak it but am already wondering what the others in our organization will say. My weakness is in speaking up. Oh LORD use my weakness to unlock your door of favor!

    So glad to see in the responses that I’m not the only one that hasn’t completed the study.

  40. 190
    Missy S says:

    Missy S, Chapel Hill, NC

    1. When I focus on my weakness, I become overwhelmed and just flat out self-absorbed (gag!) I tend to replay conversations I have had with people and berate myself for things I should have done or said differently. Rather than focus on Christ and loving other people, I focused on myself.

    2. Yes! Both! In particular, I have been guilty of making idols out of people I perceive to be spiritual giants and who have greatly impacted my faith, which only leads to depression once I realize that idols can’t satisfy like the Most High God.

    3. I chose the fourth one (He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.), but if I am honest, a part of me still wonders whether I will do something to miss my destiny. Oh, God, help me to believe that you are the author and PERFECTER of my faith!

    4. I love the 4 steps too! And, Step #4 became even more poignant when I got to Day 1 of Week 5, where she explained the concept of the clay lanterns as it relates to believers as jars of clay. As for my experience with “honest doubt in which faith lives,” a few years ago I experienced a season wherein I was wrestling with God, much like Jacob. I knew without a doubt that God was calling me to something, but I doubted whether I had heard him correctly about the “what.” It was very much a “I won’t let go until you bless me” time of my life, and I think He did bless my willingness to bring my uncertainties to Him. All that to say, I think “honest doubt in which faith lives” clings to God; wereas, unbelief tends to walk away from God, like Ahaz or the rich young ruler.

  41. 191
    Nancie, Tampa, FL says:

    1. When I focus on my weakness, I go into a downward spiral of negativity, even though I am usually an optimistic person. Every problem seems insurmountable, and I become frustrated and then angry. This lesson helped me realize that I need to snap myself out of that mindset when I feel that same pattern happening again, because God is watching over me and He knows the answer to my problem(s) even though I cannot see it.

    2. I have felt uneasy about taking pride for my accomplishments, and Priscilla really explained the difference between good and bad pride. I felt good pride when I graduated from college because I acknowledged that I worked hard but God carried me through, and I felt bad pride when I was a member of a praise team and we started to take credit for the wonderful music that God was creating through us.

    3. I am not in that season now, but I have been in the past. If you are in that season, stay the course and know that God is always there and He has a calling for each one of us, even though it may be, as Priscilla said, a “quiet calling.”

    4. We all have times when we feel that our faith is strong and times when doubt creeps in. That’s what makes the journey so hard! I think reading the Word is the best medicine for chasing away doubt, and also talking to my Christian friends. He uses us to strengthen one another! :)

  42. 192
    Jodi Hufford says:

    Johnston, Iowa
    Your throne is founded on two strong pillars–righteousness and justice. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.
    Psalm 89:14

  43. 193
    Sarah says:

    Sarah, Heath, TX
    I am the light of this world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
    NIV

  44. 194
    Janet says:

    1 Chronicles 15:11

    Search for the Lord and for His strength;
    continually seek Him.

  45. 195
    Kim, Redlands, CA says:

    Romans 8:38-39 NIV

  46. 196
    Kim, Redlands, CA says:

    Romans 8:38-39 NIV

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  47. 197
    Laura says:

    Laura, Prairieville, LA solo:
    1) I wish focusing on my weaknesses would make me more humble instead I find they bring me down and make me have negative thoughts about my emotions, self-image, confidence, and take away my ability to move forward. I am focusing on my self and my inadequacies not the Lord.
    2)I find that I have the tendency to take credit for things that I do not know are beyond my abilities and gifts. Forgive me Father! I can handle this…but God needs to handle what is beyond my control. Once the credit is taken from God pride rears it’s ugly head. Help me Lord Jesus to give you all the glory!
    3)I am moving toward He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. I do not feel totally lost and alone now. I know my God is with me and loves me as I am.
    4)The four steps were a great reminder that we need all four in our lives as we serve God. I don’t want to move, but I believe that God is leading this. do I have doubts? Yes, but I know God will handle each day as it comes and help me make it through this process. Thank you Jesus!

  48. 198

    Shellie P.
    Spokane, WA
    solo

    1. I can do all of those things you talked about. Get paralyzed, get defensive, and get in self-condemnation, but especially the self-condemnation. I just get really depressed and give up on myself and when I give up on myself I get drunk, most of the time. If I stay there for very long that’s very quickly all I want to do and I like that you said, “When we focus on our weaknesses as weaknesses instead of the key.” It occurred to me that that’s the perfect analogy for when people tell me I focus too much on alcohol when I tell them all I can do is stay sober. I’ve always said, “Alcohol’s the problem, sobriety is the solution” but I like the thought of sobriety being how my weakness becomes a key a lot better. Most people just don’t understand that when I say sobriety it means so much more to me than not drinking. I go to AA meetings every day, but it doesn’t mean I’m thinking about drinking. I don’t think about drinking everytime I think about AA or working the AA program. Just because alcohol is in the title of my program doesn’t mean I’m focused on the problem. As they say, we don’t focus on the problem. We focus on the solution, but if I ignore the problem, I also won’t stay in the solution. I have to realize it’s still a problem for me and likely always will be, even when I’m not focused on it. If I’m not aware of it, it will catch me off guard. And that’s why my recovery has to remain my #1 priority. Cause without that I’ll lose everything else.

    2. I’ve had a lot of bitterness towards a lot of people and even others who live by similar philosophies as a result of exactly this. I’ve put way too much trust in whoever my pastor is at the time and if he says something (like AA) is not for Christians I just take his word for it and automatically assume I would be going against God’s will to seek out those things, completely ignoring the times others have suggested other options that that pastor considers wrong. Sometimes I have to be willing to “rebel” even against my own church to get the help I need for myself at that time. I have to trust God even before His people, because sometimes they’re wrong and they don’t know what’s best for me. I’ve had to make certain decisions with no for sure answer, cause I can’t trust anyone to have the first clue what I need. I’ve had to follow the AA program blindly, not knowing if it’s right or wrong.

    3. I answered with 2 of these. “He loves me but isn’t interested in the smaller details of my life.” And “He still loves me but is frustrated and impatient with me.” The last one, because that’s how I feel about myself and everyone else. The first one, because He has seemed to overlook the details with where He’s led my family. It would seem He doesn’t care.

    4. I’ve never gotten past prepare it before I’ve had so much doubt that I just said screw it, I’ll never get any better anyway, so I might as well drink. I can’t seem to get past the doubt. Like a friend in my AA meeting said to me the other day, “You’re problem is you don’t trust God.” I was shocked that someone who’s only known me for a short time can totally see that. It’s so blatantly obvious. Even bible study and scripture memorization frustrates me at this point, because I’ve been doing that for years and can’t seem to get past that barrier of not just knowing it and being able to spout off scripture when I hear someone else say something that isn’t quite correct, theologically. I can correct others, but I can’t cross that barrier of actually having real faith for myself and my own life. That He’s really going to take care of me.

  49. 199

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