Siesta Summer Bible Study 2014 Gathering 2!

As you will clearly see and loudly hear on the following video, Jackson, Annabeth and I were in the middle of Camp Bibby when it was time to tape my little video greeting for Summer Bible Study Gathering 2. SO, I brought the kids with me. Lindsee and I decided it would be sillier and better to just give you the unedited, woefully unrehearsed version of the taping. So, here you have it. Since I promised in the video to add a few pictures from our week, you’ll find those at the bottom of this post right after your discussion questions. So glad you’re participating! Thank you for coming along!

Siesta Summer Bible Study Session 2 – COTD from LPV on Vimeo.

In case you have trouble viewing the video greeting, here are the discussion points for your small group and for your comment content to this post:

1. From p.46, middle of the page: Did 1 Thessalonians 2:8 stir up a story of your own about a way you have shared not only the Gospel but also your very self because someone had become so dear to you? If so, please share a portion of it with us.

 

2. From p.50, in the margin toward the bottom of the page: Isaiah 38:15 records words from the pen of Hezekiah that poignantly describe bitterness: “I walk along slowly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul.” I suggest in the lesson that bitterness makes our souls heavy and our feet like anchors and it ages us far beyond our years. Share something of the impact bitterness has had in your own life and, if God has delivered you from it, testify.

 

3. From p.51, mid page: Share a time when you experienced some form of persecution because of your belief in Jesus. This topic will only grow more relevant in a culture increasingly hostile to Christianity. We’re going to have to learn to expect it, deal with it, and not shrink back in our faith because of it. Our tendency will be to return insult for insult but Christ has called us instead to bless when we are cursed. (1 Peter 3:9) Nothing about it will be easy. We’ll have to be deliberate to be victorious.

 

Do Weeks Three and Four of your homework for our next gathering. If you are watching the optional video teaching sessions through LifeWay, watch Session 3 right away before you begin Week Three homework then, after Week Three homework is complete, watch Session 4. Follow up Session 4 with Week Four homework. Click here to access all of the teaching sessions. 

 

Week  Three Memory Verse:

“For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3:8

 

Week Four Memory Verse:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16

 

I love you guys so much! May God reveal Himself unmistakably and personally to you throughout these 8 weeks! I am honored beyond words to serve you. You can drop off here and say goodbye or, for those of you who like this kind of thing, you can scroll on down for a few pictures from last week’s Camp Bibby:

At the Aquarium in Houston. The whole complex was a total blast and God gave us perfect weather. We could easily have had a 3-digit temperature that day but it was dryer and cooler than a normal June day in our warm city.

 

My boy and me on the Ferris Wheel that looks right on downtown Houston:

 

Annabeth and Aunt Melissa (AB’s present obsession) on that same Ferris Wheel:

 

I love the above picture because Melissa looked so similar to Annabeth at that same age. Needless to say, Annabeth is the spitting image of her mother but her hair is much darker than Amanda’s was. Amanda stayed very blond through her young childhood. Below is the actual picture I promised in the video where all of us froze trying to figure out what creature Annabeth said we’d petted. She was right though and here’s the proof! Stingray-bonding with Aunt Melissa:

 

This picture is from the restaurant in the Aquarium. Our table was right next to it. We were all mesmerized by watching the fish in the enormous tank but Annabeth was totally lost in a world all her own. I’m sure she was Ariel swimming right among the fish in the ocean of her imagination.

 

This was our boating day on Lake Conroe about an hour from our home. We took Keith’s boat and he taught both kids how to steer it right at his side. It was so much fun. We took the boat all the way to the other side of the lake and docked it at a pier and ate at Papa’s Burgers right on the water. It was a magical day for the children. That modest sized lake would have seemed as large as the Gulf of Mexico through their young eyes.

 

 

Thank you for humoring me! I love them so much it hurts.

Happy homework and I’ll talk to you very soon!!!

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  1. 251
    Beth Fields says:

    (I’ll stick with answering #1 for sake of space and time.)
    Sharing my life and the gospel with others has led me to a spiritual crossroads, if I’m being perfectly honest.
    I’ve walked wholeheartedly with Jesus for 17 years. And He has led me to share the gospel and my life with the Navajo’s on a reservation in New Mexico, with starting a family, with many teens at church, with neighbors and helping start a church… But I can relate to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:7, I feel like this journey is too much for me. I use to crave the mountainous climb of Christianity. I use to eagerly anticipate the fulfillment of my calling, and now, I admit my flesh wants to forget Hebrews 10:38 and shrink back into a comfort craving narcissist.
    I feel Jesus’ sweet hand of mercy extending to me, asking if I’m ready to get up and continue to follow Him. Thankfully my hesitancy doesn’t offend him. I feel his patience.
    It’s an unmatched John chapter 6 moment in my life. And like Peter I have to get up and grab his hand, because where else will I go? He has the words of eternal life and I believe and KNOW He is the Holy One of God!
    The angel of the Lord nurtured Elijah by encouraging him to get up and strengthening him for what was ahead. Jesus does the same for us. So I will keep sharing the gospel and my life… because that’s what Jesus did, and that’s what He asks us to do… even if at times it feels like it will be the death of us! :)

  2. 252
    Marti says:

    Marti, Loganville, ga
    1. we all have a story of testimony God gives it to us. We go threw good times and bad time so we can share them with others when the time comes. When I was younger I can remember a mission trip to Jamaica and setting in the town square sharing songs and Jesus with people. I remember one particular young lady and sharing with her about Jesus. Its so rewarding getting to share your love for God with those around you weather at church or school or another country.
    2.I do feel the same way about bitterness. It make you old and tired so I have always felt like why hold on to that who wants to be old and tired.
    3. I have never been persecuted for my faith but I pray if that time does come I will stand strong in my faith.

  3. 253
    Pennie Marshall says:

    I am addressing the comment about bitterness. After being married 11 years, my gut told me my husband was having an affair. The woman was trying very hard to be my friend, but my intuition was to steer clear of her. After my husband confessed, this woman harassed me something fierce. She sent emails to my workplace and letters to my home. She was very critical of my Christianity. Bitterness overcame me in two areas. One was that my husband betrayed me after we’d been so convicted that God ordained our union and the other at this woman. I really questioned God because in our early years God was invited by both of us to be in the center. Then I could see my husband separating himself from the Lord and begin deviant behaviors. It left me so confused and devastated. I wrestled with God regarding the marriage and this vindictive woman. After separating for six months, for the sake of our boys, I invited my husband back home.

    Fast forward ten years, my husband cheated again and this time I asked for a divorce. It’s been hard. However, out of the blue, I received a letter from the first woman. It was heartfelt and she explained how her fiancé cheated with her best friend. She said she realized what she’d done to me and was so terribly sorry for the pain she caused. I can’t explain the emotion that washed over me. In the midst of another hurt, God in His gracious way, gave me peace from bitterness that I’d tried hard to work through. My heart and stomach no longer get sick when I think of this woman. The bitterness about a failed marriage, I’m choosing to do what Beth has said, determine to be “Better not Bitter”. God is faithful and I love Him so.

  4. 254
    Rebecca says:

    Rebecca, Sue, Rhonda, Casey, Sarah
    Group, E. TX

    1. Many of us are/were teachers in some arena (public school, private school, church) and have felt this dearness about many of our students; the desire to impart the freedom and love of Christ is so strong we would give our lives for them to know Him.

    2. Bitterness comes at us in so many ways: infidelity in marriage, lies and back stabbing in a church we called home for years, ‘unanswered’ prayers, etc. Bitterness is like a cancer, sometimes you are unaware of its growth until it is consuming your heart and soul. It can sneak up on you or come on like a wave. But when it comes, it comes to stay. It sends out roots that would seek to take hold of every part of you. They run deep and in all areas. The only way to cut it out is Christ and His word, reverberating in my mind and soul louder than the hurt and pain that screams to be heard.

    3. College, and sometimes in the public schools.

  5. 255
    Rinday says:

    My answers to all of these questions for me regard the same situation. I am healing for the past several years over a friendship “breakup” that left me so deep in despair that I can’t even explain it with words. Friendship should be so sacred; a safe place to fall…I used to believe this. This is a friend I cried with, prayed with and treated like family. After several years of going through so much together, she ended her friendship with me in a email. This left me so sad and broken and wishing that I had never let her into my life. The more I tried to mend things and reach out to her in attempts to model a Christ-like type of love, the more I was hurt and shunned as a result. Insult after insult was added to injury. I am struggling to muster courage to keeping loving others and letting them “become so dear to me” even when the end result can turn into a disaster. I am terrified of allowing my heart to grow cold and no one being able to see Christ’s love through me.

  6. 256
    Sue Elise says:

    1) My most vivid memory of sharing with others because they had become so dear to me would be with a youth group that I had the privilege to work with a few years ago.
    2) Bitterness – whew! I can so relate to that verse from Isaiah. I have been struggling to lay down some bitterness towards a close family member for about 9 years now. The situation was awful – someone I love dearly had cancer and coded while in ICU – this person’s mother was not there and did not want to be; she had better things to do. I had always felt this mother was a bit different but all things I could deal with. However after this horrible few weeks with my loved one near death, I lost all faith in this mother’s ability to truly love anyone but herself. I made a decision that this was not a healthy relationship for me and my family and I have tried to cut myself off from her. It sickens me to think how a mother would not be there for her child and it has led me to see other ways in which she always chooses herself. I know I still harbor bitterness over this because I almost cannot stand to see her and everything about her makes me sick. I know that much of my issue lies in the fact that I don’t feel she deserves love if she cannot love – however my head knows this is wrong and I am working on loving her through Jesus’ deep love; I need prayers in releasing this bitterness.
    3) Persecution – unfortunately during the last year I have been the subject of persecution from within the church. A new pastor and wife have led the charge in dismantling a once thriving church that I loved. All those in any leadership position were put down, ridiculed, left out, and every other thing you can think of that would cause people to feel distanced or to withdraw from service. We had to leave the church and it has been very hard. I tried to stand up for those who were wronged and in doing so I became a target as well. It is very sad and something I am seeing more and more in churches – the WE YOU and THEY video session really spoke to me in so many ways. The verses about flatterers and boasters were BIG and that is something that the pastor and wife used to lure people in – incessant flattery! Thank you Beth for this study! It is truly just what I needed at this time. Praise God

  7. 257
    Sharon J. says:

    THanks for sharing your grandchildren with me! So sweet!
    #1& 2. I have a friend I met @ a church event as we were serving. We grew close as we shared life and Jesus. SHe started doing something she needed to stop and I confronted her. None of our friends knew what she was doing. When I confronted her I knew I needed to offer help and I did she refused it. I had to walk away… painful because my friends didnt know what was going on and I lost all my friends…2 years later my friend sought help and told the others what was going on. We reconcilled and are fast friends… God is good. there was a long time of hurt and some bitterness for the treatment I received from the other ladies. but God took care of me
    #3 a person @ work was being very mean to me because of my faith. I prayed and tried to model Christ like behavior. One day they were going through a tough time and I asked if I might pray for them. Right there I prayed and asked God to help them with what they were facing. After that time I had their respect.

  8. 258
    April L. says:

    1) Recently, I’ve found myself sharing scripture with my Grandma. She has always been a believer, but has never really studied the Bible. Being able to share what I have learned and now understand with her has been a Blessing. Also, the sharing of the Gospel has brought my sister in law and I closer. We have become friends instead of just family through marriage.

    2)I believe I held some bitterness towards my sister in law over the years. Since we have both been involved with the church and Bible Studies that bitterness has subsided. I believe God has led us to a better understanding of each other.

    3)So far my experience of persecution has been more about general assumptions. I’m just now feeling more comfortable being open about my faith. I used to keep it very private so when people would find out I was a Christian they were surprised because I was nothing like what they thought a Christian was like. I’m a pretty open-minded person and I try to be non-judgmental and compassionate. Since society portrays Christians as close minded, judgmental and non- caring, people are surprised when I tell them that we are taught by Jesus to Love, not to judge and to take care of the poor. It goes against what they thought they knew about Christians.

    I’m really enjoying this study. I’m sad I’m so far behind but I don’t want to rush it either. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.

    P.S. Beth, my son’s name is also Jackson. :)

  9. 259
    SKay Fires says:

    1. I’m so thankful to share my life stories, but especially when i am able to share the sin and difficult times in my life–failed marriages, young adult rebellion, abortion, infant death, difficult pregnancies, elderly parent issues, step-parenting difficulties, blended family challenges, grown children rebellion, lack of respect and tough love. Sharing these stories usually surprises people and allows them to be more comfortable to share themselves with me and gives me the opportunity to share Jesus as my Savior, who loves them too.
    2. Bitterness only burdens me. The Lord wants me to look forward to the day and circumstances He places before me and take the opportunities He gives me to love others as Jesus loves me.
    3. Several years ago we moved into a resort community that likes to party–drinking is their passion. As we have met people and been invited to dinner and parties, we are often not invited back because of our Christian beliefs. We are not “holier than thou”, but our lifestyle and speech is different and they sense it. We use these times as an opportunity to be kind & loving, but not judgmental.

  10. 260
    Deb Meabon says:

    1) years ago, I had the honor of praying with as young girl in AWANA. Her name is Shannon. I took her under my wing and included her in my life for a time.

    2)For many years I felt bitter about not having a good relationship with my father. After he died, God showed me that the relationship was part one His will, and He continues to work in that situation.

    3) I guess I have felt persecution in the form of being shunned for living a life that is different.

  11. 261
    Cindy L. says:

    1. Being transparent about my life, feelings and circumstances has gone a long way in making the women that I share my life with feel at ease. God has given me such a love for the moms and children in my neighborhood. I’m hoping and praying that God will use me in my neighborhood as I share my life with the unbelieving neighborhood moms that they will come to realize not only how much I care for them but how much their creator cares for them and that Jesus would capture their hearts! :)

    2. I’m so grateful to God that the times when bitterness threatened to take hold in my life God put his finger on it so quickly and demanded that I forgive so absolutely that it didn’t have time to take root. Praise God!

    3. The only instance that comes immediately to mind when I’ve ever experienced any form of persecution for my faith was very mild and less a form of persecution and more of a cold shoulder. I felt undeniably that God was asking me to speak out on the issue of abortion to my high school speech class. I was PETRIFIED but obedient. I spoke frankly but gently and from the perspective of how a loving creator views abortion. In a class of about 30 students only about five met my gaze during the speech the rest wouldn’t make eye contact. Nobody said a thing at the end. Maybe the most nerve wracking thing God has asked this ridiculously shy lady to do thus far.

  12. 262
    Karen says:

    1. I use my family to share with others how God has blessed us in spite of us and how He uses us.
    2. Bitterness sometimes seems to be a daily fight. Before I go to bed at night, I pray to have the days worth of disappointments and things and words that can cause bitterness in me to be removed and if I have said or done anything that caused bitterness in others to be forgiven and removed from those whom it is in.
    3. in my church mostly, because I feel we should be in the world sharing Jesus and not sitting in the pews.

  13. 263
    Gay Beck says:

    Gay,Plain City , OH

    1.God called upon me to be a “Caregiver for 14 years – (1996-2010). It was a very busy Season of my Life. I praise God for the opportunity and the spiritual growth he gave me during that time. I cared for my Father, my Uncle and my Mother, along with being a wife, a mother of 2 daughters (ages 12 & 9 in 1996). The way God used my life to try to “live like Christ” was my way of sharing the Gospel. Even, a family member, who was often out-spoken on how a person should do things Their Way, said at one point … “your daughters are seeing such a kind, caring example” of how to help aging parents/uncle. I Thank the LORD, Almighty for providing me with the strength in mind, body and spirit to be His servant to others every day.

    2. A very difficult time, when emotions & bitterness surrounded me, was one year at my job. I was teaching in an elementary school and I had a difficult principal as my boss. That year, I had a student with a major behavior problem which resulted in harm to other students. The boy would bite other students. This happened many times throughout the year. As challenging as that school year was, the following school year, God did deliver me to a new school classroom with a supportive principal, whom I highly respect for his integrity. God is so Faithful and He does protect us, even when we can not understand the whole circumstance at the time.

    3. I think this example is a minor type of verbal persecution, as compared to the persecution which the 12 disciples faced during Jesus’ time. When my husband’s company would have dinner & the wives were invited, one of my husband’s bosses would joke in his conversation. He would refer to me as “Oh, she is a church lady, so be careful what you say around her.” Also, the boss would pressure me to have an alcoholic drink or say “Are you only having lemonade?” I just consider that I am fine being “the church lady & drinking my lemonade.” Thanks be to God.

    Thank you Beth for this great summer Bible study to help me remain focused on Jesus and God’s Word. :)

  14. 264
    Vivian says:

    Vivian
    Birmingham, AL

    1. Many years ago as a newly divorced young woman I had met someone I cared for but who was not a Christian. I shared my faith by writing letters describing God’s love and care for us through Jesus. My emotions were deeply entangled as I desired to honor God with my life and yet be loved again. When I distanced myself from him, I sent him one of my Bibles still praying he would find Jesus as his Saviour. I was deeply troubled over this person for a long time.

    2. During the time I was recovering from my divorce, I met a Christian young man. It literally awed me to have a Christian friend after such a dark marriage with a husband’s alcoholism, drugs, abuse, and unfaithfulness. Then I saw him with another young lady who was single and pure. I saw myself next to her as dirty and filthy. I ran from the friendship becoming bitter about myself and the person I was and couldn’t change. I wore the scarlet letter of Divorce. I literally busied myself with work and friends “like me.” I was a wreck for a couple of years. My Father, always faithful, let me hear Him speak through a piano offertory one Sunday evening. I quietly prayed telling Him I wish I could play for Him even though my experience was small. He gave me a place of service in a small church playing the piano the very next day! He put me in a Sunday School class with a teacher who taught like no one else before. For the first time in years I was growing and walking closer with my Lord. I was renewed and refreshed and amazed that He loved me so much!

    3. Just a minor form of persecution, but I share Christian books at work just leaving them on the table for anyone who would care to take one. The question was posed by a friend who is a Jehovah’s Witness why I was allowed to do this. It was allowed because I didn’t “force” anyone to take them. Of course, she would have been welcome to do the same, but never did. It is a small thing to feel this resentment from someone you consider a friend, but it gives the sense of what it would be like to be told “not” to share Christian books.

  15. 265
    Michele says:

    Just checking in quickly. I am a few WEEKS behind, but wouldn’t let that stop me. Caught up to week three, now.

  16. 266
    Tara G. says:

    Tara G.
    Sherwood, AR

    1. When we were stationed overseas, our apartment had ladies who manned the entry (concierge-ish). I got to know a couple of them pretty well by letting these babas “instruct” me on how to dress my children for the weather, taking them plates from our holiday meals as well as bringing them little gifts. It opened the door for me to hand them tracts, Bibles, and Christians literature in their own language…praying someone has picked up where we left off.
    2. I think I’ve had very short-lived seasons where bitterness played a part, but I’ve always kept Heb.12:15 in mind and didn’t want to go down that path. I guess there had to be a recognition of my own sin and failings to overcome those feelings and arrive at a point where I could just entrust myself and/or the situation to the Lord.
    3. I can’t say I’ve been persecuted. Made fun of/teased, yes, but not persecuted like so many of our brothers and sisters around the world.

  17. 267
    Jean says:

    Love the summer study. Love my small group who is doing it with me. Thanks for the extras.

  18. 268
    Tracy says:

    The one that really shook me was.. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and through the 6 years, it has wiped us out and my husband works full time at a firefighter and picks up odd jobs when off just to pay all the medical bills and treatment that I have to have. It has really put a strain on us and bills just keep piling up. I get really down and feel that I have put us in this. I have had to miss out on bible studies of yours before due to lack of funds to get a book. This illness really takes a hold and you wake up every day and never know if you can walk,see,etc… I know the Lord has really gotten me through what I have been through, especially when I was bed ridden for 4 months.
    I just have to say that when I watch and read Beth Moore, she truly touches my heart and gives he hope through the word of God. Thank you so much!

  19. 269
    Nicole says:

    Megan, Lauren, Nicole, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

    1. Keeping it real has become so important. We all like to share success stories. But we realize the importance of sharing stories that make us vulnerable as this is really where deeper friendships and relationships happen. Sharing some of the messy stories about being a mom, a teacher, a pastors wife has really become a way for me to see and share a work only God could have and is continuing to do in my like.

    2. I’ve seen bitterness in my own efforts not being rewarded in close relationships. The more I seek God and desire him to minister to me and through me in these relationships, the better vision I have to see others with a heart full of God’s love, not my own agenda. I’ve seen opportunity to love because of this surrender and trust God for more direction in this journey.

    3. I teach choral music in a public high school school and am approached by other teachers, students and parents about sharing my faith and the songs that I pick for singing. I pray for love and courage for my Christian students, my own children in a public school setting and myself as I interact and lead and teach.

  20. 270
    christina moore says:

    (I’m farther behind on these comments than on the actual study. Grace, please?)

    1. My husband and I led a high school Bible study for 3 ½ years, sticking with the same group from the middle of their freshman years through graduation. During that time, they had 5 different youth ministers and the worship service they called home was cancelled. It was our privilege to support and advocate for them as well as teach them the Bible. My husband also had the honor of co-leading them on a mission trip to Guatemala. The gains were so much greater than the cost to us.

    2. Someone dear to me has made a radical belief shift which has caused and causes deep pain. (My loved one, formerly in vocational ministry, no longer believes in penal substitutionary atonement, the sufficiency of the Word of God, or salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.) Bitterness did get a stronghold, though it was focused less on my loved one than on the friend who influenced this change. That person didn’t even know of my hurt and only meant well, but the Lord has had to convict me and persuade me to pray blessings on that person. Resentment and bitterness still rise up from time to time, especially when something slices the wound deeper. By God’s grace, I hope I am learning to recognize that and repent more quickly, but the temptation to bitterness and journey of forgiveness may remain until I see Jesus face to face.

    3. The only “persecution” I have experienced so far has been verbal (mocking, cursing, denunciation of me and my beliefs) and the threat of losing a public school job because I supported a student’s decision to answer an evolution test question (multiple choice) based on her conscience even though she knew her teacher wanted a different answer. My husband and I worked with pastors in SE Asia several years ago, however, and they experienced prison, fines, and exclusion from educational and professional opportunities because of their faith.

  21. 271
    Paula/Jenny says:

    1-(Paula) The LORD leads me to share about my abortion, the pain, the dark place that I lived in for over 20 years and howHe loved me through it. I understand that satan always tries to make us feel isolated and alone. But it is in the sharing that we and those we share with realize that we are not alone! We find that others suffer from the same things we do and that God can and will love, forgive, heal, redeem and restore!!! We just have to call out to Him and allow Him access to us, from the inside!

    2-(Jenny) I held a lot of bitterness (and unforgiveness, even though I thought I had forgiven) toward the person who had played a major role in my living in a pit for over 30 years. I would pray that he would at LEAST acknowledge what he had done, if not beg me to forgive him. I wanted God to make him think about what he had done. I wanted revenge of sorts, for him to know how my life had been changed because of him. Everytime I saw him, the bitterness would almost blow out of my eyes, ears, and mouth! I saw him everytime I went home for a visit, sometimes for only a few minutes, other times for a few hours. The turmoil inside would return and pretty much stayed there till I left town and came home. Finally, one day I was telling God what I thought about the whole thing and “praying for him” when I heard God say to me, “Pray My will for him, not yours. Pray for healing for him. Pray for him to forgive himself. He has been holding all this in for all these years and he is miserable. Pray for him to give it to Me.” I wasn’t sure about doing that, but the more I thought about what God had said, the more it made sense to me. All I know is that God had done a MAJOR work in setting me free from that lifestyle, so I wanted to be obedient. I began praying God’s will, not mine. Several months passed and during that time I noticed that my heart and attitude was changing toward this person. One day I realized I had finally and truly forgiven him. A few weeks after that I received a telephone call out of the blue. On the other end was this person, very quietly asking me to forgive him for what he had done to me. He talked, wept, talked some more and all the while I was on my knees praising my God!!! Yes, I was delivered of my bitterness and yes, God answered my prayers once I began praying HIS will! I still get Holy goosebumps – 2 years later – when I think about how faithful our Lord is! Hallelujah!

  22. 272
    Bonnie Wallace says:

    Charleston, SC

    1. I went through an 18 month separation from my husband, and watched God restore our marriage, broken piece by broken piece. Not long afterwards, a new coworker began a similar journey. I was able to open up myself to her, share my story, and encourage her from a place of victory. PTL, her marriage has been restored too. What a crown of joy indeed.

    2. Bitterness towards my husband was the root of my self-destruction. It ate my soul away, turned me into a different person, and left me with many regrets. Bitterness is definitely poison, very dangerous poison.

    3. I am one of few employees in my office that loves the Lord and commits to being involved with serving the church. Because my weekend plans do not involve alcohol, I stand out from my coworkers. I’m prejudged to be Bible thumper, and it’s hard to soften that image towards others when so many people have been burned by the church.

  23. 273
    Steph F says:

    1. From p.46, middle of the page: Did 1 Thessalonians 2:8 stir up a story of your own about a way you have shared not only the Gospel but also your very self because someone had become so dear to you? If so, please share a portion of it with us.

    Yes! I had a Japanese roommate my junior year of college and I was able to not only share the lord with her but also model an active relationship with the lord. She was able to embrace that relationship with the lord and is currently active in her faith in Chine!

    2. From p.50, in the margin toward the bottom of the page: Isaiah 38:15 records words from the pen of Hezekiah that poignantly describe bitterness: “I walk along slowly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul.” I suggest in the lesson that bitterness makes our souls heavy and our feet like anchors and it ages us far beyond our years. Share something of the impact bitterness has had in your own life and, if God has delivered you from it, testify.

    I am still single at almost the age of 28 and i am finding I am having a hard time sharing joy with my friends as they are getting married and having children. I find myself becoming angry on the inside and thinking something is wrong with because I am still single and can’t find a man who meets my standards. I am still continuing to pray for contentment in this area of my life and that I would be able to continue to serve the lord despite my desire to not be single.

    3. From p.51, mid page: Share a time when you experienced some form of persecution because of your belief in Jesus. This topic will only grow more relevant in a culture increasingly hostile to Christianity. We’re going to have to learn to expect it, deal with it, and not shrink back in our faith because of it. Our tendency will be to return insult for insult but Christ has called us instead to bless when we are cursed. (1 Peter 3:9) Nothing about it will be easy. We’ll have to be deliberate to be victorious.

    I had an HR internship several years ago and co-workers has a hard time understanding where my values were coming from when I explained they further put me down and laughed that I had an active relationship with the lord and valued going to church on a regular basis.

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