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!!!



302 Responses to “Siesta Summer Bible Study 2014 Gathering 2!”

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  1. 101
    Ashley says:

    Beautiful pictures – thank you so much for sharing and for inviting us into your world. Camp Bibby looks like great fun! And we loved having your (not-so-little) one’s join the video. 🙂
    1. I’m not so sure it’s my sharing the Gospel because someone has become so dear to me, but rather the Gospel bringing someone so dear into my world. There is a plan and reason for everything, and it is truly God, the Gospel, his Word which has brought so many blessings, dear friends to me.
    2. Bitterness is something with which I struggle (why me? why this? etc., etc.) Through this, though, it’s been God who has carried me all the way. (Sometimes, it’s more like he’s dragging me, but that’s all details, right)? Am I delivered from bitterness? Eh – more like I’m in the process of deliverance.
    3. Right before I was divorced, I did a Bible Study with my church. Talk about Providence, and God putting me right where I needed to be to find the strength to break out – it almost makes me dizzy thinking about it, even though it was a number of years ago…ANYWAY, my ex-husband came home one day as I was doing my homework, and laughed and laughed at me because of my belief & faith & participation.
    Thank you so, so much for the opportunity to join such a huge, world-wide group of sisters this morning. Our small group has become just two of us, but I am so blessed to share this time with her!

  2. 102
    Genevieve Garrison says:

    1. BSF- I get so excited about it that I try to tell everyone about it. I have learned so much through Bible Study Fellowship that I want to share my excitement and tell everyone about it. My high school students I teach even know about it because I tell them about it too.
    2. My bitterness has to do with a family member who I feel is spoiled rotten. I am in a blended family with my husband’s extra ingredient. This person has put guilt upon me when I had nothing to do with the situation. It is very hard not to go into details so I will stop here. However, I do pray that my bitterness goes away. I have been praying for this for years.
    3. I am a high school teacher. I teach all grade levels, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th. Every year I give my senior students Bibles as a gift from me when they graduate. One year I had one of my seniors make a comment stating that this was against school policy. I told this student that the district is welcome to fire me anytime they want to. 

  3. 103
    Jamie says:

    1) After I was saved, in my 40’s, I shared with my sister both the story of my conversion and my faith in Jesus. My sister does not believe, but I have bought her a bible and have encouraged her. I hope that I stand up for Jesus enough with her that she will see Him.

    2)Bitterness is something that God has been working with me on for a while now. It is a legacy in our family, at least with the women. For me, it comes from a deep sense of unworthiness and being convinced I am unlovable. I am trying to believe the truth of God rather than the lies I was raised with; I do believe Jesus will walk with me through this.

  4. 104
    Alesa Lambert says:

    I cannot wait to get a quiet time to answer and read my sisters answers to this weeks session! I am not in Malvern, Ar this week but in Grand Rapids, Mi…. Oh what fun!!!!

  5. 105
    Kellyann says:

    Oh Beth! Jackson & Anabeth are absolutely adorable! You are so blessed.
    1. I am especially timid about sharing deeply personal things with others. However I have learned that when the Holy Spirit rises up within me and is prompting me to share – I need to be obedient. The times I have put myself out there and been very “real” and even shared some of the difficult parts of my testimony…it has often given others the courage to share their stories as well. As you so eloquently put it – “that’s where the miracle of ministry really takes off”, because we all become keenly aware of the fact that we all have really tough things in our stories but the grace of God covers us all. Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus.
    2. I have experienced bitterness and the way it rots you from the inside out. It steals your joy, makes you cynical, weighs you down and removes your credibility. My most recent experience with bitterness showed me that I needed to trust that God could, in fact, use that enormously difficult situation for good…even though the perpetrator was unfair, unjust, underhanded and unrepentant.
    3. My experience with persecution happened in Jr. High….my grade school buddies began to get wrapped up in drinking and drugs and were surely taking me with them. My parents stepped in and forbid me to hang out with them anymore. They turned on me like a pack of rabid wolves. The 20-minute bus ride every morning & afternoon was torture for me. They mocked me for being a Christian, hit me, threw things at me, and even got off the bus at my stop and tried to beat up on me along the 3 blocks to my house. It got so bad, that it literally would make me ill halfway through my schoolday, knowing what would ensue on the bus ride home. Eventually the bus driver picked up on what was happening and he stepped in to put a stop to the bulk of it.
    Looking back on it now, I am thankful to have had those experiences with persecution (albeit just a tiny taste). It has caused me to be far more sympathetic to so many Christians all over the world who suffer from extreme forms of persecution. We must be on our knees for our brothers and sisters all over this planet who suffer on a daily basis for Christ.

  6. 106
    Pamela McDonald says:

    1. I was privileged for a while to teach a Sunday School class of 9-12 year olds. I loved sharing God’s Word with them, and they were so eager to learn. I was amazed at some of the deep questions they would ask. It was one of the sweetest memories I have of seeking and sharing the Gospel.

    2. I carried bitterness around for a long time due to growing up in an abusive atmosphere. Thankfully, God has helped me to let it go, and I no longer carry that burden. I also think that maybe God allowed that in my life so that I may be a comfort to others in similar situations.

    3. I don’t feel that I have personally suffered what I would consider persecution for my beliefs. I have had some really difficult discussions, and have, at times, felt in the minority, but not true persecution.

  7. 107
    Beth says:

    I facilitated James bible study with women who were not in a church and I have to wonder if one of them was even truly saved. I give of Jesus and myself and that was a blessing.

  8. 108
    Elaine says:

    Elaine – Zebulon, NC

    1. I remember those early Bible study series with Beth and the small groups I did them with at church. Those ladies were all so precious. I find it difficult to share much about myself but when I have gotten close to a handful of ladies, I have opened up about myself. Those relationships have made me who I am today.

    2. I was very bitter for a time when I felt I had been treated unfairly at work. It affected me in ways that really drug me down and made me angry. I did not like the person I was becoming. With much prayer, God allowed me to be released from the bitterness and it was replaced with thankfulness. He really showed me my selfishness.

    3. I am often treated differently by co-workers and those in authority because of my beliefs. I have been excluded from after work functions because I do not fit in.

  9. 109
    Diane says:

    2. My family is currently in a struggle where bitterness, hatred and anger could firmly take root. However, because and only because of our loving Heavenly Father, He is guiding us through with compassion, deep agony and concern for the person at whom bitterness could be directed. God is truly amazing when He walks us through struggles.

  10. 110
    Shelly Cavalancia says:

    These first weeks of study have spoken so clearly to me. I am watching the videos as well so the first week when you talked about the ripping away of relationships so that we don’t continue to do the same thing with the same people to get the same results and miss opportunities that God may have for us was a bolt of lightning that I really needed. We moved to a new community (new state) about 9 years ago. Our oldest son began a long struggle with mental illness and was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Before his illness began, I became with friends with two women at our new church, both of whom had children with the same diagnosis. One of those women became so dear to me we were nearly inseperable. We spoke multiple times a day, were together several days a week and spoke of a future where we would retire to the same part of the country and never have to be apart. We even spoke of making sure our mansions in heaven would be next door!!
    About 3 years ago I had to take a job to supplement our income when we were going through a difficult time financially and our friendship drifted apart. I was heartbroken and still miss her. Since that time, God has placed in my life three or four other women, a couple of which are not believers, that I have been able to minister into their lives and be a walking witness for Jesus. I know that would not have happened had I still been as close to my old friend.
    All this to say, God had to take away that which was so familiar and comfortable to put me into a place where I had room and time to spread his love to other people. I went from facing in to facing outward and have been truly blessed.
    My son, in the meantime, is now 22, in the military, and has been healed of his mental illness. Praise God!

  11. 111
    Keri Lee Robbins says:

    1. Sharing my life and being vulnerable with the women in the Bible study gives me the ability to speak into their lives because they see that I am going through the same struggles they are.
    2. When my son was diagnosed with a genetic syndrome that ultimately will prevent him from having children, I seriously struggled with bitterness against God since He an I were “supposed to be friends”! However, that did not fit with my theology of Christianity and so I took it out on myself and went into depression. It took about 6 months of prayer and counsel with a Godly woman to recognize that God could handle my anger, I simply needed to bring it to Him and He would heal my broken heart. Being more like David, who took every emotion and question to God, along with his praise, has had a huge impact on how I deal with bitterness, anger, and frustration.
    3. I work for a Christian company and my whole famiy are Christians so I am rarely around non-Christians. I have only dealt with minor bad attitudes or teasing when I pray over my food in public or talk about Jesus to our waiter or bank teller.

    So far this has been an amazing study and I am so glad to be doing it!!!

  12. 112
    colleen says:

    Colleen, Cape Town, South Africa
    3. My “persecution” has been at the hands of my brother-in-law who is very anti Christianity and even took exception when we gave his 4 year old daughter a bible story book for Christmas! He takes great delight in baiting me. I used to get involved in discussions with him thinking that I was “preaching the Word” but these always ended in horrible arguments and I soon realised that he was baiting me and the reaction was just what he wanted. Now, I will not be drawn into any form of discussion with him. I just pray for him. But I have learned that I need to have an answer for those who truly want to know.

  13. 113
    Kelly. Copelan says:

    1. Not long ago before our church’s scheduled revival I felt very compelled to do a series of audio devotions that went along with some songs and scripture that The Lord had used to prompt and prepare me for revival. It was frightening for me to put my personal thoughts and words into the hands of women in our church. Would I sound stupid, arrogant, self righteous? Would it reach anyone or prepare them for revival in their own heart? But, I could not, NoT do it.
    2. I have had to deal with bitterness through the years. Growing up as a PK, I experienced great hurt from a particular church. Bitterness toward the church as a whole was a by product that I struggled with for years. Thankfully, God set me free from that bitterness and has given me an overwhelming love for His church as a whole. I have learned that bitterness is not worth the time or energy.

    • 113.1
      Karen says:

      I can relate to what you said too…I am a PK as well and saw so much hypocrisy in the churches my father pastored when I was young. I still struggle with my feelings about my particular denomination’s members because of the experiences I endured growing up a PK. I know personally, as only other PK’s can truly understand, what it is like living in a “church fish bowl”. Furthermore, I know God is good all the time but sometimes Christians, though forgiven, do not always display a Christ-like attitude. I have learned to forgive the people that hurt my family and me but the memories still linger so I am hyper sensitive regarding church business meetings and avoid them at all cost. I am a work in progress and yet I know that God truly hasn’t finished with me yet.

    • 113.2
      Donna says:

      Kelli I love that you did that devotions project–how did it work out? I’ve struggled so much with bitterness in the church too–so devastating. It’s hard to focus on the positives when I’ve had a lifetime of practice in wallowing in the negatives. Especially when there are some real, overwhelming negatives! I have to remember to keep my eyes on Jesus like Peter (didn’t do) on the water! So hard to remember to do this….and to remember that He is really there to carry me.

  14. 114
    Brenda says:


    1 & 2. Beth, I also have learned that life is very messy and the only way to press on and heal is through truth and transparency in sharing. I lost twins when I was 27 weeks pregnant. For years I couldn’t even talk about it but God has slowly healed me and taken away the bitterness of losing my precious boys. I have been able to share with other mothers who have gone through similar loses and found joy in being able to help another hurting mother.

    3. While employed I was not supposed to talk about my faith, but Jesus is such a part of me now that it just naturally comes out. I know many were uncomfortable around me and I often felt like I did not belong. At first my feelings would get hurt but then I came to realize and be so proud of the fact that Jesus was changing me enough that people were noticing!

    • 114.1
      Joyce Watson says:

      I am so sorry you lost your twin boys. I know you must have been excited and to lose them had to be a traumatic time. May God comfort your heart and give you hope. Will be praying for you. in Christ

  15. 115
    Stacey says:

    1. I was able to share my faith and my heart years ago through a life situation (marriage resulting in divorce 6 months later but remarriage in Christ to the same man one year later). It was a very difficult time and I was very vulnerable, but it seems that everywhere I turned God was using our story to help and encourage others going through similar situations with divorce. People we had never met were coming into our lives and as we shared our story they in turn would share how they were walking a similar path. God gave us the ability through that trial to encourage the hearts and lives of others.
    2. I think I have struggled with bitterness and many questions in the last year over the recent diagnosis of epilepsy in my first born 5 year old daughter. It has been a challenge as we have not been able to get her seizures completely under control with different medication regimens. As with every trial I have faced in life, this too is bringing me closer to God and I am discovering more and more about Him and who He is. When the hard times come.. and they will.. we cannot forget who He is and that his very nature does not change. These times always bring me back to His word and this is one of the reasons I am doing this study this summer.

  16. 116
    Darla says:

    LOVED that you left all of the grandkids’ words and actions in the video. So sweet! The study is very good for me. Enjoy it even though I am behind. I WILL catch up, I WILL catch up!!

  17. 117
    Natalie says:

    1) I had the privilege of loving and serving Jr High kids (and some very young counselors along the way) for many years. There were a lot of sacrifices along the way, but not one that I regret. Seeing the fruit of so many of those young people continuing to walk with the Lord and lead others in Truth makes me want to burst with joy…and makes me miss that kind of ministry. I’ve been hiding from ministry after I made a train-smash of my personal life a few years back. Even though I know my God is a Redeemer and Restorer, I hold back. This question was good because it allowed me to see that the fruit of ministry was much greater than the sum total of the damage that resulted from my personal failure….now to just walk in that and get back in the pool…

    2) Related to the personal failure came a season of prolonged and intense bitterness. Coming to see that all is grace has been so healing for me. Earlier this year, the Lord spoke John 1:5 to me with incredible volume, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The darkness that lurked in me, that was successfully masked in those around me, that continued to be perpetrated against those I love, that darkness will not overcome the Light that shines in and among us. I have rehearsed that verse over and over when I feel the dark shroud of bitterness hovering. For today, I am enjoying the weightless walk of one in the Light. To God be the glory.

    3) I experience minor forms of persecution at work, mostly in the form of being patronized or viewed as less intelligent because I believe in a good God. However, this is another area where the Lord is showing me the power and potency of His Light.

  18. 118
    LaDonna says:

    They are precious! Thank you for sharing!!!

    1. About a year ago I met my now sweet friend, Shana. I wasn’t to fond of her at first but God used her to open my eyes. She has experienced a lot of loss in her life including the loss of her 5 yr old son. Yet despite her hardship she is still living for and serving God! Best part is that she is still serving people. There were times I thought I was serving her but in reality she was serving me. She is still working through some things but I thought of her when you shared your story. I’ve been able to not only minister to her but share details of my life with her. She is precious to many and it’s because of where her journey has brought her. She doesn’t judges– she just loves.

    2. Coming from a broken and abisive home I was angry and unforgiving toward my parents and through the years it turned into bitterness. Before I even realized it, it was starting to affect daily relationships. That’s when I knew it had gotten out of control… Beyond my control. There has been MUCH revelation in the past 7 months and I’m past a great deal of it but God is still healing the root of it all, that wound. He has been so good to me and it’s taken our relationship in a new and deeper direction.

    3. When my dear and sweet relative, someone I had considered my best friend–We were hip and hip growing up. Entered into a relationship with another female and then months later had a commitment ceremony. She was angry that I didn’t come and so were several other family members. So to make a long story short they basically told me I was judgmental and that I wasn’t a good family member if I couldn’t be supportive. Things were rough for a season but God reminded me that our reaction determines our reach… Things are better but now they are quick to point the finger and make jokes. I just continue to lovenot compromising my convictions. It gets tough but God is gracious.

  19. 119
    Jacquie says:

    I have been a Bible study leader for years. We are a small group and a small church. We can’t help but find intimacy within the group. We have shared our hopes and dreams together and that has made a bond in Christ that is unbreakable. We have made it a point to be real with our ladies and in turn have built some amazing relationships.

    I had a circumstance where I was wrongly judged by someone in leadership over me. This was very difficult to deal with personally. I care about my name and reputation and this misconception threatened to damage me, but I know bitterness would damage me all the more. I forgave and forgave, but it kept coming back. I can’t tell you how I finally was delivered from the bitterness of it except to say I kept taking it to the Father in prayer and forgiving when it came up. It finally released me along with a spirit of rejection. Now, I find myself challenged with the same situation, but without the care or worry it once had. For now I know He will defend me and He will lift me up in due time – if I humble myself in His sight. He is good all the time. I have realized the struggle is not mine, but theirs and that gives me grace to stand with them while they get their healing.

    A cafe owner allowed my little Bible study group to meet in her restaurant to discuss our Chronological study for one year. We presented it as we were just going to drink coffee and talk for about an hour. They said it would be fine. One day she sat at a table next to us doing paper work. One of the ladies heard her complain that all we do is sit in her restaurant for hours drinking coffee. (It wasn’t hours and we tipped well!) I prayed about it and said nothing. When the end of our year came I went out and bought her a gift for her restaurant. It was something that I saw she needed and hadn’t figured out how to meet the need. It was less than forty dollars so don’t think I’m bragging I bought her a new oven or anything. 🙂 I came in on an off day and presented it to her. She came out of the kitchen with a scowl, but had hugged me several times by the time I left. I went back in a couple of weeks later to meet a friend for breakfast and she ran out of the kitchen to hug me and talk to me. She said, “If I went to church, I would go to your church.” That felt so good. Not sure if that applies to the question. I think a lot of times in the culture we live in persecutions can turn into witnessing opportunities if we remember we are ambassadors for Christ in the midst of the trouble.
    Thanks Beth, for this summer study. I am enjoying it!

  20. 120
    Carrie says:

    This weeks questions make me feel kind of lame but I promise, I’ve got stories!!! When you love a WILD MAN, you get a story!

    1. They seem to stay all tangled up in present years!!
    2. I have to be constantly on guard against bitterness toward religious people in the church. It’s my passion to be part of what GOD is doing to draw “good church girls” into the reality of a life loving GOD but it’s also my weakness to just get mad about it!

    3. I’ve been reading a lot of biographies, lately: Adoniram Judson, Gladys Aylward, Bruce Olson etc. So, nope! I’ve not been persecuted for JESUS. ( I am scared of being scared of it though 🙁 )

  21. 121
    Monica says:

    1) Yes, deep fellowship & my own life w/ sisters in Bible study. Sharing personal life through seasons of tragedy. I don’t know what I’d done w/out Gods Word & Sisters & Brothers in The Lord, God used to speak truth in my life.

    2)When someone I’ve dearly loved & trusted let me down. Learning that w/out unforgiveness & Gods redeeming power, I’d be a hopeless, wreck.

    Lord, help me not to become bitter, to walk with You, cause like I’ve learned this week to walk well is to walk with You. To walk with You even with a limp. I can’t walk worthy of You when Im walking alone. Bringing You my whole heart.

    3) Family members for taking a stand on things that violate Gods Word.

    • 121.1
      Monica says:

      1) Yes, deep fellowship & my own life w/ sisters in Bible study. Sharing personal life through seasons of tragedy. I don’t know what I’d done w/out Gods Word & Sisters & Brothers in The Lord, God used to speak truth in my life.

      2)When someone I’ve dearly loved & trusted let me down. Learning that without forgiveness & Gods redeeming power, I’d be a hopeless wreck.

      Lord, help me not to become bitter, to walk with You, cause like I’ve learned this week to walk well is to walk with walk with You even with a limp. I can’t walk worthy of You when Im walking alone. Bringing You my whole heart.

      3) Family members for taking a stand on things that violate Gods Word.

  22. 122
    Beth says:

    #1 – I can’t really pinpoint an exact moment that this has happened in my life. For me personally it takes a lot of time to get to the point where I feel safe enough to share with others. Normally this happens a bit at a time, and I only share what I feel God is telling me would be edifying/supportive/loving towards the other person in the dynamic. Over time I have discovered that being open to others strengthens my relationships not only with them, but Him.

    #2 – The main thing bitterness has “accomplished” in me is a hardening of my heart, and a bitter root of un-forgiveness to take hold in my soul. Until about 3 years ago this was my permanent condition. At that time things started to change inside of me. Now when these “accomplishments” start to reappear I take it to the Healer, and in time they subside.

    #3 – The only instance in my life where this possibly occurred was when I wasn’t allowed to hang my Christian calendar on my office wall in corporate America, because it might offend someone. It didn’t set well with me, but I complied with their wishes.

  23. 123
    Barbara says:

    Thanks for sharing……granny!

    1. God is working on me now. He’s preparing me to use my past experience to encourage young women. He is so patient. I am so scarred!
    2. I’ve learned to not be bitter. Does me no good.
    3. I have many opportunities to share my faith in my job, co-workers think I’m crazy to believe that we didn’t evolve from goo. I usually get the ‘oh she’s a silly woman’ look when I share the gospel. Praise God that he’s the one that makes the seed grow!

  24. 124
    Cindy M says:

    1. I have shared my personal story with someone who one of my closest friends. I also share my story in different ways in Ladies Bible Study. I share more of life then I think I should at time. But life is messy and I have found the Lord finds others in that same boat with me who need to know they are not alone.

    2. God has showed me that bitterness is not good. He forgives me of so much. In return I must forgive others. In forgiving others, it shows them the Love if Jesus, so they will want to know Him or want to know Him more.

    3. yes, there is always some kind of trouble – we should ask God to bless people, it is not for us to deal with them. We need to pray for them. For the lost need Jesus the most.

    I would to say Thank-you to Beth…. I used her “Big Bowl Full of Jesus” last night as we started Ladies Bible Study for the summer. My cat, Scruffy, wraps his arms around his food bowl everytime his eats. So I used Scruffy to tell my ladies to get a “Big Bowl Full of Jesus” and be come Wonder Struck with Him this summer.
    God Bless you all…

  25. 125
    Punky Tolson says:

    Punky Tolson – Dallas, TX

    1. Like the apostle Paul, I have never had children of my own. But the Lord has fulfilled that need in me to be a “mama”…to bear “fruit that will last”.

    By His grace I have been given some of the most beautiful and precious “daughters” in the faith. I call them my “young’uns”. LIke most first-time mamas, I didn’t have much of an idea how to raise spiritual babies, but the Lord has led me and shown me how to teach them out of the overflow of my life with Him. The life-on-life relationship I have with my spiritual daughters is so precious to me. I have loved on them, shared life with them, taught them, helped them to grow up in their faith and navigate their life by way of God’s Word. I’ve laughed with them, cried with them, comforted their broken hearts, corrected and redirected their steps, encouraged them when they were down, exhorted them to “get a move on”…all the while pointing them to their Savior and the Lover of their souls. I’ve celebrated their joys with them, and I’ve watched them grow up to become the Jesus-loving, God-pursuing women that He intended them to be… living the God-life by His grace and in His strength. I am proud of them… proud to call them my friends and my “spiritual daughters in the faith”. Nothing thrills my heart more than to see these beautiful young’uns finding their true identity in Christ, and discovering their unique purpose. I’m beaming through tears as I write this; I would put my “motherly pride” up against any bio-mom out there. These young women have blessed this spiritual-mama’s heart so! It’s amazing what God will do with your life when you just give it to Him to pour it out and into another. The verses from 1 Thess. 2:8-12 have always been precious to me.

    I have also been watching the video sessions and I must tell you that I was tremendously impacted by Session 3. Wow! Have been seeking answers from the Lord about why I am feeling so “stuck” in certain ways. My constant plea is, “I need someone to help me… to show me how to…!” Funny… because I do that for others. Those 6 impartations of healthy pastoral parenting are PROFOUND!! A game-changer lesson for sure! The Lord opened the floodgates of answers to my “whys”. There was a time many years ago when I prayed and asked Him to “re-parent me” where my bio-parents failed to do so. Many holes and “missing pieces” preventing my “peace”. I realize now that I need to allow Him to actively continue parenting me! And then this verse came to me….

    Though my father and my mother forsake me (abandon me), the Lord will take me in (welcome and comfort me, adopt me as His child). Psalm 27;:10 (ESV, TLB, AMP)

    Thank you, Beth!
    xo – P

  26. 126
    Laura says:

    1) In our group there were several testimonies of past struggles that eventually bore fruit in another’s life when we were able to share the current walk/struggle our friend was having that we could intimately relate to.

    2) Not many personal struggles shared here, but we all agreed that we knew people that bear this burden and see the ugliness it produces.

    3) School, parents who are non-believers, co-workers (at another job), neighbors…the list went on of where and how we have been persecuted. Those of us who haven’t experienced this personally see the writing on the wall in our society to be prepared for it to come and saw Paul as a good starting place of how to respond.

    4) BTW – is the picture on the front cover a representation from a photo taken while Melissa was with you in Greece? 🙂

  27. 127
    Sunny says:

    Persecution- yes at work. The co- workers know I am a christian. They made it very difficult each day to go to work with their loud remarks and tormenting me. Then it got to the point they were emailing H.R. fabricating things about me and almost cost me my job. They would laugh about it and meet secretly . Anyway I went to my pastor and we prayed together and going forward I just prayed for them. The Lord actually removed them from my workplace and replaced them with a christian gal and another great co-worker. Ask and ye shall receive- HE is so good and gracious. I still pray for them that they would come to know our great God and Savior.

  28. 128
    Twyla McAmis says:

    1.Yes I have shared family tragedies, and situations with my best friends,and church family. But only the ones that I dearly loved and knew were trustworthy. I,too, would no t do this any differently, even if I could do it over again. When I look back at these times in my life I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without the love, support,and prayers of all these dear friends. I thank God for everyone of them.

    • 128.1
      Twyla McAmis says:

      Yes there was a time in my life when someone told a lie about me and I went through a season of bitterness and in forgiveness toward them. It only made me miserable until I asked God to help me forgive. I did forgive and the bitterness was gone. Praise God he set me free. Bitterness will start with something small and if we allow it to it will take roots and grow. We have to learn to recognize it and not allow it to take root in our lives.

      • Twyla McAmis says:

        Yes there was a time in my life when someone told a lie about me and I went through a season of bitterness and in forgiveness toward them. It only made me miserable until I asked God to help me forgive. I did forgive and the bitterness was gone. Praise God he set me free. Bitterness will start with something small and if we allow it to it will take roots and grow. We have to learn to recognize it and not allow it to take root in our lives.

        • Twyla McAmis says:

          3.There was a time on my job when I tried to be truthful and be a witness and I felt like I had some persecution,and sometimes even by family members. But I don’t think I have been through any hard persecution and this makes me wonder if I am really being the witness I should be.

  29. 129
    Cary says:

    P46. I teach a woman’s Sunday school class at my church. I do not like speaking in front of people, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Lord has called me to this. I really think it is His way of keeping me in the word. Every week 8-12 women get a front row seat the the growth in my spiritual life. I have been down many roads, most not the best ones, but all have been learning. If I can save one lady from making the same mistakes I did my life is worth it.
    P50. My mom has always been very bitter about many things/people in her life. Several years ago I started hearing the same things coming out of my mouth and just really began praying that The Lord would heal me. My mom came to live near us a few years ago and at the age of 70, gave her life to The Lord. It is awesome to see her start to give the bitterness to Him and try to heal. She physically looks lighter as she journey’s through this process.
    P51. My biggest source of persecution right now is being left out, but that’s ok. In my loneliest times I know The Lord is with me.

  30. 130
    Brenda says:

    1. For several years I led a bible study for the college and careers group. Most of this group were ones I had worked with for years in youth, but something special happened over those college years. We began meeting in my home on Sunday afternoons. We shared food, movies, laughter and tears (mainly tears were shed on game night- we were very competitive!). We had many holiday dinners, and celebrated Hanukkah together every year. They truly became “my kids”. This January, we ended the study. It was time- most of the group were moving off to college or getting married. But we will forever be connected, and I’m so glad we shared not only the gospel, but our lives also!
    2. The loss of my marriage and the feeling of betrayal from that loss left me extremely bitter. I didn’t even realize how much until that little seed had grown into a monster. Thankfully, I can stand today saying our Jesus is a mighty healer and restores the broken parts of us to wholeness. God truly has freed me from the bitterness and hurt that once entangled me!
    3. I’m not sure I have ever been truly persecuted. I work in a wonderful office with many godly women. We even meet for bible study at 7:30 in the morning to help keep Christ as our focus. And hearing what many other Christians endure, I realized I am blessed beyond measure to live with the freedoms I do. But I know that the times are becoming harder, even here. I meet more and more people who find my faith ridiculous.
    PS- Beth, we want to let you know that in honor of your “quirk”, my small group is going to Coney Island tomorrow. But I’m afraid we will all order the hot dog to go with our bun and chili! 🙂

  31. 131
    Emma says:

    1. My roommates and I currently have 2 friends that we’ve really been pouring into. They are a couple of guys that work at Starbucks with one of my roommates. One is not a believer (yet!) and the other is a believer but we’re asking for more revelation for him because he wants more if the Lord but just seems a little stuck. We just try to love them and live honestly and share the parts of our stories that the Lord leads us to – all while maintaining the boundaries that are so important for a bunch of 20-something’s (which I think ends up being part of the testimony).

    2. My heart was badly broken a few years ago and I became bitter toward all men and toward the Lord for allowing it to happen. He has redeemed the experience and I know have a healthy view of men and marriage. The Lord is so good!

    3. I used to work in the corporate office for a large auto parts store and I had a co-worker that would ask me questions about certain hot button issues just so that she could tell me or imply that I was small minded and wrong. I got a lot of practice in holding my tongue.

  32. 132
    Jacqueline M says:

    1) My church small group has been with me through thick and thin, they are like family to me!

    2)Praise the Lord, bitterness has not taken root in me. although I will keep examining my heart for it.

    3) Persecution has been minimal in my young life atleast up to this point I have been surrounded by like-minded believers. They most I can think of is in high school. I was choosing not to be part of the party scene and then “crowd” but the only persecution I received were a few off comments.

  33. 133
    Sarah says:

    Bitterness….It ate at me from the inside. A childhood friend. A beautiful friend who grew up together betrayed me. She shunned me from her wedding, and spread lies about me in her family. Every week I still have to go to church with her family (she has since stopped coming to church) – I had to swallow every time I saw them. Try not to be mad, hurt, and just plain bitter. I finally realized that the only ONE who could take away my bitterness was God. My heart needed changed. I did NOT want to forgive her. I did NOT feel as if she deserved it (she has never asked for it) – but I knew it was what God wanted. It was what my heart needed. But I couldn’t do it. No matter how hard I tried to “muster up” those feelings, I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to. I really honestly did NOT want to forgive her. Until I started praying – I prayed everyday for almost two YEARS…yes…years…until I felt a change in my heart. It was then I knew that GOD had changed me…not any magical prayers or special revelation. It was the chosing – every day to love her. Not the “feeling” love – but the “I need to love her because Christ loves her.” I still do not “feel” love for her, but I do not hold any bitterness. I hurt, the pain of the loss of a close childhood friend still hurts. But the Lord, and His Spirit completely turned my heart upsidedown and healed me of bitterness. Praise be to Him.

  34. 134
    Diginee says:

    I know we are supposed to answer the questions, but the video was so real! So glad it was not edited! Lol.

  35. 135
    Melissa Keen says:

    Melissa & Clare, Vicksburg, MS

    1. Shining the light in daily interactions with friends and coworkers who may not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

    2. We have experienced bitterness towards our spouses and in-laws but have prayed through and God has delivered us from that bitterness and replaced it with love (Praise Jesus!)

    3. We have experienced it via social media attacks as well as family members belittling or making light of our faith.

    Love seeing those sweet kiddos! So precious!!

  36. 136
    Twila Baker says:

    Thanks for the kiddo’s!
    1.I have a very recent experience with a former employee. I have been sharing my study with her for quite a few years and encouraing herin her faith to be steadfast. She had a Husband in prison and have every kind of difficulty with the system and his release. I kept telling her that God would work it all out in his timing and to stay strong and pray expectantly. She thought I was crazy some days and I had to reassure myself sometimes. Finally the release was about to happen and Satan kept throwing problems in the way. With the last problem she stayed strong but it was difficult. She told me she kept hearing my voice in her head saying “keep the faith he’s not going to let you down now” and he didn’t. He came through with a miracle just in time for her Husbands release. I was amazed that God used me for such an impact in her life.

  37. 137
    Joyce Watson says:

    My heart is so touched as I watched your video and those precious children. I know you love them so much.

    1. This past few years God lead me to do things I never dreamed of doing. I lead Bible Study, taught Sunday School and coordinated a women’s annual brunch with speakers and music. This gave me the opportunities to share some of my own life experiences and reach others for Christ. At our brunch I ask ladies if they would come forward and we could have prayer together.
    This year at VBS I lead a young boy to Christ. I had my husband buy a children’s Bible, so he could understand the stories. Later, I found out this boy, had a brother and they shared a Bible. So, now he had his own Bible. But what really touched my heart was this boy and his brother were foster kids. I am so glad I gave him the Bible, because he may not get a chance to buy one.

    2. I don’t know whether to call it bitterness, but I did have a hard time letting go of some self-esteem issues, insecurity etc. and some abusive issues with my grandpa. Through some Christian counsel and learning that God is my confidence, my Security and learning to forgive….which I am still learning, I lean on Jesus during all those times.

    3. During a time that I was working in the army I ran across a lady who was two-faced. I worked with civilians, while I was in the army for three years. During my lunch break I typed a Christian poem referring to Jesus, only I typed in the word He. To make a long story short, she used it as a love poem and gave it to the Captain who was married. She flirted with him and called his home etc.
    At the time I was single, dating my husband. She gave me a note and told me to hand it to the Captain, instead I told my sergeant who was working with me. I told him I had not idea what it was about and did not trust her. That was before I knew what she had been doing. I was called into the Major’s office and the first thing he said to me is: “I know you go to church.” And he knew what kind of person I was and I was honest, and would never try to split a family up. The next day the lady did not come in to work, she was fired.
    The sergeant told me I may have just saved a marriage.
    When my husband Gordon and I married, the captain and his wife invited us to their house to have supper and gave us a wedding gift. The sergeant and his wife also came. God was so good to us during those time. I am so thankful for His faithfulness.

  38. 138
    Becky says:

    I am enjoying the study. It is my first one. I am behind as I got the workbook late but I am working on getting caught up. I too enjoyed the video.
    1&2. I use to teach the teens at church and did so for a couple years until past issues came to the forefront and stifled my spiritual walk. I prayed for my teens and now that I am back in church and trying to work through the bitterness I get to see some of them as adults. The bitterness has nearly tore me apart and even when I was not walking with The Lord, He still pursued me and brought me back to Him. I am still trying to see my way to forgive those that hurt me and it is a daily struggle. Many people have recommended Beth and I found this study the day it started.
    3. I had a neighbor twist a situation and attack me saying all Christians are hypocrites. This was a few years ago and I did not handle it so well. Around the same time I was getting attacked at work over my beliefs. My boss was not supportive but HR supervisor was. It was around the time I was entrenched in my bitterness so I know Satan was attacking me and using these situations to drive me further from God.

  39. 139
    Pauline Richardson says:

    I got so tickled by Annabeth! Thank you for sharing your life with us!
    1.several years ago we met a young couple who were training my daughter for Equestrian events. As we worked closely together we continued to share Christ with them. After a year or so both came to know the Lord as their savior! Watching God work in them and my family was amazing. They became extended family..we shared joy and sorrow, continuing to invest our lives into theirs. There were times that I felt like I couldn’t give anymore of myself or our family. The reward of ministry cannot be put into words.
    2.Being a pastors wife for nearly 28 years I a have had my share of being hurt. One season of my life in particular was one of deep deep hurt..roots of harbored hurt began to take hold and grow into bitterness. Through God’s grace, study, prayer and an outpouring of Jesus love, relationships are restored and there is joy again!!
    3. Over my life there have been many times that I have been mocked and criticized for my faith and stand for Christ. Praise God I have never had to deal with anything more severe.

  40. 140
    Emily says:

    1) Sharing is hard for me-especially about the core me and with peers/adults…but praise be to God, sharing Christ and His love has been something that I have had the opportunity to do in many different settings and mainly with children. I worked at a RTF (residential treatment facility) and had a group of 10-12 at-risk youth that were under my care-thankfully it was a setting in which I could openly share Christ and because of the setting I learned to share bits and pieces of my life with them as well-it was some of the hardest yet sweetest times working through life with them. The good, a lot of the bad, and often times, the ugly. There is nothing quite like working through a full out crisis and at the end of the day reading scripture and praying over the kids.
    2. Bitterness-I feel like this is something that always creeps into my life. I had a hard time when the RTF I was working at (see #1) was shut down. Took months to work through that journey with God. Thankfully God provided another job and I was able to become more involved with my local church. I seem to struggle most with bitterness when I am comparing myself to others (darn the pull of social media), become focused on greener pastures somewhere (someone) else, and/or slip, slide or jump into selfish thinking. When those intense moments of bitterness (clenched jaw-I refuse to be happy for others-being single sucks-moments) I try to go back to the words in Romans “rejoice with those who rejoice” and that sometimes helps…and if it doesn’t help-I know I have a “God-Em problem” that goes deeper than the situation and needs to be resolved, NOW. That’s when it is hard work to change my mindset onto being thankful, for God’s blessings, His plan, and His goodness.
    3) While helping teach outdoor Bible clubs in the city (Philly), there was one club specifically where we had a few teens who would ride their bikes up and down the street, yelling, laughing, calling out, and taunting us and the kids in the club. The cursing of God’s name, name calling of the kids, laughing, and rude comments were quite difficult to sift through. There were a few times we actually moved the kids inside just so we could get relief and get through the lesson. The Christian kids and families who lived in neighborhood endured a lot of verbal persecution day in and day out. There is no doubt Satan is alive and working to destroy, discourage, and distract.

  41. 141
    Ginger Johnson says:

    I am about three days behind, so I have only gotten as far as the first discussion question…
    Since my husband became a pastor about 5 years ago, being a pastor’s wife has been a real challenge for me. I always knew I would be one, but living it has been another story altogether! We have fallen in love with our small church and members, and even the community around us, which desperately needs the changes only God can bring in their lives. Anyway, i have had to be careful about how much I share with the ladies at church, making sure it doesn’t put my husband or our family in a bad position, so I felt a kindred spirit with this particular day of homework! I also know this is where God has placed us for this time, and I pour my heart and soul into everything I do there (including directing VBS, which we just finished!). I think sometimes that they don’t understand my fervency or maybe that I’m going against what they have “always done”…and I say I won’t do it again! But I do. Because when it comes down to it, I love them, and God has given me a burden for them. I want to see them grow and do whatever I can to help them.
    I am doing my very best to catch up on the other 2 questions. Loving this study!

  42. 142
    Sandy F says:

    1. For this one, just the deep love that I have for my church and its members comes to mind. When you teach or minister in other areas, you grow to love and care for each person that is part of the ministry. Even years later, I still care about the elementary age girls (now grown women). I love hearing how they are each doing as wives and mothers!
    2. Years ago, after a theft of some personal belongings, I struggled with my identity. While working through that, I realized that I had bitterness against a family member who had wronged me and other family members. After a significant amount of Bible study and seeking the Lord’s help to forgive, I realized that God had forgiven me, and that He expected me to also forgive the wrongs done by this person, even though they had not asked or even realized it. God gave me the verse about Joseph and his brothers, where he said, You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. As soon as I obeyed the Lord in this, I felt the release of the burden that I had been carrying. I had been unaware, but I was enslaved and limited by this root of bitterness. God did a miraculous work here, and I am so very grateful.
    3. When I was first saved as a teenager, unsaved family members mocked my faith, believing that this was a “phase” that I was going through that would pass. It never did “pass!” I have not always been great about witnessing to people, waiting for the opportunity to drop into my lap. I realize it is my responsibility to be a light for Christ, and that some who cross my path may never otherwise hear the gospel.

  43. 143
    Amy Beaman says:

    I’m so excited to be a part of this study. Our group has decided to meet each week and last week was a hoot! We couldn’t get the videos to work until 3 hours into the study and then they played only 1/2 of the video and left us hanging and wanting more. Our session went until 1:30 am with love laughter, catching up and sharing! We are currently a week behind, but so encouraged by Beth’s words of No time spent pursuing God is ever wasted!

    I’m a pastor’s wife and my husband is currently the interim pastor for a small church in the area. We’ve been there since January.

    Week 1 blew me away with God being in the remix. My family is in the middle of remixing right now and headed for more. My daughter will graduate from college in December and my son will graduate from High school next May.

    Week 2 lessons really impacted me “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well because you had become so dear to us.” As we are investing ourselves in the church, we are striving to hear from Father and praying that Holy Spirit blows through and God’s will is done there whether it is with us or not.

  44. 144
    Sally says:

    Camp Bibby looks like so much fun! I hope to be that kind of Grandma someday.
    1. I shared some vulnerable things with my first conversation partner through a campus ministry reaching out to Chinese students. She eventually accepted the Lord and has had her own successful ministry since then.
    2. I was raised in an emotionally dysfunctional home, with a very bitter Mom. Instead of turning from that cloud of bitterness that really injured me, I unknowlingly adopted it. I regretfully report that I spent decades immersed in bitterness. Jesus released me from bitterness towards my Dad when I was in my 20’s, but I did not have complete victory over bitterness towards my Mom until 8 years ago, at age 49. What a difference that made! And, I had the privilege of being the primary caretaker for my Mom during the last two years of her life after she suffered a stroke. It was a delight to have that time with her!
    3. For years a relative taunted my faith because they wanted me to approve of and align myself with their co-dependent and terribly unhealthy relationship with another relative, who was abusive and chemically addicted.

  45. 145
    Jan says:

    I am a 64 yr. old Pastor’s wife, Mom, Nana, Family and Consumer Science teacher to Juniors and Seniors, and am blessed to be a Sunday School teacher to pre-teens.
    In the past 20 years I have done 11 of your studies I have to say that Woman’s Heart opened my life to Intimacy with God and Believing God was the study that helped me pray for Him to be BIG in my life and this ministry.
    Your studies have brought me through difficult ministry times as we’ve planted a Church in a crime invested part of our city — these have anchored me in the Word. Early on I came to see that HIS Word really is BREAD and LIFE as there were times it was what I was living on solely to get me thru.
    I love catching up with your family —
    Life has gotten busy and I’ve been on a break from these studies — as we transition in ministry now–
    Children of the Day has already been such a blessing. . . My husband and I have seen so much moral depravity in our students — we hurt for the children of this day — but know that as the world gets darker HIS light will shine brighter.

  46. 146
    Julia Broeders says:

    I’ve been struggling for the last few days of the study . . . it just wasn’t ‘clicking’ but I KNEW something would come together, the light bulb would come on, the circuits would connect at some point. Today they did. Week 3, Day 2 pulled it altogether for me! Yayyyy! I’ve been struggling with a hurting-and-therefore-cranky person . . . their harshness toward me in the midst of their pain has been breathtaking (in a not good way) and tear inducing. But today’s MATH LESSON was transforming!! LOVED it!! I don’t want to say a lot more and give away the wonderful ending to the lesson but . . . I have a worship song that goes with it PERFECTLY and I listened to it on repeat all the way to work quite loudly! Me and Jesus had us a little sing-along!

    Sovereign Over Us by Michael W. Smith

    There is strength within the sorrow
    There is beauty in our tears
    And You meet us in our mourning
    With a love that casts out fear
    You are working in our waiting
    You’re sanctifying us
    When beyond our understanding
    You’re teaching us to trust

    Your plans are still to prosper
    You have not forgotten us
    You’re with us in the fire and the flood
    You’re faithful forever
    Perfect in love
    You are sovereign over us

    You are wisdom unimagined
    Who could understand Your ways
    Reigning high above the Heavens
    Reaching down in endless grace
    You’re the lifter of the lowly
    Compassionate and kind
    You surround and You uphold me
    And Your promises are my delight

    Your plans are still to prosper
    You have not forgotten us
    You’re with us in the fire and the flood
    You’re faithful forever
    Perfect in love
    You are sovereign over us

    Even what the enemy means for evil
    You turn it for our good
    You turn it for our good and for Your glory
    Even in the valley, You are faithful
    You’re working for our good
    You’re working for our good and for Your glory

    Your plans are still to prosper
    You have not forgotten us
    You’re with us in the fire and the flood
    You’re faithful forever
    Perfect in love
    You are sovereign over us

    You’re faithful forever
    Perfect in love
    You are sovereign over us

    Thank you, Beth for the time in the Word and time on your knees required to write the math lesson. Bless you and yours, J.

    • 146.1
      Leanette says:

      This song was actually written by our worship pastor, Aaron Keyes, at Grace Fellowship in Snellville GA when our church was grieving the sudden loss of a precious Sister. Aaron is a man after God’s own heart and has a true gift of leading us into the Throne Room through music. He also disciples others in his Worship School.
      I agree – many times I would sing along with this song with those groanings that only the Holy Spirit knew. Praise God for His Truth in Jer. 29:11, Is 55:8-9, Rom 8:28, Gen 50:20, Dan 3:25, and Ps. 35:27 that are reflected in this beautiful song. It is probably available on iTunes and on his Dwell CD, if anyone else would like to know. I was tickled to hear one of his songs during the recorded music when LPL was in Atlanta!

  47. 147
    LORRIE says:

    Years ago, I heard Beth tell the story about giving her treasured Bible to a man on a plane. That story stuck with me.
    About three years ago, God put it on my heart to pray for my dad. I had not seen him since I was a toddler. One day I typed his name in facebook and found him.
    That Christmas I put my old Bible, that was marked up, cried over, prayed over in a box with some home made cookies. I was still arguing with God as I stood in line at the post office and handed it over. I thought, he is going to think I am crazy.
    Every time I see him reading that old Bible now, it makes me smile. My dad had made peace with God a few years earlier but the Lord knew we needed each other.
    For a year we send over 100 long emails and not one phone call. Two years ago we traveled over 1000 miles and brought him to live with us. After almost 50 years apart, God has restored the years the locusts have eaten. It also makes me think of this verse. II Cor. 4:7.
    Loving this study. Thanks Beth.

  48. 148
    Diane E. says:

    1. I was always really shy, but in my 30s, God gave me the strength and the courage to speak out about some of the journey I’ve been through. When I started speaking out about my experience with postpartum depression and with some family struggles, I noticed how many people had been through, or were going through, similar experiences and felt humiliated and had never spoken about it. I felt that God was giving me the opportunity to witness and to reach others because of my difficult moments, not in spite of them. That was a huge breakthrough for me.

    2. God is currently working with me through some bitterness issues. Bitterness runs deep in my family of origin and has created some deep hurt. This is an area that is an ongoing area of growth for me.

    3. I can’t say that I have been persecuted because of Jesus in the same way that others really face true danger because if their faith, but I do face judgement of others because of the life choices that I’ve made due to my belief.

  49. 149
    Leanette says:

    1) I derive great joy in teaching children about God’s Word and investing in their growth. Sharing Life: My experience has been that non-believers have been touched by my sharing what God has done in our lives (during 12 years of un- and under employment) more than my believing friends. Kind of like Paul going to the synagogue first in each town! Pages 49 and 50 were a great encouragement to me, for we have felt God’s presence walking with us.
    2) Bitterness sneaks up on me. I have to ask the Lord daily to clear my thoughts and attitudes.
    3) My slight persecutions are nothing compared to the many who face life and death issues over their faith. Reminds me to pray for them to the God of all comfort.

  50. 150
    Cassia Glass says:

    Loved that you had your grandkids with you! Thanks for that!
    1. I am always amazed at how quickly friendships develop and deepen around the centerpiece of Christ. Right now a friend and I are doing this study together. We’ve been friends for years but this is our first time to do bible study together and I feel like suddenly our friendship is on a totally different plane.
    2. In the homework there is a question about “who’s recipe we’d like to have” (i.e. who do we look up to and want to emulate as they emulate Christ), and I picked my grandmother. One of the things that amazes me is that well into her 90s she is such a person of joy and that didn’t just happen without Godly persistence and faith on her part. I am convinced that if I am going to be a joyful 90-something some day, I would do well to get rid of anything that can turn into bitterness each day.
    3. I have been fortunate to not be really ridiculed or persecuted for my faith yet. Sometimes you still run up against some vehemence that seems waaay out of proportion. Not really persecution but I am starting to see that sometimes people react to Christ in us very strongly and negatively, even when we are trying to be kind and gentle.

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