Tuesday, May 27, 2008


After quite a long stretch of years leading women's Bible studies through church - I decided last summer to take a year off from leading! It is always a hard decision, but I knew I was at a crossroads and that I needed to take a year to seek God about a new direction I felt He was leading me toward. I had heard a lot from friends about BSF - Bible Study Fellowship and I had always wanted to try it, but it just didn't fit in the schedule. I was able to join this past fall for the study of Matthew. Last Tuesday was our last meeting. I would HIGHLY recommend BSF - now I know why so many of my friends spoke so highly of it. Studying Matthew over the past 8-9 months has been so rich for me. Especially the first few months, I felt like I was being replenished and that I had recaptured my first love. Studying the life of Jesus has re-grounded me and helped me get back to the basics of my faith.
The following are some of the passages that were most challenging to me:
From Matthew 5
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Of course, I have heard these verses many times, but as we studied this section I was amazed at how far I am from living this out. During that time, I memorized these verses and they both challenged and ministered to me. Reading it now, it draws me back to that idea of suffering - in the midst of suffering is where we can find the most blessing (you mean not in my comfortable suburban life???).

Another passage is from Matthew 10
37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
In our review lesson, I picked this as the hardest command for me from the book of Matthew. I am a PLEASER and I like it when everyone in my life agrees with and affirms the decisions I make. I am coming to learn that following God's will for my life may not make me popular with all those I hold dear. I am solely accountable to please God and to follow His leading at any cost. I am still on a major journey with this one!

There are 3 parables in Matthew 25 - the first one is the parable of the 10 virgins and the main idea is being prepared for Jesus' return. It made me think a lot about how I spend my time, resources, etc and to be more anticipatory. A lot of the time in studying Matthew - I am all frustrated with the Pharisees - wondering how if they knew the Scriptures so well that they weren't recognizing the Messiah. I had the thought that someday someone might say that about us. There is so much Scripture and prophecy concerning Jesus' second coming, but because there has been so much time, we have a false sense of security and live as if it isn't imminent.
The second parable is the parable of the talents. The part that has resonated most with me is from the master's response to the first two servants that were able to multiply the talents they were entrusted with - 21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
As I sense that there is a new calling ahead for me, God keeps reminding me to be "faithful in the small things". I was sharing this with a friend, and I said that to me the small things were everyday things, like being a godly wife, mother and friend. She gently reminded me that those aren't really "small" things. I agree! But we went on to talk about how important it is to be faithful with what we have been given.
The third parable is the Sheep and the Goats - this is used a lot when talking about serving the poor, widow and orphan. I am challenged to start getting into the trenches! Do I know these people? Am I visiting the sick and the imprisoned? Am I meeting the needs of the hungry and the thirsty? I long to know God - I pray that He would show me who He is. I say Lord, please reveal yourself to me. As I prayed through the material for the foster care vigil - I realized again that Jesus is in these children - when we serve the least of these - we meet Jesus!

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