Monday, January 28, 2008

Bible Study CANCELLED tomorrow

With the forecast of up to 25 cm of snow by tomorrow.... I think it is best to cancel our Ladies Bible Study this week. I had planned to do Ruth tomorrow, so please take the time to read through the book of Ruth sometime this week, and we will take a look at her next time we get together (Feb. 5th).

Thanks so much for being a part of this group of ladies!


ps - I know that people in other parts of the world that are getting even more snow than here will be laughing that "a little bit of snow" could cancel an event, but it is a lot for here!!!! It's coming down strong and steady right now, and isn't supposed to let up until later tomorrow, so..... I am not going anywhere!! And since I am the leader.....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Weather Warning

Hi Everyone,

This is a bit too early to call weather forTuesday, but please check back here if it is snowing on Tuesday to find out whether or not we'll have Ladies Bible Study. If there is snow it will likely be cancelled unless it is old snow just on the side of the road.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Captivity of Activity

Bible Teacher Beth Moore often talks about the "Captivity of Activity". Below is a few of her thoughts... they tie in well with what we talked about yesterday in our "Mary and Martha" study.

God never meant for us to live frenzied lives. Backbreaking schedules are not His idea. How can we, believers in Christ, restructure our lives and find a little refreshment?

• Reestablish the goal. Isaiah 43:7 tells us we were created for His glory. The purpose of our brief journey on this planet is to glorify God. He desires for us to pour the best of our energies into God works. Go back to the basics.

• Redirect your focus. Matthew 6:33 makes a revolutionary promise. If we seek God first, He will direct our schedules and help us to discern His priorities through the work of the Holy Spirit. Give the Matthew 6:33 approach a try! It really works!

• Rethink your motivation. Galatians 1:10 prompts us to ask ourselves if any of our activities are seeking man’s approval rather than God’s. If we seek to please people rather than God, rules will constantly change and expectations will soar.

• Rest in God’s will. Hebrews 4:10 says, “Anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work.” Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? God is not unreasonable. He does not heap on stress and then refuse to grant us rest. None of us can do one hundred things to the glory of God. Let’s find rest in His will and do a few things well.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mary and Martha

Sisters.... friends..... sometimes they agree... sometimes they don't. It was no different with Mary and Martha in the Bible. Tomorrow we will take a brief look at these 2 sisters, their relationship to each other and their relationship to Jesus.

Read ahead in Luke 10:41-42 and John 11:1-44 and chapter 12.

Rahab Review

Last week we had a great discussion about Rahab. Why did she do what she did? How did her faith play a part? Did the promises made to her come true? God always keeps his promises, and Rahab and her family were spared. And God helped Joshua lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.

Read Rahab's whole story in Joshua 2, and 6:15-25.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Lord works in mysterious ways....

This story is a bit long, but it is so worth the read. I shared what I remembered of it in Ladies Bible Study this morning, and when I found it in my saved files tonight, I wanted to post it here. What a good reminder to listen to the voice of God......

For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.

This is one of her experiences:
April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons, not the least of which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man.

I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.

I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.

I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. "Oh, no, God, please, no." I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, "Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!"

There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, "Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane." Then I heard it... "I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair." The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair?
No-brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, "God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man."

Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. "That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair."

I looked up at God and quipped, "I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?" God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: "I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, "Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"

He looked back at me and said, "What did you say?"

May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"

To which he responded in volume ten, "Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that."

At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, "SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?"

At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, "If you really want to." Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, "Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush."

"I have one in my bag," he responded.

I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.

A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making

Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's.

I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees and said, "Sir, do you know my Jesus?"

He said, "Yes, I do." Well, that figures, I thought.

He explained, "I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior." He said, "You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride."

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane.

I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.

I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, "That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?"

I said, "Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!"

And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted, you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way. . . all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting, "Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!"

Monday, January 14, 2008

This Week

Hope you can join us this week for our Bible study when we look at the life of Rahab.....

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Women are Amazing

author unknown...

By the time the Lord made women, he was into his sixth day of working overtime. An Angel appeared and said, "Why are you spending so much time on this one?" And the Lord answered and said, "Have you seen the spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have 200 movable parts, all replaceable, run on black coffee and leftovers, have a lap that can hold three children at one time, have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart, and have six pairs of hands."

The Angel was astounded at the requirements for this one. "Six pairs of hands! No Way!" "And that's just on the standard model?" the Angel asked. The Angel tried to stop the Lord. "This is too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish. "But I can't!" the Lord protested, "I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick AND can work 18 hr days.

The Angel moved closer and touched the woman, "but you have made her so soft, Lord." "She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made Her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish." "Will she be able to think?" asked the Angel. The Lord replied, "Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason, and negotiate."

The Angel then noticed something and reached out and touched the woman's cheek. "Oops, it looks like you have a leak with this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one." "That's not a leak," the Lord objected, "that's a tear!" "What's the tear for?" the Angel asked. The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her loneliness, her grief, and her pride." The Angel was impressed. "You are a genius, Lord. You thought of everything, for women are truly amazing."

Women have strengths that amaze men. They carry hardships, they carry burdens but they hold happiness, love and joy. They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry. They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous. They fight for what they believe in. They stand up for injustice. They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there is a better solution. They go without so their family can have. They go to the doctor with a frightened friend. They love unconditionally. They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards. They are happy when they hear about a birth or a new marriage. Their hearts break when a friend dies. They have sorrow at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left. They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all sizes, in all colors and shapes. They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you. The heart of a woman is what makes the world spin! They bring joy and hope. They give compassion and ideals. They give moral support to their family and friends. Women have a lot to say and a lot to give.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Welcome to Women of the Bible... over the next 8 weeks (including this week on Esther) we are going to be looking at a different woman each week from the Bible. Please feel free to leave comments or questions, and tell us what these stories mean to you. I love Esther and her courage, even amidst a situation that she was so unfamiliar with.

Who is Esther?

Named Hadassah at birth, she was later given the name Esther. She was a Persian Jew who lived in the fifth century BC during a massive exile of Jews from the Holy Land. It was a time when people kept quiet about their religion, especially if they were Jewish. Esther is the woman in the Bible whose name is mentioned more times than any other woman... 56 times in all. (Even more than Sarah, who was only mentioned 54 times). Her life is full of courage, risk, bravery, and much faith in God. Twice she risked death to save her people, even though she could have kept quiet to save her hide. Esther was Mordecai's cousin, and had been adopted by Mordecai. (2:15)

Main sections of the Book of Esther are:

- Esther becomes Queen and replaces Queen Vashti
- Haman plots to destroy all the Jews
- Esther and Mordecau pray to God for divine assistance
- God answers Esther and Mordecai's prayers
- The tables are turned
- Epilogue

Esther is a Book that could be its own full study... giving it just one week hardly seems right. But I hope that it will inspire you to go and read the entire book on your own and learn more about Esther, and her Godly character.

Esther ch 1

Setting the stage...
King Xerxes ruled over 127 provinces from India to Cush. In his 3rd year he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. It lasted 180 days. After that, he gave a smaller party that lasted 7 days. It was very rich, and every man was allowed to drink as much as he wanted. At the same time Queen Vashti was giving a banquet for the women in the royal palace on King Xerxes. After 7 days of drinking, Xerxes asked Vashti to come wearing her royal crown to show her off. She refused. He was mad. Xerxes asked his consultants what to do, they advised banishment so other women in the Land wouldn't follow her ways and disobey their husbands. They advised that Vashti should never enter the King's presence again and that another woman should gain her royal position.

Now, the actions towards Vashti seems so harsh... she didn't want to go show off to the drunken king and his drunken friends. I don't blame her! But by her refusing, it opened the door for Esther and the job she had to do.....

Ch. 2.
Enter Esther -
Read Esther 2 - each person read 5-6 verses.

Read Judith Couchman's introduction. pg - 17

1. Verse one of this chapter claims that Xerxes "remembered Vashti... and what he had decreed about her." What might this indicate about the king's thoughts regarding his treatment of Vashti?
- maybe he missed her? had regrets after he became sober.... his anger was cooled....

2. In verses 10-18 we learn more about Esther. Do you think her beauty was the only asset that caused people to favour her?
- she won favour of everyone... she had inner beauty, God's strength shows through in our character... our moral standards are revealed through our personality and speech. Maybe she was meek... she didn't ask for anything except what the attendant had suggested.

Esther entered the harem unprepared for its pressures, but as the story unfolds she grows in character and usefulness to God. When we step in to his service we can feel inadequate, even baffled. But God uses who we are, where we are, and develops our character as we yield to him.

Ch. 3
The king honoured Haman, and Haman wanted all people to bow to him. Mordecai would not, (3:1-4) and therefore Haman started to plot against the Jews. Haman's ancestors, the Amalekites swore enmity against the Jews. God had ordered the Jews to "blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven" (Deut. 25:17-19) but they didn't' follow through on his command. Considering this and other possible factors, what could be Mordecai's motivation for refusing to bow to Haman?

Read 3:8-11
4. What was the edict? vs. 12-15
All the Jews would be wiped out, annihilated... the decree had gone out and was posted in all the towns.

Ch. 4.

Mordecai learns what had happened, and he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. Esther's maids and eunuchs came and told her about he, she was distressed. Esther sent one of her attendants to get the whole story from Mordecai.

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? 4:14

Read 4:9-17

5. Esther heeds the advice of her cousin and then declares a fast before she approaches the king. Why would she do this?
-Only God can work something out to convince the King.

6. What additional qualities has Esther developed that make her a woman God can use?
- Humility, seeking God, trusting God through prayer and fasting

Ch. 5.

Read 5:1-4
Esther gave a banquet for the 2 of them, and repeated her request the following night. Later in ch. 5 Haman was enraged that Mordecai continued to refuse to bow to him, so his wife suggested Haman have gallows built and ask the king to have Mordecai hanged. He had them built.

READ Ch. 6

Ch. 7
At the banquet Esther had prepared for the King and Haman, she asked for her life. And for him to spare her people. She said if we had just been sold as slaves I would not have bothered the king... but since we are scheduled for annihilation, I thought I would ask. She revealed that it was Haman and the king was enraged. He had Haman hanged on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai.

Ch. 8.
Esther received Haman's estate. Mordecai came into the presence of the king because Esther told him he was a relative.

vs. 3-6
7. How does Esther feel toward her people? She loved them, she was broken at the thought of them being destroyed. She could have saved herself and walked away, but she chose to risk her life twice by going to the king without being summoned.

8. What do these verses say about Esther's character? Loyal, loving, cared for her people.

read vs. 5- 8

The Jews were also given the right to assemble and protect themselves, to destroy the army coming against them. The custom of the day prevents the king from rescinding an order previously given.

Ch. 9
The tables were turned, and Mordecai becomes more prominent and powerful in the palace.

read 9:5-6
vs. 13-17

After that, the Jews celebrated. Mordecai declared that an annual celebration on those days each year. These days were called Purim.

Read ch. 10.


Women of the Bible for Dummies - by Rev. John Rigilio Jr., PhD, ThD, and Rev Kenneth Brighenti, PhD.

Esther - Character Under Pressure - by Patty Pell

Esther - Becoming a Woman God can Use - by Judith Couchman

Esther - NIV and the Message Versions of the Bible

Monday, January 7, 2008

For Such a Time as this....

Confession - I love country music. Always have.

Last night, while I folded laundry on the couch, I turned to CMT... the CMAs were on (Country Music Awards). I listened to Reba and Leanne and even Jamie Foxx (when did HE become country? Anyway, that's another story!)

And then.... Martina sang. She has the voice of an angel, and her heart is there too. She sang a song called "For These Times" and it fits with what we are going to start studying tomorrow with Ladies Bible Study. Tomorrow we look at Esther. Her cousin Mordecai said to her, "And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) And then later in Esther we really see her heart as she cries before the king, "How can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?" (Esther 8:6)

We live in times right now that need action such as Esther's. Just do it. Get to it... don't wait another minute. But we need the compassion and love for people that can only come from God, because he made each of us and no matter where we've been, or what we've done, he loves us most. Esther could have saved herself by staying quiet, but then her people would have all died. By going to the king, she could have died, but she risked her own life to save her people and God protected her and provided a way to save her people.

Martina McBride - For These Times

In these times in which we live
Where the worst of what we live
Is laid out for all the world on the front page
And the sound of someone's heartbreak
Is a soundbite at the news break
With a close shot of the tears rollin' down their face
Blessed be the child who turns a loving eye
And stops to pray
For these times in which we live

In these most uncertain hours
Where the balance of power
Is a fight that is fought every day
And freedom is a word
Some cry out and some whisper
And some are just too quick to give away
Blessed be the one who stands by the one
On the battle line
For these times in which we live

Well give me a heart full of tender mercy
And arms I will open wide

For these times in which we live
Seems like the only answer is
Givin' up on findin' one at all
And we hide behind unsure
Pull the blinds and lock the doors
And hang a pleasant picture on the wall
Blessed is the believer who knows love is our redeemer
And the only breath of life
For these times in which we live

Well give me a heart full of tender mercy
And arms I will open wide
Yeah give me words full of loving kindness
And hands ready to hold up a light
For these times in which we live
For these times in which we live

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!

Starting next Tuesday, Jan. 8th, you are welcome to join us as our "Women of the Bible" gets going. If you are unable to come to the church from 9:30 - 11am each Tuesday for the next 8 weeks, then please follow along here and get involved by leaving your questions or comments.

Blessings for 2008!