Welcome back to womens online Bible study! We begin our first week reading One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land by Priscilla Shirer and the topic of deliverance. This week in womens online Bible study we learned about deliverance. We had some great conversatioins because there is so much confusion today about biblical deliverance. And we read about shackles and locks from a biblical perspective.

Before God’s chosen people could hope to enter the land promised to them, the shackle had to break. It held them back from entering the abundance God planned for them. -Priscilla Shirer

During this womens online Bible study, we find helpful resources. The many references to the Bible are helpful to understand deliverance. Sometimes, the temptation to sin appears to have benefits. We see evidence of this in celebrity lifestyles, gossip columns, and national news. While sin can be intentional or unintentional, the consequence of sin might include:

  • Victim Role
  • Helplessness
  • Celebrity Status
  • Justifiable Behaviors
  • Blame Games

Sin is progressive. What once satisfied us loses its power. –One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land by Priscilla Shirer

In our Bible Cafe™ study, Priscilla Shirer writes “Far too many Christians turn away from the narrow road of abundant living to temporarily enjoy the Enemy’s worldly variety.”

Her words made me think about “variety living” as an American Mom in modern Babylon. My life is flowing with choices….television shows, artisan coffee drinks, travel options, fashion choices, music, and books… I have variety. If desired, I could even change the color of my eyes with tinted contact lenses. And so, if abundant living is a narrow road….why is my road so wide? What did I ALLOW to get into my way…into my relationship and intimacy with Jesus? Who decided that wider roads are better for me than a narrow path? [probably satan]

This week as we learned about manna in the wilderness. Maybe you fasted as a religious practice, a requirement, or a suggestion from your church. But, what would happen if you fasted like Jesus? Instead of the liquid fast, the no sugar fast, the modified fast…what if you ate like Jesus. Suppose you only ate the foods Jesus would eat. Preparing your meal, you look at your food through the eyes of Christ. What would Jesus see on his plate? Use your imagination….figs, goat cheese, bread, wine. Or investigate through the Scripture passages for specific foods. Prepare your meal…and eat as Jesus would eat.

When I ate like Jesus for 40 days, I saw my food with a new vision. In the beginning, I hated goat cheese and after 40 days, I became creative with it. Using a flat round cracker, I spread goat cheese on the cracker and covered it with trail mix! I suppose Jesus would eat raisins and nuts, so I placed it on the cracker and made it part of my evening meal. I knew he drank red wine, so I poured a single glass and slowly ate the cracker with the red wine. He’d probably eat apples…I think…so I ate them too. The accuracy of the fast was less important to me than the purpose of the fast: to see my meal through the eyes of Christ. Eating the same foods, 40 days without boasting and complaint, I replaced the “WWJD” with “WWJE” What Would Jesus Eat?

It was not a promise for a Lenten ritual, it was an experience of Living the Word. When the fast ended, I found myself unable to eat “Babylonian” food and large portions. This makes me wonder what will happen if we “fast from something that has become an idol in our lives. Like social media, binge-watching Netflix, or celebrity worship.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35

Our final lesson this week for womens Bible study is about conforming and staying inside the box of religion. It makes me wonder how many people do not attend religious worship because they feel “outside of the box.”

Maybe you’ve heard this from some of your religious friends:

  • “You can’t say that in Bible study, you need to keep the conversation generalized and less intense.”
  • “You scare people with your faith….it’s too intense and people doubt that God can say/do that in your life.”
  • “Calm it down. God is not the author of confusion. I’m confused by what you are saying, so it must be Satan, not God”
  • “Prove it. What facts can you show me to convince me that God is speaking to you.”
  • “Are you feeling alright? Is something wrong with you? Why are you acting so euphoric?”

Maybe it’s easier to stay inside your box, not share God’s presence in your life, and stay seated at the table of religious norms. These words were unintentionally used to diminish my faith.

When I realized I was not maturing spiritually with these religious friends, I searched for true friends of faith…women I trusted to listen and guide me toward wisdom, not fear.

Are you a woman who carried the little box…and when your friends meet the rites of passage, you allow them inside? Or…are you a more passionate Believer like Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Kay Arthur, and Anne Graham Lotz? And when your friend says “God just spoke to me” you listen, in faith, not disbelief.

I am a woman who listens and believes. Your story is safe with me, I respect you for trusting me with your experience. I’m not going to ask you to prove it…I’m going to ask what I can do to support your calling or your ministry. I’m not going to ask you to give me details, validate, and speak to a religious leader for authorization to share your experience.

I’m the woman who KNOWS God and KNOWS He speaks and KNOWS that when He speaks to you, I’ll be the friend who listens and believes. I’ll encourage you, not discourage you.

I’ll meet you outside the box…..with arms wide open. I’m that kind of friend. In my heart, you are welcome to fix outside the box. And you are free to be…you.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.